INTERVENTION OF THE RIO GROUP

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                        INTERVENTION OF THE RIO GROUP,
                    DELIVERED BY THE DELEGATION OF MEXICO,
                IN THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE FIRST COMMITTEE

                                                             New York, October 6, 2008.

I have the honor to make this statement on behalf of the members of the Rio Group:
Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru,
the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and my
country, Mexico.

The Rio Group welcomes Ambassador Marco Antonio Suazo, Deputy Permanent
Representative of Honduras, as President of the First Committee and is pleased for
having, in this occasion, a member of our region leading the work of this committee. The
Rio Group expresses its support to Ambassador Suazo and its commitment to
contribute in a positive manner to the results of our deliberations. We would also like to
express our appreciation to Ambassador Paul Badji, for the manner in which he
conducted the work of the Committee.

Mr. Chairman,

The countries of the Rio Group have a long tradition of commitment to disarmament
topics, which are among our priorities within the United Nations, because we recognize
that disarmament is an essential component of efforts to maintain international peace
and security.

The Rio Group has seen with concern that in recent years the disarmament machinery
has made small progress in some areas and has remained stagnant in others. Faithful
to its commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation, the Rio Group supports the
work of the Disarmament Commission led by Ambassador German Mundarain from the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and supports the work of the Commission on
Disarmament and of the Open-ended Working Group to consider the objectives and
agenda, including the possible establishment of the preparatory committee, for the
fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (SSOD-IV).
Notwithstanding the limited progress reached at the end of the Disarmament
Commission’s three years cycle and in the work to convene the SSOD-IV, the Rio
Group will continue working towards common positions that allow progress in these
processes. In particular, we hope that in considering the agenda of the Disarmament
Commission for the next cycle, consultations and exchange of points of view take place
in a transparent manner.

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Mr. Chairman:

The Rio Group has shown a long and sustained commitment to the objectives of
nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Our region, Latin America and the
Caribbean, was the first densely populated nuclear-weapon-free zone established by
the Treaty of Tlatelolco in 1967. As States parties to the Treaty, we urge nuclear-
weapon States to withdraw the interpretative statements made at the time of their
accession to its protocols. The Rio Group also renews its commitment to support the
establishment and extension of nuclear-weapon-free zones in other parts of the world.

The Rio Group expresses its deep concern about the threat posed to humanity and to
the environment by the existence of nuclear weapons and doctrines of strategic defense
that envisage the accumulation, development and use of these weapons. The Rio
Group calls for the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons and of all military
nuclear programs.

The Rio Group is committed to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
(NPT) and urges all States that have not yet done so to accede to it as non-nuclear-
weapons States. The three pillars of the NPT –non proliferation, disarmament and
peaceful use-- have equal importance, and unconditional progress should be made on
all three, taking into account all the interests of the international community. Therefore,
we should not ignore the need to make progress on disarmament and to implement the
13 practical steps agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference. In particular, we stress
the need for nuclear-weapon States to fulfill their commitment to the complete
elimination of nuclear weapons.

The Rio Group notes with satisfaction that there has been progress in the preparation
for the 2010 NPT Review Conference. We stress the importance of establishing
subsidiary organs in the main committees of the Conference to consider, among other
topics, practical measures to achieve the systematic and progressive elimination of
nuclear weapons; as well as negative security assurances.

The Rio Group reaffirms the only and absolute guarantee against the use or the threat
of use of nuclear weapons is the total elimination of these weapons and that non-
nuclear-weapon States should receive effective guarantees from the nuclear-weapon
States to that effect. Therefore, the Group calls for the conclusion, at the earliest
possible date, of a universal, unconditional, and legally binding instrument on negative
security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States.

The Rio Group encourages the negotiations on the denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula and expresses its hope that this process can bring to the creation of a stable
and peaceful environment. The Rio Group values the work made by the International
Atomic Energy Agency in this denuclearization process.




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The Rio Group considers that all States parties should fully comply with every article of
the NPT, without prejudice to their right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful
purposes. In this context, the Group reaffirms the inalienable right of developing States
to participate in research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,
without discrimination. Our Group favors the broadest possible exchange of equipment,
materials and scientific and technological information for peaceful uses of nuclear
energy.

In the field of AIEA safeguards, the Rio Group stresses the importance to reach broader
international support for the system, by the signing and subsequent ratification of this
type of agreements. The Rio Group underlines that safeguards are a fundamental tool
the international community has for preventing deviation of nuclear technologies and
materials to activities that go against the spirit and purpose of the NPT.

The Rio Group reiterates its support for negotiations, without preconditions, on an
international treaty prohibiting the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and
other explosive devices, including an international verification regime.

The Rio Group supports the speedy entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-
Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), for the Group is convinced that it would limit the qualitative
and quantitative development of nuclear weapons. In this regard, the Group expresses
its satisfaction for the ministerial meeting of States Parties to the CTBT that was held in
New York, in the framework of the General debate of the 63rd General Assembly, and
the regional meeting on the CTBT that took place in San Jose, Costa Rica, on 29 and
30 last September, as an effort to achieve the early entry into force of the treaty. The
Group reiterates its esteem to the Provisional Technical Secretariat for the work it has
done to ensure the Treaty’s prompt ratification, especially by those countries that have
difficulties in doing so, despite supporting its letter and spirit.

The Rio Group welcomes the ratification by Colombia of Annex II to the NPT, Annex II
which ratification is required for the Treaty to enter into force, and acknowledges
Colombia's efforts to find a way to take this step, notwithstanding the legal difficulties for
doing so. In this regard, the Rio Group calls upon all States in Annex II that have not yet
ratified the treaty, to do so as a sign of the political will and commitment to international
peace and security.


