2007.06.25: Open-Ended Working Group for the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament

H.E. Ambassador Oh Joon, Deputy Permanent Representative

Mr. Chairman,

1. First of all, I would like to extend my warm congratulations to you on your assumption of the chairmanship of this Working Group. In light of the current impasse in multilateral disarmament negotiations as a colleague sharing your concerns, I would like to thank you in particular for your commitment to take on such a daunting responsibility. At the same time, my delegation recognizes that responsibility for progress does not rest solely on your shoulders, but upon all of us. We assure you of our full support for your successful conduct of business at these Working Group meetings.

Mr. Chairman,

2. My delegation sees the usefulness of convening the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament. Above all, it would provide a good opportunity to look back on the progress we have made since the past three special sessions and to identify, based on a thorough examination of the new challenges, threats and tasks in the new security landscape of the 21st century. Nevertheless, the reality is that after more than a decade of negotiation, we have not been able to agree on the objectives or agenda of a special session, thus leaving it unclear if or when a fourth special session will take place.

3. Since our most recent deliberations on this subject, in 2003, the situation does not appear to have improved. As such, we agree with the Chairman that we need to consider a new approach. This new approach should be based on the lessons we have learned from the past. Knowing the causes of our failure may give us the clarification we need to move forward. Some may say the cause is a lack of political will, while others may lay the blame on a lack of flexibility from other parties. Maybe both are right.

4. In our view, a crucial step in advancing our deliberations is to face reality. The history of disarmament efforts has been marked by successes and failures. We should learn from the failures. But at the same time, we should not let our attachment to successes of the past become a stumbling block in the path to future progress. Our approach should always reflect the reality of today, looking for solutions that can be effective today.

5. It is also important to recognize the increasing relevance of multilateralism to addressing the complex problems, threats and challenges of our globalized world. It will take collective efforts to pave the way to a desirable future, and the convening of a fourth special session on disarmament would be one good way to mobilize the political will of the world and advance the global disarmament agenda.

Finally, Mr. Chairman,

6. My delegation would like to stress the importance of the principle of consensus, with the participation of all Member States, in our deliberations and decisions on a fourth special session on disarmament. Once again, my delegation will do our best to contribute to the success of this meeting.

Thank you.