As this is the first time, I am taking the floor let me begin by congratulating you as Chair and the Vice-Chairs on your appointment for this session of the Disarmament Commission.
We are pleased that the UNDC has managed to resume its work after four years without being able to meet.
Norway remains committed to working to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. Any use of nuclear weapons would have global ramifications and the humanitarian consequences would be catastrophic.
Norway remains committed to preventing an arms race in space in order to maintain it as a peaceful, safe, stable, secure and sustainable environment, accessible to all. Therefore, we support the establishment of an Open Ended Working Group on responsible state behaviour as proposed by the United Kingdom in 1st Committee.
We must never forget that ultimately disarmament is about protecting people’s lives.
The international security environment has been degrading for a long time. It took a sharp turn for the worse when the Russian Federation illegally invaded its peaceful neighbour Ukraine in February in blatant violation of international law, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
We condemn Russia’s attack against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. Russia must unconditionally withdraw its troops.
The war, and in particular the dangerous rhetoric on nuclear weapons, also jeopardizes positive developments we saw before the invasion.
The extension of New START and the establishment of a US-Russia strategic stability dialogue last year was highly welcome. We also welcomed the P5 joint statement in January, affirming that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.
The full implementation of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) remains an overarching goal, and we look forward to the 10th Review Conference of the NPT.
We must do our utmost to ensure that this Conference strengthens the Treaty along all three pillars.
Nuclear disarmament verification is essential for future arms reductions. Norway will continue its engagement in this area, including by chairing the UN expert group on verification of nuclear disarmament (GGE).
The first session of the GGE took place in February. We are pleased to note a substantial engagement in this work from an increasing number of states.
But we must do more to move the nuclear disarmament agenda forward. The Stockholm Initiative is well designed to advance the disarmament pillar of the NPT.
It has put forward concrete and action-oriented recommendations. We are hoping to mobilise broad support for this initiative, including from nuclear-weapon states.
A separate proposal from this group addresses the need for a broad range of nuclear risk reduction measures. This includes concerns about the devastating humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.
Norway will work to increase the focus on humanitarian consequences, in line with the consensus final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
The principle of irreversibility when implementing nuclear disarmament measures is broadly supported, but it lacks a unified understanding. Norway is working with the United Kingdom on a multilateral dialogue on how to apply the principle in practical terms. The aim is to increase confidence and predictability in disarmament processes.
We urge the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Progress must be made on the negotiation and conclusion of an effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
In addition to intensifying our efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and strategic stability, Norway will maintain its engagement in nuclear arms control.
We will also continue our efforts to promote gender equality and diverse participation in disarmament processes, and support initiatives to involve the younger generation in this work.