Proliferation of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons : a very real danger [fr]
Briefing by the Chair of the Committee 1540
Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
Statement by Mrs Marie Audouard, Deputy Political Coordinator of France to the UN
Security Council - 16 March 2017
Let me first thank Ambassador Llorentty Solíz for his briefing today and for the presentation of the programme of work of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004).Almost three months after the Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2325 (2016) on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, today’s meeting is an opportunity to come together to discuss non-proliferation challenges and our joint efforts to address them. The situation has not changed. The proliferation of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and their delivery systems and their risk of use by States or terrorist groups remain very real dangers.
In North Korea and Syria, the non-proliferation standard that is at the heart of our collective security is regularly, and even openly, being flouted. The rapid development of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic programmes is cause for great concern, as is the use of chemical weapons in Syria. I note that the responsibility for those ghastly actions has already been attributed to the Syrian Army and Da’esh in four cases, and the possibility of there being additional such weapons in Syria increases the risk of the spread of those toxic chemical substances.
In the face of such extremely serious challenges, we must, more than ever, be mobilized for action. The 1540 Committee will guide the actions of all States, so as to pool efforts to combat proliferation in a tangible way. I would also like to thank the Expert Group of the Committee for their crucial analysis and awareness-raising, which is indispensable to the action of the Committee. The 2016 comprehensive review confirmed measurable progress, both nationally and regionally, in the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) and subsequent resolutions. Nevertheless, despite the progress achieved in the past 12 years, much work still lies ahead.
We welcome the work carried out last year under the leadership of Spain, which enabled us to strengthen the means at our disposal through the adoption of resolution 2325 (2016). This year’s promising programme of work of the 1540 Committee, which has just been presented to us, also seems well-conceived and allows us understand the path ahead.
I would like to stress the importance of the cooperation, assistance and interaction that must accompany our efforts. We must all prevent and curb the financing of weapons of mass destruction, do our best to secure our sensitive assets and materials and tighten controls over our exports in order to reduce the risk of their being misused in emerging technologies. However, we should not act alone. When it comes to cooperation and assistance, I pledge the commitment of my delegation, which has assumed responsibility for the coordination of the working group on assistance in order to improve the effectiveness of the assistance mechanism, along the lines already mentioned.
France attaches particular importance to strengthening the regional dimension of assistance and consistency in meeting assistance needs. In that regard, the 2016 African Union Review and Assistance Conference on the Implementation of Resolution 1540 (2004) in Africa was a success and can serve as a tool and inspiration for future action. We welcome efforts undertaken by other stakeholders, as was noted by other speakers. I also note the role of the European Union, which, thanks to its ongoing dynamism and awareness-raising, does its part to promote cooperation.
Finally, if we are to succeed, we must enhance synergies with organizations outside the United Nations that face the same challenges, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the World Customs Organization and the various export control regimes, as well as with entities within the United Nations such as the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001) concerning counter-terrorism and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism. We must strengthen the links among those organizations.
We once again thank Bolivia for its leadership and commitment at the helm of the Committee and pledge our full support.