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  • Report – Annual Report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy – A8-0350/2017 – Committee on Foreign Affairs

    on the Annual Report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy

    (2017/2121(INI))

    The European Parliament,

    –  having regard to the Annual Report from the Council to the European Parliament on the common foreign and security policy,

    –  having regard to Articles 21 and 36 of the Treaty on European Union,

    –  having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

    –  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management,

    –  having regard to the declaration by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on political accountability,

    –  having regard to the 2016 European External Action Service (EEAS) communication on a Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign And Security Policy and the 2017 Commission and EEAS joint communication on a Strategic Approach to Resilience in the EU’s External Action,

    –  having regard to the key principles enshrined in the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, particularly those pertaining to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, and the inviolability of borders, being equally respected by all participating states,

    –  having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and VP/HR of 12 December 2011 entitled ‘Human rights and democracy at the heart of EU external action – towards a more effective approach’ (COM(2011)0886),

    –  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

    –  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0350/2017),

    Introduction

    1.  Is convinced that no single Member State alone is able to tackle the challenges we face today; emphasises that common EU action is the most effective way to preserve Europe’s interests, uphold its values, engage in a wider world as a united and influential global actor and protect its citizens and Member States from increased threats to their security, including in a global digital sphere; is concerned about the EU’s security architecture, which remains fragile and fragmented in the face of continued and fresh challenges every day and in which a ‘hybrid peace’ has become an unsatisfactory reality; urges the Member States to take action and fulfil the wishes of those European citizens who have repeatedly stressed that EU foreign and security policy based on fundamental values and human rights is one of the most important and most necessary of all EU policies; considers that it is high time that Member States implement Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) tools, instruments and policies to enable the EU to respond to external conflicts and crises, build partners’ capacities and protect the European Union;

    2.  Recalls the EU’s commitment to develop a Common Foreign and Security Policy guided by the values of democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and compliance with the UN Charter and international law; considers that, in order to live up to this commitment and to contribute to advancing human rights and democracy in the world, the EU and its Member States need to speak with a united voice and ensure that their message is heard;

    3.  Takes the view that, in order for the EU to succeed in addressing and overcoming the challenges it faces, and in particular security threats, it needs to be an effective, credible and values-based global player, with a capacity for action and effective dialogue with other global players, which implies the EU speaking with one voice, acting together and focusing its resources on strategic priorities;

    4.  Stresses the need for the EU’s external policies to be consistent with each other and with other policies with an external dimension, and to pursue the objectives set out in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union;

    5.  Believes that the core milestones for the European Union to deliver on the expectations of its citizens are:

    –  coordination of an assessment of profound threats and challenges within the EU and a common approach in how to address them; taking into account in particular the prevention of radicalisation, which can lead to recruitment by terrorist groups,

    –  consolidation and deepening of the European project and its external action by, inter alia, enhancing the EU’s cooperation and capabilities in the field of its common foreign and security policy, including information warfare,

    –  cooperation between Member States, partners, and international organisations and institutions protecting peace within clearly defined and carefully chosen conditions to strengthen the rules-based, global political and economic order, including the protection of human rights, and working together with partners to play a leading role in reconciliation, peacemaking, peacekeeping and, where needed, peace enforcement;

    Coordination of an assessment of profound threats and challenges: facing the current political and security environment

    6.  Emphasises that guaranteeing the security of EU citizens and the integrity of the EU’s territory, stabilising the neighbourhood, especially in the Western Balkans with a focus on more visibility of the EU in this region, promoting reforms to preserve a rules-based, cooperative political and economic international order, tackling the root causes of armed conflicts and enhancing policies of conflict prevention, peaceful conflict resolution and dialogue with pluralist democracies committed to the defence of human rights, are the key conditions for the stability of the EU; calls on more active EU public diplomacy and greater visibility for projects implemented by the EU;

    7.  Is of the view that, in an increasingly conflict-ridden and unstable international environment, only a combination of effective multilateralism, joint soft power and credible hard power can be capable of confronting major security challenges, notably the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the violation of the security order in Europe, terrorism, conflicts in the Eastern and Southern neighbourhood, proxy wars, hybrid and information warfare, including digital aggression, and energy insecurity; highlights that these challenges also include the refugee crises in its humanitarian dimension, challenging aggressive behaviour by North Korea, the violation of international law by Russia and China’s growing military power, for which only a strong diplomatic response will suffice;

    8.  Is of the opinion that a more effective common foreign and security policy depends primarily on the establishment of common strategic priorities and visions; takes the view that it is necessary to tackle the root causes of instability, spread largely because of failed or fragile states, and of forced and irregular migration: poverty, the lack of economic opportunities and access to education, social exclusion, armed conflicts, undemocratic and inefficient governance, corruption, climate change, increasing sectarianism, the threat of radicalisation and the spread of extremist ideologies; recalls the action plan adopted at the Valletta Summit calling for a shared responsibility of countries of origin, transit and destination; emphasises the importance of breaking the economic model of smuggler networks;

    9.  Underlines the need to counter autocratic and nepotistic trends, to intensify support for democratic forces and to fight against Islamist terrorism in the Southern neighbourhood and among the neighbours of our neighbours and partners, and to target those groups which seek to encourage EU citizens to fight for their extremist cause; recalls that the Sahel region and other connected geographical areas are priority regions for ensuring the security of the European Union; reiterates the need for concerted diplomatic efforts on the part of the EU, the US and other international partners, to work with players in the region, such as Turkey, the Gulf states and Iran, on the need for a clear position against religious extremism and terrorism, and to establish a common strategy to address this global challenge in line with the commitment undertaken at UN level to uphold international law and universal values; believes that diplomatic efforts should be accompanied by the wide range of other tools and instruments at the EU’s disposal, including those for the improvement of political, social and economic conditions conducive to the establishment and preservation of peace;

    10.  Believes that tackling violent extremism should go hand in hand with upholding universal human rights; stresses that the EU must counter and condemn state sponsors of radicalisation and terrorism, particularly where such support is given to entities listed by the EU as terror organisations; underlines the importance of strengthening cooperation with our partners experienced in combating terrorism;

    11.  Stresses that a sustainable solution to the Syrian crisis can only be achieved under the existing UN-agreed framework and needs to be based on an inclusive, Syrian-led political settlement involving all relevant stakeholders; continues to urge all members of the UN Security Council to honour their responsibilities with regard to the crisis; supports the call of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria on the ceasefire guarantor states to undertake urgent efforts to uphold the ceasefire regime;

    12.  Welcomes the EU strategy on Syria adopted in April 2017, which includes extending sanctions to persons involved in the development and use of chemical weapons; encourages the further extension of sanctions to those responsible for human rights violations; stresses that all those responsible for breaches of international law must be held accountable; reiterates its call for the EU and its Member States to explore with partners the creation of a Syria war crimes tribunal, pending a successful referral to the ICC; stresses the need for the EU to demonstrate full commitment in assisting the reconstruction of Syria after the conflict;

    13.  Calls on all parties involved, within and outside Libya, to support both the Libyan political agreement signed on 17 December 2015 and its resulting Presidential Council, which is the only authority recognised by the international community and the UN; underlines that solving the Libyan crisis is a prerequisite for stability in the Mediterranean; emphasises the importance of the Southern neighbourhood and the need to achieve a euro-Mediterranean space of peace, prosperity, stability and integration; underlines its strong support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with an independent, democratic, viable and contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with the secure State of Israel; stresses the importance of ensuring coherence of EU policy on situations of occupation or annexation of territory;

    14.  Welcomes the continued successful implementation by all parties of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), agreed by the EU3 +3 with Iran; stresses that the continued full implementation of this agreement by all parties is key to global efforts on non-proliferation and conflict resolution in the Middle East; highlights that the JCPOA is a multilateral agreement that was endorsed by a UN Security Council resolution and cannot be changed unilaterally; stresses the security risk posed by Iran’s ballistic missile programme and underlines the need for full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology;

    15.  Notes that the US Treasury Department has officially updated its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) counter-terrorism list to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC);

    16.  Expresses its deep concern about the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Yemen; emphasises once again that there can be no military solution to the prolonged conflict in Yemen and supports efforts undertaken by the EU and UN towards achieving the ceasefire and laying the ground for peace negotiations; takes the view that the EU must act to ensure the continued existence of ethnic-religious minorities in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria;

    17.  Condemns the repeated use by Russia of its veto powers on the UN Security Council and considers it to undermine international efforts for peace and conflict resolution in Syria and the European Union’s southern neighbourhood more widely;

    18.  Acknowledges that further efforts should be made to make legal migration and mobility possible, including at bilateral level, by fostering well-managed mobility between and within continents, and by encouraging policies that promote regular channels for migration while fighting illegal networks that profit from vulnerable people; underlines the efforts taken by individual Member States in this regard and considers it essential to strengthen the legal and secure access path to Europe; regrets, in this regard, the lack of a genuine, balanced and credible European migration and asylum policy, as demonstrated by the ongoing crisis in the Mediterranean, and calls on the Council and the Member States to act accordingly;

    19.  Strongly believes that a new approach to the EU’s relations with its Eastern neighbours is needed; believes that supporting those countries that wish to have closer ties with the EU must be a top priority for EU foreign policy; believes that the prolongation of sanctions against individuals and entities in Russia is an inevitable outcome of the failure to implement the Minsk agreements and continues to see such implementation by all sides as the basis for a sustainable political solution to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine;

    20.  Emphasises that the possibility of more cooperative relations with Russia is contingent on Russia fully abiding by the European security order and international law; insists that the EU should keep open the option of further gradual sanctions if Russia continues to violate international law; reiterates its commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and all the other Eastern Partnership countries within their internationally recognised borders; stresses that Russia’s decision of 21 March 2014 to incorporate Crimea into the Russian Federation remains illegal under international law and deplores the subsequent decision by the Russian authorities to forcefully impose Russian passports on all inhabitants of Crimea; calls on the VP/HR and the Council to play a more active and effective role in solving protracted and frozen conflicts;

    21.  Deplores Russia’s multiple violations of international law and its hybrid warfare; recognises, however, the possibility of reasoned and coherent selective engagement and dialogue with Russia in areas of common interest, in order to ensure accountability and respect for international law; stresses the need to maintain and encourage the possibility of future cooperation on resolving global crises where there is a direct or indirect EU interest or an opportunity to promote EU values;

    22.  Believes that normalised relations are a necessity for both the EU and Russia, and that any future EU-Russia strategy should emphasise reinforced commitment and support for the EU’s Eastern Partners; stresses that the EU should keep the door open for deepening the bilateral political and economic relationship with Russia, subject to Russia complying with international law and subscribed agreements, and halting its increasingly assertive attitude towards its neighbours and Europe;

    23.  Reiterates that sovereignty, independence and the peaceful settlement of disputes are key principles of the European security order which apply to all states; condemns unreservedly, therefore, Russian aggression in Ukraine, including the illegal annexation of Crimea and the Russian-sponsored conflict in Eastern Ukraine; calls on the EU, its Member States and the international community to demand that Russia must halt its aggression and release all political prisoners; calls for the international community to play a more active and effective role in the resolution of the conflict and to support all efforts for a lasting peaceful solution which respects the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, in particular by the deployment – with the consent of the Ukrainian authorities – of a peace-building and peace-keeping mission to the whole territory;

    24.  Reiterates the need for a strategic refocus on the Western Balkans, recognising that the EU should follow through with its ambitions in the region, as doing so would give a fresh impetus to a credible EU enlargement policy based on the Copenhagen criteria, and strengthen the rule of law and the resilience of state institutions; believes that the stability of the Western Balkans must continue to be a major priority; calls for more efforts in improving the socio-economic and political conditions of the region; is convinced that European integration and regional reconciliation are the best means to address the dangers stemming from destabilising foreign interference and influences, the funding of large Salafist and Wahhabi networks and the recruitment of foreign fighters, organised crime, major state disputes, disinformation and hybrid threats; stresses the need to remain dedicated to fostering highly effective political societies in the region;

    25.  Reiterates that once all those criteria have been met, the doors of the EU are open for membership; welcomes recent efforts undertaken as part of the Berlin Process and Trieste Summit to give additional impetus to the convergence of Western Balkan countries towards EU membership; reiterates that special attention and support should be given to the implementation of crucial institutional and political reforms in the Western Balkans and calls on the Commission to rethink the possibility for additional allocation of financial resources for the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), as one of the most important tools for aiding the implementation of those reforms;

    26.  Recalls that the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) calls for the involvement of neighbouring third countries; calls for stronger support for the neighbours of our neighbours, on the basis of shared values and interests, in order to tackle global issues and address common challenges; highlights the need to promote the empowerment and protection of women, vulnerable social groups and minorities, in particular in Africa, where close cooperation between European and local SMEs, in partnership with civil society, and where support for building democratic, transparent and effective institutions and the promotion of a rule-based global order, are needed;

    27.  Considers international cooperation and development policies to be fundamental instruments for achieving such objectives and urges a more transparent, improved, efficient and effective allocation and use of EU funding, and greater synergies with other international organisations; emphasises the need to address the major security threats in Africa with a view to eradicating the terrorist threat posed by any terrorist group, to guarantee the prevention of the recruitment of individuals, to combat radical ideologies and to address energy security by means of environmentally friendly and sustainable energy sources while at the same time promoting off-grid solutions;

    28.  Strongly condemns any attempt by incumbent presidents to overstay in power by violating, evading or unlawfully amending electoral laws, and constitutions in particular; condemns, by the same token, any strategy to abolish or circumvent term limits; urges all governments to take measures to ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process, and to take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud or any illegal practices; expresses its concern, in this regard, about the political crises, and related violence and violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular in countries in the Great Lakes Region; reiterates its belief in strong electoral observation missions, and, where necessary, financial, technical and logistical support as a means of achieving fair, credible and democratic electoral processes;

    29.  Encourages the development of a coherent, robust strategy for the Sahel region aimed at improving governance and the accountability and legitimacy of state and regional institutions, at boosting security, at tackling radicalisation and the trafficking of people, arms and drugs, and at strengthening economic and development policies;

    30.  Reiterates the need for an updated strategy for EU-Asia relations; voices support in this context for stronger cooperation within the framework of the Asia-Europe Meetings, including in terms of its parliamentary dimension; encourages support for closer regional cooperation and trust-building measures in South Asia with a view to reducing tensions between India and Pakistan; recommends continued support for EU peace mediation in the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process; stresses that preserving peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region is of substantial interest to the EU and its Member States; considers it vital and of great urgency to develop an updated EU strategy for the North-East Asia region in the light of the continued military build-up and the aggressive and irresponsible attitude shown by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK); condemns the tests and provocations by the DPRK, and its multiple violations of UN Security Council resolutions and international obligations; urges the EU’s diplomatic power to be used to apply pressure on the DPRK to persuade its leaders to abandon weapons of mass destruction; calls for the mobilisation of all diplomatic tools, including sanctions, in order to prevent an escalation of this crisis; calls for the irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula by peaceful means and for the full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions;

