Israel values the Conference on Disarmament, the only international body after the Security Council that indeed has the capacity to contribute to global security and stability in the face of the growing armed violence in the world.
On January 20, Israel assumed the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, under the leadership of Israel’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, Ambassador Eviatar Manor. The Presidency of the CD rotates among its member states, with each President holding office for four working weeks. The first and only time that Israel assumed the role of President of the CD was 11 years ago.
Following is the speech by Ambassador Eviatar Manor at the opening CD plenary:
Members of the Secretariat,
Welcome to the first Plenary Session of 2014.
At the outset, I would like to express my sincere sense of pride in assuming the role of President of the Conference on Disarmament. I take this role with pride, but at the same time with the necessary humbleness at the privilege and the responsibility given to me to be at the service of all member states of the Conference.
This is the second time, after eleven years, that Israel assumes the Presidency. Yet, it is the first time that our Presidency is charged with the responsibility to open the year of work of the Conference on Disarmament. Every New Year brings with it new hopes as well as new opportunities, and I do hope that we can build on the positive momentum that began last year, and bring about a change in the Conference this year. At this moment I would also like to convey my sincere thanks and appreciation to my predecessor, Ambassador Patricia O’Brien of Ireland and her team for their excellent work during the last presidency of 2013, as well as for their valuable assistance and advice given to my team in preparing our presidency.
I would also like to extend my warm congratulations to my fellow P6 Presidents for this year: Ambassador Mati of Italy, Ambassador Sano of Japan, Ambassador Tileuberdi of Kazakhstan, Ambassador Andanje of Kenya, and Ambassador Muhammad of Malaysia. We strongly believe that the way to go forward is through a joint effort by the P6, and YOU the member states, to do our utmost, to achieve a significant change in the Conference on Disarmament’s work. It is my intention, as President, to work closely with my P6 colleagues, towards achieving this objective.
Ladies and gentlemen,
For over seventeen years, the Conference on Disarmament has been unable to engage in substantive work. Yet, those seventeen years have shown that the challenges to global security and stability have only increased. We are constantly reminded of the growing armed violence in several regions of the world. The last few days have only been a stark reminder of how unsafe the world continues to be. The terrorist attack in Kabul, that claimed the lives of over twenty people, among them UN personnel and other internationals, casts a dark and ever-growing shadow over the prospects of our future generations. The Conference on Disarmament has a role to play and a responsibility in this respect to contribute towards changing this reality. However, its inability for over seventeen years and more than a hundred Presidencies to address the longstanding stalemate is raising many questions.
Israel values the Conference on Disarmament and its role as the single multilateral negotiation forum on Disarmament, and wishes to contribute to the Conference on Disarmament’s work. We hold the view that this body is unique, as it represents the only international body after the Security Council that includes all the relevant states that are not only significant military powers, but can indeed contribute to a meaningful outcome, thus contributing to global security and stability.
Bearing in mind those principles, Israel’s presidency has already conducted many meetings with the majority of the members of the Conference on Disarmament. The aim was to find the right way to achieve a program of work. We take our presidency with a sense of realism, or as our Jewish sages have said in a proverb: “It is not up to you to complete the duty, but nevertheless you are not at liberty to shut it away.”
Therefore, we, together with our P6 colleagues, will be exploring options to find ways leading to the fulfillment of the Conference on Disarmament’s objectives, serving as the international communities’ single negotiating forum on Disarmament as stipulated in the SSOD1 document.
The Israeli presidency will work together with member states and the other members of the P6 to look for the right formula for the program of work, robust in substance and progressive over time in implementation. We shall consider also with all member states the reinvigoration of the Informal Working Group’s mandate, and explore the possibility of establishing a structured Schedule of Activities, in order to enhance substantive and in-depth work on all agenda items that we have adopted in previous years.
Once again, I would like to reiterate my commitment as a president to explore every possibility and would like to thank you in advance for the support given to me, and to wish us all a successful and fruitful year. In addition, I would like to underline the crucial role of my colleagues, the other Presidents of the Conference on Disarmament of this year, to enhance our mutual and joined effort to achieve a substantive program of work.