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Assemblea Generale – Dibattito Generale della Prima Commissione

Intervento dell’Ambasciatore Stefano Stefanile, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Dibattito Generale della Prima Commissione. —


Mister President,

I would like to start by wishing you and the members of the Bureau a successful holding of this annual session of the First Committee. Rest assured of the full support of the Italian delegation.

Italy aligns itself with the statement previously made by the EU and would like to add a few remarks in its national capacity.

Mister President,

The current international scenario is deeply concerning and we need to act with the utmost urgency and determination to safeguard and to strengthen the international architecture on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation. Effective multilateralism and a rules-based international system are the only tools to preserve the results achieved so far and further advance relevant processes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated conflicts, with dramatic consequences, especially for the civilian populations. This is why the Appeal of the Secretary General Guterres for a “Global Cease-fire” must be fully supported and implemented. It is time to put armed conflicts on lockdown, while focusing our common efforts on the fight against the corona-virus. Consistently Italy strongly supports the UN disarmament machinery and its three mutually reinforcing fora.

Italy reaffirms its firm commitments, sharing the goal of world free of nuclear weapons.

50 years after its entry into force, the NPT, with its three mutually reinforcing pillars, remains the cornerstone of the international regime. It 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. Italy supports the efforts to use the remaining time in preparation of the Review Conference to build bridges between the States Parties and assess the substantial progress achieved so far. We call upon States that have not yet done so to join the NPT as non-nuclear weapon States, without any delay or conditions, and we call on all State Parties to implement all its provisions as well as commitments agreed by subsequent Review Conferences.

Nuclear weapon States bear fundamental responsibilities and we encourage them to seek further reductions in their arsenals, while enhancing transparency on their doctrines. The goal of a nuclear weapon free world can be attained only through an inclusive and progressive approach, in accordance with Article VI of the NPT.

We welcome the strategic stability dialogue between the US and Russia and we encourage them to seek further reductions, to extend the New START Treaty and to engage on other arms control arrangements, including with a view to their widening in terms of scope and participants.

A main priority for Italy remains the prompt entry into force of the CTBT, a crucial component of the global architecture of nuclear non-proliferation. We urge all States that have not yet done so, in particular the remaining eight Annex-2 States, to sign and ratify the Treaty without further delay. In the meantime, we call upon all States to respect the moratorium on nuclear test explosions and to refrain from any action that could undermine the Treaty.

The immediate commencement of negotiations within the Conference on Disarmament of a Treaty dealing with fissile material is also of crucial importance. Pending the conclusion of such a Treaty, all relevant States should abide by a moratorium.

Moreover, the Conference on Disarmament could be the framework for the elaboration of recommendations dealing with all aspects of Negative Security Assurances.

Italy also values all initiatives undertaken in the field of nuclear disarmament verification. We support the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament and welcome the work conducted within the GGE on the role of verification in advancing nuclear disarmament.

Furthermore, we reiterate our support for a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East, based on arrangements freely agreed among all the States of the Region.

Italy believes that the JCPoA remains a key element to strengthen the non-proliferation architecture. The full implementation of the deal and of all provisions of Resolution 2231 is crucial for regional and international security. We urge Iran to return to full compliance without delay and to provide the IAEA with a full and timely cooperation with respect to all its safeguard-related commitments. We welcome last August’s Joint Statement of Iran and the IAEA and we are ready to support initiatives aimed at de-escalating the present tensions and restoring the JCPoA’s integrity.

The repeated ballistic missile launches by the DPRK, in violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, is also deeply concerning. DPRK’s intention to retain and further develop its nuclear and ballistic programmes represent a threat that we cannot ignore. We therefore call on Pyongyang to engage in credible negotiations and to give tangible proof of its asserted willingness to denuclearize by returning to the NPT, signing and ratifying the CTBT and resuming its collaboration with the IAEA. In the meantime, the international sanctions regime needs to remain in place.

Italy remains strongly committed to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the OPCW. We strongly condemn any use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anyone and under any circumstances. It is imperative to identify and hold accountable the perpetrators of chemical attacks. Italy firmly condemns the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Air Force as attested by the first report of the IIT. We welcome the OPCW Executive Council Decision taken in July 2020 and we urge Syria to take all the measures required.

We also condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the poisoning of Alexei Navalny with a chemical nerve-agent. Italy welcomes the delivery of the OPCW’s analysis and calls on Russia to investigate and to disclose in a transparent manner the circumstances of this attack, to fully cooperate with the OPCW in order to resolve this issue, and ultimately to comply with its obligations as a CWC State Party.

The current pandemic has shown how important it is to work together to improve biosecurity and biosafety. We attach great importance to the BWC and the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism. Operating in a context characterized by fast-paced scientific and technological developments, we should strengthen the Convention and endow it with appropriate mechanisms to assess the potential impact of such developments.

Italy is concerned by the increasing risk of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of non-state actors. We strongly support UNSC Resolution 1540 and we underline the importance of the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts on Nuclear Terrorism.

Mister President,

Italy is extremely concerned by the indiscriminate humanitarian and socio-economic impacts of anti-personnel landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war, as well as improvised explosive devices, especially on civilians and in urban zones. We believe international cooperation and victim assistance are key components of a comprehensive approach to mine action. We should also contemplate gender- and diversity- responsive assistance.

We welcome the results achieved last year, on the occasion of the Review Conference of the APMBC, in line with our commitment for a world free of mines, and we look forward to participating in the Second Review Conference of the CCM, as another important milestone.

As regards the extremely serious humanitarian impact of explosive weapons in populated areas, we support the process led by Ireland, potentially leading to a political declaration aimed at strengthening our collective commitments.

Looking at the protection of civilians and having in mind the data on armed violence, we believe in the importance of countering illicit arm transfers. We call for the universalization of the ATT and for the full implementation of its provisions.

Italy also actively supports the CCW and its Protocols. We attach great importance to their universalization, to full compliance with their provisions, and to the development of any possible synergy among them.

We especially welcome the substantive outcomes of the work of the GGE LAWS, with the endorsement of the eleven guiding principles. Bearing in mind the importance of applying IHL to all weapons systems, we believe it is crucial to reach consensus on the possible elements of a normative and operational framework.

Mister President,

We are firmly committed to the long-term sustainability, safety and security of the outer space. It is important to develop initiatives that will increase confidence and mutual trust between current and future space actors. In this regard, we highlight the role of transparency and confidence building measures and we encourage further international cooperation to elaborate agreed principles of responsible behaviour.

Along the same line, ICT and the Internet are one of the greatest human achievements of all times. We are therefore committed to supporting the efforts towards a cyberspace based on the respect of international law. Institutional dialogue is a key tool and Italy supports the proposal to establish a Programme of Action on advancing responsible behaviour in cyberspace.

Across all these issues, a greater interaction with civil society could make a key contribution.

Moreover, Italy promotes policies and approaches that enable the full empowerment of women and take into due regard the gendered impacts of armed violence and the importance of including women in disarmament negotiations and peacebuilding programs.

I thank you, Mister President.