Sri Lanka against nuclear weapons

The Sri Lankan government has called for the elimination of nuclear weapons from national arsenals saying the continued existence of nuclear weapons and of their possible use or threat of use poses an overarching threat to humanity.

Speaking at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) at the UN in Geneva, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha said that Sri Lanka is of the view that there is an urgent need to reach an early agreement on a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument to assure non-nuclear weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

The comments made by Sri Lanka come even as the United States, European Union, and other Western nations are trying to stop Iran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Both Sri Lanka and Iran have strong diplomatic ties and Aryasinha did not directly name Iran in his speech at the UN conference.

“We encourage nuclear weapon States to reduce nuclear danger through progressive multilateral nuclear disarmament beginning with the de-alerting of nuclear weapons and reducing the operational readiness of weapons systems.  We stand ready to work within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament, towards achieving this objective. We believe that it is our joint commitment and responsibility” he said.

The External Affairs Ministry quoted him as further saying that whilst the international community has been active in bolstering that architecture, it is evident that this needs to be further strengthened.

“We are of the view that a transparent, sustainable and credible plan for multilateral nuclear disarmament is necessary in order that disarmament and non-proliferation could both advance in a mutually reinforcing manner,” he said.

He also said that Sri Lanka supports the promotion of the use of space based technologies, for peaceful purposes.

“We believe that prevention of an arms race in outer space would avert a grave danger for international peace and security as we witness the rapid spread of space launch capability and increasing offensive applications of space technologiesm” he said.

Sri Lanka also commended the joint initiative of China and Russia on the draft treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) presented in 2008, and welcomes it as a basis towards adopting an international binding instrument.