OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Supports New UN Process for Nuclear Disarmament

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA) agreed today to support the UN Open Ended Working Group on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations (OEWG), a new UN process designed to break the 17-year deadlock on nuclear disarmament negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva.

The proposal to support the OEWG, submitted by Uta Zapf PNND Co-President and Deputy Leader of the German Parliament Delegation, was adopted without dissent by the OSCE Political and Security Committee as part of a resolution entitled Helsinki + 40, referring to the process to build cooperative security in Europe 40 years after the Helsinki process began. The resolution was integrated into the Istanbul Declaration adopted by the OSCE PA plenary this morning.

“I am glad that the delegates of all countries accepted the proposal” says Ms Zapf . “This can support the deliberations in Geneva and motivate governments who have until now refrained from being part of this Open Ended Group to join it. This exciting new process can give impetus to disarmament negotiations and break the stalled process in the CD.”

The decision by OSCE PA gives encouragement to the new UN process which commenced substantive deliberations in May this year. It calls on all OSCE participating States and OSCE parliaments to make use of this opportunity to advance multilateral negotiations to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world.

Approximately 70 countries are participating in the UN Open Ended Working Group including non-nuclear countries, countries allied with the nuclear-weapon States (NATO, Central Asia, Japan and South Korea) and two of the nuclear-armed States (India and Pakistan). However the main nuclear-weapon States have not yet joined. The OSCE PA includes parliamentary delegations from France, Russia, UK and USA all of whom supported Ms Zapf’s proposal and the final OSCE PA resolution.

“The support of the delegations from nuclear weapon States provides important encouragement to our governments to engage in the OEWG process in a constructive way to resolve the security concerns and relax the policy positions currently preventing progress,’ says PNND Co-President Baroness Sue Miller (UK House of Lords) who addressed the OEWG in May in a session organised by the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU).

In March 2013 the IPU agreed at its 128th Assembly in Quito, Ecuador to focus on the topic of “Towards a Nuclear Weapons Free World: The Contribution of Parliaments.” The OSCE PA resolution also gives specific support to the IPU initiative and calls on OSCE parliamentarians to be actively involved.

“Parliamentarians have a key role to play in helping to bridge differences between countries and forge solutions to the difficult issues to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world” says PNND Global Coordinator Alyn Ware, who represented PNND at the OSCE PA and who also spoke as part of the IPU session at the UN OEWG in May.

“Parliamentarians can liaise with their parliamentary colleagues in other countries, advance ideas that go beyond national policy, build political support for practical solutions, adopt national implementing measures and approve resources to support disarmament initiatives while reducing spending on weapons systems themselves.”

The OSCE PA also welcomed the adoption by the United Nations of the Arms Trade treaty, and called upon all States to ratify the treaty so that it can enter into force.

Co-sponsors of the paragraph submitted by Ms Uta Zapf MP (Germany) and adopted as part of the Istanbul Declaration.

Ms Christine Muttonen MP (Austria), Mr Artashes Geghamyan MP (Armenia), Mr Stephan Demirtshyan MP (Armenia), Mr Khachik Harutyunyan MP (Armenia), Mr Sofoclis Fittis MP (Cyprus), Mr Kyriakos Kyriakou-Hadjiyannis MP (Cyprus), Senator Michel Billout (France), Mr Alain Neri MP (France), Senator Jean Bizet (France), Ms Helga Daud MP (Germany), Ms Doris Barnett MP (Germany), Ms Inge Hoeger MP (Germany), Ms Viola con Cramon-Taubadel (Germany), Mr Alois Karl MP (Germany), Senator Hans Franken MP (Netherlands), Mr Joao Soares MP (Portugal), Mr Roberto Battelli MP (Slovenia), Mr Mehmet Sevki Kulkulolu MP (Turkey).

Text of the paragraph:

“The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
Welcomes the Open Ended Working Group established by the United Nations General Assembly to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, and the decision of the Inter Parliamentary Union to focus in 2013-2014 on “Towards a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World: The Contribution of Parliaments”, and calls on OSCE participating States and OSCE parliamentarians to make use of these two opportunities to advance multilateral negotiations to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world.”

Originally published by Basel Peace Office.

Photo by oscepa.

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