Minister Tuomioja's speech in High-level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament

Statement by Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, in High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament in New York on 26 September 2013

Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and gentlemen

We share the common aim of a world without nuclear weapons. The center of the international community’s efforts should be nuclear disarmament, not just preventing rising of new nuclear weapon possessing states. I’m convinced that while strengthening the existing arrangements, there is a need to find common ground on issues in nuclear disarmament so that we are able to progress.

Finland considers it crucial to show real commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The universalization of the NPT is as important as ever. Although all NPT parties have sovereign right to withdraw under Article X, we see it should not happen without any consequences of the NPT community.

The international non-proliferation regime and international peace and security can be strengthened through regional cooperative measures. A case in point is the important initiative of establishing a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and convening of a Conference to discuss this issue. This issue should be dealt with the far-sightedness it deserves to allow the long awaited steps enabling the convening of a Conference.

Finland values progress made by the Russian Federation and the United States in implementing the New START Treaty. But much more needs to be done to achieve further reductions in nuclear arsenals. Finland has long called for the inclusion of tactical nuclear weapons in a legally binding, verifiable and transparent international treaty system. Even today, no treaty arrangements limits tactical nuclear weapons, even though the threshold for their use is lower and the danger for their proliferation and falling into the hands of terrorists is greater than in the case of strategic weapons.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and Conference on Disarmament are the key elements for the progress. The entry into force of the CTBT is urgent. I strongly urge all States not yet ratified the Treaty to do so as soon as possible. The CD has seen several attempts to kick-start its work this year. The CD finally agreed to form an Informal Working Group to develop ideas on its work programme. This is a welcome development, and we remain positively engaged in this attempt. The CD should also start negotiating a verifiable and non discriminatory Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. Finland is ready to do our part in this process.

Mr Chairman,

Recent events to further nuclear disarmament include the Open Ended Working Group meeting in Geneva, the conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons organized by Norway in March, Mexico’s offer to host the next meeting on this issue and the contributions from many countries to FMCT Group of Governmental Experts. Finland considers that real progress is progress to which all stake holders are committed. Let us work to this direction.

Thank you