STATEMENT to the Conference on Disarmament


Minister of Defense of ROMANIA

GENEVA - March 7, 2002 -

Mr. President,

At the out set, allow me to congratulate you for the assumption of the presidency of the Conference. I would like to assure the full support of the delegation of Romania for you and for the successive presidents throughout this annual session.

I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to congratulate your predecessors for their intensive and constructive efforts aimed at moving the work of the Conference forward and for the adoption of the relevant decision on re-appointment of the three Special Coordinators on procedural issues of the Conference on Disarmament.

I would also like to express a special mention of appreciation to Mr. Vladimir Petrovky, who retired recently after serving for almost a decade as Secretary General of the Conference. His name will remain closely linked with past CD achievements, including the finalisation of the CTBT negotiations. My special thanks go also to Mr. Enrique Roman-Morey, Deputy Secretary-General and to the other capable members of the Secretariat for their constant and invaluable support to the Conference.

Mr. President,

Last year was a particularly difficult one for the multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation process, especially with regard to the regimes on weapons of mass destruction, also as a result of the fast changing evolutions of international security and stability.

Providing the Biological Weapons Convention with a compliance regime proved to be more difficult than expected five years before, in spite of the important efforts displayed by the delegations in the Ad-Hoc Group. The suspension of the BWC Review Conference last year provides the State Parties with a more than necessary period of time for reflection. A serious and responsible thinking is necessary on the ways ahead of this exercise and for working out a set of balanced and interlocking multilateral international and domestic measures able to ensure the scope of the Convention.

I believe it is clear that the complexity of the BW matter and the national security, economic and social interests of the States Parties do require a much broader approach, which goes beyond agreeing upon a stand alone legal instrument for compliance. Such a compliance instrument must fit in a whole larger set with other international multilateral agreements concluded and functioning outside the disarmament framework.

Mr. President,

The brutal attacks against the United States of America marked the transformation and emergence of terrorism, especially state-supported terrorism, into a real and dangerous threat of a global dimension, affecting the security interests of all the members of the international community, including my own country.

As terrorist organizations and networks have proven to be more global in action, employing the highest technology in their operations, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups has thus become a major objective for all of us.

Mr. President,

I have chosen to start the analysis of developments in the current international security environment with a focus on BWC issues and the terrorist global threat, having in mind the rapid and spectacular developments in establishing the International Coalition against terrorism. Romania joined the Coalition immediately after the September 11, 2001, attacks and since then, has sought to bring a responsible and reliable contribution to this exercise.

The International coalition is an outstanding demonstration of broad multilateral international solidarity, co-operation and political will, based upon joint efforts to provide in a very short period of time specific measures to be enforced at both international and domestic levels. This is an important lesson to keep in mind when approaching a future international multilateral compliance regime for the BWC and other agreements in the field of disarmament.

Time has come to bring the process of disarmament and non-proliferation of armaments closer to other fields of multilateral diplomacy and tune it with the fast evolutions actuated by the globalisation process.

Mr. President,

This brings me to the approach towards the current legal framework of multilateral agreements in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, which for decades have provided the tools for crafting a long-standing contribution to international peace and security.

Most of them, if not all them, brought a tangible contribution to global security, when adopted and entered into force. Each of them laid the foundations for negotiating and further adopting multilateral international disarmament agreements. This is after all, the essence of the sometimes painful and most often-slow progress process of disarmament.

Romania is firmly attached to the multilateral framework of international disarmament and non-proliferation agreements at both global and regional levels, and will continue to implement in good faith the obligations assumed under the existing legal regimes to which it is State Party.

My country is State Party to all major international multilateral Treaties governing the issue of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as to the Ottawa Convention, The Open Skies Multilateral Treaty, the CFE and other regional CSBMs multilateral and bilateral agreements.

Our attachment to collective security is unconditional and we cannot agree with those seeking to abandon multilateralism in international security. Indeed, the history of disarmament shows that changing international conditions could erode the relevance of an international instrument, but there is the responsible obligation to replace it with agreements able to address current and future security concerns of all members of the international community.

Therefore, we find merits in the arguments raised about the need to strengthen and, if necessary, to adapt existing agreements in line with present realities, while remaining engaged in negotiation and concluding new multilateral international agreements in the field of disarmament.

