UAE urges steps to declare Middle East a nuclear-free zone

NEW YORK, 8th October 2016 (WAM) – The United Arab Emirates has urged the international community to take steps towards declaring the Middle East a zone free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, and stressed that achieving progress on this file would significantly support stability and security in the whole region.

In a speech delivered by Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, the Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, before the First Committee’s session on “Disarmament and International Security,” at UN Headquarters in New York, the UAE referred to the committee’s important efforts towards achieving regional and international peace and security, especially given the grave security challenges currently threatening the accomplishments made in the areas of disarmament and international security over the past seven decades.

Ambassador Nusseibeh expressed the UAE’s grave concerns with Iran’s nuclear activities and the development of its ballistic missile program. Ambassador Nusseibeh stressed the importance of Iran’s full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) according to the nuclear agreement reached with the P5+1 states.

“We had hoped that the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program would encourage it to begin a new chapter and enhance confidence in the exclusive peaceful nature of its nuclear program. However, Tehran continues to undermine the security of the region through its aggressive rhetoric, by supporting and arming militias, and its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism,” she said.

In this context, Ambassador Nusseibeh reiterated the UAE’s call on Iran to ensure its full compliance with international obligations and responsibilities under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Ambassador Nusseibeh noted the particular importance of the NPT to the UAE, based on its commitment towards global security, its pursuit of a fixed national policy, and adoption of clear positions regarding disarmament and non-proliferation issues.

Further, Ambassador Nusseibeh stressed the importance of pursuing a transparent approach to acquiring nuclear energy for peaceful uses and fulfilling the obligations of non-proliferation.

She also confirmed the importance the UAE attaches to its accession, and full implementation of, the international conventions on disarmament and non-proliferation.

In terms of issues of security in the Middle East, Ambassador Nusseibeh referred to the UAE’s disappointment in the failure of the 2015 Review Conference of the State Parties to Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the inability to convene a conference in 2012 on establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

She renewed the UAE’s call to Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as Israel is the only state in the region that has not yet acceded to this Treaty. Ambassador Nusseibeh also expressed her concern on the lack of progress made towards bringing this treaty into force. The UAE urges States to meet their international commitments, and to refrain from conducting any nuclear tests.

Additionally, she expressed the UAE’s deep concern regarding North Korea’s development of its nuclear and ballistic capacities and the carrying out of regular tests which threaten the security of its neighbors, as well as international peace and security, and which are clearly contrary to the most fundamental rules of international law.

Ambassador Nusseibeh concluded by expressing the UAE’s intention to highlight its efforts towards disarmament during the thematic debates of the First Committee’s work, and called on the international community to reach a consensus on developing the work of the committee to better promote international and regional peace and security.