Tal av utrikesminister Wallström vid FN:s nedrustningskonferens

Genève 1 mars 2017.

Det talade ordet gäller.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

Two years ago I had the honour of addressing the Conference on Disarmament. On that occasion, I stated that we needed to move further and faster on nuclear disarmament, and that one step in that direction would be to finally overcome the impasse that for far too long had paralyzed the CD.

Much to my regret I feel compelled to repeat these messages today.

Over the past two years we have witnessed an increase in unfilled commitments, in polarization, and in the inability of multilateral forums to conduct their mandated work – the CD being a case in point, the 2015 NPT Review Conference another one.

Disarmament diplomacy now has to be conducted with a clear sense of urgency – an urgency for which there is ample justification.

Sweden as a small militarily non-aligned country is dependent on a world order based on international law. That is why we react strongly when the European or global security order is challenged.

A particularly dangerous aspect is the continuing existence of nuclear weapons. Although the number of warheads has come down substantially from the 1986 all-time high, they remain at levels that put the survival of the human race at risk.

The last multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty negotiated in this room, the CTBT, has yet to enter into force. The strong norm against testing established by this treaty is time and time again being challenged by the DPRK tests.

Instead of disarmament, the prevailing trend seems to be modernization of nuclear arsenals, almost at any cost, taking us even further from the fulfillment of the NPT promise of a world without nuclear weapons – the only true guarantee against the horrors of nuclear war.

In the fringes of the debate, you even come across reckless talk about when the actual use of nuclear weapons would be justified. Development of lower-yield battlefield weapons could only serve the purpose of dangerously blurring the line between conventional and nuclear warfare.

So we cannot afford to lose more opportunities. Time is running out, as symbolized by the recent announcement by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that the doomsday clock has been adjusted by 30 seconds. It is now two and a half minutes to midnight. That is the second highest alert status since its inception in 1947.

Mr. President,

Have there been any positive movements? I would say - yes. The most positive development during recent years is the recognition that nuclear weapons cannot be reconciled with international humanitarian law. Human beings, not states, have been placed at the forefront of the discussion. We all know that nuclear weapons must never be used, and that any use would have catastrophic consequences.

In Japan the survivors of the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki are refered to as Hibakusha. I met a group of hibakusha´s during my visit to the 2015 NPT-conference in New York. They work tirelessly to educate young people about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The memory of what disaster even a single nuclear attack could bring must never be forgotten. We all bear a responsibility for this.

Sweden looks forward to participating in the negotiations on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. I am aware that not all states share our view on these negotiations, and that some, regrettably, do not intend to partake. Let me explain our perspective.

Sweden has always participated in multilateral negotiations related to disarmament. We see no reason not to do so this time. We feel strongly that we all have an obligation to contribute in a multilateral UN negotiation. . In a deteriorating security environment we must take every opportunity to seek progress in nuclear disarmament. And we cannot ignore the humanitarian perspective.But will these negotiations be successful in achieving nuclear disarmament? The fact is that we do not know. But we all have an obligation to try. And I estimate that the norm against the use of nuclear weapons and against the weapons themselves stands a good chance of being strengthened. Some argue that the prohibition treaty process will be divisive and harmful to the NPT. My view is that the prohibition can be beneficial by injecting new political energy into the debate. Something urgently needed. Let me also be clear that Sweden sees the prohibition in the context of the NPT framework, not as a substitute for it.

Let me mention three other important recent developments. One was the decision to set up a high level expert preparatory group on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty. This is a question long overdue and should have been dealt with by the CD. But let us now hope that the work of this group will be followed by concrete action. Sweden looks forward to participating in the group together with Canada and other states.

The second positive development was the First Committee showing very strong support for the resolution on de-alerting, introduced by Sweden together with other members of the de-alerting group. In today's world of unimaginably high information flows, fatal decisions can be made within minutes. Therefore, more than ever, decreasing the readiness of nuclear weapon arsenals are crucial. And last but not least, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed with Iran, and endorsed by the Security Council, is a crucial agreement that must not be put at risk by any party.

Mr. President,

In May, a new review cycle of the NPT starts, leading up to the Review Conference in 2020. That year will also mark the 50th anniversary of the NPT. No doubt, this treaty is the cornerstone for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. But it has not lived up to its full potential. There are serious flaws in the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments, and the responsibility falls heavily on the nuclear powers. They cannot continue to ignore the promise to disarm their nuclear arsenals. Russia and the United States must take the lead in restarting the reduction of nuclear weapons. There are also many other important measures the nuclear weapon states could commit to in connection with the NPT Review Conference. Measures such as legally binding negative security guarantees, a ban on nuclear-armed cruise missiles, negotiations on tactical nuclear weapons. And maybe more important, risk reduction including de-alerting. I strongly encourage the nuclear weapon states to abandon hair trigger launch procedures , which are potentially destabilizing. Reduced operational readiness to avoid accidential nuclear use is in everybody´s interest.

Mr. President,

Small Arms and Light Weapons kill half a million people every year. The majority of direct victims are men. Women, boys and girls also suffer from the violence caused by small arms and light weapons. Societies are being brutalised as illicit and uncontrolled weapons are in circulation, domestic and intimate-partner violence is increasing and the public space for women is reduced. We must all gain better control of these weapons including ammunition. The 2018 Review Conference on the UN Programme of Action on illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons will provide an important opportunity to strengthen our work against them.

Furthermore let me mention the important issue of chemical weapons. We appreciate that the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) for chemical weapons use in Syria was extended for another year. The decision by the Third Review Conference on Certain Conventional Weapons to set up a GGE on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems should also be recognised as an important step forward.

Mr. President,

My country has the privilege to serve on the United Nations Security Council this year and next year. The main task of the Council, and thereby our main task, is to preserve international peace and security and prevent future conflicts from emerging. In my view, sustainable security can only be attained through cooperation and disarmament. The lack of cooperation and disarmament has led to a more unstable and insecure world. This development must be turned around, not only for ourselves but even more so for the sake of the younger generation.

Let us now, through the ban negotiation and a proper implementation of the NPT, contribute to setting our world on a safer course.

Thank you, Mr. President.