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30 April 2011
On 26 January, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the establishment of informal processes to help build confidence for an FMCT and return the CD to its program of work. We have initiated intensive efforts to overcome the current deadlock. In Geneva, in the margins of the CD, Australia and Japan are co-hosting a series of discussions among experts to examine technical aspects of an FMCT in order to build momentum towards negotiations. Working in Vienna, in an effort led by Germany, we have developed a paper on the effective verification of an FMCT, which lists questions to be addressed by scientific experts and contains input for their deliberations. We consider that the establishment of a group of scientific experts with the assignment to examine technical aspects of an FMCT could facilitate and contribute to the start of negotiations.
Building on those initiatives we will continue to press for the immediate commencement of negotiations. Our preference remains to negotiate an FMCT within the CD. However, if the CD, in its 2011 substantive session, remains unable to find agreement on launching FMCT negotiations, we will ask the UN General Assembly, which is already seized of the matter under agenda item 162 entitled "Follow-up to the high-level meeting held on 24 September 2010: Revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations", to address the issue and consider ways to proceed with the aim of beginning negotiations.
We will continue to work on other key items of the Action plan adopted by the 2010 NPT Review Conference, as identified in our joint statement of September 22, 2010. In particular, we intend to promote the establishment of internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free-zones, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among states of the region concerned, and in accordance with the 1999 Guidelines of the UN Disarmament Commission, convinced that such zones strengthen global as well as regional peace and security, reinforce the nuclear non-proliferation regime and contribute to the achievement of nuclear disarmament. In this respect, we underline the crucial need to promote the creation of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, in line with pending requirements for the organization in 2012 of the special conference agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
We will also work on specific actions aimed at reinforcing states' export control systems which play an important non-proliferation role.
We will actively promote disarmament and non-proliferation education, based on our conviction that education is a powerful tool for mobilizing further disarmament and non-proliferation efforts globally by enhancing awareness and understanding among our citizens.