Statement by H.E. Dr. R. M. Marty M. Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs Republic of Indonesia, At the High-level Segment of the Plenary Meeting of The 2012 Session of the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 28 February 2012

February 28, 2012 Disarmament

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament,
Distinguished Delegates,


It is indeed a pleasure for me to address the Conference on Disarmament at its 2012 Session today.

As the Conference is the world’s single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament, Indonesia recognizes its importance to our common vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.

I therefore wish to start by reiterating Indonesia’s support to the work of the Conference.

And for the overall cause of disarmament and non-proliferation.

This is not an easy task, as exemplified by the many challenges facing this Conference in the discharge of its important mandate.

Challenges that at the moment may seem to impede the Conference in making further progress.

Yet, Indonesia comes to this meeting with a clear message: that progress is possible.

That inaction is not an option. And that we need to be part of the solution. To transform challenges into opportunities.

Indonesia’s own experience testifies to this.

That with strong political will, we can find ways and means to move the process forward.

This is exemplified, among others, by Indonesia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) on 6 December 2011.

By ratifying the Treaty, Indonesia once again affirmed its longstanding commitment to global nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

A commitment that is total and absolute.

Indonesia has thus increased the number of States that have ratified the Treaty to 156. Eight more ratification from Annex II Countries, and the Treaty will come into force.

I therefore invite all the remaining Annex II Countries to lead by example by starting their ratification processes.

Aside from ratifying the Treaty, Indonesia has also strived to contribute more. Not only at the national level but also at the regional level – and involving Nuclear Weapon States.

Late last year, under Indonesia’s chairmanship, ASEAN member States concluded negotiations with the Nuclear Weapon States on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ).

This breakthrough came after more than 10 years of negotiations.

As a result, we have cleared the way for the Nuclear Weapon States’ accession to the Protocol of the SEANWFZ.

We commend other ASEAN member States and the Nuclear Weapon States for their constructive engagement with one another throughout the process.

This is clear proof that progress is possible through intensive dialogue, constructive engagement, and mutual commitment.

In the same spirit, Indonesia continues to encourage the discussions among countries in the Middle East to establish a similar regional arrangement towards a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone in the Middles East region.

We believe that such an arrangement will be a significant contribution, not only to the cause of global disarmament but also to confidence building and efforts to achieve sustainable peace in the Middle East.

Distinguished Delegates,

In spite of the many challenges facing the Conference, Indonesia remains optimistic.

After all, the Conference already has some historic achievements to its credit.

It was here that the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), and the CTBT were first considered and negotiated.

We need to revive this spirit of achievement.

In this regard, I wish to recall two important points that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, cited at the opening of this session of the Conference:

That this year, the Conference will be under the spotlight as never before.

And that we member States of the Conference should not sit idly while the Conference declines into irrelevance.

Let me now offer some thoughts on how to move the process forward.

First, political will is imperative.

And if we want to strengthen political will, the key is to build mutual confidence and to address the trust deficit.

Every country has the responsibility to create conditions conducive to the emergence of true dialogue amongst us.

Second, the global pursuit of disarmament and non-proliferation should be inclusive.

It should be part of the global public discourse. It must be nurtured at the grassroots level. It must be given due attention by the general public, civil society, and the media.

So we can work with all elements of society to achieve our vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

Third, all Nuclear Weapon States must demonstrate, in concrete ways, their commitment to disarmament.

We encourage them to make this important political investment.

On the part of non-Nuclear states, we all have the responsibility to exert our utmost to bridge our differences. To lead by example.

Fourth, steps must be taken to revitalize the Conference and strengthen its mechanism.

It is imperative that the Conference resume its original function as the world’s sole multilateral body for negotiating disarmament treaties.

At the same time, we need to place it within the context of a changing world.

Hence, we need to devise innovative approaches to make possible the resumption of meaningful negotiations.

In this regard, Indonesia believes that the following steps are necessary.

The Conference must adopt a balanced and comprehensive Programme of Work.

The convening of the Fourth Special Session on Disarmament at the earliest feasible time warrants positive consideration.

We also see the merit to establish an ad-hoc committee on nuclear disarmament.

We need to start negotiations on a phased programme, including a Nuclear Weapons Convention, for complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified timeframe.

And we need to make the process more inclusive, through possible expansion of the membership of the Conference and possible participation of civil society and NGOs in that process.

Distinguished Delegates,

Indonesia believes that implementation of the four points I just mentioned will enable the Conference to advance negotiations on a number of vital undertakings.

These include a Nuclear Weapons Convention, Negative Security Assurances, a Treaty Banning the Production of Fissile Materials for nuclear weapons, and the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space.

Let me now to briefly highlight a few more issues of particular importance.

We wish to reiterate the need to respect the right of States Parties to the NPT to pursue peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

And the importance of ensuring nuclear safety and security.

Apart from these, Indonesia is also committed to addressing other issues of disarmament in a non-discriminatory manner.

These include the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Small Arms and Light Weapons Programme of Action, and the Arms Trade Treaty.

And the need to respect all inherent rights of States equitably, including their territorial integrity, in future negotiations toward the Arms Trade Treaty.

Distinguished Delegates,

As long as even a single nuclear weapon exists, humankind remains in danger of a possible nuclear catastrophe – by design or by accident.

Hence, we must act now.

The future of this Conference is in the hands of its member States.

We cannot allow the world at large to fall hostage to our inability to make progress.

Let me affirm once again that progress is possible.

Through shared commitment, intensive dialogue, and constructive engagement, we can all be part of the solution.

Let us therefore work together to ensure that the Conference move forward in its Programme of Work.

So that the Conference can fulfil its mandate: to translate into reality our shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.

A safer world for all humankind.

Thank you.