UN Ambasador of Poland and WMD's

Last year, Ambassador Witold Sobków of Poland accepted our invitation to join our local business community at the breakfast meeting.   As Permanent Representative at the UN since 2010,  he sits on several committees and has played a key role in the strategy and planning of Poland's foreign policy. Early in his career, he spent years lecturing at Warsaw University and more recently he enjoyed a stint as the Polish Ambassador to Ireland.

In May of  2011, in New York, the Permanent Missions of Japan, Poland and Turkey, in co-operation with the Washington-based think-tank "The Stimson Center" organized a seminar on promotion of WMD-related non-proliferation measures in the context of relevant activities undertaken within United Nations and following commitments resulting from the relevant Security Council resolutions. The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, addressed the seminar.  

UN Secretary-General with Permanent Representatives of Poland and Turkey
The Ambassadors of the Permanent Missions of
 Japan,  Poland, and Turkey at the seminar.
Below is the statement delivered by Ambassador Witold Sobków: Promoting the Global Instruments of Nonproliferation and Disarmament: The United Nations and the Nuclear ChallengeNew York, 31 May 2011 Ambassador Witold Sobków, Permanent Representative of Poland to the UN
Opening remarks:
Why New York?
The UN Headquarters in New York is a unique place. It gathers all representatives of the international community. Together with Geneva and Vienna it constitutes a unique chain of international cooperation in the sphere of non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear energy. Last year in New York we managed to reach an important agreement at the NPT Review Conference. Each year we gather in this city to participate in the General Assembly's First Committee and in the UN Disarmament Commission. The issues related to SCR 1540 are also discussed in New York. We remember and fully support the five point proposal of the SG on nuclear disarmament.
In his latest statements, the UN Secretary-General encourages us to look at disarmament in a broader political context of maintaining global security. We wish to promote that call from Mr. Ban Ki-Moon and to highlight multilateralism as the main concept in the sphere of international peace and security. We also wish to support consensus as the main instrument to promote effective disarmament and non-proliferation. Without consensus, the international community will not be able to achieve its final objective: a world free of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Unanimity is not a gift. It is a result of hard work conducted as broadly as possible. A true consensus requires multilateral participation.
The recent developments clearly show the existence of global understanding that WMD proliferation and WMD terrorism pose a serious threat to international security.
The United Nations shall therefore become a global, multilateral platform for facilitating, coordinating and enhancing cooperation against WMD proliferation and WMD terrorism. The United Nations should aim at building a new quality of co-operation and creating synergies between a wide range of different stakeholders including governments, NGOs and relevant industries. By incorporating the wide range of actors operating on subregional, regional and international levels the United Nations could provide a holistic approach to disarmament and non-proliferation of WMD.
I hope that this seminar will be a kind of kick-off for discussion on the role of UN in that regard.
Why our countries?
Let me draw your attention to the fact that from the UN Member States it is Japan, Turkey and Poland that are organizers of this event. The historical, friendly ties between our countries have become even stronger in recent years. The co-operation has increased and it covers also strategic issues, including the topic of our gathering today. Our countries share the views on the current status of affairs in the sphere of non-proliferation and disarmament. We co-operate at various international fora, both formal (like the UN or the OPCW) and informal (the NPDI - Non-proliferation and Disarmament Initiative), to implement the vision of a WMD-free world.
Why Poland?
Poland attaches utmost importance to the non-proliferation and disarmament. We believe that only by taking steps in both these areas the international community will eventually realise an idea of WMD-free world. Today's seminar is a natural consequence of this attitude.
Poland actively supports actions aimed at decreasing the danger posed by nuclear weapons and creating conditions for a world free of these weapons. We are a strong advocate of raising the issue of tactical nuclear weapons on the European continent. We cannot avoid addressing this problem, if we want to get closer to achieving the goal of "Global Zero". In the post-Cold War world it is hard to find justification for maintaining large arsenals of tactical nuclear weapons. Therefore, we support the inclusion of these kinds of weapons into general arms control processes.
Non-proliferation and promotion of relevant instruments in this sphere is one of the key priorities of my country. We understand that for many states the need for implementation of different international commitments, like the 1540 Resolution, does not seem to be the most pressing issue. Having been involved in the implementation of the 1540 provisions from the outset in 2004, Poland has found out that no special funds and structures are needed. The necessary tools are already there - in respective national agencies, like the Customs or the Border Guards. There is only a need to identify them and broaden their scope so they can address non-proliferation challenges for each country. I am particularly glad that during today's seminar we will be discussing the most efficient ways to implement relevant non-proliferation mechanisms.
The UN faces ups and downs in the sphere of non-proliferation and disarmament. The success of the NPT Review Conference is confronted with the impasse in the Conference on Disarmament. More efforts are needed to create conditions for breaking through the non-proliferation and disarmament agenda. I hope that today's event will add a positive spirit to the ongoing discussions related to the goal of "Global Zero".