Mr. Bayani Mercado, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary for United Nations and Other International Organizations (UNIO) and Head of the Philippine Delegation to the UN Conference
30 March 2017 NEW YORK — Reaffirming its unequivocal commitment to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons, the Philippines pledged to participate actively in the ongoing UN conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument that “will finally put all nuclear weapons of the world on the path of extinction.”
The Philippines also called out Member States, including those that possess the world’s largest nuclear weapons arsenals, for deciding not to participate in the conference.
“The aim of the conference complements their own — of a nuclear-weapons-free world. The onus is on them to demonstrate to the world that they remain committed to their own cause of nuclear disarmament,” underscored Mr. Bayani Mercado, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary for United Nations and Other International Organizations (UNIO) and Head of the Philippine Delegation to the UN Conference.
Citing that nuclear weapons pose a real and imminent threat to the survival of the human race, Assistant Secretary Mercado stressed that there will never be a better time than now to take the important step to ban them. He also emphasized that the instrument to be negotiated will strengthen the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which identifies nuclear disarmament as one of its pillars. The conference is an opportunity to change the course of the disarmament process that has failed to produce any meaningful progress in more than a decade.
Assistant Secretary Mercado, who also spoke on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), currently chaired by the Philippines, cited the Bangkok Treaty that created the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) as ASEAN’s most important contribution to the global aspiration of a nuclear-weapons-free world. ASEAN called on participating states to keep the focus on the goal and to work together in the spirit of mutual understanding, solidarity and transparency.
The conference was mandated by UN General Assembly resolution 71/258 adopted on December last year, to produce a legally binding instrument that would outlaw nuclear weapons and provide for their total elimination over a period of time, provide for a verification system; create a Secretariat at the appropriate time to monitor implementation of the treaty; and provide for assistance to enable States to meet their obligations.
The conference will meet from March 27 to 31 and from June 15 to July 07 in New York.