Delivered By: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
Please Check Against Delivery.
At the outset, I would like to congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the third session of the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction. I also thank the two previous Presidencies, the State of Kuwait, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, for their wise management and the progress we have made together. We welcome the participation of the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Nakamitsu, in the opening session of the Conference, and we thank her for her continued support. We also thank the United Nations Secretariat for facilitating the work of the Conference.
The previous sessions of the Conference demonstrated the determination of most of the countries in the region to establish the foundations of regional security in the Middle East through their active participation, which have resulted in the political declaration, the rules of procedure, and the Working Committee whose meetings are held between sessions of the conference. In this context, we commend the productive participation of Member States in the meetings of the Working Committee, which proved to be an important space for exchanging views and discussing the steps required to achieve progress in our work. We particularly welcome the briefings given during the third informal meeting of the Working Committee on Nuclear Weapons and Disarmament, which touched upon the issues that shall be considered when establishing this zone. Past experiences and current mechanisms are a good guide to conduct our deliberations.
The Middle East has witnessed many challenges throughout its history, and most of them still exist today. Therefore, this treaty will provide the region with security measures to address the existential threat to humanity, namely weapons of mass destruction. In pursuit of a treaty that is binding for all states in the region and that addresses all concerns, I would like to highlight several key points:
First, we must engage faithfully, listen to each other’s views, and put our shared interests first. This is why we believe that we should continue to work on ensuring the participation of the remaining Middle East states and the remaining observer nuclear weapons states as called for by the UN General Assembly decision A/73/546 establishing the Conference. This step is a priority for my country and the Conference. We must avoid any implications and delays in the entry into force of a future treaty.
Second, the NPT remains the cornerstone of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Despite the 10th Review Conference not adopting an outcome document, the NPT’s principles, framework, and resolutions remain valid. Our work should not be done in isolation from the NPT. Integrating principles and measures from the NPT and other relevant treaties that regulate states’ obligations in the disarmament and non-proliferation regime should be the norm for our process. In connection with the importance of agreements on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, we stress the need for all countries in the region to join these treaties and agreements. These are essential steps for implementing transparency and confidence-building measures.
Third, to ensure the effectiveness of the future zone, robust, internationally recognized verification measures should be in place to guarantee compliance. In this regard, the IAEA’s verification regime and additional protocol set a prominent example of a solid and effective verification regime that meets the security concerns and aspirations for the Middle East Zone Free of WMD. Therefore, all concerns related to the IAEA safeguards system in the region must be addressed in a transparent and sustainable manner.
Our vision for a future Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction is coupled with the promotion and endorsement of the use of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes. Let us work hand in hand to benefit our mutual security and promote our socio-economic, scientific, and technological development.
Thank you, Madam President.