Accountable compliance and strict observation of existing obligations are basic prerequisites to provide a healthy climate conducive to negotiations for new collective security agreements or adaptation of the existing ones. Universal adherence has to be the standing objective related to multilateral agreements currently in force.

Mr. President,

Many distinguished speakers, who recently addressed this sole body for negotiations of multilateral agreements in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, pointed out also to the positive developments of last year.

Indeed, the decision to extend the scope of the CCW to armed conflicts other than international conflicts and the recent entry into force of the Open Skies Multilateral Treaty are relevant steps forward and Romania will continue to be actively engaged in their implementation.

This year Romania will ratify the amendment to Article 1 of the CCW, together with the Amended Protocol II and Protocol IV to this Convention. Also it will pursue an active contribution to the Ottawa Convention process, in a period of time when the first deadlines for full implementation of Article 4 provisions are coming to term.

We are ready to contribute to the Open Skies Treaty with our long-standing experience gained in a decade of implementing the Romanian-Hungarian Bilateral Agreement and in many trial flights performed with neighbouring and other countries.

We recognise also the important contribution to multilateral security of bilateral agreements aimed at reducing the arsenals of offensive nuclear strategic weapons and welcome the recent decision of the presidents of the United States Of America and the Russian Federation to engage in talks for deep cuts of existing arsenals. In our view, this is a positive development that outlines, once more, the special responsibility of nuclear weapons states for improving international security and strategic stability.

Mr. President,

While pointing out these positive results, allow me also to draw the attention to the fact that they have been all achieved outside of the Conference on Disarmament.

In the last three years the Conference has not lived up to its main task and the continuation of the present state of affairs will only further deteriorate the credibility of this unique multilateral body. And all this, spite important efforts embodied in a long row of presidential proposals to tackle the divergent items of the Program of Work. The sore result of this sterile, but time and nerve consuming exercise, is that the start of negotiations on FMCT is still wishful thinking years after the adoption of the Shannon mandate and only few weeks ahead the first PrepCom Meeting for the 2005 NPT Review Conference.

The rapid adoption of the decision on re-appointment of the three Special Co-ordinators on procedural issues is an encouraging signal for the Conference, but it does not replace substantive work on the items of the Program of Work, which is the main task of this body.

Mr. President,

The Romanian position at the CD had not changed in the last year and resumption of the negotiations for FMCT remains a priority for our delegation. We are not in favour, as a position of principle, to any linkage between the items of the Program of Work.

On the proposals for the Program of Work contained in document CD/1624, tabled during the presidency of Ambassador Amorim of Brazil, our position is flexible. Like many other delegations we can endorse them as such.

My delegation stands ready to participate in a debate concerning the issue of Transparency in Armaments, one of the non-controversial items of the Program of Work. We are witnessing a time when the multiplication of internal conflicts and crises provides ground for the emergence and consolidation of non-traditional threats which tend to take shape as a complex combination of terrorism, ethnic cleansing, organized crime and arms trafficking. Past and recent experiences show that the most affected categories are the civilian population and the international personnel providing for humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations.

The present situation calls for resumption of the debate on the fore-mentioned issue in the CD in order to prepare the ground for future international instruments intended to bring about restraint and responsibility both of producers and end-users, while providing for equal and undiminished security at the lowest possible level of armaments.

Mr. President,

I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to make an appeal to all the delegations to increase their participation to the UN Register on Conventional Arms, as well as, to the standardized reporting on military matters and the transparency on military expenditures, in line with the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions 56/14 and 56/24Q.

In our view the CD needs to start immediately substantive work on the so-called non-controversial items, while continuing consultations for a consensual solution on the others remaining items.

Mr. President,

It is well known already that the Conference on Disarmament is a fine tuned barometer very sensitive to international security evolutions and to the political climate between key actors of the international stage. Romania, as like many other members of the Conference on Disarmament, has approached the current annual session with many expectations for positive developments aimed at moving this body from its already too long-standing stalemate.

This delegation continues to believe in the future of multilateral international disarmament and the value of the Conference on Disarmament for international peace and security. We are committed to work closely with all the delegations for this end.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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