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Key Points of the Statement by Viktar Gaisenak, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, in the General Debate of the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (Sixty-third session), 10 October 2008

The necessity to strengthen the security mechanism and make it more efficient, especially in Europe, has become evident after the last crisis in the Caucasus. Belarus supports the Russian initiative to enhance the European security architecture.

  Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation
Strengthening the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime based on the NPT remains the main challenge and priority. On the eve of the 2010 NPT Review Conference a number of steps could send a positive signal and help to uphold the authority of the Treaty:
·              The elaboration of a new agreement to replace the START Treaty which will expire in December 2009 could be a real evidence of a firm intention of the United States and Russia to contribute to the implementation of the Article VI of the NPT in practical terms. The intention of the two major nuclear powers to limit the number of strategic nuclear warheads to the minimum expectable level is also a positive development.
·              Ratification of the existing treaties, first of all of the CTBT.
·              Legally binding negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states are a major confidence building measure and should be granted as soon as possible.
·              The international mechanisms aimed at ensuring exclusively peaceful uses of nuclear energy should guarantee the inalienable and equal rights of all interested Member-States to undertake peaceful nuclear activity as provided for by the relevant provisions of the NPT and the IAEA Statute.
Belarus initiative on prevention of manufacture and development of new WMD
The current level of technological development makes it feasible not only to improve existing weapons but also to develop totally new types of weapons, including weapons of mass destruction. The lack of proved evidence of development of new types of WMD can not serve as an excuse for “closing the issue”.
Belarus intends to table the draft resolution on the issue of prohibition of the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction in the First Committee.
The draft resolution:
·              contains a political commitment of the Member-States to prevent the emergence of new types of weapons of mass destruction;
·              suggests a ready-to-react mechanism by asking Conference on Disarmament to monitor the situation with a view to making recommendations on undertaking specific negotiations on identified types of new WMD.
Belarus considers it important to keep the issue in the focus of attention of the international community and asks Member States to reaffirm their commitment to the prevention of new WMD by supporting the resolution.
Conventional weapons and other issues
An active advancement of space technologies and a growing number of states engaged in space exploration programs make it necessary to continue to further develop legally-binding norms aimed at prevention of the deployment of arms in outer space. Belarus welcomes new initiatives in this field, such as the draft of the international treaty elaborated by the Russian Federation and China.
On the issue of SALW controls it is important to focus on the implementation of the existing commitments under the UN program of action on SALW and International document on marking and tracing of illicit SALW.
Regional organizations have a unique experience in countering illicit circulation of SALW. In our region serious work is conducted by OSCE and Collective Security Treaty Organisation. In Belarus, for instance, the OSCE successfully implements programs to increase the security of SALW stockpiles. We thank the donors for their assistance and hope for further cooperation.
Under the Ottawa Convention Belarus still faces a difficult task of destroying of more than three million anti-personnel mines. This task will be extremely difficult to accomplish without the relevant international assistance.
Belarus shares the humanitarian concern of the international community on the use of cluster munitions as well as on the violation by some countries of the norms of international humanitarian law by using cluster munitions against non-combatants and civilian infrastructure. The most appropriate forum for negotiating an international agreement on cluster munitions is the CCW. This year Belarus ratified the amendment to the Article 1 of the CCW and its Fifth Protocol. At this point we acceded to all protocols of the Convention.
While improving arms control mechanisms it is important to maintain and develop confidence building and transparency measures in this field, including the UN Register on conventional arms and the UN military expenditures reporting mechanism.

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