    31.  Stresses that preserving peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region is of substantial interest to the EU and its Member States; calls on all the parties concerned to resolve differences through peaceful means and to refrain from taking unilateral action to change the status quo, including in the East and South China Seas and the Taiwan Strait, in order to safeguard regional security; reiterates its commitment to supporting Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organisations and activities;

    32.  Recalls that Latin America shares with the EU common values, principles and trust in effective multilateralism and believes that the EU-Latin American partnership is important and should be strengthened in order to jointly address major global challenges; expresses its grave concern about the attacks carried out against members of the judiciary and the democratically elected opposition and civil society leaders in Venezuela; emphasises that respect for the rule of law, the fight against corruption, progress towards democracy, and fundamental freedoms and human rights are cornerstones for deeper integration and cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC);

    33.  Reiterates its support for the peace process in Colombia, which is critical for the future of Colombians and for stabilisation in the region; demands that all FARC assets, including the treasure obtained from drug smuggling, be used to indemnify victims of the conflict;

    Consolidation and deepening of the European project through enhanced EU capabilities

    34.  Urges the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States to adopt an EU comprehensive approach at every relevant opportunity, and believes that coherent, coordinated action across EU polices, while taking into consideration and implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular in the areas of humanitarian aid, agriculture, development, trade, energy, climate, science and cyber defence and security, should be applied in the EU’s external action in a consistent and structured manner in order to harness the EU’s collective force; believes that energy security, the respect for human rights and climate diplomacy remain important complementary aspects of the EU’s common foreign and security policy to be addressed as part of the comprehensive approach, and that the Energy Union should be further advanced;

    35.  Recognises that climate change could have a serious effect on regional and global stability, as global warming disputes over territory, food, water and other resources weaken economies, threaten regional security, and act as a source of migratory flows; further encourages the EU and its Member States to consider how national and EU military planning can include climate change adaption strategies and what would be considered an appropriate capability, priority and response;

    36.  Stresses that the future of European defence cooperation is significantly affected by the decision of the United Kingdom to withdraw from the EU, and calls for the continued engagement of the EU and UK as major international partners in order to maintain European security; stresses that the presidential elections in the United States introduced uncertainty into the transatlantic partnership and highlights the need for a counterweight for EU defence and the establishment of strategic autonomy;

    37.  Takes the view, that in order to make the Common Foreign and Security policy more assertive, effective and values-based, the EU should enhance its energy security, by immediately reducing its dependence, at present, on oil and gas supplied by authoritarian regimes, and by stopping it altogether in the medium term;

    38.  Stresses that the current decision-making process for the CFSP, based on unanimity in the Council of the EU, is the main obstacle to effective and timely external EU action; is of the opinion that qualified majority voting should also be applied for the CFSP; takes the view that the EU institutions must improve their ability to anticipate conflicts and crises, including by means of short- and long-term impact assessments of its policies, in order to address the root causes of the problems; believes that the EU needs to be able to react more swiftly and effectively to developing crises and should place greater emphasis on preventing conflicts by primarily using civilian tools at an early stage; calls on the Member States to put into practice Parliament’s recommendations to embrace the principle of Responsibility to Protect; stresses the need to deepen cooperation between the Member States, partner countries and international organisations, and underlines the importance of an effective exchange of information and coordination of preventive actions;

    39.  Calls on the VP/HR, the Commission and the Member States to step up their efforts to increase the EU’s ability to confront hybrid and cyber threats, to further strengthen the capacity of the EU and its partner countries to fight fake news and disinformation, to draw up clear criteria to facilitate the detection of fake news, to allocate more resources and turn the Stratcom task force into a fully-fledged unit within the EEAS; calls, in this regard, for the development of joint, comprehensive risk and vulnerability analysis capacities and methods, and for the EU’s resilience and strategic communication capabilities to be bolstered; stresses the role of independent media – both on- and offline – in promoting cultural diversity and intercultural competences, and the need to strengthen such media as a source of credible information, especially in the EU and its neighbourhood, and underlines that common EU TV and radio stations should be further enhanced; calls on the Commission to coordinate better with the EEAS and Member States on those issues;

    40.  Is of the view that Europe’s power resides in its ability to strengthen a community of values and respect for the diversity of culture that binds together all Europeans; believes, in this context, that the EU plays a major role as a promoter of democracy, freedom, the rule of law, human rights and equal opportunities, and should continue to promote its values outside the EU; recalls that human rights are an integral part of the CFSP and should form a central conditionality of external policies, and furthermore that these policies must be consistent and principled; highlights that cultural diplomacy should become a substantial part of the EU’s external action and urges the Commission to expand the Erasmus+ programme and foster the development of ambitious science diplomacy; calls for closer coordination with ​the ​UNESCO and World Heritage Committee and with non-state actors and civil society organisations as key partners of the EU;

    41.  Points out that it was noted in UN Security Council Resolution 1820(2008) of 19 June 2008 that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide, and that women must be afforded humanitarian protection in situations of armed conflict;

    42.  Considers that the development of a strong defence industry is strengthening the technological independence of the EU; calls for the industrial and technological resources needed to improve cybersecurity to be developed, including through the promotion of a single market for cybersecurity products; calls for significantly increased financial and human resources to be made available within the EU institutions in order to increase the EU’s cyber security and cyber defence capacity; emphasises the need to mainstream cyber defence into external action and common foreign and security policy, as well as the need for an improved ability to identify cybercrime;

    43.  Notes that information and cyber warfare, targeting EU Member States and other Western countries, is a deliberate attempt to destabilise and discredit political, economic and social structures; recalls that the security of EU Member States which are NATO members is guaranteed under Article 5 of the Alliance; calls for closer coordination on cyber defence between EU Member States, EU institutions, NATO, the United States and other credible partners;

    44.  Stresses the role of independent media in promoting cultural diversity and intercultural competences, and the need to strengthen such media as a source of credible information, especially in the EU and its neighbourhood, and to further strengthen the EU’s capacity to fight fake news and disinformation; highlights in this context the need to develop stronger resilience at EU level against such information spread over the Internet; calls on the Commission to coordinate better with the EEAS on those issues;

    45.  Believes that Europe should further strengthen cooperation on common defence, in order to defend its common values and principles and strategic autonomy; stresses the importance of the link between external and internal security, better use of resources and risk control in the periphery of Europe; recalls that the link between development and security is a key principle underpinning the Union’s approach to external crises and conflicts; calls on the Member States to unleash the Lisbon Treaty’s full potential with regard to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and welcomes in this context the Implementation Plan on Security and Defence; encourages a review of the EU’s approach to civilian CSDP missions in order to ensure they are properly devised, implemented and supported; considers that European Defence Agency (EDA) capabilities and permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) and the EU Battlegroups should be used to their full potential; urges the Member States to provide additional funding to that end;

    46.  Believes that the European Union and its Member States must develop effective foreign and security policy, and must work together with NATO and other international partners, the UN, NGOs, human rights defenders, and others on issues of shared concern and in order to promote peace, prosperity and stability around the world; highlights the importance of raising awareness and political commitment for an urgent implementation of an ambitious, effective and structured CSDP; urges the Council, the Commission and the Member States to address the EU’s communication problems by making EU external action more accountable and visible; calls on the Member States and the EU institutions to deliver on defence following the EU Global Strategy and the Commission’s plans to improve EU defence research and capability development;

    47.  Calls on the Commission to fully reflect the growing security challenges in its proposal for the next multiannual financial framework (MFF); considers that both the size and the flexibility of the CFSP budget must match EU citizens’ expectations about the EU’s role as a security provider; insists on the need for a global vision for EU policy and instruments in the field of security, including fruitful coordination with the proposed European Defence Fund; calls on the Member States to aim for the target of spending 2 % of GDP on defence, and to spend 20 % of their defence budgets on equipment identified as necessary by the EDA; points out, in addition, that any new policy must be backed by funding from new sources; notes that various Member States have difficulty in maintaining a very broad range of fully operational defensive capabilities, mostly because of financial constraints; calls for more cooperation and coordination, therefore, about which capabilities should be maintained, so that Member States can specialise in certain capabilities and spend their resources more efficiently; believes that interoperability is key if Member States’ forces are to be more compatible and integrated; recalls that CFSP appropriations represented 3.6 % of the Heading 4 commitments in 2016 and 0.2 % of the whole EU budget; regrets that the size and under-implementation of and systematic transfers from the CFSP chapter reveal a persistent lack of ambition for the EU to act as a global player;

    48.  Notes that deadlocks within the UN Security Council are impeding action by the international community and preventing crisis resolution; calls once again on the Member States to support reforms in the composition and functioning of the Security Council;

    Cooperation within coalitions and with institutions delivering security

    49.  Underlines that it is in the EU’s strategic interest to preserve and deepen its transatlantic relations based on respect for common values, international law and multilateralism; calls for the EU to continue to develop its strategic autonomy and create its own capabilities to better address regional and international conflicts that have an impact on the EU; believes that the EU and US should focus on adapting transatlantic structures to today’s challenges, such as defending human rights, tackling climate change, combating international terrorism and corruption, the prevention of radicalisation, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and countering third-party countries’ efforts to destabilise the EU and NATO; further stresses the importance of continued and reinforced cooperation between the EU and US bilaterally and through NATO on common issues; recalls that the EU and the US are each other’s most important partners and that unilateral moves serve only to weaken the transatlantic partnership; believes that Europe must further enhance a virtuous alliance between the private and public sectors and should reinforce the strategic relationship with the US; calls on the Council and the EEAS to consistently raise the issue of US extraterritorial sanctions in their dialogue with the US Government;

    50.  Strongly supports the 2016 Warsaw Summit Declaration, particularly on EU-NATO cooperation, and welcomes decisions on closer cooperation between NATO and the EU in numerous areas as well as the placement of US, Canadian and other multinational forces at the Eastern flank of the EU;

    51.  Calls for increased intelligence sharing between Member States, increased interinstitutional intelligence sharing, and coordination between the EU, Member States and NATO, and insists that they must continue to cooperate as closely as possible in a complementary manner while fully respecting European core values and norms; acknowledges that information sharing and coordinated action between the EU, its Member States and NATO will produce results in areas such as terrorism response to hybrid threats, situational awareness, resilience building, strategic communications, cyber security and capacity-building vis-à-vis the EU’s partners; believes that further coordination and closer cooperation with other existing multilateral entities such as Eurocorps is needed in order to increase the EU’s security; reiterates that a revitalisation of the strategic partnerships should be a priority for the EU;

    52.  Underlines the role of Parliament in shaping a genuinely common foreign policy in line with the expectations of European citizens; calls on the Council to act in concert with Parliament during the main phases of foreign policy decision-making;

    53.  Acknowledges the work of the VP/HR and calls for her to continue to ensure that future annual reports will be more concise and forward-looking, focusing on the most important priorities for the year ahead and an evaluation of the measures launched in the previous year, including their financial implications, in order to provide a comprehensive overview on the EU’s performance;

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    54.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Member States.

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  • Nuclear Energy Could Hold Key to Sustainable Development Gains, Delegates Tell General Assembly, as it Considers international Atomic Energy Agency Report

    Nuclear energy could help countries to achieve sustainable development, Member States said today, with many also expressing concern about recent nuclear testing activities by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the General Assembly took up the latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    Adopting the resolution “Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency” (document A/72/L.6) — transmitted in a note by the Secretary‑General (document A/72/221) and introduced by the representative of Indonesia — the 193‑member Assembly took note of several resolutions recently approved by the Vienna‑based IAEA.  Those texts were aimed at strengthening international cooperation in areas including nuclear science, technology and nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety.

    The Assembly also took note of several IAEA resolutions on the application of nuclear safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Middle East, while reaffirming its strong support for the Agency’s activities.  In addition, it welcomed a resolution on the approval of the appointment of Yukiya Amano as Director General of the Agency from 1 December 2017 to 30 November 2021.

    Many delegates, including those from India and the Russian Federation, commended IAEA for assisting developing countries in related development programmes.  China’s representative said that with the recent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, nuclear energy would play an increasingly important role in the generation of energy around the world.

    Echoing that view, Ecuador’s delegate said nuclear energy — properly used and with the necessary security measures — could be a way to increase great progress and well‑being for the benefit of humanity.  For its part, Ecuador had enjoyed invaluable IAEA support and critical supplies and equipment following the 2016 earthquake.

    Briefing the Assembly, Mr. Amano said that transferring peaceful nuclear technology to developing countries was the Agency’s core business and one of the most important aspects of its work.  “The Agency now helps countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in energy, food and agriculture, industry, water management and health,” he said.

    Meanwhile, IAEA was also committed to other efforts, he said, including verifying and monitoring implementation by Iran of its nuclear‑related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  “Iran is now subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime,” he said, noting Iran’s compliance with all related measures.  The Agency’s inspectors had expanded access to sites and now had more information about Iran’s nuclear programme, which was smaller than when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action had been launched in 2015.

    On the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s recent activities, he said nuclear tests in September were “extremely regrettable” and called on the country to comply fully with its obligations under all relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the Agency.  While IAEA inspectors had been required to leave the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 2009, the Agency continued to monitor the country’s nuclear programme through satellite imagery and open source information.  It was also working to maintain its readiness to return when political developments made it possible.

    In the ensuing discussion, several delegates echoed Mr. Amano’s concerns, with the representative of the Republic of Korea strongly condemning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s “reckless” nuclear tests.  Far from revealing any signs that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was abandoning nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, the Agency’s report had indicated troubling activities at several sites.  “We call on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing programmes,” he said.  Until the Agency could resume monitoring and verification there, the Republic of Korea would work with partners in maintaining vigilance and coordinating a constructive response by the international community.

    Similarly, Japan’s representative said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes constituted an unprecedented, grave and imminent threat to international security.  The international community must never succumb to a nuclear threat by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nor accept it as a nuclear‑armed State.

    The representative Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the Agency’s report was a “seriously distorted picture of the reality”.  The nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula was the product of the United States’ hostile policy and nuclear threat against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

    “If the IAEA truly wishes peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, it should take issue with the United States first,” he said.  Despite serious concerns of the international community, the United States continued to stage its aggressive joint military exercises with the aim of conducting a pre‑emptive nuclear attack against his country.  Pyongyang had opted to possess nuclear weapons to safeguard its sovereignty and would not put them on the negotiating table unless the United States’ nuclear threat against his country was eradicated.

    Delegates, including the representative of Brazil, also highlighted the benefits of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme.  Australia’s representative said it was “the best option”.

