Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh delivered a statement at a meeting of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland, on February 26.

Following is the full text of his statement.

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Ambassadors, Permanent Representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am privileged to address the Conference on Disarmament today. This historic room has witnessed the signing of many peace agreements, including the Geneva Accords on ending hostilities and restoring peace in Indonesia in 1954. These peace agreements helped bring about peace to many nations around the world.
On this occasion, I would like to congratulate His Excellency, Ambassador Sujata Mehta, Permanent Representative of India on his assumption of the Presidency. I believe that the efforts made by Madam. President and other participants will help break the deadlock for substantive discussions.

Mr. President,

Since its first participation in the Conference’s meetings in 1983 and its becoming full member of the Conference in 1996, Vietnam has always attached great importance to the Conference on Disarmament as the sole global forum responsible for the discussions and negotiations on international disarmament treaties. It was right here that the most important disarmament treaties came into being, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, etc.

Given those achievements, the international community cannot help expecting new breakthroughs in the Conference, which would contribute to the strengthening of peace, security and stability in the world. In this year 2013, there are many expectations:

1. The Sixty-Seventh Session of the United Nations adopted two resolutions providing for discussion mechanisms on topics of great interest in CD in recent years, namely nuclear disarmament and the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty. Vietnam is of the views that these discussions can contribute to the consolidation of broader consensus on these issues. The Conference on Disarmament must play an important role in this process.

2. The April Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a major success of the Conference on Disarmament, provides us an opportunity to affirm the role of the Conference on Disarmament in developing such treaties.

3. The Second Session of the Preparatory Committee of the 2015 NPT Review Conference scheduled in May 2013 in Geneva offers us another opportunity to take stock of the implementation of the outcomes of the 2010 Review Conference, while charting out the concrete goals and actions for the 2015 Review Conference.

4. The UNGA high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament scheduled in September provides a good opportunity for states to discuss and manifest their political will at high level in search for solutions to the challenges in disarmament, particular in nuclear disarmament.

5. It is regrettable that the Conference on Nuclear Weapons-Free Middle East could not take place as scheduled in 2012. It is important that we should strive for an early convening of the Conference, thus contributing to the joint efforts in the field of disarmament.

It is imperative that we meet these expectations. We need to redouble our efforts to overcome differences in security priorities and approaches to disarmament of each country with a view to reaching solutions to substantive issues and meeting the demand of the international community. As was urged by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in his message to our Conference earlier this year, we cannot afford to waste another year.

Mr. President,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Once victimized by wars and still struggling to overcome their consequences, Vietnam ’s consistent policy is to uphold peace, oppose war and support all efforts for disarmament, especially the disarmament of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.

Vietnam’s commitments to peace and disarmament are clearly and consistently manifested in its diverse bilateral relations with other UN members, as well as in its concrete contributions at multilateral fora, regional and international cooperation mechanisms, such as the South East Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ), or at disarmament mechanisms within regional and international forums, particularly the UN Security Council, where Vietnam was a non-permanent member in 2008-2009. As a CD member, Vietnam has acceded to or ratified all disarmament treaties negotiated and adopted by the CD.

As an active member of the CD and one of its Presidents in 2009, Vietnam always gives full support and makes contributions to the work of the CD. We are aware of the challenges facing the CD in reaffirming its role and credibility, and share the common concern and interest of other members long deadlock. Failure to overcome this will erode the international community’s confidence and the cooperation good will of countries within the CD and in the domain of disarmament at large.

I am pleased that the CD has approved its agenda for 2013, and believe that an early endorsement and implementation of a balanced and comprehensive programme of work is the only way to break the deadlock. To this end, the CD members are called upon to display more good will, greater flexibility and constructive cooperation to work out a solution that may satisfy the interests of all stakeholders, while maintaining and promoting the fundamental principles that made the CD’s successes over the past decades, including the principle of consensus.

[Currently, the CD consists of 67 members representing almost all regions and groups of countries with diverse levels of development. In addition, there has been increasing interest from and active engagement of non-member states as reflected in the expanding number of observes. Therefore, CD’s membership enlargement is an emerging issue that is becoming inevitable. However, as all efforts are currently focused on overcoming the CD’s deadlock and reasserting its role and status, we need to thoroughly discuss and consider the enlargement’s impact on the work of the CD, while respecting the legitimate desire of the candidate countries.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate the strong commitments of the Government of Vietnam to supporting all efforts for general and complete disarmament. Vietnam stands ready to collaborate with all member states to work out a solution helping the CD produce positive results. We welcome and will actively engage in the deliberations for initiatives aimed to promote the CD’s work.

Thank you.-VNA