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General Assembly – First Committee

Statement delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the General Debate of the First Committee of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly —

Mister Chair,

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 and by assuring you of the full support of the Italian delegation.

Italy aligns itself with the statement of the European Union and wishes to add some remarks in its national capacity.

Effective multilateralism and a rules-based international system remain the only tools to preserve the results achieved in the field of peace and international security and to further advance relevant processes.

Italy reaffirms its firm commitment for a peaceful and secure world free of nuclear weapons.

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.

Only through an inclusive and progressive approach, in accordance with Article VI of the NPT, can the goal of a nuclear weapon free world be achieved. Nuclear weapon States bear fundamental responsibilities and we encourage them to seek further reductions in their nuclear arsenals.

A main priority for Italy remains the prompt entry into force of the CTBT. As a staunch supporter of the CTBT, and in line with its role as Article XIV co-Coordinator for the upcoming two-year period, Italy urges 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.

The immediate start of negotiations within the Conference on Disarmament of a treaty dealing with fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices is also of crucial importance. Pending the conclusion of such a treaty, all relevant States should abide by a moratorium on the production of fissile material.

We are gravely concerned for the Iranian disengagement from the JCPoA and urge Iran to implement, fully and without delay, its obligations under the Plan. We call on all participants in the Vienna talks to spare no efforts in addressing and resolving the current issues, through dialogue, as soon as possible. At the same time, we urge Iran to provide the IAEA with a full and timely cooperation with respect to all its safeguard-related commitments.

The repeated ballistic missile launches, including the most recent ones by the DPRK, undermine regional and international peace and security and are a matter of serious concern. We urge the DPRK to refrain from further provocations and take concrete steps towards a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. In the meantime, the international sanctions regime needs to remain in place and be effectively implemented.

Italy remains strongly committed to supporting the Chemical Weapons Convention and the work of the OPCW. We firmly condemn the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Air Force and urge Syria to take all the measures required.

Italy also reiterates its concerns for the poisoning of Alexey Nalvalny in Russia by a chemical nerve agent of the “Novichok” group in August 2020 and urges the Russian Federation to transparently clarify the responsibility of the incident and to cooperate with the OPCW on the issue.

The COVID 19 pandemic has shown how important it is to improve biosecurity and biosafety. We attach great importance to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, as a fundamental component of the disarmament architecture, as well as to the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism.

Italy is extremely concerned for the indiscriminate humanitarian and socio-economic impacts of anti-personnel landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war, as well as IEDs. We reaffirm the importance of international cooperation and victim assistance as keys components of our commitment for a world free of mines.

With regard to countering illicit arm transfers, we call for the universalization of the Arms Trade Treaty and for its full implementation.

We are firmly committed to the long-term sustainability, safety and security of the outer space. We support the efforts to prevent an arms race in the outer space and we encourage further international cooperation to elaborate agreed principles of responsible behaviour in this field.

We also support all efforts towards a global, open, free, stable and secure cyberspace where international law, including fundamental freedoms and human rights fully apply. In this vein, Italy is in favour of the proposal to establish a Programme of Action on advancing responsible behaviour in cyberspace.

Across all these issues, Italy believes that the interaction with civil society and the private sector should remain a key feature of our work.

I thank you, Mister Chair.