    Iran’s delegate said his country’s compliance with all obligations had been confirmed in numerous IAEA reports.  “Thus, any claim that Iran is not complying with its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action commitments lacks relevance and credibility,” he stressed.  As a valid international instrument, the Plan of Action “neither can be renegotiated nor unilaterally annulled”.  Iran would remain fully committed to the Plan of Action “inasmuch as all other Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action participants also fully and timely fulfil their related commitments”.

    The representative of the European Union said the Agency had verified eight times that Iran was implementing all its commitments under that agreement.  The European Union and the wider international community had clearly indicated that the deal would remain in place, he said, calling on all parties to implement all its elements.

    Before adjourning the meeting, the Assembly postponed the appointment of members of the Committee on Conferences, which had been originally scheduled for Friday, 17 November, to a later date to be announced.

    Also speaking today were the representatives of Indonesia, Monaco, Belarus, Jamaica, Libya, Malaysia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Ukraine, Cuba, Algeria, Iraq, El Salvador, Paraguay, Argentina, Bangladesh, South Africa and the Philippines.

    The representatives of Lithuania, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Belarus, Republic of Korea and Japan spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

    The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 13 November, to take up sport for development and peace and other matters.

    Briefing by International Atomic Energy Agency Head

    YUKIYA AMANO, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said that transferring peaceful nuclear technology to developing countries was the Agency’s core business and one of the most important aspects of its work.  The Agency’s technical cooperation programme, which was central to delivery of its “Atoms for Peace and Development” mandate, had improved the health and prosperity of millions of people and delivered huge benefits to entire communities.  “The Agency now helps countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in energy, food and agriculture, industry, water management and health,” he said.

    The modernization of IAEA nuclear applications laboratories near Vienna continued to produce excellent results, he noted, emphasizing that those eight laboratories provided assistance to more than 150 countries in areas such as food and agriculture and health.  The new Inspect Pest Control Laboratory aimed to help countries to use nuclear techniques to better control pests such as mosquitoes and fruit flies.  Turning to the kind of energy used worldwide, he said that by 2050, if climate change goals set under the Paris Agreement were to be met, approximately 80 per cent of electricity would need to be low-carbon.  Increased use of nuclear power, as well as renewables, would help countries to achieve their climate change goals.  On nuclear verification, he said that the number of States with Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements in force stood at 182 and encouraged all countries to implement the Additional Protocol.

    IAEA continued to verify and monitor implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he said, noting that Iran was complying.  “Iran is now subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime,” he added.  The Agency’s inspectors had expanded access to sites, and now had more information about Iran’s nuclear programme, which was smaller than it was before the action plan was established in 2015.  The Agency continued to verify the non-diversion of nuclear materials declared by Iran under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements.  Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran continued.

    Expressing serious concern about the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said that the country’s nuclear tests in September, its sixth and largest to date, were “extremely regrettable”.  “I call upon Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply fully with its obligations under all relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the Agency,” he stressed. While IAEA inspectors were required to leave the country in 2009, the Agency continued to monitor the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme through satellite imagery and open-source information.  It was also working to maintain its readiness to return when political development made it possible.

    Underscoring the importance of safety and security in the use of nuclear technology, he said lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011 had now been incorporated into all IAEA nuclear safety requirements.  Safety must always come first and the safety culture must continue to be strengthened, he underscored, noting that the Agency’s Board of Governors adopted the Nuclear Security Plan 2018-2012 by consensus in September.  IAEA continued to expand its assistance to enable countries to minimize the risk of nuclear and other radioactive material being used in a malicious way.

    Sound management of limited resources was essential if the Agency was to meet the growing needs of Member States, he noted, emphasizing the importance of striking a balance between real needs and the reality that Member States faced financial constraints.  He also emphasized the need to take the issue of gender parity at the Agency very seriously.  “We have significantly increased the proportion of women in the Professional and higher categories,” he added, noting that it now stood at 29 per cent.  “But we can and must do better.”

    Introduction of Draft Resolution

    INA H. KRISNAMURTHI (Indonesia), introducing the draft resolution titled, “Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency” (document A/72/L.6), said the Agency continued to play a vital role in fostering international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology as well as nuclear safety and security.  Noting that it also provided technical assistance and necessary support to Member States in their pursuits in those areas, she urged the Agency’s Secretariat to pursue its work programme in a balanced manner to meet the needs of States and ensure that the benefits of nuclear science and technology for socioeconomic development were spread effectively.

    Noting that 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals related directly to IAEA areas of competence — including those concerning food, fuel, agriculture, nuclear technology, power generation and health — she went on to underline the Agency’s critical role in nuclear safety and security.  However, the responsibility for nuclear security within a State “rests entirely with that State”, and nuclear security should not be a condition or a prerequisite for technical cooperation projects.  The draft resolution before the Assembly today had been approved by consensus following consultations held in both Vienna and New York.  As in previous years, it took note of the resolutions and decisions adopted by the Agency’s General Conference.  It also appealed to Member States to continue their support for the Agency’s activities.

    Statements

    GUILLAUME DABOUIS, European Union, reiterated the bloc’s support for the full, complete and effective implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime as well as the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.  Also expressing support for the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the Middle East, he underlined the Security Council’s primary responsibility in cases of non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the “Iran Nuclear Deal” and endorsed by the Council in its resolution 2231 (2015), represented a key and functioning pillar of the international non-proliferation architecture that was even more important in the context of current acute nuclear threats.  The Agency had verified eight times that Iran was implementing all its nuclear-related commitments under that agreement, he said, stressing that the European Union and the wider international community had clearly indicated that the deal would remain in place and calling on all parties to implement all its elements.

    Strongly condemning the latest nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, along with all its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile activities, he urged that country to reverse course, immediately cease those actions and abandon its nuclear weapons programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.  Underlining IAEA’s critical role in verifying Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, he also urged the Syrian regime to cooperate with the Agency promptly and transparently to resolve all outstanding issues.  Calling for the universalization of Comprehensive Safeguard Agreements together with their Additional Protocols, he said nuclear safety remained a key priority for the European Union.  Through the framework of its strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the bloc was activity supporting relevant Security Council resolutions and other agreements including the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.  Voicing support for IAEA’s central role in the global nuclear security framework, he called on the Agency’s Member States to ensure reliable and sustainable resources for it work in preventing nuclear terrorism and the misuse of nuclear and radioactive material.

    ISABELLE F. PICCO (Monaco) commended the Agency for its contributions in helping countries implement the Sustainable Development Goals.  On the environment, she said that IAEA evaluations could help prevent land degradation and help restore soil.  Noting myriad programmes Monaco had implemented in collaborating with the Agency, she emphasized one focusing on the training of 400 scientists and another that helped improve food security by detecting and combating animal disease.  She further commended the Agency’s work in increasing access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.  Scientific research with the support of the Agency could lead to policies that combat climate change, she added.  Acidification of the oceans was another area where IAEA and Monaco had deployed joint efforts.  Moreover, the Agency’s environment laboratories in partnership with Monaco had continued to focus efforts on addressing ocean acidification.

    TATYANA FEDOROVICH (Belarus) said that the Agency had managed to achieve substantial progress in facilitating the safe use of nuclear technology, welcoming its efforts to continue to focus on developing that sector in a safe and secure manner.  “Belarus has also opted for nuclear energy,” she said, expressing support for the Agency’s work in nuclear security “from planning to decommissioning”.  She recalled that Belarus had suffered greatly from the Chernobyl disaster and would continue to work with IAEA in all relevant areas to improve safety and security standards.  She emphasized the Agency’s role in helping States to achieve sustainable development particularly in the areas of energy, medicine and agriculture.  With the Agency’s help, Belarus had been able to increase the effectiveness of nuclear training and make significant progress in medicine.

    DIEDRE MILLS (Jamaica), stressing the importance of the Agency’s work, said her country had benefitted from a range of technical and other assistance that had been instrumental in several key priority areas like education, health and research, including the programme of action for cancer therapy.  The Agency’s work in promoting peaceful uses of nuclear technology and applying a safeguards regime for verification, safety and security remained critical.  She encouraged States to accede to legally binding international conventions and commit to working towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  The adoption in July 2017 of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was a significant milestone achievement towards de-legitimizing nuclear weapons.

    ELMAHDI S. ELMAJERBI (Libya), voicing support for IAEA work in pursuing global nuclear disarmament as well as nuclear safety, recalled that his country had voluntarily given up its nuclear weapons programme in 2002 and acceded to the Agency’s safeguards.  Voicing concern about the continued use or threat of use of such weapons by some States — which continued to maintain or even update their nuclear stockpiles — he said the Agency’s role should not be limited to reviewing the peaceful uses of nuclear energy but should also help to verify the reduction and ultimate destruction of the nuclear arsenals of nuclear weapons States.  Indeed, the equitable application of the Non-Proliferation Treaty would mean total nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and a fair distribution of the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.  Strengthening the Agency’s safeguards regime should never adversely affect the technical cooperation and assistance provided to States, he stressed, voicing concern over the policy pursued by some States to impose restrictions on technology transfer and assistance to others, which constituted a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Among other things, he also expressed support for Security Council resolutions calling for the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, which was still challenged by Israel’s refusal to adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty or to subject its nuclear facilities to the Agency’s inspections.

    DELFINA JANE DRIS (Malaysia) said that collaboration between her country and the Agency had been fruitful in several areas related to nuclear security and that her Government appreciated the Agency’s support in strengthening national detection capabilities in combating nuclear terrorism as demonstrated at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games held in Kuala Lumpur.  Malaysia enjoyed on-going cooperation with the Agency in radiation protection and safety, research reactor safety, radiological emergency response, environmental monitoring and radioactive waste management.  The Peaceful Uses Initiative was a very important vehicle to support the Agency’s activities related to the peaceful applications of science and technology, she said, adding that research and development played a critical role in realizing the long-term goals of nuclear science and technology for the collective benefit of Member States and the Agency.

    GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran) underscored the importance of the inalienable right of any State to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  That included the inherent right of each State to participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials, and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  He emphasized that the primary responsibility of the Agency was to assist Member States in researching and practically applying nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  Iran stressed the need for IAEA to meet the expectations of developing countries.  As the authority responsible for the verification of the fulfilment of nuclear safeguards, the Agency must carry out its functions in full conformity with relevant legally-binding instruments, taking into account the concerns and interests of Member States.

    Iran remained determined to exercise its inalienable right to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he stressed.  Iran’s compliance with all obligations under its Safeguards Agreement had been confirmed in numerous IAEA reports.  “Thus, any claim that Iran is not complying with its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action commitments lacks relevance and credibility,” he stressed.  As a valid international instrument, the Plan of Action “neither can be renegotiated nor unilaterally annulled”.  Likewise, any unilateral claim to extend the duration of Iran’s voluntary confidence-building measures ran counter to the Plan and more importantly, was in clear contradiction with the inalienable rights of States under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  “Iran had been and will remain fully committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action inasmuch as all other Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action participants also fully and timely fulfil their related commitments,” he said.

    HAHN CHOONGHEE (Republic of Korea) noted that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 3 September had conducted its sixth nuclear test on the heels of two nuclear tests in 2016 and several ballistic missile launches, including two with intercontinental range, in clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.  His Government strongly condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s “reckless and irresponsible nuclear test”.  Far from revealing any signs that it was abandoning nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, the IAEA Director General’s report indicated troubling nuclear activities at the Yongbyon site and Pyongsan Mine and Concentration Plant.  “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s continuous negative response to the international community’s diplomatic efforts underlines the need to reiterate a strong and unified message that the path to peace, stability and prosperity hinges on its willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue and honour its denuclearization commitments,” he said.  It was essential that all Member States made clear to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that it would face serious consequences unless it faithfully implemented all relevant Security Council resolutions.

    “We call on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing programmes in a complete, verifiable and irrelevant manner, and to refrain from any further provocative and destabilizing acts,” he said.  The Republic of Korea appreciated recent efforts of IAEA to enhance its readiness to verify that country’s nuclear programme.  Until the Agency was able to resume monitoring and verification there, the Republic of Korea would work with partners in maintaining vigilance and coordinating a constructive response by the international community with a view to a peaceful resolution.  Noting that the Republic of Korea contributed to the IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund, he stressed the need for sufficient funding in order to maximize the contribution of the Agency’s technical cooperation programmes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

    GOH YAN KIM (Singapore), reaffirming full support for the IAEA Director General’s work, noted that his country joined the Agency 50 years ago shortly after gaining independence and had developed a strong partnership with it.  The country was now paying back the assistance from which it had benefitted in such areas as public health and radiation protection by providing technical assistance to fellow developing countries and serving on the Board of Governors, he said, describing other formal arrangements with the Agency and Singapore’s support to ASEAN regional initiatives.  Supporting IAEA’s central role in ensuring a strong and sustainable global nuclear safety and security framework, he welcomed the outcome of the International Conference on Nuclear Security and the most recent review meeting on the Convention of Nuclear Safety.  Affirming that cyberattacks on nuclear installations presented real risks, he supported the Agency’s work in developing guidelines and training programmes for cyber resiliency.  He looked forward to his country’s further strong relationship with IAEA in the years to come.

    SANDEEP KUMAR BAYYAPU (India) said nuclear power was an important energy source to meet increased demand and address volatile fuel prices and climate change concerns.  He took note of the Agency’s efforts on the role of nuclear power in meeting the “climate-energy challenge” and mitigating against greenhouse gas emissions.  Moreover, his delegation attached great importance to the Agency’s work in different fields of nuclear science.  In that connection, the Agency’s achievement in food and agriculture, human health, water resources management and the protection of the environment were helpful in meeting the needs of developing countries.  He went on to welcome the role of the Agency in nuclear security and encouraged all Member States that had not yet done so to ratify the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

    WU HAITAO (China) voiced support for IAEA and the effective fulfilment of its mandates, including by strengthening nuclear safety and security and working towards global nuclear non-proliferation.  With the recent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, nuclear energy would play an increasingly important role in the generation of energy around the world.  However, the risks posed by nuclear proliferation remained severe, and nuclear security threats were increasing.  In that context, he said the Agency should focus on several critical areas, including enhancing the universality and fairness of its safeguard system based on the principles of impartiality, fairness and in consultation with Member States; establishing a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East; promoting technical support and assistance to developing countries in support of their peaceful uses of nuclear energy; strengthening nuclear safety and security; following and assessing the handling of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station incident; and addressing regional hotspot issues.  Expressing support for the Agency’s work with regards to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he said it should also play its due role in monitoring the nuclear activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

    SAOD RASHID AL MAZROUI (United Arab Emirates), spotlighting his country’s close work with IAEA in the area of nuclear safety and its compliance with the standards of nuclear safety and non-proliferation, also commended the Agency for its work in transferring technology and knowledge to support Member States’ development needs.  Those programmes helped contributed to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, promoted cooperation through the exchange of best practices and strategic partnerships and provided valuable support in the development of infrastructure and human resources for a safe and successful nuclear programme.

