Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson
Permanent Representative of Iceland
to the United Nations
General Debate of the First Committee of the
Sixtieth Session of the United Nations
New York, 4 October 2005
First of all, Mr. Chairman, may I congratulate you on your elections as chair of the First Committee. My tributes also go to the other Members of the Bureau.
As the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland stated in the recent general debate in the General Assembly we had high expectations for the outcome of the World Summit. The outcome document however, falls short of our expectations. We, as the UN Secretary-General and many others, are very disappointed over the fact that disarmament and non-proliferation issues are not even addressed in the document.
We all know that the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction poses one of the most serious security threats of our time, not at least the danger of such weapons falling into the hands of terrorist organizations and non-state actors. It is vital that the international community strengthen preventive measures to suppress terrorism. Iceland is fully committed to this effort. Last month, the Prime Minister of Iceland signed, on behalf of Iceland, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
Iceland regrets that the NPT Review Conference, held in May this year, also failed to respond to the challenges the international community is faced with. Since entering into force the NPT has been a centrepiece of international security. It has served as the main pillar in global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and we must make sure that it is not eroded.
Iceland supports the continuing efforts of Norway, and other countries, to seek consensus and concrete results in addressing the urgent challenges to the nuclear-non proliferation regime.
Iceland welcomes practical initiatives which can complement the NPT and are aimed at strengthening the non-proliferation regime such as the Proliferation Security Initiative and Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) addressing the serious concerns about the risk of non-state actors gaining access to weapons of mass destruction.
Iceland supports efforts to find diplomatic solution to the many questions surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. The Iranian authorities must fully comply with the International Atomic Energy Authority’s requirements for transparency in the development of their nuclear program.
Iceland welcomes the joint statement by the participants in the Six Party Talks on the principles for a peaceful and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. We note in particular the renewal of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) commitment to abandon nuclear weapons and all existing nuclear programmes and its undertaking to return to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In this context we emphasize the importance of adopting measures to deal with withdrawal from the NPT.
For a number of years we have expressed in this forum our regret over the stalemate at the UN multilateral disarmament machinery, not at least at the Conference on Disarmament. We continue to state our views on the sorry state at this important forum in Geneva.
Finally, Mr. Chairman,
Iceland is firmly committed to reform of the United Nations. In recent years the First committee has been engaged in discussing ways and means to reform our organization and working methods. Let me restate that we support fewer and better studies, and of fewer and more focused resolutions which have a realistic chance of being followed up. We believe that we need a procedure by which we decide what measures are necessary, their time frame and that resolutions should only be renewed if considered important in the light of experience.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.