Statement by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the U.N. on behalf of the President of the Conference on Disarmament (Turkey) at the First Committee panel discussion under the Disarmament Machinery cluster

Rauf Alp Denktas 02.11.2018
UN 73rd General Assembly First Committee
Panel under “Disarmament Machinery”
30 October 2018, New York
Presentation by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Turkey

Chair,
Excellencies,
Dear Colleagues,
(Speaking on behalf of my colleague, Beliz Celasin Rende, the last President of the 2018 Session of the Conference on Disarmament, I wish to start by thanking Madam High Representative for Disarmament Affairs for inviting the Republic of Turkey to this Panel as the last President of the 2018 session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD).)
The CD, as the single multilateral disarmament platform, with its unique structure in the international fora and its special mandate of negotiating legally binding disarmament instruments, has been at the centre of efforts to render our world a safer place since its foundation. However, no doubt, there are also questions raised over the CD’s ability to perform its negotiating mandate.
For the Conference, the 2018 session was not an easy year indeed. Following the adoption of the agenda of the CD, a consensus over a “Program of Work” did not emerge. Eventually, following some hard work, the Conference adopted a “technical report” on 14 September 2018.
Very important and positive steps were also taken at the CD this year.
I would like to summarize these as follows:
Firstly, throughout the year, with the great encouragement of Mr. Secretary-General, there was considerable motivation to advance the international disarmament agenda. In line with this positive spirit, the Director General of the UN Office at Geneva, invited the 2018 Presidents of the CD to consultations before the beginning of the 2018 session. At those meetings, Mr. Moller conveyed SG’s and his personal readiness to facilitate the work of the Conference.
(Using this opportunity, we would like to thank the SG and Mr. Moller for their efforts to advance the work of the CD.)
Subsequently, CD members made a promising start under the guidance of Sri Lankan Ambassador Excellency Aryasinha, and a decision was adopted on establishment of five subsidiary bodies in accordance with the agenda of the Conference.
Four subsidiary bodies were established on agenda items 1 to 4, and one subsidiary body was established on agenda items 5, 6 and 7.

These subsidiary bodies were given the following three main responsibilities;
1) to reach an understanding on the areas of commonalities in the CD by taking into
consideration all relevant views and proposals, past, present and future;
2) to deepen technical discussions and broadening areas of agreement, including through the participation of relevant experts; and
3) to consider effective measures, including legal instruments for negotiations.

It was also agreed that reports on the progress achieved and agreed on in each subsidiary body would be submitted to the Conference.

Following the High Level Segment, during which SG also addressed the Conference, the Conference appointed coordinators to the subsidiary bodies and set a timetable for the meetings.

(We would like to thank once again Ambassadors of Indonesia, the Netherlands, Brazil, Germany, Belarus and their teams, for the hard work they have put in the subsidiary bodies.)

Seven meetings were held by each subsidiary body. In the end, they all submitted their substantive reports to the Conference, and four of them were adopted. The report of the 4th subsidiary body on the Negative Security Assurances (NSA) was not. However, I am confident that in the next session of the Conference, we will also further develop the work on the NSA, which is a very important topic for many delegations and close the so-called gap between the agenda items of the CD.

It is also worth underlining that the meetings of subsidiary bodies and their reports provide us with the possibility to better understand the converging and also the diverging positions of the delegations on different topics. They certainly constitute a solid basis for the future work of the Conference.

Chair,

As you know, one important responsibility of the last President of the CD is to prepare the report of the Conference to the UN General Assembly. Being aware of the circumstances and possible controversial issues of the 2018 session, Permanent Mission of Turkey to UNOG began consultations with the delegations two weeks before our Presidency, which commenced on 20 August.

The objective of these consultations was to produce a factual and objective annual report in an impartial and transparent manner. In line with the views and expectations of the delegations, as well as the common past practices, the first draft of the CD report was circulated, on the first day of the Turkish Presidency.

Although it was possible to provisionally adopt a majority of the paragraphs, there were intense and lengthy negotiations on how to reflect the Presidency of one delegation during the 2018 session and the reports of the Subsidiary Bodies in the annual report.

At the end, after having held 9 formal Plenaries, 12 informal plenaries and dozens of bilateral consultations and small group meetings in the course of four weeks, the Conference adopted a “technical and procedural report”.

In the aftermath, discussions of similar nature took place during the informal meetings held on the Resolution on the Report of the CD. At the end of five informal meetings, the delegations managed to agree on the draft resolution in Geneva.

We would like to thank all CD members for the enormous effort that they have put in advancing the work of the CD since the beginning of the 2018 session. We also would like to thank the UNODA for the support extended during our Presidency
We wish the incremental steps taken this year will be helpful in our future work.

The Conference will resume its work in 2019. We believe that next year, the most essential issue is going to be maintaining the relevance of the CD.

In this regard, Turkey stands ready to use the intersessional period, and is available to hold consultations with the incoming President, if that is deemed necessary.

We appreciate the opportunity to summarize the 2018 session of the Conference on Disarmament under this agenda item.

Thank you.