    NIKOLAY LOZINSKIY (Russian Federation) said that IAEA must increase efforts to develop nuclear energy around the world while also improving and strengthening the global non-proliferation regime.  Underscoring the importance of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he said the Agency was monitoring all aspects of that agreement’s implementation.  The Director General had earlier that morning mentioned that Iran was implementing all its nuclear commitments.  He welcomed the improvement of control mechanisms, including the adoption of Additional Protocols on safeguards, which must always remain objective and depoliticized.  The Russian Federation was active in IAEA, he said, noting that it was making financial contributions in myriad sectors and working to facilitate the development of nuclear energy in developing countries.  In the Russian Federation, an international uranium enrichment centre was open to all countries wishing to develop nuclear energy in a safe and secure manner.  He added that it was unacceptable to bring the non-proliferation agenda into issues of physical nuclear security.  The Russian Federation had signed relevant documents, he continued, encouraging States that had not yet done so to accede to relevant international instruments.

    ALEX GIACOMELLI DA SILVA (Brazil) commended the impartial and objective manner in which the Agency had been carrying out its verification duties in Iran in accordance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  He also recognized the Agency’s efforts in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, a role for which it was uniquely positioned.  He expressed appreciation for the effective cooperation between the Agency and the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials, a unique and constructive partnership between multilateral and bilateral verification bodies.  Given its technical capabilities, impartiality and professionalism, he stressed that the Agency could play an important role in nuclear disarmament verification.  As such, he regretted the IAEA Director General’s decision not to send a representative to the negotiating conference of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    FERNANDO LUQUE MÁRQUEZ (Ecuador) said that nuclear energy — properly used and with the necessary security measures — could be a way to increase great progress and well‑being for the benefit of humanity.  IAEA had provided Ecuador with invaluable support as well as critical supplies and equipment following the country’s 2016 earthquake.  At the regional level, he noted Ecuador’s participation in dozens of relevant projects.  For its part, Ecuador has recently signed a national programme framework on technology and technical cooperation, outlining the country’s needs and priorities.  Seriously concerned about the recent testing of nuclear weapons, he expressed support for the three pillars of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty without discrimination or double standards.  Most States had reiterated their deep concern about the humanitarian consequences of any nuclear accident or intentional detonation.  “Any use of nuclear weapons would be a crime against humanity,” he underscored, noting that the Non‑Proliferation Treaty had established the legal basis to eliminate such weapons.  He also commended the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as a clear example of what could happen through diplomacy and dialogue.

    BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) said that, once again, the world faced a dangerous difficult situation emanating from the threats posed by Israel’s nuclear arsenal.  Meanwhile, other nuclear weapons States were also increasing their threats.  Emphasizing that global nuclear non-proliferation was a key priority for Syria, he recalled that it had acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty early on, long before many of the European Union States that now claimed to be on the vanguard of the global non-proliferation regime.  Many of those nations, along with Turkey, kept nuclear weapons on their territories in violation of the Treaty.  Syria, meanwhile, had long had IAEA safeguard agreements in place.  As a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Syria had also drafted a resolution mandating the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, but that text was never taken up as the United States had threatened to veto it.  Such actions revealed the lies behind the claims of Western countries, he said, adding that they had for decades provided Israel with the materials needed to develop nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

    For its part, he said, Israel had spared no effort to attempt to divert attention from its nuclear arsenal.  Recalling Israel’s attack on the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor in 2007, he said Israel continued to refuse to allow IAEA inspectors to visit its nuclear facilities.  Such actions damaged the credibility of the global non-proliferation regime, undermining peace in the region, he stressed, pointing out that IAEA had been aware of those events but failed to cover them in its report.  Quoting from a memoire titled “The Age of Deception” — written by former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei — he said the book demonstrated Western countries’ “nuclear hypocrisy” and raised questions about the information the Agency had received from them.  Among other things, it discussed the United States dossier on Iraq’s nuclear programme, which had served as a false pretext for the former’s 2003 invasion of the latter.  In addition, a book recently published by the Stockholm Institute contained an entire chapter on Israel’s nuclear forces, while no such chapter existed on Syria’s nuclear programme.  In light of such sources, he called on IAEA to immediately address Israel’s nuclear weapons programme.

    KORO BESSHO (Japan), recalling that his country had contributed more than $28 million to the Agency’s Peaceful Uses Initiative, pledged to seek ways to further utilize national relevant expertise.  Japan’s efforts included working to enhance nuclear safety, drawing on lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station incident and reforming its regulatory structures.  Turning to concerns about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s recent activities, he said its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programme constituted an unprecedented, grave and imminent threat to international security and the global non‑proliferation regime, and operated in flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions and other multilateral commitments.  “The international community should never succumb to a nuclear threat of North Korea and accept a nuclear‑armed North Korea,” he said, voicing support for IAEA efforts to resume inspections in that country.  The international community must also remain united in its full implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions in order to maximize pressure on Pyongyang.

    VOLODYMYR LESCHENKO (Ukraine), associating himself with the European Union, said the 2016 annual report provided a comprehensive and well‑balanced analysis of major achievements of the Agency’s work and its main priorities in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  Drawing attention to the legal framework for IAEA safeguards agreement application in Ukraine, including in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, he said it was based on the comprehensive safeguards agreement and additional protocol, which was in compliance with relevant Assembly resolutions.  The 2016 annual report reaffirmed the vital role the Agency played in meeting today’s challenges.

    ILEIDIS VALIENTE DÍAZ (Cuba), commending the work of IAEA, stressed the need to use nuclear energy to improve living conditions, promote sustainable development and protect the environment.  IAEA had an important role to play in achieving sustainable development and in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change.  Technical cooperation remained particularly essential for Cuba, she added, recognizing the importance of applying nuclear technology in human health, food security and agriculture, and the environment.  She reaffirmed Cuba’s commitment to ensuring that all countries could use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  She also emphasized the importance of nuclear physical security, adding that the establishment of relevant measures to strengthen and secure their safety was the responsibility of each State.  She also welcomed the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as a clear example that dialogue was the best way to solve international disputes.

    JA SONG NAM (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said the report of the Agency presented a “seriously distorted picture of the reality” regarding the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.  The nuclear issue was the product of the United States hostile policy and nuclear threat toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Had it not been for the hostile policy enforced by the United States for more than 70 years against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since the first day of that country’s founding in 1948, the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula would not exist.  For the Korean people who had experienced war imposed on them by the United States, “the powerful war deterrence for national defence was an inevitable strategic option” and would never be bartered for anything.

    He recalled that IAEA, at the instigation of the United States, had brought up suspicions regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s peaceful nuclear facilities in the 1990s.  That had compelled Pyongyang to leave the Agency and withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  “If the IAEA truly wishes peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, it should take issue with the United States first, which is the nuclear war criminal and ringleader of the nuclear threat,” he said.  The Korean Peninsula was now on the brink of nuclear war because of the hostile policies of the United States.  Despite serious concerns of the international community, the United States continued to stage its aggressive joint military exercises with the aim of conducting a pre-emptive nuclear attack against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  He said his country had opted to possess nuclear weapons to safeguard its sovereignty and it would not put them or the ballistic missiles on the negotiating table unless the United States’ nuclear threat against his country was eradicated first.

    MOHAMMED BESSEDIK (Algeria), underscoring the importance of the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme and welcoming its convening of a meeting in Vienna in 2017, expressed hope that meeting would be organized again at the ministerial level.  Noting that Algeria regularly contributed to the Agency’s regular budget, he called for the allocation of sufficient and predictable resources to the Agency’s efforts to support countries in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.  Algeria was integrating and using nuclear techniques in the field of health, especially to combat cancer, and with the help of IAEA it had improved its training facilities and the maintenance of its nuclear equipment.  Voicing support for bolstered cooperation among African States in the areas of nuclear technology and training, he said nuclear safety and security were of paramount importance and underlined IAEA’s critical role in assisting States to develop national frameworks in those areas.  Nevertheless, issues of security and safety must not be used as a condition to restrict the provision of technical cooperation or assistance to States.  Calling for universalization of international instruments on nuclear safety, he expressed support for the establishment of nuclear-weapons-free-zones around the world, and voiced concern over continued impediments to the creation of such a zone in the Middle East.  States had been calling for such a zone since 1995, but no progress had been made, he said.

    MOHAMMED SAHIB MEJID MARZOOQ (Iraq) said his country had recently undertaken many positive steps in the field of nuclear energy despite its many challenges in combating Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) forces.  Among other things, it was currently developing the institutions necessary to safeguard sites previously under the control of terrorist groups, some of which still contained radioactive waste.  Iraq had also ratified the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.  Underlining the importance of the Agency’s work in providing assistance to developing countries in the field of nuclear technology, and of establishing the Middle East as a zone free of nuclear weapons, he recalled that the United Nations had a “cardinal role” to play in that regard.  The dismantling of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and its accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons State were critical, he stressed, adding that the pursuit of peaceful nuclear programmes by all countries was an inalienable right and remained crucial for the pursuit of sustainable development.  Those rights must therefore not be impeded by the imposition of conditions by other States.

    HECTOR ENRIQUE JAIME CALDERÓN (El Salvador) said that today’s draft resolution and the report of IAEA reaffirmed the Agency’s indispensable role.  He called on Member States to continue to support the Agency and welcome decisions adopted at its annual sessions.  Nuclear energy must be used for peaceful purposes.  In that context, it was crucial to avoid the proliferation of nuclear weapons and focus nuclear energy efforts towards sustainably developing agriculture, health, and other essential sectors.  He urged Member States to pool their efforts with IAEA to use nuclear energy to improve the quality of health, ensure food security and reduce and prevent climate change.  Commending IAEA for helping El Salvador strengthen several national sectors, he noted that his country had recently established a national framework plan to align the Agency’s work with its national priorities.

    ENRIQUE JOSÉ MARÍA CARRILLO GÓMEZ (Paraguay) said the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy must be conducted in a transparent manner with IAEA supervision, and called on States to comply with international best practices.  Paraguay’s National Commission for Atomic Energy was researching approaches to peacefully using nuclear energy to help to improve the lives of its citizens.  Reiterating concerns over efforts by some States to improve nuclear weapons and develop new ones, he fully rejected the testing of such weapons.  Highlighting the importance of technical assistance and cooperation provided by the Agency to developing countries, he thanked IAEA for helping to improve nuclear medicine in Paraguay.

    GABRIELA MARTINIC (Argentina), describing her country’s decades‑old nuclear sector that had been backed up by a consistent State policy and international safeguards, said that while IAEA safeguards were essential, they must not impede States from obtaining nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  The Quadripartite Safeguards Agreement between Argentina, Brazil, the Brazilian‑Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials and IAEA had, since 1991, guided the application of nuclear safeguards and had helped to consolidate the Latin American and Caribbean region as a zone free of such arms.  With regard to physical nuclear security architecture, she welcomed the Agency’s 2016 International Conference on Nuclear Security and upcoming conference on physical nuclear installations and materials.  The Agency must continue to act as a main coordinator for global efforts to help to consolidate efforts involving safety, security and counter‑terrorism strategies.  States should also work to harmonize both binding and non‑binding measures, she said, adding that Argentina had become the first country to commit to designing, locating and building all its new nuclear plants in line with article 1 of the Convention on Nuclear Safety.

    FAIYAZ MURSHID KAZI (Bangladesh) expressed full confidence in the Agency’s guiding role in coordinating international efforts to strengthen global nuclear security.  Noting that security considerations must not hamper the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, he said the Agency’s work maintained and improved emergency preparedness and response mechanisms worldwide.  Welcoming IAEA activities to improve nuclear infrastructure development, he underscored the importance of building regulatory and management functions to improve the safety of such projects.  Nuclear energy was safe, environmentally friendly and an economical source of electricity, he said.  IAEA was his country’s main partner for the promotion of safe and secure applications of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes, he said, adding that Bangladesh was actively engaging with the Agency’s technical cooperation programme and regional cooperation agreements.

    MARTIN ERIC SIPHO NGUNDZE (South Africa) said IAEA had a pivotal role to play in global efforts to promote international peace, security and development.  The Agency’s nuclear applications in areas like agriculture, food security, human health, water resource management, nuclear technology and animal health had contributed to socioeconomic progress in developing countries, assisting them in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  South Africa had immensely benefitted from the Agency’s scientific and technological support, especially in strengthening the clinical management of oncological, neurological and cardiovascular diseases.  He also underscored the central role IAEA played in implementing its safeguards verification system, which was essential in verifying nuclear energy programmes.

    DARREN HANSEN (Australia), commending IAEA for its efforts to champion gender equality, provided a snapshot of his country’s efforts.  Australia had ratified the new Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training in Nuclear Science and Technology for the Asia and Pacific Region, constructed a molybdenum processing plant that would help to secure the global supply of life‑saving nuclear medicine, and had planned an integrated regulatory review service mission for 2018.  Australia would also continue to assist States to enhance nuclear security.  Regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Australia would not accept illegal development and testing of nuclear weapons, he said, urging the international community to fully implement related Security Council resolutions.  In addition, he expressed support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which remained the “best available option” to address Iran’s nuclear programme.

    ARIEL R. PEÑARANDA (Philippines), recalling that IAEA was the sole United Nations body promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, commended the Agency’s Atoms for Peace and Development initiative.  The Philippines strongly supported the Agency’s efforts related to gender equality and balanced geographic representations at all levels, and encouraged it to maintain the balance between the promotional and non‑promotional aspects of its work.  The relevance of IAEA had become all the more pronounced given the increased importance of dealing with nuclear non‑proliferation and disarmament issues from a technical and scientific perspective.

    Action

    The Assembly then adopted draft resolution A/72/L.6 without a vote.

    Right of Reply

    The representative of Lithuania, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said each country had the right to develop nuclear power as long as all international safety regulations were met.  Newcomer countries must be especially diligent in that regard, she said, warning that manipulative, declarative and selective approaches still existed.  Expressing concern about the new nuclear power plant in Ostrovets, Belarus, near the Lithuanian border, she said the facility was being created without regulation, transparency or consultation with neighbouring countries, and IAEA specialized missions could bring important benefits if they were involved in all stages of such projects.

    The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected reckless statements that had been made by the delegations of the European Union, Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea and the Philippines as part of a politicized plot aimed at defaming his country.  Parties on the Korean Peninsula had agreed to an armistice and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had long urged the United States to sign a peace agreement to no avail.  “The nuclear weapons in [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] are a war deterrent,” he said, noting that they had contributed to maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula following more than half a century of nuclear blackmail and hostile policies by the United States.  Noting that the United States armed forces remained stationed on the Korean Peninsula while the head of its regime travelled across Asia making reckless, hostile, warlike remarks, he said if that country truly wished to fulfil its responsibilities, it should dismantle its command in the Republic of Korea and fully withdraw its troops.  He reminded Japan’s delegate that Japan had been the victim of the only nuclear attack in human history and that it should address the threats posed by the United States — the world’s largest nuclear war criminal.  In addition, he emphasized that his country’s proper name was “the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” and not “North Korea”, as Japan’s representative had mistakenly stated.  To the delegate of the Republic of Korea, he said that country was a colony of the United States.  Emphasizing that such a country could never be considered a sovereign State, he called on Seoul to abandon its reliance on foreign Powers.

