24 October 2014 - UNGA / 1st Committee - “Other weapons of mass destruction” - Statement by Mr Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
France associates itself with the statement of the European Union.
I would only like to make some additional remarks from a national perspective.
The issue of “other weapons of mass destruction” is of fundamental importance to my delegation. Current events continue to bear this out.
Unfortunately, in Syria, the latest developments as reported by the fact-finding mission confirm that chlorine has indeed been used “systematically and repeatedly” as a chemical weapon in Syria in 2014. The conclusions of the fact-finding mission report are unequivocal. The use of helicopters leaves no doubt as to the Syrian regime’s responsibility. It would be unacceptable for the perpetrators of these crimes to benefit from impunity. In addition, Syria must assure the international community that its chemical programme is completely and irreversibly dismantled, by clarifying the gaps in its initial declaration and destroying without delay its chemical weapons production facilities.
France also supports the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and calls on States which have not yet done so to join the 190 States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
I would further like to recall my country’s commitment to the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of chemical and biological weapons in war, of which France is the depositary. It is an instrument which remains essential and France calls upon all Member States which have not yet done so to accede to this Protocol and for States that continue to maintain reservations to withdraw them.
Within the framework of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), France has proposed setting up a peer-review mechanism. This proposal aims to increase the trust and transparency between States Parties. It also aims to facilitate the sharing of best practices regarding the implementation of the Convention. In August, France submitted the report of the first such peer review exercise, organized in Paris in December 2013 with the participation of nine experts from various geographical areas. France welcomes the positive response which this idea has received within the framework of the Convention and the announcement made by the Benelux countries on organizing another peer review, soon.
The discussions which took place in August on the issue of implementing Article VII and the transregional interest generated by this issue must continue. Naturally, France will participate in these discussions.
The issue of delivery systems of weapons of mass destruction is also central to this debate. The United Nations Security Council, in particular via Resolutions 1540, 1887 and 1977, has described the proliferation of missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction as a threat to international peace and security. Iranian and North Korean ballistic programmes in particular are progressing in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Missiles are thus an issue of concern for all parties, which must be urgently addressed. The international community must step up its efforts to increase the effectiveness of multilateral arrangements, particularly the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Major challenges remain ahead, which is why, among other initiatives, France is supporting efforts towards the universalization of the HCOC.
Finally, I would like to introduce the biennial resolution, which France is submitting this year, jointly with Germany, on preventing the acquisition by terrorists of radioactive sources. Our objective is to keep the international community mobilized against this threat, given the serious radiological consequences that could induce the hostile use of certain radioactive sources for terrorist purposes.
Mr Chair, thank you very much