Statement by

His Excellency Dr Mohamed Asim, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives

High-level plenary meeting convened by the President of the General Assembly to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

26 September 2017

Mr. President,

It is an honour to take the floor at this important meeting to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to you, Mr President, for convening the discussion and to the Secretary General for the commitment he has shown in eliminating nuclear weapons.

The annual observance of this International Day is important to raise awareness on the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the absolute necessity for the total elimination of these dangerous weapons. The International Day reminds us of the death and destruction that it can cause, the long- term damage to the environment, climate, human health, sustainable development, and most importantly, for international peace and security.

We are witnessing an increased pace in the development of more and more dangerous weapons, rapid increase in conventional weapons, and growing risk of a nuclear detonation, accidental or intentional. The risk of nuclear weapons reaching terrorist groups is even higher. It is therefore time that both the nuclear weapon States and the non-nuclear weapon States collaborate to ensure first of all, to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons technologies, second, a complete ban on nuclear weapons tests, and third, eliminate all the nuclear weapons.

The most recent tests of ballistic missiles by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are clear violations of international law and an unnecessary act of provocation. We condemn these reckless actions. We urge the DPRK to return to dialogue and to engage constructively in the multilateral platform. We also call upon the international community to redouble the efforts to find a just and fair solution to this crucial issue.

Mr President,

the Achieving global nuclear disarmament is one of the oldest goals of the United Nations. It was the subject of the General Assembly's first resolution in 1946. Yet, today the world still possesses 15,000 nuclear weapons. This is an alarming reminder that our actions have not been as progressive as our discussions towards nuclear disarmament. While destroying nuclear warheads is not easy, it is possible, nonetheless. It is a moral imperative and a developmental imperative. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda calls into question the large amount of money that some countries spend on nuclear weapons. Every dollar we spend on weapons of mass destruction, can be better spent on social and economic development. That is the wise decision, and that is the smart decision, too.

The Maldives applauds the monumental adoption, on 7 July 2017, of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons following the United Nations Conference to Negotiate Legally-Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, leading to their total elimination. The Treaty is the most important pledge that the international community has made in the relentless pursuit of a nuclear-free world.

Mr. President,

As a country that has never produced any armaments or any weaponry of any type, the Maldives' call today is purely a moral one, in the strengthening and enforcement of a global non-proliferation and disarmament regime. In this regard, the Maldives has ratified the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and also is a Party to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

The Maldives also strongly advocates for the establishment of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace, in line with the Resolution 2832 adopted by the General Assembly in 1971.   It is our desire that through cooperation among countries of the Indian Ocean, we will be able to maintain the region as a zone of peace.

Mr President,

Total elimination of nuclear weapons continues to be a virtuous ambition, even after seventy-two years since the inception of this Organization and since the first nuclear bombs were first unleashed upon humanity. We are more confident than ever that the world can achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons, if we remain genuinely committed to take concrete steps to make our world free of nuclear weapons.

I thank you.