Mr. Chairman:

The total elimination of chemical and biological weapons should also be a disarmament
priority, since these weapons, like nuclear weapons, are weapons of mass destruction.
The Rio Group reminds all that none of its members possesses any of these weapons.
The Group also considers that the universalization of the Chemical Weapons
Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is of the utmost
importance. These instruments have broad international support. In this regard, we
hope the Parties Meeting that will take place in December 2008 will have positive
results.

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The Rio Group is concerned about the signs of an arms race in the outer space, and
underlines the importance for the Conference of Disarmament to start its substantive
work on the prevention of an arms race in the outer space. The Group also underlines
the importance to strictly observe the existing legal regime on the utilization of the outer
space, and to recognize the common interest of all humankind in the exploration and
use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

The illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons is a grave problem, which deserves
special attention of the international community, due to the large numbers of deaths
caused in our region and in other parts of the world. In this regard, the Rio Group
attaches particular importance to the Programme of Action, central tool of a global
character and point of reference to determine measures to prevent, to combat and to
eliminate the illegal trade of small arms and light weapons in all its aspects.

The Rio Group expresses its satisfaction for the III Biennial Meeting of States Parties,
which took place last July in this city in the framework of the Programme of Action, and
for the adoption of a report as its result. We underline the importance to work in the
implementation of its recommendations and to establish a follow-up mechanism to the
Programme. .In this context, the Group underlines the importance to make progress in
examining the issue of ammunitions, for it is linked to the illicit trade in small arms and
light weapons.

The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects is a problem that
deeply affects a majority of the developing countries, yearly causes many victims, and
takes many resources that could be channeled to development.

We consider it is important to keep working at the multilateral level, and to make
progress in the adoption of legally binding instruments on Marking, Tracking and Illicit
Brokering and in the implementation of those already agreed upon, with the goal of
reaching legally binding instruments of broad participation in the field, as a natural
development of the Programme of Action.

Lastly, the Group expresses its willingness to keep working in the adoption of joint
mechanisms, which could contribute to a coordinated effort against the scourge of the
illicit trade in small and light weapons in all its aspect.

The matter of common international norms on the import, export and transfer of
conventional arms is very important to our Group. This 63 rd regular session of the
General Assembly will examine the Report of the Group of Governmental Experts
established in accordance with GA resolution 61/89, which must be duly discussed by
member states.




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The Rio Group supports international efforts to reduce the suffering caused by cluster
munitions and for their use against civil populations, in violation of Humanitarian
International Law, and in this regard we take note of the holding of the Dublin Diplomatic
Conference on cluster munitions that was held last May. We also reiterate the
importance of fully implementing all the provisions of the Convention on Prohibitions or
Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be
Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW), including its protocols.


Mr. Chairman:

The problems related to anti-personnel mines continue to demand a lot of attention from
the international community. The Rio Group recognizes the value of the Ottawa
Convention and the assistance of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and
of the Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines (AICMA) programme of the
Organization of American States (OAS), and its members are committed to make the
hemisphere a free zone of anti-personnel mines. The Rio Group stresses the
importance of cooperation in de-mining and in victim’s assistance. The Group hopes
that the success of de-mining efforts in recent years can be repeated in years to come.


Mr. Chairman

The Rio Group acknowledges that Confidence Building Measures (CBM) are an
important asset to reach peace and security worldwide and a complement of efforts
towards disarmament and non proliferation. Their implementation and consolidation
contribute to decreasing uncertainties, preventing conflicts, enabling a broader political,
economic and cultural integration through transparency and cooperation in defense and
security.

Our region has been precursor in the implementation of confidence building measures.
We have watched closely their results in strengthening peace and consolidation of
democracy in America by enabling a broader transparency and an open dialogue
amongst the countries in the Hemisphere.

Transparency in the armaments field constitutes a fundamental element of the CBM. At
the regional level, we continue our efforts to reach the full implementation of the Inter-
American Convention on Transparency in Procurement of Conventional Weapons, while
at the international level we will keep our efforts to universalize the UN Record of
Conventional Weapons. It is also important to encourage positive synergies between
both instruments so that progress in one level can be assimilated by the other one,
taking into account particularly periodical reviews of the Record as well as the following
Conference of the States Parties to the Convention, to take place in 2009.




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The Rio Group reaffirms the importance of the work the United Nations Regional Centre
for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean carries
out and the assistance it renders to the States of the region in the application of
disarmament measures in several areas. However, as was stated by the Secretary-
General in his last report on the Regional Center, the Rio Group is deeply concerned by
the lack of a basic and stable financing, and by the crucial importance that voluntary
contributions have acquired in its functioning to the point that without them its capacity
for answering increased demands is reduced. In this regard, the countries of the regions
are examining different alternatives to ensure a stable and predictable budget for the
Regional Center.

The Rio Group underlines the importance of strengthening consideration of the
relationship between disarmament and development in the global agenda, in particular
in the agenda of the General Assembly. The Group considers that the ability of the
international community to face the challenges in the development field requires the
acknowledgement of the relationship between disarmament and development, and the
possibility to undertake actions to free resources from military expenditure and to
relocate them in development and cooperation programs, without hindering the
requirement of States for safety and defense, taking into account their very particular
situations.


Mr. Chairman,

The Group considers that in order to make significant progress in disarmament and
non-proliferation political will of all States is required. It is the duty of all governments to
grant and to provide peace and security to their citizens. General and complete
disarmament is an objective that requires the attention of the international community,
since ignoring or postponing it would have devastating effects




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