Active support for disarmament and non-proliferation in the UN

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This week, the First Committee of the UN General Assembly will consider almost 60 resolutions in the fields of disarmament, non-proliferation and international security. 'As in previous years, Norway is actively supporting several UN resolutions that aim to bring us closer to a world free of nuclear weapons,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

During this year's General Assembly, the resolutions on nuclear weapons have attracted considerable attention. This year's session in the First Committee looks set to be the most polarised for many years, due to resolutions that call for the launch of negotiations on a total ban on nuclear weapons.

'Norway shares other countries' sense of impatience when it comes to achieving concrete results in the work to reach the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, as set out in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In order to reach this goal, we need to see balanced and negotiated reductions in nuclear weapons arsenals, measures to reduce the significance of nuclear weapons in security policy, and long-term efforts towards achieving a ban. This requires the constructive involvement of all parties, not least the nuclear weapon states,' Mr Brende stressed.

A nuclear weapons ban is not compatible with Nato's Strategic Concept from 2010, which makes plain that Nato will remain a nuclear alliance as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world. The Strategic Concept also describes nuclear weapons as a key element in Nato's deterrence strategy. For that reason, Norway did not vote in favour of these resolutions. Nor did any other Nato member.

'In the light of the current security situation, we cannot afford to cast any doubt on Norway's relationship to Nato, and this will be crucial in deciding how Norway will vote in the UN. Norway will not vote in favour of resolutions worded in such a way as to include bans that would be incompatible with Norway's alliance obligations,' said Mr Brende.

In order to be able to address the humanitarian consequences and risks associated with nuclear weapons, is vital to involve all countries in a constructive way, including the nuclear weapon states. 'In line with the message from the Oslo Conference in March 2013, the humanitarian track we have been following so far has been to seek to build consensus between countries on a shared, fact-based understanding of the impact of nuclear detonations. Unfortunately, several of this year's resolutions are having a divisive effect, both in terms of their form and substance,' said Mr Brende.

'It is not correct to claim that Norway has changed its position on disarmament this year. On the contrary, it is my impression that other countries are now attempting to change the substance of the humanitarian initiative, so that it in reality becomes a matter of banning nuclear weapons. All countries, both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states, have a responsibility to work for joint solutions and compromises that can bring real, genuine disarmament. Norway will continue its broad engagement to promote disarmament with this in view,' said Mr Brende.