Category Archives: News

Kingdom Of Cambodia’s Independence Day

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I wish to extend congratulations to the people of Cambodia on the 65th anniversary of your independence on November 9.

The strong bond between the U.S. and Cambodian peoples benefits both our countries. Every year, more than 170,000 American tourists experience the beauty and history that Cambodia has to offer, while we in the United States enjoy the many contributions of our Cambodian-American community to the rich and diverse fabric of our society.

We share your hope for the development of a free, prosperous, democratic, and just society.

Speeches: Explanation Of Vote In The First Committee On Resolution: L.50, “No First Placement Of Weapons In Outer Space”

Deputy Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, United Nations, New York City

Conference on Disarmament

Conference on Disarmament

As Prepared for Delivery

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to deliver an explanation of vote on behalf of the United States, France and the United Kingdom on draft resolution L.50, “No first placement of weapons in outer space,” or “NFP.”

The United States, France and the United Kingdom look forward to continuing to engage constructively and pragmatically with other UN Member States in order to strengthen the safety, stability, security, and sustainability of outer space activities. The safety and security of the outer space environment is under threat and all nations must make progress on the development of effective transparency and confidence building measures. Our national experts are contributing to the ongoing work of the Group of Governmental Experts on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space. We also encourage all countries to take advantage of fora like the UN Disarmament Commission and the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) to make real progress on transparency and confidence-building measures — including the practical implementation of the 21 agreed COPUOS guidelines on the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

However, we believe that Russia’s NFP initiative contains a number of significant problems and that Russia’s military actions do not match their diplomatic rhetoric. First, the NFP initiative does not adequately define what constitutes a “weapon in outer space.” In space, any object with maneuvering capabilities can in theory be used for offensive purposes. Without a common understanding of what we mean by a space weapon, this resolution would increase mistrust or misunderstanding with regard to the activities and intentions of States.

Second, there are limits to what can be verified once a vehicle has been launched and the NFP initiative contains no features that would make it possible to effectively confirm a State’s political commitment “not to be the first to place weapons in outer space.”

Third, we cannot support the resolution with the reference to “shaping a community of shared future for mankind” in preambular paragraph 4. This phrase has been promoted by China to insert its own view of multilateralism and world geopolitics on the international system. None of us should support incorporating language targeting a domestic political audience into multilateral documents.

Finally, systems in space can also be damaged from earth; this resolution fails to address the near term threat from other types of anti-satellite weapons, for example, lasers or terrestrially-launched systems. These weapons further pose a serious threat to the space environment, perhaps leaving large amounts of dangerous debris in valuable orbits for hundreds of years – as in the case of just one single ASAT test in 2007.

All nations must take concrete steps to strengthen the safety, stability, and sustainability of space. The draft NFP resolution is not the right mechanisms for achieving these goals. Instead, our nations support the development of non-legally binding transparency and confidence building measures. These measures should be clear, practical and confirmable. Therefore, clarifying acceptable and unacceptable behavior would be important.

There are real threats to the outer space environment, but the NFP initiative is not the answer. Therefore, we intend to vote “No” in the full General Assembly.

Panama’s Independence Day

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I extend best wishes to the people of Panama as you celebrate 115 years of independence on November 3.

The United States and Panama share a special history of close ties, shared values, and mutual understanding. In my October trip to Panama, I reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to remaining steadfast partners and friends, collaborating to promote thriving and sustained economic growth, regional security, and strong democratic institutions. Panama is not just a key partner but also an increasingly strong regional leader, and the United States applauds Panama’s advocacy for democracy in the hemisphere. Let us work together, as we always have, to build on your regional leadership in these areas, shunning corruption and committing to transparency.

We look forward to many more years of friendship and cooperation between our two countries and celebrate with you on this special day.

