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Conference on Disarmament
11 March 2014
Thank you Mr President. As your Presidency concludes this week, we would like to underline our appreciation for your tireless efforts to progress the Conference on Disarmament (CD) agenda. This is no easy task, as we all know, but you can be justifiably proud of your work, and the outcomes you have achieved in the past month.
As you will recall, Australia welcomed the adoption by the CD on 3 March, under your Presidency, of CD/WP.570 : a decision which re-establishes the Informal Working Group with the mandate to “adopt and implement a program of work at the earliest possible date in the 2014 session”.
We have pledged to work constructively, with Ambassador Woolcott as Co-Vice Chair, and our distinguished colleague, Ambassador Gallegos of Ecuador, as Co-Chair, with the CD Presidency, in the quest to find consensus on a Program of Work, and hence, a negotiation mandate. Such a mandate is of course the raison d’etre of the Conference on Disarmament.
Australia now would like to underline the importance of the CD working on the second track approach, otherwise known as the Schedule of Activities. We agree with several delegations who have underlined in this forum that this is no Program of Work. It certainly is not, but it does offer an opportunity for us to discuss issues relating to the core issues of concern to the CD, and perhaps provide us with a key to unblocking the paralysis which has gripped the CD for too many years. A Schedule of Activities - focused, and well organised by experienced coordinators selected from diverse geographical groups within the CD, and infused with contributions from outside experts - has promise to it and we remain confident in its value.
There will be challenges in finalising the Schedule of Activities, of course, but Australia extends its full support to you, and to the incoming Japanese Presidency, in your collective efforts to iron out any remaining issues and thereby to have us all focused on the main game of ultimately, to create a negotiating mandate.