Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

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18 March 2024

Thank you President. I am grateful to Japan for convening this meeting, and the Secretary-General, Dr. Floyd, and Ms Mukhatzhanova for their briefings.

For fifty years, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has been a bulwark for global security, allowing peaceful uses of nuclear technologies to flourish while preventing the erosion of non-proliferation norms.

The UK remains committed to full and complete disarmament in line with Article Six of the NPT. We reaffirm the P5 leaders’ statement of 2022 that a nuclear war cannot be won and must not be fought. The UK is the only Nuclear Weapon State to have reduced to one delivery system, and we maintain a minimum credible deterrent. We have pioneered work in nuclear disarmament verification, championing transparency and advancing risk reduction. We are one of the largest financial contributors to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation and host thirteen of its monitoring facilities.

This Council cannot be complacent about nuclear proliferation. We must continue to counter the DPRK’s nuclear programme, and we urge the DPRK to commit to denuclearisation. The 1718 Panel of Experts carries out important work and must retain the Council’s full support. We also call on Iran and Syria to cooperate fully with the IAEA, and express grave concern that Iran’s nuclear programme has never been more advanced than it is today.

It is deeply concerning that Russia, who played an important role in building the international non-proliferation and arms control architecture, has suspended its obligations under New START, de-ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and breached resolutions on Iran and DPRK to source weapons for its illegal war in Ukraine. We urge Russia to reaffirm its commitment to its international obligations.

Colleagues, our non-proliferation architecture supports and enables the peaceful use of nuclear technologies worldwide. The UK is helping to expand access to peaceful nuclear technology in support of the Sustainable Development Goals through our Sustained Dialogue on Peaceful Uses initiative and we’ve given $4.3 million in funding to the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Fund this year. Next month marks twenty years since this Council adopted the 1540 resolution, helping prevent non-state actors’ access to WMD materials, and I take this opportunity to thank Ecuador for their stewardship.

Combating nuclear non-proliferation and promoting disarmament is a global challenge. We call on all States who have not yet done so to ratify the NPT. A strong Non-Proliferation Treaty means a more secure world. The UK is committed to a successful review conference in 2026 and looks forward to working with all UN members to this end. I thank you.

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