Arms Control and International Security: Remarks At UN General Assembly First Committee Discussion On Conventional Weapons

U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament and U.S. Special Representative for Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) Issues, United Nations, New York City

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, the United States is a High Contracting Party to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and all of its Protocols. We view the CCW as an important instrument because it has brought together States with diverse national security concerns, but shared concern over certain threats that affect us all. In particular, the United States supported the outcome of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems in 2018. This GGE was successful and productive, despite some States’ efforts to politicize the discussions. States engaged in discussions on complex topics, heard presentations from military experts and adopted a substantive report that included ten possible guiding principles for future work on emerging technologies in the area of LAWS. We think it is important to continue to engage in these reality-based discussions.

Mr. Chairman, the United States continues to urge all Member States to implement fully the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons and the International Tracing Instrument. The third Review Conference of the PoA provided an opportunity to renew our shared commitments to ending the human suffering caused by the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. We must build upon the momentum of our hard work and focus our efforts on tackling the challenges Member States face in its full implementation. We should not create unattainable or unnecessary requirements, particularly those that are not within the scope of the PoA. Some Member States have already accomplished a great deal since the PoA was finalized in 2001. Yet, we have a long way to go to realize the achievement of our political commitments made more than 17 years ago. The United States remains committed to seeing the full implementation of the PoA, and will continue providing both financial and technical conventional weapons destruction assistance to combat illicit trafficiking.

Mr. Chairman, although it has been some time since the world has seen Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) used to bring down a civilian airliner, this significant threat remains. In furtherance of our efforts in seeing the full implementation of the PoA, the United States continues to work with partners to deter their illicit trafficking and use, including through training programs for border security forces, destruction of excess state-held stocks, and assisting with the mitigation of MANPADS threats near critical aviation sites such as international airports. Since 2003, the United States has cooperated with countries around the globe to destroy more than 38,000 excess, loosely secured, illicitly held, or otherwise at-risk MANPADS missiles, and thousands more launchers, in more than 40 countries.

Mr. Chairman, the United States strongly supports the UN Register of Conventional Arms. The Register pioneered international discussion of international transfers of conventional arms, and it remains the cornerstone of international efforts to address the problems arising from irresponsible transfers of such arms. The United States urges all States to report data on their international transfers of conventional arms, and to include data on transfers of small arms and light weapons alongside the traditional categories of heavy weapons.

Mr. Chairman, the United States is committed to ensuring that conventional arms are transferred in a responsible manner. To this end, the United States attended the meetings of the Working Groups and the fourth Conference of State Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty in Tokyo. Further, we have continued to satisfy our financial and reporting obligations and we encourage States Parties to do the same.

Mr. Chairman, the United States remains the world’s single largest financial supporter of conventional weapons destruction programs. We remain committed to providing assistance that reduces excess arms and ammunition from State-held stockpiles, improves stockpile security, and remediates landmines and explosive remnants of war in order to facilitate stability, security, and prosperity in countries recovering from conflict, and to prevent illicit small arms and light weapons proliferation. Since 1993 we have provided more than $3.2 billion in assistance to more than 100 countries through our conventional weapons destruction program, which covers both weapons and ammunition destruction and stockpile security, as well as humanitarian mine action. We remain committed to these programs, particularly as humanitarian mine action plays an increasing role in our effort to deliver rapid stabilization assistance in both post conflict and conflict zones.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Assistant Secretary Mitchell Travel To Minsk, Vilnius, And The Hague

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs A. Wess Mitchell will travel to: Minsk, Belarus; Vilnius, Lithuania; and the Hague, Netherlands from October 30 to November 2.

On October 30, he will arrive in Minsk, where he will meet with senior Belarusian officials to discuss U.S.-Belarusian cooperation on a range of global issues.

On October 31, Assistant Secretary Mitchell will travel to Vilnius, where he will meet with senior Lithuanian officials, including Foreign Minister Linkevicius and Defense Minister Karoblis, to discuss regional issues and the bilateral relationship.

Finally, on November 1 he will arrive in the Hague where he will meet with senior Dutch officials to discuss a range of issues including security cooperation and the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which will be co-hosted by the United States and the Netherlands in the Hague in June.

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