Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. Let me first congratulate you on
assuming this position and we assure you of our full support in your efforts to
achieve a successful outcome in this very important session.
Aligning ourselves fully with the statement made by the European
Union, we would like to highlight some specific issues to which Estonia
attaches particular importance at this year's session of the First Committee.
Mr Chairman, Estonia shares the view of the overwhelming majority of
UN Member States that consider the Arms
Trade Treaty (ATT) an extremely important instrument in curbing illicit and
illegal transfers of conventional arms to conflict zones or parties of armed
conflict. We are also very pleased to see that far more than half of UN Member
States have already signed the Treaty. Our focus now should be on fast
ratification and early entry into force of the ATT. This is exactly why my
country, Estonia, has set the target of depositing our letter of approval of
the ATT, together with the declaration of provisional application of Article 6
and 7, to the Secretary-General even before the end of this calendar year. We
would also like to encourage other States to demonstrate their dedication and
commitment to the process and ask for their help in bringing the ATT into force
as soon as possible. We are also committed to the implementation of the ATT
both on national and international level. As a Member State of the European
Union, we intend to lend our expertise and participate in the EU ATT
implementation assistance programme for third countries.
The adaption of the ATT reminds us of the previous time the
international community was able to make progress in concluding a universal
treaty of disarmament and non-proliferation. Unfortunately today, 16 years
later, the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has not entered into force. We urge the
states, particularly those whose adherence is required for the CTBT to enter
into force, to sign and ratify the treaty without further delay.
‘Its on-going stalemate remains deeply troubled’- this judgment, constantly
repeated over the years, can be considered the unofficial slogan of the Conference on Disarmament. This year is
not an exception. We nevertheless would like to express our gratitude for
allowing observer states to take part in the work of the Informal Working Group
(IWG) on Programme of Work. CD’s agenda encompasses global concerns and we
believe that those concerns should be negotiated on a non-discriminatory,
transparent and multilateral basis, with the wider participation of interested
states. Given the universal nature of the United Nations, we do not see any
reason or moral justification why an interested State should not be allowed to
participate fully and equally in the disarmament discussions and negotiations
and to contribute to its aims. Let me at this point reiterate Estonia’s request
to participate fully and equally in the disarmament discussions as a full
member of the CD. We also reiterate our call for the early nomination of a
Special Rapporteur to review the issue of membership.
Mr Chairman, the use of chemical
weapons in Syria on 21 August, and allegedly on several occasions before,
demonstrates that there are still those who do not hesitate in using weapons of
mass destruction. We welcome United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118
and the OPCW Executive Council Decision of 27 September 2013 that constitute
and reinforce legally binding obligations to destroy all Syrian chemical
weapons, their means of delivery and all relevant facilities in an ambitious
but achievable timeframe. We also hope that effective implementation of those
decisions paves the way for further universalisation of the Chemical Weapons
Convention. In order to support the OPCW in implementing its decision on Syria,
Estonia has decided to provide a voluntary financial contribution to the OPCW
special trust fund installed to serve that very purpose.
Supporting mine clearance
activities remains essential for the stabilisation processes of
post-conflict states and the safe return of refugees. My country is determined
to support humanitarian demining and mine action; we increased our contributions
over the past few years and we continue to do so. This includes financial support
to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) as well as to various
explosive remnants of war and mine-clearance activities under several bilateral
or international humanitarian projects. We also urge all States which have not
done so to join the Mine Ban Treaty.
Finally, Mr Chairman, the UN, including its 1st
committee, could be important fora for sharing information on efforts taken at
the national level to strengthen cyber
security. It is also important to have international discussion on building
trust and transparency in this field.
Cyber security and internet freedom are intrinsically linked and in no
way incompatible. The UN Group of Government Experts (UNGGE) in its recent
consensus importantly decided that international law is applicable and
essential in promoting an open, secure and accessible cyberspace.
Thank you, Mr