Explanation of Vote in the First Committee on Resolution L.2: “The Risk of Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East”

Ambassador Robert Wood
U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament
New York City
October 27, 2017


Mr. Chairman, my delegation will vote “no” on draft resolution L.2, “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.” As we have reported to this Committee in the past, we cannot support this resolution because we believe its purposes are inimical to advancing the important goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, which we continue to strongly support. We remain convinced that progress toward such a zone can only be achieved through direct, consensus-based dialogue among the regional states. We are cognizant of the many political and security realities that continue to impede such dialogue, including the lack of trust among the regional states, persistent conflict and instability in the region, Iran’s destabilizing development and proliferation of ballistic missile technology and support for terrorism, ongoing noncompliance by Syria with its IAEA safeguards agreement, the horrific use of chemical weapons by Syria and non-state actors, and the non-recognition of Israel by many states in the region.

Pursuing politically motivated resolutions that single out one state for criticism – while ignoring the political and security realities that continue to impede progress – is not a realistic manner of advancing this shared goal. Such an approach only serves to further undermine trust and confidence among the regional states. We continue to urge all the regional states to pursue direct dialogue with their regional neighbors without further delay or precondition, and to take responsibility for advancing this important objective in a constructive, cooperative manner. For our part, the United States remains prepared to support direct regional dialogue based on the principles of consensus and mutual respect.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.