Statement at the High Level Segment of Conference on Disarmament by EU Special Envoy for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, Marjolijn van Deelen

Must read

August 1, 2022

Madam President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. Let me start my intervention with the recent quote of High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell:“At this dark hour, when we see Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and massive disinformation campaigns and information manipulation, it is essential to separate lies –invented to justify what cannot be justified—from facts. The facts are that Russia, a major nuclear power, has attacked and invaded a peaceful and democratic neighbouring country, which posed no threat to, nor provoked it. Moreover, President Putin is threatening reprisals on any other state that may come to the rescue of the people of Ukraine. Such use of force and coercion has no place in the 21st century. What President Putin is doing is not only a grave violation of international law, it is a violation of the basic principles of human co-existence. With his choice to bring war back to Europe, we see the return of the ‘law of the jungle’ where might makes right. The target is not only Ukraine, but also the security of Europe and the whole international rules-based order, based on the UN system and international law.” The European Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine. By its illegal military actions and threats, Russia is grossly violating international law and the principles of the UN Charter and undermining European and global security and stability. The European Union underlines that this includes the right of Ukraine to choose its own destiny. Russia bears full responsibility for this act of aggression and all the destruction and loss of life it will cause. It will be held accountable for its actions.

We also strongly condemn the involvement of Belarus in this aggression against Ukraine and call on it to refrain from such action and to abide by its international obligations, including under the NPT. The deletion of the reference in Article 18 to Belarus’s non-nuclear status is another worrying change, which adds to unacceptable attempts to re-define the European security architecture. Russia’s military attack against Ukraine – an independent, sovereign and non-nuclear weapon State – is a flagrant violation of international law and the core principles on which the international rules-based order is built. Moreover, Russia has violated its commitment to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or sovereignty of Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 on security assurances, thus disrespecting unequivocal security assurances a nuclear weapon States should honour as part of binding and agreed security arrangements. The loss of credibility of a nuclear weapon state on security assurances seriously undermines the NPT regime and the entire disarmament and non-proliferation architecture.

The European Union demands that Russia immediately ceases its military actions, unconditionally withdraws all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine and fully respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders. The European Union calls on Russia and Russia-backed armed formations to respect international humanitarian law and stop their disinformation campaign and cyber-attacks. The EU strongly condemns threats by president Putin of using nuclear force in this war. These threats are unacceptable, provocative, dangerous and escalatory. Only last month did the Russian Federation, in the context of the P5, reaffirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. In the interest of all humanity, Russian Federation must heed its commitments and immediately cease this nuclear brinkmanship. We stand in solidarity with the women, men and children whose lives have been affected by this unjustified and unjustifiable attack and deplore the tragic loss of life and human suffering. The European Union firmly believes that the use of force and coercion to change borders has no place in the 21st century. Tensions and conflict should be resolved exclusively through dialogue and diplomacy. The EU will continue cooperating closely with neighbours and reiterates its unwavering support for, and commitment to, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and of the Republic of Moldova. It will continue strong coordination with partners and allies, within the UN, OSCE, NATO and the G7.

Madam President,

The integrity of the rules-based international system is key to our collective security. It could be only achieved through effective multilateralism and rules-based global governance. The EU will continue to do its utmost to protect these principles and values.

The CD remains the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating body and its continued relevance is of utmost importance for the EU. While the EU and its Member States are ready to launch substantive work on all core items, we reiterate that our longstanding priority in the Conference on Disarmament is to immediately commence negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), and we support starting suchnegotiations in accordance with the document CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein.

In the meantime, we call on all States possessing nuclear weapons that have not yet done so to declare and uphold an immediate moratorium on their production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Furthermore, promoting universal adherence to and the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty CTBT is a top priority for the EU. All EU Member States have ratified the CTBT and are abiding by its obligations. We urge all States that have not yet done so, in particular those listed in Annex II, to sign and ratify the CTBT without any preconditions or further delay.

Lastly, the EU will particularly focus on promoting a successful outcome of the postponed Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The EU’s support for the NPT is unwavering and we are committed to uphold and strengthen the NPT, promote its universalisation and enhance the implementation of all its obligations and the commitments undertaken during the previous review conferences.

Thank you for your attention.



More articles

Latest article