Statement by Ambassador Sven Jürgenson at General Debate of the UNGA 76th Session of the First Committee

Thank you Mr. Chair,

Estonia aligns itself with the statement of the European Union. In addition, allow me to highlight some issues in our national capacity.

The First Committee takes place in a challenging security environment. Some states have disregarded long-standing core principles of international law, are violating their international obligations, and are not complying with relevant international mechanisms.

Against this background, Estonia welcomes the five-year extension of the New START Treaty by the United States and the Russian Federation. We hope the ongoing Strategic Stability Dialogue will lead to broader follow-on agreements, which would cover and limit various types of nuclear weapons, and have strong, effective and credible verification mechanisms. Preserving and further advancing general arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation processes is of crucial importance. We call on China to contribute to these processes actively.

The Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons remains the cornerstone of global efforts to pursue nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy. Approaching the Review Conference, we have to do our utmost to ensure its successful outcome. Estonia shares the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons and continues to advocate for the Progressive Approach, pursued in a realistic and responsible way.

On the 25th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Estonia regrets that it is still to enter into force. We urge all States, particularly Annex II countries, to sign and ratify the Treaty without further delay.

Estonia fully supports the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. We strongly urge Iran to stop all actions inconsistent with the JCPOA and return to collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency. We call on Iran to return to negotiations in Vienna without further delay and with a view for their swift and successful conclusion.

The determination of the DPRK to advance its weapons technology, including its ambition to develop missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads is a matter of grave concern. The DPRK must abandon its weapons of mass destruction programme in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, in line with its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions.

Estonia strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons in recent years in Syria, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Russia. The assassination attempt on Alexei Navalny in Russia is a stark reminder of the threat chemical weapons pose. Any use of chemical weapons must be fully and transparently investigated. Those responsible must be held accountable. Estonia also reiterates its full confidence in the professionalism, impartiality and independence of the OPCW Technical Secretariat and its investigative mechanisms.

Mr Chair, in recent years we have seen a dramatic increase in the frequency and sophistication of malicious incidents in cyberspace. We must therefore continue to take steps to maintain an open, free and secure cyberspace. The successful consensus outcomes of both the latest UN Group of Governmental Experts and the Open-Ended Working Group reaffirmed the normative framework for responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, notably the applicability of existing international law. Converting the recommendations of the reports into action is now a major goal for the international community. In this regard, Estonia supports the establishment of a permanent, inclusive and action-oriented Programme of Action process. Estonia also looks forward to participating constructively in the newly established Open-Ended Working Group.

As an elected member of the UN Security Council for 2020-21, Estonia demonstrates its long-term commitment to take more responsibility in promoting international peace and security.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.