Statement by the United Kingdom: General Debate of the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly
In March of this year, the UK released its Integrated Security, Defense, Development and Foreign Policy Review. It describes a deteriorating global security environment, increasing global competition, challenges to the international order and the proliferation of potentially disruptive technologies. The threats facing the UK and its allies are increasing in scale, complexity and diversity. The review explains how we will build resilience at home and abroad, strengthen defense and security partnerships, contribute to the development of standards in the future frontiers of cyberspace, new technologies, data and l space, and shape the open international order of the future that enables all countries, and peoples, to be secure, prosperous and free.
There have been some positive developments this year. We welcome the extension of the new START treaty, which has significantly contributed to international security and strategic stability, and the start of a new strategic stability dialogue between the United States and Russia. We encourage all nuclear weapon states to take similar steps of transparency and confidence. We also welcome the successful conclusion of the Open-ended Working Group and the Group of Governmental Experts on Cyber in 2021, and call on all member states to be guided in their use of information and communication technologies. communication through their consensus reports.
The Integrated Review also serves as an official statement of UK nuclear weapons policy. He made it clear that the UK remains committed to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons and to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a cornerstone of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The UK looks forward to the rescheduling of the Tenth NPT Review Conference, which is an important opportunity to celebrate the success of the Treaty and to re-commit to its implementation. We also call for action, ambition and cooperation to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention at its upcoming Ninth Review Conference.
Preventing an arms race in outer space remains a key objective for the preservation of international peace and security. To achieve this goal, we need to take a holistic look at the behaviors, actions and omissions that could lead to conflict, not just capabilities or weapon placement. We thank the Member States, international organizations and non-governmental organizations who contributed to the Secretary-General’s report on “Reducing threats to space through standards, rules and principles of responsible behavior”. The UK is pleased to present a resolution at this session to establish an open-ended working group to move the issues forward in the report, and we would be grateful for continued support from Member States.
Full compliance with all obligations is essential to build trust. We must stand by our principles and act quickly when states fail to meet their obligations.
The confirmed use of a Novichok nerve agent in Russia in 2020 against Alexey Navalny is of serious concern, following the Novichok attack in Salisbury in 2018. We call on Russia to report on these uses.
Eight chemical weapons attacks in Syria have been attributed to the Assad regime by the OPCW and JIM. We urge Syria to honor its obligations.
We are deeply concerned about Iran’s destabilizing activities and its ballistic missile activities are incompatible with UNSCR 2231; in particular, the proliferation of weapons to proxies and non-state actors which undermines regional security. Iran’s escalation of nuclear activity undermines the counter-proliferation value of the JCPoA and threatens its preservation. We began talks in April to reestablish the JCPoA and negotiated in good faith until Iran suspended talks in June. We call on Iran to resume negotiations without delay.
The UK remains concerned about the development of the DPRK’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The DPRK’s recent ballistic missile launches on September 27, in violation of several UNSCRs, make it clear that sanctions against these banned programs must remain in place and be strictly enforced by the international community. We call for the full, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the DPRK and urge the DPRK to resume dialogue with the United States.
The UK’s comprehensive review places multilateralism, arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament at the heart of our approach to security. We need a collective global effort to defend and strengthen the architecture of counter-proliferation and disarmament. We look forward to working with all States throughout the session of this committee.