Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mexico at UN: On Middle East & Disarmament

The following is drawn from the position paper that Mexico presented to the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, which opened on September 17, 2013. The paper addresses a wide range of issues; our selections focus on its position on the Middle East and questions of disarmament:

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Peace in the Middle East is still an unresolved issue on the global agenda and it needs the utmost attention of the UN and the international community. Mexico supports a comprehensive peace that addresses the many intricacies and conflicts that affect this complex region through the use of dialogue and negotiation with full respect for international law and the human rights of all of its inhabitants.

Regarding the situation in Palestine, Mexico will continue to promote the two-State solution, Israel and a Palestinian State, both politically and economically viable, which exist side by side within secure and internationally-recognized borders, in accordance with the UN resolutions. In this regard, Mexico stresses that international law and international humanitarian law rules must be observed at all time and under any circumstance by all parties in the conflict.
Mexico has condemned the continued expansion of the Israeli settlements, as well as the demolition of Palestinian homes and the evictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as acts contrary to international law that undermine the chance of  peace and affect the viability of a Palestinian State. Our country urges the parties to resume direct negotiations.

Elsewhere, regarding the delicate situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, Mexico strongly condemns the violence against the civilian population and strongly deplores the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance and by any actor. It constitutes a violation of international law and international humanitarian law, and, as such, a war crime. Mexico has emphasized the importance and urgency it is for the international community to get involved and put a stop to the violence and suffering experienced by the Syrian people during the conflict, which has lasted for two and a half years. It has reiterated that the search for a solution in Syria must conform to the principles and provisions of the UN Charter, especially those regarding the right to the use of force. Mexico supports the recent diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful political solution to the Syrian crisis, particularly the framework agreement between the United States and Russia on the elimination of chemical weapons.
Mexico is convinced that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Syria. Therefore, Mexico favors a peaceful political solution and fully agrees with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the need to convene an international convention in Geneva, as soon as possible, with representatives from both the Syrian government and the opposition groups, to follow up on the process begun in June 2012.

Mexico is convinced that the Security Council is the only body enabled to legally authorize the use of force in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
The prohibition of the use of force and the peaceful settlement of disputes are the core Constitutional principles that guide our foreign policy, and we must act accordingly. Mexico believes that any use of force without prior authorization from the United Nations is outside of the principles and purposes of the UN and must be avoided. . . .

On UN Security Council Reform
Mexico will continue to support the comprehensive reform of the UNSC and will continue to participate actively and constructively in intergovernmental negotiations on this issue within the General Assembly. Mexico will continue encouraging a substantive discussion based on the compromise proposal for reform of the Council that bridges the various positions and has the broadest possible agreement of the Member States.

This proposal is based only on expanding the non-permanent membership to achieve an equitable geographic representation and a reform of the UNSC’s working methods to make them more transparent, effective, and efficient. Mexico opposes increasing the number of permanent members of the Council; this would not make the UNSC more democratic, transparent or accountable.
On Disarmament and International Security

In view of the catastrophic consequences in the aftermath of the use of atomic and hydrogen bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the first resolution adopted by the UNGA was on nuclear disarmament. Since there are already prohibitions against biological and chemical weapons, Mexico gives the highest priority to the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
It is estimated that there are currently 17,270 nuclear weapons still in existence around the world, of which about 4,400 are on high alert, that is, ready to be detonated. The expense of manufacturing and maintaining nuclear weapons is notoriously disproportionate to what is spent on development. Total military expenditure has reached 1.75 trillion dollars annually. Just nine countries spend 100 billion dollars a year, or almost 300 million dollars a day, on nuclear weapons.

Mexico believes that nuclear weapons should be evaluated from a humanitarian perspective that takes into account both the short- and long-term global effects on the population, health, environment and development. Mexico will hold a second conference on this issue on February 13 – 14, 2014.
For Mexico, the only guarantee that the international community has against the harm, the humanitarian, environmental, food-supply, economical and developmental crises of a nuclear detonation is the total and complete elimination of nuclear weapons. It is therefore essential that 21st-century society understands the devastating short and long-term damage this type of weapon would cause to humanity, so a preventive approach may prevail and nuclear weapons are never used again.

Mexico will be attentive to proposals that give impetus to the multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament, which have been paralyzed for 17 years. In 2012, at the initiative of Mexico, alongside with Austria and Norway, the UNGA created an Open-Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament for all UN Member States, international organizations and civil society. The Group met three times in Geneva in 2013 and will present its proposals on how to advance the multilateral negotiations to achieve and sustain a world without nuclear weapons.
Mexico will present the following resolutions on this topic:

“Consolidation of the Regime Established in the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean” (Treaty of Tlatelolco). Mexico presents this resolution every three years. The General Assembly recognizes the historic contribution made by the Treaty of Tlatelolco to the nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation regime and the work done by the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Accelerating the Implementation of the Nuclear Disarmament Commitments.” This resolution is presented annually by Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa, the members of the New Agenda Coalition (NAC). This is the only resolution in which the General Assembly addresses in detail the commitments adopted by the nuclear-weapons States as part of their obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

“Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty” This resolution is presented annually with Australia and New Zealand. The UNGA calls for the entrance into force of the CTBT as a key step towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) Mexico recently reaffirmed its historic position on achieving general and complete disarmament in the world by signing the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on April 2, 2013. This represents an unprecedented achievement in controlling arms transfers and is the result of complex negotiations begun in 2006, in which Mexico played an active role, pushing for the highest standards for regulating transfers of conventional weapons.

For Mexico, adopting the treaty is only the first step. It signed the ATT on June 3, 2013, the first day it opened for signature, making clear its commitment to fully implement its provisions. The Senate approved ratification of the treaty on September 18, and the Decree of Approval was published in the Official Journal of the Federation on September 20. Foreign Secretary José Antonio Meade will deposit the instrument of ratification in the United Nations on September 25, presenting at the same time a declaration of provisional implementation of Articles 6 and 7 of the treaty until its entry into force in accordance with Article 23 of the ATT.

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