28 June 2017 - Repeated assaults on the non-proliferation regime [fr]
Non-proliferation - Intervention of M. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 28 June 2017
I would like to thank you, Sir, for your dual role, as President of the Council and Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), in organizing today’s important meeting. I would also like to thank Ms. Nakamitsu and Mr. Ballard for their very informative briefings. I should add that France associates itself with the statement to be delivered by the observer of the European Union and supports the statement that the representative of Spain will make on behalf of the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540.
The past few months have seen a heavy assault on fundamental aspects of our collective security, in violation of rules that we all value and of which resolution 1540 (2004) is a crucial part. The proliferation of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, and the risk of their use by non-State actors, have become a dangerous reality. But we should make no mistake — the repeated assaults on the non-proliferation regime that we are witnessing in Asia and the Middle East are far from being a monopoly of non-State actors, and terrorist groups in particular.
In Asia, we have seen North Korea’s crash development of its nuclear and ballistic programmes and its chemical-weapon attack in Malaysia this winter. It is also the case in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, where the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and Da’esh has been confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism. That is made even more worrying by the fact that the suspected continued existence of toxic chemical stocks in Syria increases the likelihood that they will be more accessible to terrorist groups.
In this difficult context, we must work harder than ever to mobilize in order to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by anyone, and by non-State actors in particular. That demands above all that we do better at considering the risks of exploiting technological advances for the purposes of proliferation, a subject that the 1540 Committee has to address. In that regard, I would like to commend the analytical and advocacy efforts of the Group of Experts in support of the Committee.
Needless to say, we must all work harder to intensify and assess our implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). We must all prevent and discourage the financing of proliferation, ensure the highest possible levels of security for sensitive goods and materials on our territories and strengthen export controls, especially considering the risk of the use of emerging technologies. For its part, France has modernized its national legal framework for combating proliferation, criminalizing proliferation activities and punishing their financing. We are also very involved in working to prevent the risk of terrorists acquiring sensitive nuclear materials and we are an active supporter of the efforts of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. I should also mention the role of the European Union, whose dynamic and continuing awareness-raising efforts have contributed to this cooperative action. The EU adopted a new decision last month giving €2.6 million to support the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). We also welcome other actions that have already been undertaken or announced, including regional workshops for training points of contact in the implementation of the resolution.
However, the sum of our individual actions is not enough. As stated in the concept note, resolution 1540 (2004) is a unique platform for cooperation. We have to make this happen by concrete actions through two means: further anchoring the logic of assistance and cooperation in our efforts and taking the specificity of each country concerned into account. As Coordinator of the Working Group on Assistance, France attaches particular importance to strengthening the regional dimension and to improving the coherence between the needs and the assistance offered. The Committee’s newly updated template for requests for assistance, for example, should contribute to that end.
Finally, we must take stock of current challenges by strengthening synergies with forums facing the same issues, be they within the United Nations or outside it, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the World Customs Organization, or such export-control regimes as the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, of which France is the secretariat, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group, whose plenary meeting is being held in Paris this week, from 26 to 30 June 2017. These interactions should be encouraged and strengthened. The Council can count on France’s steadfast commitment on this priority issue.