    The representative of the Russian Federation regretted ongoing speculation regarding infrastructure in Crimea and reiterated that his country’s position on the matter was well known.

    The representative of Belarus said nuclear safety was a priority and her country was cooperating with relevant international mechanisms.  IAEA had assessed its energy infrastructure and concluded that Belarus was committed to the highest possible level of nuclear security.  Claims alleging poor security measures were politically motivated and unjustified, she added, expressing interest in fostering cooperation with all interested parties, including Lithuania.

    The representative of the Republic of Korea, deeply regretting to note the “groundless statements” of his counterpart from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said her country would take all measures to protect its people.  Distorting facts would not change the nature of Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.

    The representative of Japan said the missile development programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was in clear violation of Security Council resolutions.  Pyongyang must refrain from provocations and comply with relevant resolutions.

    The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said Japan was unqualified to discuss issues of nuclear concern, and Tokyo had yet to apologize and provide compensation for its past war crimes.  Japan had forced 200,000 Korean women and girls into sex slavery and committed genocide against the Korean people, with over 1 million killed.  He urged the Republic of Korea to learn from history, adding that nuclear deterrence was guaranteeing the prosperity of the Korean people.

    The representative of Japan said mentioning history was inappropriate at a meeting focused on issues related to the Agency.  Japan had always upheld the principles of the United Nations Charter and championed freedom, democracy and the rule of law.  He again urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with relevant Council resolutions.

    The representative of the Republic of Korea said Seoul remained open to talks with Pyongyang and stressed it was the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that refused to engage in dialogue.  She urged Pyongyang to do so with a view to promoting the prosperity of all Koreans.

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  • Joint Statement 14th India-EU Summit, New Delhi, 6 October 2017

    European Commission – Statement

    Brussels, 6 October 2017

    1. The 14th annual Summit between India and the European Union (EU) was held in New Delhi on 6 October 2017. The Republic of India was represented by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The EU was represented by Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Mr. Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.
    1. The leaders reviewed the wide-ranging cooperation under the India-EU Strategic Partnership. Recognising that India and the EU are natural partners, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further deepen and strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership based on shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights and territorial integrity of States.
    1. The leaders expressed satisfaction at the progress made towards implementing the India-EU Agenda for Action 2020 – the roadmap for bilateral cooperation endorsed during the 13th India-EU Summit.
    1. The leaders committed to work in a result-oriented and mutually beneficial manner to further strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership by deepening their trade cooperation, enhancing investment flows in both directions and broadening dialogue and engagement on global and regional issues, including climate change, as well as migration and the refugee crisis, and resolved to further strengthen their bilateral and multilateral cooperation in these areas.
    1. The leaders commended the strong engagement of the European Investment Bank in India in a wide range of key sectors, in particular in the field of climate action and renewable energy.
    1. The leaders underlined the importance of regular high level contacts to enhance India-EU co-operation and mutual understanding. They noted the fruitful outcome of the India-EU Foreign Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi on 21 April 2017.

    Foreign Policy and Security Cooperation – Partners for Security

    1. They agreed that India and the EU, as the world’s largest democracies, share a desire to work closely together and with all relevant players to support a rules-based international order that upholds agreed international norms, global peace and stability, and encourages inclusive growth and sustainable development in all parts of the inter-connected and multipolar world. They welcomed the growing convergence on contemporary global issues and agreed to enhance India-EU cooperation in all multilateral fora. They also recognised their common responsibility towards ensuring international peace and security, and an open and inclusive international order.
    1. The leaders confirmed their commitment towards conflict prevention and sustaining peace as fundamental aspects of promoting security and prosperity, fostering non-proliferation and disarmament, and agreed on the need for the global community to unite to address the menace of terrorism and safeguard the security of the global commons – sea lanes, cyber space and outer space. They welcomed the 5th India-EU Foreign Policy and Security Consultations held in New Delhi on 25 August 2017 – a platform to further deepen cooperation in the political and security area.
    1. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to an open, free, secure, stable, peaceful and accessible cyberspace, enabling economic growth and innovation. In particular, the leaders reaffirmed that International Law is applicable in cyberspace, and that there was a need to continue and deepen deliberations on the applicability of International Law to cyberspace and set norms of responsible behaviour of States. The leaders welcomed the holding of the 5th Global Conference on Cyberspace in New Delhi on 23-24 November. The leaders noted that the bilateral Cyber Dialogue provided a strong foundation for existing and future cooperation and welcomed the holding of its latest round in New Delhi on 29 August this year, and the next India-EU Cyber Dialogue in Brussels in 2018.
    2. The leaders strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks in many parts of the world, underlining their common concern about the global threat posed by terrorism and extremism. They adopted a Joint Statement on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism with a view to deepening their strategic and security cooperation, and expressed their strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, based on a comprehensive approach. The leaders resolved to step up cooperation through regular bilateral consultations and in international fora. In this context, they welcomed the India-EU Dialogue on Counter-Terrorism on 30 August 2017 in New Delhi, and the joint commitment to explore opportunities to, inter alia, share information, best practices, including regarding countering the on-line threat of radicalisation, and to engage in capacity building activities, such as training and workshops. They also emphasised the need to deepen cooperation within the UN and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
    3. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening global non-proliferation efforts as highlighted at the India-EU Non-proliferation and Disarmament Dialogue in New Delhi on 18 July 2017. The EU congratulated India on its admission to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The EU welcomed India’s subscription to The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC) and noted India’s intensified engagement with the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group, which strengthens global non-proliferation efforts.
    4. India and the EU reaffirmed their commitment to enhance maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean and beyond. Both sides noted the recent joint manoeuvres (PASSEX) between the EU Naval Force and the Indian Navy off the coast of Somalia, as a successful example of naval cooperation. The EU looks forward to India’s possible participation in escorting World Food Program vessels in the near future. They also underlined the importance of freedom of navigation, overflight and peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with the universally recognised principles of International Law, notably the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982. Both leaders attached importance to the security, stability, connectivity and sustainable development of Oceans and Seas in the context of developing the “blue economy”.
    5. Both sides agreed to enhance the India-EU space cooperation, including Earth observation.
    6. India and the EU reiterated the importance they attach to human rights cooperation, including on gender equality and women empowerment in all spheres of life. In this regard, they looked forward to the next session of their dialogue to be held in New Delhi and supported enhancing interaction in international fora, in particular the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council.
    7. The two sides expressed support to the Government and the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to achieve an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national peace and reconciliation. The two sides remain determined to counter all forms of terrorism and violent extremism, considering them fundamental threats to international peace and stability. India and the EU underline the importance of the regional and key international stakeholders to respect, support and promote a political process and its outcome in order to ensure peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan. The EU appreciated the positive role being played by India in extending development assistance in Afghanistan, including for building social and economic infrastructure, governance institutions and human resource development and capacity building. Both sides reconfirmed their commitment to promoting peace, security, and stability and supporting Afghanistan on its development path to become a self-reliable and prosperous state.
    8. India and the EU expressed deep concern at the recent spate of violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar that has resulted in the outflow of a large number of people from the state, many of whom have sought shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh. Both sides took note that this violence was triggered off by a series of attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) militants which led to loss of lives amongst the security forces as well as the civilian population. Both sides recognised the need for ending the violence and restoring normalcy in the Rakhine state without any delay. They urged the Myanmar authorities to implement the Kofi Annan-led Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations and work with Bangladesh to enable the return of the displaced persons from all communities to Northern Rakhine State. India and the EU also recognised the role being played by Bangladesh in extending humanitarian assistance to the people in need.
    9. India and the EU reaffirmed their support for the continued full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Iranian nuclear issue. They recognised confirmation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran is complying with its nuclear-related JCPOA commitments. India and the EU called for the full and effective implementation of the deal, which has been endorsed by the UN Security Council and is a crucial contribution to the non-proliferation framework and international peace, stability and security.
    10. Both sides condemned the nuclear test conducted by DPRK on 3 September 2017, which was another direct and unacceptable violation of the DPRK’s international commitments. They agreed that DPRK’s continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its proliferation links pose a grave threat to international peace and security, and called for the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which has been endorsed by the UNSC and the Six Party Talks. Both sides stressed the responsibility of those who support DPRK’s nuclear and missile programmes. They also stressed the importance of unity of the international community in addressing this challenge, ensuring that all UNSC sanctions are fully implemented by the entire international community, so as to maximize pressure towards achieving a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.
    11. Regarding the situation in Syria, India and the EU reaffirmed the primacy of the UN-led Geneva process and called for full support for the intra-Syrian talks with a view to promoting a political solution in Syria. Protection of civilians and territorial integrity is fundamental and all parties to the conflict and their supporters are expected to live up to their commitments. India and the EU reaffirmed that only a credible political solution, as defined in UNSCR 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué will ensure the stability of Syria and enable a decisive defeat of Da’esh and other UN-designated terrorist groups in Syria. India and the EU agreed that the second Brussels Conference on Syria in spring 2018 will contribute to sustain international commitment to Syria.
    12. On the Middle East Peace Process, India and the EU reiterated calls on parties to engage constructively so that a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the two-state solution, could be achieved on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Arab Peace Initiative, for peace and stability in the Middle East.
    13. The two sides also reiterated their full support to the UN facilitated Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process to forge a lasting solution to the political crisis in Libya. Establishing an inclusive government and building peace and stability in Libya is in the interest of the entire international community.
    14. India and the EU acknowledged the importance of connectivity in today’s globalised world. They underlined that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality and must follow principles of financial responsibility, accountable debt financing practices, balanced ecological and environmental protection, preservation standards and social sustainability.
    15. Both sides underlined the importance of ASEM as an informal platform for connecting Asia and Europe. Both sides also agreed to give new impetus to ASEM in the run up to the next ASEM Summit to be hosted in Brussels, where the focus would be on tackling global challenges together.
    16. The leaders underlined their strong support for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine through the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements by all parties in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2202 (2015).
    17. The EU hoped for a swift solution, through the due process of law in India, in the case of MV Seaman Guard Ohio, which concerns fourteen Estonian and six British citizens sentenced to prison by an Indian court.

      Global Challenges – Multilateral Cooperation

    18. Both sides reaffirmed their support to the new United Nations reform agenda on the three reform tracks of peace and security, development and management reform. The two sides’ commitment to stronger global governance also translates to reforming the bodies and organs of the UN system, including the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council as well as the revitalisation of the work of the General Assembly, better aligning the work of its committees with the 2030 Agenda.
    19. The two sides agreed to work bilaterally and with partners in the G20, the United Nations and other multilateral fora to address emerging challenges to international security, global economic stability and growth.
    20. The leaders reaffirmed the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and the importance of enhancing free, fair, and open trade for achieving sustainable growth and development. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together with all Members of the WTO to make the eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference a success with concrete results, which would reaffirm the centrality of the rules-based multilateral trading system and its importance for open and inclusive global trade.
    21. Both sides recalled the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the joint commitment to its implementation with the complementary new EU Consensus on Development and India’s “sab kasaath, sab kavikas” policy initiatives, and reaffirmed the importance of global partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and poverty alleviation. In this regard, they reiterated their commitment to collaborate on common priorities and looked forward to exploring the continuation of the EU-India Development Dialogue. Both sides also recognised the need to mutually reinforce the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
    22. The EU welcomed India’s contribution to peace and development in Africa, including its participation in UN Peacekeeping Missions. The EU and India expressed their commitment to enhancing their consultations and cooperation regarding Africa, with a view to optimising possible synergies between their respective initiatives. They looked forward to India’s participation as an observer at the next EU-African Union Summit.

      Partners in Prosperity through Increased Trade and Economic Cooperation; Partners in India’s Modernisation

    23. The EU leaders welcomed India’s efforts to promote economic and social development and expressed the EU’s continued interest in participating in India’s flagship initiatives such as “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Skill India”, “Smart City”, “Clean India,” and “Start-Up India”. The EU closely follows Prime Minister Modi’s economic reforms, including the historic introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which can facilitate ease of doing business and promotes market integration in India by realising a simple, efficient and nation-wide indirect tax system. Prime Minister Modi appreciated the ongoing participation by EU companies in the flagship initiatives and called for their deeper engagement in India’s developmental priorities. The EU side encouraged the greater participation of Indian business organizations into the Enterprise Europe Network. The leaders noted the progress made on EU-India cooperation on resource efficiency and circular economy. Both sides agreed to enhanced cooperation and exchange of experience and best practices in the field of Intellectual Property rights (IPR) and public procurement.
    24. The Leaders expressed their shared commitment to strengthening the Economic Partnership between India and the EU and noted the ongoing efforts of both sides to re-engage actively towards timely relaunching negotiations for a comprehensive and mutually beneficial India-EU Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
    25. Both parties recognised the importance of trade in agricultural products in general, and rice in particular, and agreed to work together to resolve issues that have the potential of disrupting trade. With regard to import tolerance level of tricyclazole in rice (Commission Regulation (EU) 2017 / 983) the relevant plant protection companies will be invited to present new scientific data in order for the European Food Safety Authority to carry out an additional risk assessment without delay. On this basis, the European Commission would expeditiously consider whether to review the above mentioned Regulation. Both sides supported the early institutionalisation of cooperation between the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), to focus on exchange of knowledge and expertise in the area of methodologies for data collection, risk assessment and risk communication. Furthermore, the EU and India have agreed to further strengthen their cooperation on food safety, notably by:
      • Strengthening existing dialogues like Agricultural and Marine Working Group, SPS-TBT Working Group to cover issues on food safety and agricultural trade between the relevant Indian ministries/departments and relevant European Commission services.
      • Initiating joint projects in areas such as good agricultural practices, development of traceability capacities, and cooperation in laboratory activities, including testing and monitoring.

      The EU would welcome India’s application for protection as a geographical indication of Basmati and shall process any such future application, as expeditiously as possible.

      India welcomes EU’s intention to expeditiously initiate the process of recognising additional seed varieties of Basmati rice under Article 28 of the GATT 1994 for duty derogation, as already requested by India.

