The international and regional strategic landscapes becoming increasingly constrained, only accentuates the need for the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to get down to its substantive task of negotiating appropriate disarmament frameworks, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Geneva A.L.A. Azeez said while speaking at the CD Plenary Session in Geneva.
Speaking further, Sri Lanka’s envoy called for balanced and comprehensive disarmament, that should be realized through a step by step approach, underpinned by the adoption of legally binding frameworks and through addressing existing legal gaps.
“We attach priority to full compliance with, and effective promotion of, the implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) without further delay, support the preservation of all existing disarmament architecture, remain committed to achieving a legally binding instrument on Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), and promote the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention and call for their effective and non-discriminatory implementation”.
Outlining Sri Lanka’s position on arms control, Ambassador Azeez stressed, “Sri Lanka supports the effective implementation of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, calls for practical steps towards establishing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)-free zones particularly in regions where such zones are not in place, remains committed for negotiations on a legally binding instrument on Negative Security Assurances, and recognizes the importance of identifying and negotiating on new and emerging issues including Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems”.
It is recalled that after 22 years of stalemate in negotiations, the CD arrived at a decision in 2018 under Sri Lanka’s Presidency, to work through an informal process towards evolving a programme of work. The momentum, however, slackened in the current year due to competing strategic security priorities of mostly nuclear weapons states. In his address, Ambassador Azeez expressed Sri Lanka’s continuous support for efforts by the CD and its Presidency towards building consensus on a Programme of Work that would facilitate serious and committed negotiations on core disarmament related issues on the agenda of the Conference.