2005.02.16: Small Arms

H.E. Ambassador Kim Sam-hoon, Permanent Representative, at Open Debate of the Security Council

Mr. President,

Allow me to convey my heartfelt appreciation for your leadership in conducting an open debate of the Security Council on small arms and light weapons (SALW). The scourge of small arms and light weapons is an abominable but unavoidable issue that deserves the attention and care of the international community no less than weapons of mass destruction. My delegation is happy to note that the Security Council, as the organ charged with the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, continues to address this issue with unswerving determination and vigour. We also commend the tireless efforts of the Secretary-General to deal with the question of small arms and light weapons, particularly by updating the twelve core recommendations contained in his report to the Security Council (S/2005/69).

The Republic of Korea attaches great importance to the ongoing negotiations to develop an international instrument to enable states to identify and trace illicit small arms and light weapons quickly and reliably. We are pleased to note that through dedicated and intensive discussions, considerable progress has been made at the first and second substantive sessions of the Open-ended Working Group. We hope that the Working Group will resolve all of the outstanding issues that remain, including the nature of the instrument and the question of ammunition, and that it will reach a successful conclusion at its June session of negotiations. A viable and effective international instrument on marking and tracing, working in tandem with the existing relevant international instruments, including the Firearms Protocol and the UN Programme of Action, would be a powerful tool in preventing and eliminating the scourge of illicit small arms and light weapons in both conflict and criminal situations.

We encourage the Security Council to devote a share of its attention to the issue of illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons. Pending the outcome of a group of governmental experts on illicit brokering, to be established by the Secretary-General by 2007, we would welcome an opportunity to participate in any meaningful discussions to further study and identify the nature, scope and character of illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons. In this regard, we appreciate the efforts of the UNDDA for convening open-ended informal forums on this issue.

While we support all of the twelve core recommendations, we attach particular importance to the following points:

First, we are of the view that smooth and effective implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes in post-conflict situations is of the utmost importance, especially in connection with UN peacekeeping operations. We also support the regional initiatives in this regard. We believe that DDR is not only crucial to freeing affected regions from the yoke of illicit small arms and light weapons, but also essential for reordering and rehabilitating societies in distress.

Second, if we are to cut off the sneaky routes of illicit arms transfers and stop the illicit flow of arms to conflict zones, we must achieve full compliance with all relevant Security Council resolutions on sanctions.

Third, we recognize the need to identify further the links between the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, the illicit exploitation of natural and other resources, and the trade in illegal drugs. We share the view that innovative measures should be developed to prevent precious natural resources from becoming a source of revenue for sinister purposes.

Fourth, we recognize the urgent need for states to establish legislative and other measures, including the use of authenticated end-user certificates, to ensure effective control over the export and transit of small arms and light weapons. We believe that well established export control systems, together with sound legislative structures, are imperative for combating and eradicating the illicit transfer of small arms and light weapons.

Last but not least, we also support broader participation in the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UNRCA) and the UN System for the Standardized Reporting of Military Expenditures. In particular, we welcome the expanded coverage of the Register to include man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS). The reckless use of MANPADS by terrorists is an increasing threat to the global security, and this concern should be duly reflected.

Mr. President,

The Republic of Korea’s active participation in the worldwide campaign against illicit small arms and light weapons is well known. We would be happy to share our knowledge, expertise and technology for the safe and responsible management of firearms. In addition, we are eager to contribute further to eliminating and lessening the problems of small arms and light weapons in those regions most seriously affected. In this vein, we plan this year to invite renowned African experts to our country to deepen mutual understanding on this issue and seek ways for us to work toward the august goal of ending the problem of illicit small arms and light weapons in Africa.

Thank you, Mr. President.