    26. Leaders welcomed the establishment of an Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) for EU investments in India as a means to improve the business climate and hoped that the IFM will ease sharing of best practices and innovative technology from the EU to India. Leaders acknowledged that the “Make in India” initiative may offer investment opportunities for companies based in the EU Member States.
    27. Leaders welcomed the establishment of the South Asian Regional Representative Office of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in India and noted that its investments, especially in urban mobility and renewable energy projects, will support India-EU collaboration on the Climate Agenda. The leaders welcomed the new €500 million EIB loan agreement for Bangalore Metro Phase-II Project, which is part of EIBs enhanced commitment of €1.4 billion in loans to India in 2017.
    28. The leaders noted the ongoing positive discussions and the exchange of a Joint Declaration between the Interim Secretariat of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), and the European Investment Bank (EIB) aimed at mobilising investments for broad-based deployment of affordable solar energy applications across the 121 prospective member countries of the ISA.
    29. Both sides adopted a Joint Statement on Clean Energy and Climate Change, reaffirmed their commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement, and agreed to co-operate further to enhance its implementation. India and the EU noted that addressing climate change and promoting secure, affordable and sustainable supplies of energy are key shared priorities and welcomed the progress on the Clean Energy and Climate Partnership, adopted at the 2016 EU-India Summit, and reiterated their commitment to its implementation and further development, in accordance with the work programme agreed at the EU-India Energy Panel meeting in October 2016.
    30. India and the EU reaffirmed their commitment to undertake mutual cooperation for reducing the cost of development and deployment of renewable energy projects through technology innovation, knowledge sharing, capacity building, trade and investment, and project establishment.
    31. The leaders reiterated the importance of reconciling economic growth and environment protection. They highlighted the importance of moving towards a more circular economic model that reduces primary resource consumption and enhanced the use of secondary raw materials. They welcomed the contribution of the International Resource Panel, the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (through the Indian Resource Panel) and of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) to developing strategies for this crucial economic transition. Both sides agreed that the newly established G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue will be an ideal platform for knowledge exchange and to jointly promote resource efficiency at a global level. Leaders also agreed to further intensify cooperation on addressing environmental challenges, such as water management and air pollution, acknowledged the progress in implementing the India-EU Water Partnership, including an agreed action programme, the increased cooperation opportunities on research and innovation, looking forward to the third India-EU Water Forum later in the month.
    32. The leaders agreed to work towards an enhanced cooperation on innovation and technology development aiming at actions strengthening cooperation between European and Indian industries and start-up ecosystems.
    33. The leaders welcomed the intensified technical cooperation between the Indian and European telecom standardisation bodies (TSDSI and ETSI), supported by the EU, and focusing on future global standards for 5G, Intelligent Transport Systems, Internet of Things, Future Networks and telecom security. Both sides encouraged the stakeholders to broaden this cooperation, demonstrate concrete technological solutions, and strengthen links between “Digital India” and “Digital Single Market for Europe.”
    34. Both sides noted positive exchanges on Internet Governance, on increasing the ease of doing business for ICT companies on both sides, as well as meetings between the Indian and European start-up ecosystems under a “Start-up Europe India Network”.
    35. The two sides confirmed their interest in further strengthening the cooperation in the area of pharmaceuticals, including capacity building of the regulatory system with particular focus on inspections by creating a more structured and stable training environment. The Indian side also highlighted its interest for cooperation on capacity building of the entire pharmaceutical value chain.
    36. The leaders adopted the India-EU Joint Statement on a Partnership for Smart and Sustainable Urbanisation with a view to step up cooperation including with regard to priority sectors such as the upgrading of urban infrastructure for transport and sanitation, developing Smart Cities in India, as well as promoting the New Urban Agenda of the United Nations adopted in 2016.
    37. The leaders agreed to scale-up cooperation under the renewed India-EU Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement in frontier areas of science and technology and in addressing current global challenges in particular in the areas of health, water and clean energy. They welcomed the agreement to launch a major joint flagship initiative of €30 million on water-related challenges reflecting the pressing need to cooperate on technological and scientific knowledge and management capacities to cope with increasing stress on water resources. Both sides agreed to work towards reciprocal opening of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation ‘Horizon 2020’ and Indian programmes, and called for an intensified two-way mobility of researchers. To this extent, the two sides welcomed the conclusion of the Implementing Arrangement between the Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB) and the European Research Council (ERC).
    38. The leaders encouraged Euratom and the Department of Atomic Energy to conclude the Agreement for Research & Development Cooperation in the field of the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. They stressed that this cooperation will contribute to further enhancement of nuclear safety and will be mutually advantageous. The cooperation will also lead to improving the skills and deployment of non-power technologies in the areas of water, health care & medicine, environment, etc., for the benefit of the society.
    39. Both sides will continue their strong partnership in the development of fusion energy, building on the agreements to which they are parties, including under the Euratom-India Cooperation Agreement on Fusion Energy research.
    40. The Leaders welcomed the imminent operationalisation of the 2008 Horizontal Civil Aviation Agreement, which will enhance air connectivity between India and Europe and help foster greater people-to-people contacts, business travel and increase in tourism. The leaders considered the opportunity to deepen transport cooperation in areas of mutual interest across all modes of transport, notably maritime, aviation, urban mobility and, rail.
    41. India and the EU agreed to intensify cooperation in skills development and agreed to find complementarities and synergies between India’s Skill India initiative and the EU’s New Skills Agenda for Europe.
    42. The leaders emphasised that, as part of the India-EU Agenda for Action 2020, there was a need to work towards strengthening cooperation on higher-education, including through India’s GIAN programme and the EU’s Erasmus+ programme. The Erasmus+ programme has just celebrated its 5000th Indian alumni and has offered financing opportunities for institutional cooperation to many Indian universities through joint-masters, short-term mobility, capacity building projects and Jean Monnet actions for EU studies. The leaders welcomed that, overall, India has been the number one beneficiary of Erasmus mobility actions in the world since its creation.
    43. The two sides took note of the High Level Dialogue on Migration and Mobility held in Brussels on 04 April 2017. They welcomed the understanding reached in advancing the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility, including through technical collaboration and undertaking projects in areas of mutual interest, with a view to better organising migration and mobility between India and the EU.
    44. The leaders agreed to intensify people-to-people exchanges and facilitate increased travel of tourists, business persons, students and researchers between India and the EU. The Indian side noted the ongoing revision of the EU Blue Card Scheme aimed at easing the flow of highly qualified professionals to the EU.
    45. The leaders noted the adoption of the report on “EU’s Political Relations with India” in the European Parliament and welcomed its recommendations for intensifying the exchanges between the Indian and European parliamentary delegations. The leaders also looked forward to intensified exchanges between scholars, think tanks and cultural delegations.

    ****

    STATEMENT/17/3743

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  • Deputy Secretary General Urges Sixth Committee to Focus on Making Rule of Law Assistance More Effective, Coherent in Ongoing Reform Agenda

    Concluding Debate on Eliminating Terrorism, Speakers Share Best Practices in Tackling Threat, while Upholding Humanitarian Law

    The essence of Sustainable Development Goal 16 to promote the rule of law was not only a self-evident objective but also catalytic to all the Goals, the Deputy Secretary‑General told the Sixth Committee (Legal) today, opening a vigorous debate on the many ways in which the principle could contribute to peace and development.

    Introducing the report of the Secretary‑General on strengthening and coordinating United Nations rule of law activities (document A/72/268), Amina J. Mohammed encouraged the Committee to reflect on how the United Nations could make its rule of law assistance more effective and coherent as it aligned with the Secretary‑General’s ongoing reform agenda.

    Echoing his call to integrate a “preventive lens” into all aspects of the Organization’s work, she added that rule of law could contribute to addressing issues as varied as climate change, migration, and violence against women and girls.  At the same time, she reminded delegates there was no single model for rule of law development.  The principle required continued attention to keep pace with how societies and the international order were evolving.

    Also underscoring that there was no single agreed‑upon definition of the rule of law, the representative of Iran, speaking for the Non‑Aligned Movement, expressed concern on the application of unilateral measures and emphasized their negative impact on the concept.  However, the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law provided legal scholarship and contributed to promoting friendly relations among States, thus playing a crucial role in strengthening the rule of law at the national and international levels.

    The representative of the European Union, also commending the Programme of Assistance, welcomed the Organization’s work in promoting the rule of law at the international level, through the codification of an international legal framework, and supporting international and hybrid courts and tribunals as well as other international accountability mechanisms.  Multilateral treaties, she noted, had a key role in strengthening a rules‑based international system.

    In that vein, the representative of Algeria, speaking for the African Group, highlighted the Asian‑African Legal Consultative Organization as a good example of cooperation between two regions in exchanging views, experiences and information relating to international law.  The Consultative Organization, which participated in General Assembly sessions and work, could serve as a model for further cooperation between other regions.

    “The rule of law must underpin our collective responses to global issues” said Australia’s representative, also speaking for Canada and New Zealand.  She urged the Committee to consider that issue — which was explicitly recognized in Sustainable Development Goal 16 — and expressed hope that it would be reflected in the rule of law resolution to be adopted this year.

    As the coordinator of the Group of Friends of the Rule of Law, which consisted of 50 delegations, the representative of Austria commended the Secretary‑General’s call for a frank and open dialogue with Member States on the effectiveness of the United Nations rule of law assistance.  A rules‑based international system with clear and predictable rules was an essential precondition for lasting peace, security, economic development and social progress, she said.

    That sentiment was also expressed by Qatar’s delegate, who noted that while the international community had ratified treaties to create peace and stability, unfortunately crises and conflicts had persisted.  However, hope also persisted during those times because the international community never stopped promoting the rule of law.  The principle, he stressed, was not a choice but a duty.

    The importance of rule of law also resonated in the Committee’s concluding debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism (see Press Releases GA/L/3542 and GA/L/3541).

    The representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) emphasized that counter‑terrorism activities must be conducted with full respect for the protections afforded to all individuals by international law, in particular by international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

    As delegates of several African countries highlighted problems in their subregions, Djibouti’s representative pointed out that East Africa had become an epicentre for terrorism due to the presence of Al‑Qaida and Al‑Shabaab.  His country, along with other member States of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) had developed joint policies and actions addressing the matter, and on a national level, his country was proactively engaging with religious leaders to counteract ideological propaganda.

    Due to Nigeria’s revised National Counter‑Terrorism Strategy, which called for multisectoral collaboration, Nigerians had equipped themselves psychologically to win the war against Boko Haram, that country’s delegate said.  Military and police forces had been trained in humanitarian law, as well as counter‑terrorism in urban patrol and unarmed combat, and there was also a programme for de‑radicalization, rehabilitation, reorientation and re‑integration for repentant Boko Haram suspects.

    Also speaking today on measures to eliminate terrorism were representatives of Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Bolivia, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Brazil, Bahrain, Uganda, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Mauritius, Gambia, Egypt, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Central African Republic, Jordan, Cabo Verde, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Eritrea, Chad, and Mali as well as observers for the State of Palestine and the Holy See.

    Speaking on the rule of law were representatives of Trinidad and Tobago (for the Caribbean Community), Cambodia (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Denmark (for the Nordic Countries), Liechtenstein, Israel, Switzerland, El Salvador, Sudan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and the Philippines.

    The representative of Syria spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

    The Sixth Committee will next meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 5 October, to continue consideration of the rule of law.

    Statements on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

    KOFFI NARCISSE DATÉ (Côte d’Ivoire), associating himself with the African Group and the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that terrorist movements were becoming increasingly cunning and devious, including using modern technology.  Recalling the attack that took place in his country in March 2016, he highlighted various domestic measures undertaken to combat terrorism, including an order aimed at fighting its financing.  African countries did not have the necessary resources to deal with terrorism, he said, calling on all partners to support their efforts.  The operationalization of the Group of Five for the Sahel (Sahel G‑5) joint force would be instrumental in combating terrorism in that region, he added.

    ANNETTE ANDRÉE ONANGA (Gabon), associating herself with the African Group and the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that by adopting the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy, the international community had strengthened the foundations of the fight against terrorism.  Although her country had ratified various international instruments, there was an asymmetry in the resources of countries fighting the menace.  Calling for increased information exchange and capacity-building, she said that the sub‑regional workshops organized in Africa had enabled Gabon to take important finance and security measures.

    JUAN MARCELO ZAMBRANA TORRELIO (Bolivia), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that violent extremism called for an analysis into its root causes.  Terrorism should not be associated with any nation, religion or ethnic group, and the international community must respect the norms of international humanitarian law and refugee law while fighting terrorism.  International cooperation should be at the request of States and should take the form of capacity-building.  Reaffirming commitment to the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy, he said that Bolivia would develop all the measures set out in it.

    WILMER ALFONZO MÉNDEZ GRATEROL (Venezuela) expressed objection to the unilateral lists of terrorists drawn up by individual countries, which was inconsistent with international law.  The expansion of some terrorist groups was the result of interventionism.  The armed aggression against Iraq and Libya in 2003 and 2011 had consequences for peace, human rights and development.  Venezuela had subscribed to most of the conventions related to terrorism and had presented reports on the implementation of measures and controls established in those conventions.

    TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan) said that the geographic location of his country increased trans‑border threats such as international terrorism and related criminal activities.  Terrorist attacks had been perpetrated against Azerbaijan, claiming the lives of thousands of its citizens.  His Government had taken measures to maintain national border control and management and was a party to all international and regional instruments to counter the threat.  Recognizing the significance of addressing all conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, he noted that it was critical to intensify conflict resolution efforts in certain areas of the world, for example those under military occupation.  Terrorist acts that occurred in the context of armed conflict might amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, he said.

    SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria), associating himself with Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that the debate was an opportunity to reiterate the international community’s commitment to preventing terrorism as well as to warn against the misconception of associating the scourge with a particular religion.  The fight against terrorism should not become an opportunity for xenophobia or Islamophobia, which were becoming the new face of violent extremism.  Reminding delegates that the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy offered an all‑encompassing approach that included strengthening the capacity of States, he called on them to enhance cooperation at the bilateral, regional and international levels.  The battle against terrorism must be waged on a daily basis and must involve all stakeholders.

    MOUSSA MOHAMED MOUSSA (Djibouti), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, the African Group and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said that in the last two decades, the maintenance of international peace had been confronted by a plethora of traditional and non‑traditional challenges.  The new dangers were fuelled by extremist discourse.  Therefore, the response of the international community should be based on the balanced implementation of the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy.  East Africa had become an epicentre for terrorism, with the presence of Al‑Qaida and Al‑Shabaab, prompting the member States of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to develop joint policies and actions.  Djibouti had adopted a proactive approach and was engaging with religious leaders to identify tools to counteract the ideological propaganda that might be attractive to vulnerable sections of society.

    PATRICK LUNA (Brazil), associating himself with CELAC, said that, while his country’s commitment to combating terrorism had been translated into national legislation, some measures had been divisive due to their questionable legality.  Terrorists misused the internet and social media to incite hatred and help recruitment.  That should be guarded against while protecting individual privacy from State surveillance.  He also noted an increase in the number of letters submitted to the Security Council under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter seeking military action to counter terrorism.  There was room for improvement in the content and circulation of those letters.  They should provide sufficient information on the attack for which Article 51 is being evoked.  Those communications were often submitted post‑facto.  To increase transparency, there should be a dedicated section on the Security Council’s website listing all such communications.

