Mr. Chairman, the United States abstained on L.33, “Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament,” or SSOD IV.
The United States participated in good faith in the Open-Ended Working Group for an SSOD IV, a signal of our commitment to the UN’s consensus-based disarmament machinery. The OEWG’s consensus agreement on an SSOD IV’s objectives and agenda has been a long sought goal and represents a positive outcome, proving that consensus can and does work if Member States are patient, persistent, and realistic.
That being said, we remain deeply skeptical about the value added of an SSOD IV, especially given the deep conceptual divisions among Member States on such fundamental concepts as the need to acknowledge, and operate on the basis of, the underlying international security environment when weighing the merits of disarmament efforts.
We also remain highly concerned about the potential costs associated with an SSOD IV, for which we have yet to see even an approximate estimate from the Secretariat. And that’s not the Secretariat’s fault. The Member State demandeurs for an SSOD IV need to lead on this issue, and facilitate more transparency on an SSOD IV’s full costs soon. In this regard, we continue to oppose the establishment of a preparatory committee for an SSOD IV, which would almost certainly drive up the overall price tag for this large international conference. Going forward, we intend to engage in discussions and decision making on possible next steps for an SSOD IV, bearing in mind our enduring, significant reservations about this issue.
For these reasons, Mr. Chairman, the United States has abstained on L.33.