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General Assembly – General Debate of the First Committee

Statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the Conference on Disarmament, Ambassador Gianfranco Incarnato, at the General Debate of the First Committee of the 73rd UN General Assembly —

Mr. Chair,

Italy aligns itself with the statements delivered by the European Union and by Australia on behalf of a group of like-minded Countries. I would like to add some remarks in my national capacity.

Italy fully shares the goal of a peaceful and secure world free of nuclear weapons and disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation are essential components of its foreign policy.

To achieve these goals, the NPT remains the key instrument, with its three mutually reinforcing pillars. We call upon States that have not yet done so to join the NPT as non-nuclear weapon States, without delay and without conditions. We also believe it is necessary to support, uphold and preserve the NPT in the difficult current environment.

The NPT provides the only realistic legal framework to attain a world without nuclear weapons, in a way that promotes international stability and is based on the principle of undiminished security for all. This goal can be attained only through a progressive approach based on effective measures, in accordance with Article VI of the NPT.

The prompt entry into force of the CTBT is crucial among these measures. We call on all States that have not yet done so, particularly the remaining Annex-2 States, to sign and ratify the Treaty without further delay. We also call upon all States to respect the moratorium on nuclear test explosions and to refrain from any action that could undermine the objective and purpose of the Treaty.

The immediate start of negotiations within the CD of a Treaty dealing with fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices is another key priority. We welcome the report of the High Level Expert Preparatory Group established by UNGA Resolution 71/259 and are confident that its work will provide fruitful input for negotiations of an FMCT. Pending the conclusion of such a Treaty, all relevant States should abide by a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.

We would also like to recall the potential of Negative Security Assurances. We continue to support the possible elaboration of recommendations dealing with all aspects of NSAs, not excluding an internationally legally binding instrument.

Italy values all initiatives undertaken in the field of nuclear disarmament verification, such as the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification. We welcome the beginning of the work of the GGE to consider the role of verification in advancing nuclear disarmament, as per UNGA Resolution 71/67, that Italy co-sponsored.

We also reiterate our support for the convening of a Conference on the establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and all other Weapons of Mass Destruction – to be attended by all States of the region on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by them.

Mr. Chair,

Nuclear weapon States bear fundamental responsibilities for the implementation of Art. VI of the NPT. We welcome the nuclear arsenals reductions made so far, and encourage further reductions. We are satisfied that the Russian Federation and the Unites States met the central limits of the New START in February 2018. We encourage them to extend the Treaty and to pursue further discussions on confidence-building, transparency, verification activities, and reporting. We underline the importance of preserving the INF Treaty as a landmark agreement that remains key to European and international security and stability.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons still represents a major threat to international security. The IAEA’s system of safeguards is a fundamental component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and plays an indispensable role in the implementation of the NPT. Italy supports the strengthening of the IAEA safeguards system, including universal adherence to comprehensive agreements and additional protocols.

Italy welcomes the positive developments on the DPRK in the first half of 2018. We hope that these may lead to an open and constructive dialogue, aimed to fulfil our common goal of a complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The JCPoA remains key in international efforts to strengthen non-proliferation. Unanimously endorsed by the Security Council with Resolution 2231, the deal plays a crucial role in promoting regional and international security. The international community needs to remain committed to a full and effective implementation of the Plan of Action, as long as Iran continues to strictly abide by its nuclear-related commitments. We welcome the IAEA’s confirmation of Iran’s compliance with such commitments in 12 consecutive reports. We also reiterate the importance of a full and effective implementation of Resolution 2231. We are determined to cooperate with all interested stakeholders to preserve the JCPoA and fully support efforts undertaken by the European Union in this respect

I thank you.