    KHALID BIN AHMED AL-KHALIFA (Bahrain) said that efforts to combat terrorism should be combined in order to eradicate it so that humanity could enjoy a future of progress.  His country was constantly striving with the international community to combat terrorism and its financing and had sought to ensure that terrorist organizations were put on international lists of such groups.  He congratulated Iraq following the extraordinary success in that country, including the liberation of Mosul and the Tel Afar region from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), thanks to the resolve of its Government and the support of the international coalition.  His Government believed in stability and security in the Middle East, he said, stating his rejection of those who supported and financed terrorism, whether they be groups, individuals or States.

    ADONIA AYEBARE (Uganda), associating himself with the African Group, OIC, and the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that his country had been engaged in the fight against terrorism for a long time, including against the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Allied Democratic Forces and Al‑Shabaab in Somalia.  The Lord’s Resistance Army had been defeated and routed out of Ugandan territory, but continued to cause “wanton suffering” in the Central African Republic and some parts of north‑eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.  “We call on all people of goodwill to join in the effort to neutralize these bands of terrorists”, he said.  Otherwise they would continue to be elusive, flushed out of one enclave but then reappearing elsewhere. 

    BHARAT RAJ PAUDYAL (Nepal), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that terrorism continued to be a curse to humanity and a threat to democracy and development.  “Our efforts have been too little and too late,” he said, noting that the some of the comprehensive resolutions adopted by the Council created reporting and implementing obligations and it was time to enforce them resolutely.  Nepal was incorporating those resolutions into its policies, he said, voicing hope that Member States would muster enough political will to resolve differences regarding the draft convention on terrorism.  Promoting a culture of peace and respecting diversity was ingrained in his country’s cultural values and incorporated into school curriculum.

    SAIFU GEORGE (Sierra Leone), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, reaffirmed the importance of Member States working together not only to improve the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy, but also to step up efforts aimed at addressing the problem through effective implementation of regional and national counter‑terrorism and de‑radicalization programmes.  Under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), for example, Sierra Leone was working to improve information dissemination and continued to strengthen collaboration with inter‑religious organizations.  Indeed, religious leaders had embarked on timely nationwide sensitization campaigns to de‑link religion from terrorism while stressing the importance of sustaining peace.  Underscoring the need to achieve consensus on a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, he also voiced support for the convening of a high‑level conference on the issue under the auspices of the United Nations.

    JEON YU JIN (Republic of Korea) stated that the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy, on top of numerous conventions that were already in force, had given the United Nations a solid basis for serving as a strategic leader on counter‑terrorism issues.  However, given the lack of adequate enforcement mechanisms, it was vital that each country fully implement its obligations while closely collaborating with others to bridge gaps.  Her country had enacted an anti‑terrorism law and had established a national centre to tackle the problem.  It was also carrying out projects in developing countries, particularly in the areas of education and vocational training, to support efforts in tackling root causes of violent extremism.

    DIEGO FERNANDO MOREJÓN PAZMIÑO (Ecuador), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and CELAC, condemned all forms of terrorism, even when conducted by States, directly or indirectly.  Rejecting the threat of use of force against any State, ostensibly to combat terrorism, he said that the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy addressed the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.  It was based on national sovereignty as a foundational element when implementing counter terrorist measures.  Calling for open and far‑reaching dialogue to reach a consensus on the convention, he said that the differences were not merely semantic but conceptual and would require transparency and understanding to overcome.

    RISHY BUKOREE (Mauritius), associating himself with the African Group and the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that terrorism existed irrespective of borders and undermined the sovereignty of States in a way not seen before.  It was more important than ever that States cooperated in accordance with international law to combat and prevent terrorism.  In 2016, his Government made substantial amendments to the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002.  As a result, the counter‑terrorism unit now had the appropriate legal status to discharge its functions.  Mauritius was also party to several international treaties that, for example, contained the ability to extradite perpetrators of terrorist acts, while its Constitution also safeguarded the individual and protected freedom of conscience.  While all nations were combatting terrorism, unless the root causes of radicalization were looked at, everyone would remain vulnerable.

    SAFFIE SANKAREH FARAGE (Gambia), associating herself with the African Group and the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that Gambia had ratified all international treaties against terrorism and terrorist acts.  It had also enacted legislation, such as the Anti‑Money Laundering Act and the Trafficking in Persons Act.  Stating that her Government was willing to share intelligence with the international community on terrorism, she encouraged all Member States to do the same.  All States should also reject Islamophobia, because Islam and Muslims were not at war with the world and the world should not be at war with them.  If terrorism was allowed to continue to spread, it had the potential to cause havoc on economies and destroy people’s way of life, regardless of race and religious affiliation, she stressed.

    MOHAMED IBRAHIM ELSHENAWY (Egypt), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that the world faced an unprecedented surge of terrorism, with groups looking for recruits and weapons to carry out their crimes.  At the national level, Egypt had undertaken efforts to tackle the residual elements of terrorism, and had all official stakeholders and representatives of civil society with it in its efforts.  Decree 355, adopted this year, stipulated the establishment of a national council to counter terrorism and extremism.  It would be charged with creating a global national strategy to counter terrorism domestically and internationally.  It would also work with religious and security structures to come up with real approaches to the terrorist narrative.  Internationally, Egypt had participated in the fifth review of the United Nations Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy and would continue its active participation in the sixth review, which was slated for 2018.

    KIM IN RYONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that the main reason terrorism had not been annihilated was that a particular country was using the counter‑terrorism agenda to seek its selfish political interests and gravely undermine world peace.  “Just like a chameleon changes its colours,” the United States had frequently used the pretext of counter‑terrorism to overthrow legitimate Governments, he said.  Merciless bombing by the counter‑terrorism coalition led by the United States had turned half the population of Syria into refugees, he said, also adding that a group of terrorists had infiltrated his country in May on the orders of the intelligence agencies of the United States and the Republic of Korea.  He called on the international community not to fall victim to the “war on terror” which was a rampant violation of the Organization’s Charter.

    MARCIEN AUBIN KPATAMANGO (Central African Republic), associating himself with the African Group and the Non‑Aligned Movement, recalled a March 2014 attack on his country that had led to chaos before constitutional law was reinstated.  The weakening of the State and the unravelling of the armed forces had played into the hands of armed groups.  The Government was supporting peace efforts and had signed agreements with some armed groups as well as a cooperation agreement with its neighbours to secure its borders.  Condemning terrorism in all its forms, he reaffirmed his country’s commitment to tackling the menace.

    YAZAN BAZADOUGH (Jordan), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and OIC, said that settling the Israeli‑Palestinian crisis was crucial to bringing an end to terrorism.  Furthermore, States should exchange information about the political, economic and social causes of terrorism.  Calling for cooperation in border control, he also highlighted the importance of partnerships between the public and private sectors.  His Government had criminalized terrorist attacks and had developed a legal arsenal to counter terrorism financing and money laundering.  The country was also focusing on intellectual efforts by disseminating the values of tolerance and rejecting the doctrine of hate.

    JOSÉ LUIS FIALHO ROCHA (Cabo Verde), associating himself with the African Group, said that, as a global problem, terrorism needs a global response; no country could defeat that threat by itself.  In that regard, the United Nations should be at the centre of counter‑terrorism efforts.  He stressed the importance of the effective implementation of various international legal instruments combatting terrorism, as well as General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on the issue.  However, the ultimate sign of the international community’s resolve would be conveyed by a convention on terrorism.  The lack of progress, due to inability of countries to find a common ground, only favoured the terrorist groups that were allowed to carry out their criminal acts with impunity.  Terrorist groups in the region of Cabo Verde posed threats to peace and security, as well as to infrastructure and economic activities, including tourism.  His Government was also concerned with organized crime in the West Africa Region, including drug trafficking and cybercrimes.

    ENRIQUILLO A. DEL ROSARIO CEBALLOS (Dominican Republic), associating himself with CELAC, said promoting a culture of peace and respect for diversity as a tool to prevent the spread of terrorism was crucial.  Respect for international law was a prerequisite and any measure outside of the framework of the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy was unacceptable.  He highlighted the right to privacy, noting that it was key to safeguarding people from abuse.  Attacks by terrorists had killed, maimed and displaced many, and had caused collateral damage.  That had led to a profound feeling of anxiety and fear.  Awareness should be raised of the need to protect victims of terrorism, particularly women and children.  As well, the rule of law must be strengthened in counter‑terrorism efforts with a clear legal framework that would strengthen all efforts.  International terrorism should be fought through strictly legal measures, respecting human rights and the United Nations Charter.

    MARÍA ALEJANDRINA SANDE (Uruguay), associating herself with CELAC and the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that terrorism was the worst manifestation of the lack of respect for international law and human rights.  That global threat had become more sophisticated in its use of technology to organize and recruit.  Noting the failure of laws to keep pace with the use of technology by terrorists, she called for swift joint action, internal policymaking and mutual legal assistance by way of extradition treaties.  Her Government had taken strict measures to counter money‑laundering.  In addition, there were a number of draft laws and administrative decrees aimed at implementing an action strategy to combat terrorism.  “This is a war to be waged by all of us,” she said.

    STEPHANIE GEBREMEDHIN (Eritrea) noted that terrorism and violent extremism were growing threats to peace and stability, affecting development and the collective conscience of communities and nations.  As the effects of terrorism had been felt by the people and Government of Eritrea for decades, the country had continued to enhance efforts to eliminate it by strengthening cultural and legal instruments.  Eritrea had 1,200 kilometres of coastline and more than 350 islands in the volatile Horn of Africa and Red Sea region.  Its population was 50 per cent Christians and 50 per cent Muslims.  Any activity affecting peace and security in the region affected Eritrea’s security and economic development.  The need to strengthen cooperation and enhance capabilities of States in the region to combat terrorism could not be overemphasized.  It was also necessary to dispense with unjustified restrictions imposed on some States that could undermine their capacity to fight the menace.

    ABSAKINE YERIMA AHMAT (Chad), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, OIC and the African Group, said that his country had undertaken to combat terrorism resolutely in all its forms.  Despite the large scale of its territory, Chad was ensuring security by working with neighbours to set up a joint patrol force.  In addition to awareness‑raising campaigns, Chad was also contributing to regional security, and its army had been deployed in Mali as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).  Chad forces were also present in the Lake Chad region, as well as involved in implementing the Sahel G‑5 joint force.  In Africa, poverty and unemployment made young people prey to terrorist groups, he noted, calling on the international community to support development programmes.

    ISSA KONFOUROU (Mali), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that his country, once a haven of peace and security, had encountered extremist violent ideologies in the last few years.  Countries across the Sahel were facing complex challenges to peace and security.  “Even women, even children, even young people and disabled people, even cultural monuments are not spared by these dark forces,” he said, noting that the lasting solution to terrorism was not a security one.  Mali was developing a national strategy to deal with the root causes, taking into consideration local realities.  The Government was also focusing on training religious leaders and promoting human rights in the school curriculum.  The national legal framework was in line with Mali’s international commitments.  The Sahel G‑5 joint force would enable the countries of the region to confront their common challenges, he added, calling on partners to support it.

    HUSSEIN ABDULLAHI (Nigeria) said his country had been confronted with the brutality of Boko Haram activities.  The revised National Counter‑Terrorism Strategy of 2016 called for multisectoral collaboration and involved all stakeholders.  Since then Nigerians had equipped themselves psychologically to win the war against the group.  Religious leaders were encouraged to participate as well.  Military and police forces had been trained in humanitarian law, as well as counter‑terrorism in urban patrol and unarmed combat.  There was also a programme for de‑radicalization, rehabilitation, reorientation and re‑integration for repentant Boko Haram suspects.  Initiatives such as the Victims Support Fund and the Safe Schools Initiative had facilitated humanitarian relief and socio‑economic stabilization.  The war against terrorism could only be achieved through the resolve of all Member States to work together.

    BERNARDITO AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said that the United Nations and each Member State bore the responsibility to protect people from the threat of terrorism.  The Organization was uniquely placed to effectively facilitate the negotiation and adoption of multilateral policies in that regard.  Heightened international cohesion would be needed to deny terrorists access to cyber technologies, which was key to their recruitment efforts and the coordination of their attacks.  Furthermore, it was critical to ensure that there was no safe harbour for those who performed terrorist acts, abetted violent extremism or otherwise sheltered terrorist group members.  Despite the urgency of combating terrorism, he emphasized that nothing could justify policies or measures that sacrificed the rule of law and human dignity in the name of security, and warned in particular against the arbitrary application of unilateral measures, a selective approach to human rights and a disregard for cultures and religions.  Such approaches “cannot win hearts and minds”, especially if they were viewed as brazen demonstrations of superiority or deliberate acts of provocation.

    MAJED BAMYA, observer for the State of Palestine, associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that counter‑terrorism actions that refused to address root causes and provided pretexts that could be used for recruitment were recipes for failure.  Vanquishing terrorism necessitated upholding international law, he stressed, calling for a comprehensive and balanced implementation of the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy.  Member States had repeatedly reaffirmed their commitment to eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development, fully aware that those endeavours would contribute to reducing terrorism.  Now the international community must uphold that pledge.  Expressing solidarity with all victims of terrorism, he said that promoting cultural and interreligious dialogue could shield communities from terrorism, while discrimination and xenophobia could fuel terrorism.

    CHARLES SABGA, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said that the international community should be clear that counter‑terrorism activities must be conducted with full respect for the protection afforded to all individuals by international law, in particular international humanitarian law and international human rights law.  That was also true for persons arrested and detained in connection with terrorism, including those designated as “foreign fighters”.  The detention of those individuals must always comply with international law and international humanitarian law.  The efforts undertaken to combat terrorism had also reinvigorated States’ discussion of the draft comprehensive convention to eliminate international terrorism.  Inasmuch as that draft might include armed conflicts in its scope of application, he said that it was essential to include a provision regulating that instrument’s relationship with international humanitarian law.

    Introduction to Report

    Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary‑General of the United Nations, said that the essence of Sustainable Development Goal 16 and its specific targets to promote the rule of law and ensure equal access to justice for all was “not only a self-evident objective, it was also catalytic to all the Goals”.  That included combating all forms of organized crime, strengthening relevant national institutions to prevent violence and promoting and enforcing non‑discriminatory laws.  However, there was no single model for rule of law development.  That principle required continued attention to keep pace with how societies and the international order were evolving.

    The Organization’s assistance to Member States would be aligned with the Secretary‑General’s ongoing reform agenda, including his call for the Organization to integrate a “preventive lens” into all aspects of its work, she continued.  Assistance had been provided to Afghanistan, the State of Palestine, and Somalia in their efforts to strengthen capable and accountable justice and security institutions.  In Jordan and Lebanon, where the influx of refugees had created tensions with host communities, the United Nations was supporting national authorities in increasing law enforcement capacities.

