We would like to congratulate you, as well as other members of the Bureau, on your election as Chair of the First Committee and assure you of the full cooperation of the Latvian delegation. Latvia fully aligns itself with the statement delivered by Australia on behalf of the group of states. I would like to make the following remarks in a national capacity.
Latvia remains committed to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. The increasing threat posed by DPRK`s reckless nuclear and ballistic missiles tests is a serious reminder that States, more than ever, must remain united and uphold and fully implement previously agreed upon measures for nuclear disarmament. Latvia condemns, in the strongest terms, the DPRK's aggressive provocations and urges DPRK to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes fully, unconditionally and without delay.
Latvia strongly supports efforts aimed at strengthening the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) with its three equally important pillars is the cornerstone of these efforts. We should be cautious not to undermine the strategic importance of the Treaty.
The road ahead will be complex. As the fiftieth anniversary of the NPT is approaching, the global community is still faced with a multitude and increasing security challenges that should be addressed multilaterally. At the current security juncture a unified approach to proliferation and security threats is required more than ever. Diverging approaches is a luxury we cannot afford. Both nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states have to be on board.
Latvia strongly advocates the continuous implementation of the progressive approach to the nuclear disarmament taking into account the wider security context and strategic stability. The “building blocks” outlined in the NPT Action Plan 2010 are still relevant and Latvia urges their continued full and substantive step-by-step implementation. Practical progress through the high-level fissile material cut-off treaty expert preparatory group is a very encouraging step. We also look forward to the commencement of the work of the GGE on Nuclear Disarmament Verification.
Latvia places particular importance on promoting the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. This Treaty is an indispensable tool in our efforts to advance global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It is crucial to ensure that the nuclear tests conducted in the past are the last tests ever conducted. We continue to urge all states that have not yet done so to accede to and to ratify the Treaty.
Latvia welcomes the ongoing implementation by all parties of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and we reaffirm our longstanding support to it. The JCPOA is a major diplomatic achievement and important step forward in our joint disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.
In this regard, we would like to stress the importance of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Its safeguards system plays an essential role in the implementation of the non-proliferation obligations under the NPT. IAEA’s assistance to the Member States in ensuring the highest levels of safety and security to facilitate the peaceful use of nuclear energy should be underlined.
As stated before - it is of paramount importance that disarmament and non-proliferation commitments under existing treaties are honoured. In this regard, we also call on all Parties to ensure the full and verifiable implementation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Latvia remains deeply worried that one party has violated core provisions of the Budapest memorandum on security assurances to Ukraine. Such actions significantly erode the level of trust and undermine nuclear non-proliferation efforts.
I would like to conclude by reaffirming Latvia’s full support and commitment to the aforementioned instruments and initiatives that leads us to a safer world with undiminished security for all. Latvia is committed to contribute to a rules based international order, including through chairing the Nuclear Suppliers Group for the period of 2018-2019.