    She went on to say that rule of law must also focus on addressing issues such as climate change, migration, and violence against women and girls.  Other issues included conflicts of increasing complexity, forced mass displacement, trafficking and transnational organized crime.  Encouraging the Sixth Committee to reflect on how the United Nations could make its rule of law assistance more effective and coherent, she highlighted the establishment of the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections Areas in the Rule of Law in Post‑Conflict and Other Crisis Situations as an innovative working arrangement that involved no change in line management or creation of new structures.

    While recognizing that the Committee did not traditionally discuss work on peace operations, she noted that it was important to examine how to measure progress on the Organization’s rule of law support in peace operations contexts. It was necessary to improve the articulation of benchmarks during periods of transition to the United Nations country team.  It was also crucial to ensure that rule of law operations were sufficiently resourced and had close links with United Nations country team programmes.  As well, she asked the Committee to identify means of building durable partnerships, particularly with regional organizations and international financial institutions on the rule of law, adding that the Secretary‑General, in his first report on the principle, was “keen to engage in an open dialogue” with Member States on issues that affected the Organization’s ability to provide rule of law assistance.

    Statements on Rule of Law

    ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran), speaking for the Non‑Aligned Movement, underscored that it was crucial to maintain a balance in developing the national and international dimensions of the rule of law.  Several elements were essential in fostering international relations based on the rule of law, including the principle of sovereign equality of States and the fact that all States should equally comply with their obligations under both treaty and customary international law.  He also spotlighted the useful role that the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law played in strengthening the rule of law at the national and international levels.  That Programme provided legal scholarship of international law and contributed to the objective of promoting friendly relations among States.

    However, he expressed concern on the application of unilateral measures, and stressed their negative impact on the concept on an international platform.  No State or group of States had the authority to deprive other States of their legal rights for political considerations.  At the same time, there was a need for Member States to fully respect the functions and powers of each of the principal organs of the United Nations, and to maintain the balance among those organs within their Charter‑based functions and powers.  On the Rule of Law unit, he said that appropriate mechanisms should be established for Member States to stay abreast of that unit’s work as well as to ensure regular interaction between it and the General Assembly.  He also noted that there was no single agreed‑upon definition of the rule of law.  That fact should not only be taken into account in the preparation of reports, but also at the time of collecting, classifying and evaluating the quality of data on issues that were directly or indirectly related to the rule of law.

    MOHAMMED BESSEDIK (Algeria), speaking for the African Group, said dissemination of international law contributed to the strengthening of international peace and security and promoted friendly relations and cooperation among States.  The African Union Commission on International Law acted in that capacity, serving as an advisory organ of the Union.  Its establishment was guided by the importance of accelerating the continent’s socioeconomic development by promoting research in all fields.  It was also inspired by the common goal of strengthening and consolidating principles of international law.  The Commission was encouraging the teaching, study, publication and dissemination of literature on international law, especially laws of the Union, to promote acceptance and respect for principles of international law and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

    On a different level, the Asian‑African Legal Consultative Organization was a good example of the dissemination of international law to strengthen rule of law, he said.  The organ was an example of cooperation between two regions in exchanging views, experiences and information relating to international law.  The Consultative Organization, which participated in General Assembly sessions and work, could serve as a model for further cooperation between other regions.  Adding that the United Nations played a vital role promoting international law, he called on the Secretariat to explore further ways of disseminating those principles.  The United Nations also promoted international law through its Programme of Assistance.

    PENNELOPE ALTHEA BECKLES (Trinidad and Tobago), speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), underscored the importance of the International Criminal Court in promoting rule of law, encouraging respect for human rights and achieving sustainable peace and development.  Urging all States Parties who had not done so to ratify and fully implement the Rome Statute, she also said she looked forward to the General Assembly’s upcoming decision to activate the Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.  The International Court of Justice also had a vital role as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, given its valuable contribution in shaping international jurisprudence.

    Promoting rule of law at the international level was essential in achieving sustainable development and protecting mankind’s common heritage, she continued.  The Caribbean region remained highly vulnerable to the unprecedented rate of loss of marine biodiversity and impacts of unsustainable practices on the marine environment, especially in areas beyond national jurisdiction.  Given the importance of oceans for survival, it was imperative that urgent action was taken to address that matter.  The conclusion of a legally binding instrument to address existing regulatory and legal gaps and ensure ocean resources were conserved and managed was inextricably linked to the pursuit of justice and fairness for all.

    ANCA CRISTINA MEZDREA, speaking for the European Union delegation, said that respect for the rule of law was an essential condition and enabler for peace, stability and development.  Multilateral treaties played a key role in laying down common rules for all nations and in strengthening a rules‑based international system.  She commended the United Nations for strengthening accountability for international crimes, as well as for its activities in strengthening the rule of law at the national level, by supporting justice and security sector reforms and by endeavouring to reduce illicit flows of small arms.  She also welcomed the work of the Organization in its promotion of the rule of law at the international level, through the codification of an international legal framework, supporting international and hybrid courts and tribunals as well as other international accountability mechanisms.

    However, in regards to the recommendations made in the Secretary‑General’s report on regulations to affect Article 102 of the Charter, she noted that those regulations needed to be revised in order to modernize and adapt them to recent developments and realities.  She also commended the efforts of the Office of Legal Affairs and its specialized divisions to further disseminate international law to strengthen the rule of law, as well as the work of the Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law.

    SOVANN KE (Cambodia), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said promoting rule of law at the national and international levels was a globally shared objective, requiring consistency, predictability and foresight.  It was important to avoid selectivity and double standards in applying international law.  Monitoring mechanisms for multilateral treaties should be supported to promote accountability and transparency in implementing international obligations.

    He expressed full support for cutting waste and reducing inefficiencies, while improving the United Nations’ working methods, especially in the Treaty Section.  Also welcomed was constructive work to update relevant regulations related to the Secretary‑General’s role as depositary of multilateral treaties.  However, to enhance respect for rule of law at the national and international levels, national capacities must be strengthened.  It was also important to provide technical assistance, knowledge and skills‑based training as well as development support to Member States for national implementation of multilateral treaties.

    CARRIE MCDOUGALL (Australia), also speaking for Canada and New Zealand, stressed that “the rule of law must underpin our collective responses to global issues”.  Indeed, complex global challenges from terrorism to climate change, intractable conflicts and the ensuing humanitarian crises demanded global responses consistent with the principle, as well as international norms and agreements.  Calling for effective dissemination of international law — including through information sharing and capacity‑building — she highlighted efforts in the fields of international humanitarian law and accountability.  Calling on Member States to participate in the development of the rule of law, she urged the Committee to consider that issue — which was explicitly recognized in Sustainable Development Goal 16 — and expressed hope that it would be reflected in the rule of law resolution to be adopted this year.

    IB PETERSEN (Denmark), speaking for the Nordic countries (Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), said the interlinkages of climate change, environmental degradation and conflict were recognized as threats not only to peace but to social and economic development as well.  All responses to those global problems must be based on the rule of law.  It was both a principle of governance as well as an indispensable means for the achievement of such crucial goals as peace, equality and promotion of development.  Assisting justice systems worldwide in the dissemination of knowledge of international law, including human rights law, was crucial for strengthening the rule‑based order.  He also voiced support for the promotion of rule of law through multilateral and bilateral collaboration as well as through strategic partnerships.

    Fighting impunity and ensuring accountability for the most serious crimes was a fundamental pillar of the rule of law, he continued.  Impunity was not an option.  In that regard, the International Criminal Court was a court complementary to national jurisdictions.  Other mechanisms aimed at assisting in the fight against impunity included the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for the Syrian Arab Republic.  He urged Member States to support the Mechanism so that it could collect, save and categorize evidence for future investigations and trials.  All human beings had the right to be treated with dignity and respect afforded through the enjoyment of human rights and the rule of law, he said.

    JAN KICKERT (Austria), associating himself with the European Union, said that as the coordinator of the Group of Friends of the Rule of Law — which consisted of 50 delegations — he was pleased that the Secretary‑General had continued to place a high priority on the rule of law as a matter of system‑wide coordination.  He also commended the Secretary‑General’s call for a frank and open dialogue with Member States to reflect upon the effectiveness of the United Nations rule of law assistance.  A rules‑based international system with clear and predictable rules was an essential precondition for lasting peace, security, economic development and social progress.  The international community must work harder to ensure compliance with international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.  Accountability and the fight against impunity for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were central to rebuilding post‑conflict societies and ensuring lasting peace.

    CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said that challenges to peace and security called for a strengthening of the international legal order, and in that regard, he highlighted the significance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  Although the United Nations had developed a strong track record on accountability and criminal justice, significant impunity gaps remained.  The hopes for a dynamic and productive relationship between the Security Council and the International Criminal Court had largely gone unfulfilled, although the Secretariat and General Assembly had shown innovative and promising paths to accountability.  The creation of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism was the most recent illustration of the Assembly’s potential to play a productive role.  He echoed the call of the Secretary‑General to identify ways to improve the cost‑efficiency and financial sustainability of international accountability measures.  Compared to military interventions of peacekeeping missions, activities to ensure justice were inexpensive.

    AMIT HEUMANN (Israel) said that his country was comprised of many different cultural, religious and ethnic groups, and that diversity made it more important that democratic principles were guaranteed and upheld.  The principle of equality before the law was enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, as well in its basic law.  Israel’s commitment to both human rights and democracy received greater meaning when it was remembered that Israel had to defend itself against existential threats since its very inception.  His country’s commitment to the rule of law and to the security of its citizens had created difficult dilemmas and situations.  The careful consideration of security issues was evident from the volume of security matters that were brought before the country’s Supreme Court.

    DAMARIS CARNAL (Switzerland) said prosecuting international crime fell primarily within the purview of national judicial systems and, in accordance with the principle of complementarity, an international court should only intervene if a State was unable to prosecute those crimes.  Noting that it was therefore important to strengthen national jurisdictions, she said the Secretary‑General’s report identified points where United Nations action on the rule of law could be more effective, coherent and sustainable, and proposed that next year’s report contain more specific recommendations on how the Organization would assist Member States in strengthening the rule of law at the national level, in particular in conflict‑affected areas or fragile States.  It would also be useful to include a sub‑heading on that topic or on the points of the 2030 Agenda related to the rule of law, she said, also underscoring the importance of the International Criminal Court and calling on Burundi to reverse its decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute before it took effect on 27 October.

    HECTOR ENRIQUE CELARIE LANDAVERDE (El Salvador) said the United Nations had helped his country enact reforms in its justice sector, bringing about a tangible reduction in violence, all in strict compliance with El Salvador’s commitment to human rights.  Noting that the country had suffered from violence committed by criminal organizations seeking to destabilize the country — including by attacking judges and other officials — he said its strategy addressing those challenges was premised on security, prevention, the provision of support to victims of violence, and assistance to young people in avoiding becoming members of criminal gangs.  National security plans had been drafted by a committee bringing together various stakeholders, including the private sector, religious leaders and representatives of the international community.  Despite those efforts, the Secretary‑General’s report had listed his country as one where crimes and widespread human rights violations were committed by the State.  Strongly rejecting those claims, he stressed that the Government had put in place a framework to address any isolated cases where State agents acted outside the law, and that a system of internal checks and balances was in place.

    ELSADIG ALI SAYED AHMED (Sudan), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that the Secretary‑General’s report addressed the measures that should be taken to strengthen coordination related to the rule of law within United Nations activities.  His Government had made ongoing efforts to review national legislation to ensure that it was in line with international standards.  The rule of law at the national level was a domestic mission to be upheld by Governments.  The 2012 high-level meeting on the rule of law, notwithstanding the substance of the Declaration adopted at its completion, was a milestone in General Assembly discussions of the principle.  As well, the Programme of Assistance was a right step in the process to strengthen the rule of law.  He also called for programmes of technical assistance and capacity‑building to be doubled.  That would be particularly useful to developing States, where legal professions needed to keep pace with fast legal developments.

    VASSANA MOUNSAVENG (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said the absence of the rule of law was likely to cause chaos, disorder and social instability by allowing widespread crime, drug trafficking, corruption and human rights violations.  The Lao People’s Democratic Republic was a State party to over 900 relevant international treaties, conventions and agreements and had ratified, approved, accepted or acceded to more than 450 multilateral instruments related to the rule of law.  At the domestic level, it continued to pass new laws, and amend existing ones, in order to create conditions conducive to the implementation of international treaties and conventions.  For example, its National Assembly was considering a law, “Treaty and International Agreement”.  In addition to its Constitution, the country had put in place a number of sub‑laws including presidential decrees and ordinances.

    TEODORO LOPEZ LOCSIN, JR. (Philippines), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said international law was the “great equalizer” among States, giving voice to all nations with equal resonance regardless of their political, economic or military size.  Reaffirming his support to the Declaration adopted at the General Assembly’s 2012 high‑level meeting on the rule of law, he noted that international law conferred universality to national law and made it “intellectually and morally compelling” as well as effective and meaningful.  He went on to urge States to build a culture of the rule of law — including in educational systems and law schools — and said that, at the global level, countries should consider including private lawyers in their national delegations to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

    ALI BIN AHMAD AL-SULAITI (Qatar) said that while the international community had ratified treaties to create peace and stability, unfortunately crises and conflicts had persisted.  However, the reason hope also persisted was that, during those times, the international community never stopped promoting the rule of law.  On the basis of the international consensus over the Declaration of 2015 that restated the importance of the rule of law as a key instrument for conflict prevention and peacekeeping, reinforcing the principle was not a choice but a duty, he said.  It created an environment that promoted peace and security both at the international and national levels.  However, there could not be the rule of law without respect for dignity and human rights.  His Government was committed to the principle and continued to demonstrate that commitment at the national level.  Its institutions respected the rule of law and raised awareness of that matter in the community.  That was an essential means to promote justice and good governance, he said.

    Right of Reply

    The representative of Syria said the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism and the General Assembly resolution that established that Mechanism had not enjoyed consensus.  The resolution was adopted in a setting that lacked transparency.  Rather, it was a result of machinations by Liechtenstein and another State that sponsored it.  He challenged the members of the Sixth Committee to read document A/71/799, a letter that was sent by Syria to the Secretary‑General pointing out the legal shortcomings that were glaring in resolution 71/248 (2016).  Noting the “dangerous political objectives” of Liechtenstein and Qatar, he reminded Member States that 80 per cent of the voluntary funds that had been collected under that Mechanism had been disbursed by Qatar, which had supported terrorism in Syria.  Jabhat al‑Nusrah’s classification as a terrorist organization was something that needed to be reviewed by them, as it was not seen as a terrorist organization.  It was time for Qatar to stop using the United Nations to try and raise the profile of the activities of the Mechanism.  Rather, they should talk about money‑laundering in the gas and oil industries.  Money was laundered through Liechtenstein and arms were then purchased with that money to be used by terrorists in Syria.

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