Minister for Foreign Affairs addresses UN Disarmament Conference

In a wide-ranging address to the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D., today emphasised that disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons remain high priority issues for Ireland.

The Minister referred to the adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) in Dublin in 2008.The entry into force of the CCM on 1 August will open a new phase of work, with a focus on implementation and working towards its universal adoption.  

The Minister noted that we are already assisting the Lao PDR Government in its preparations for the first Meeting of States Parties to the CCM in Vientiane later this year and had provided an Irish member of staff to support this work. He confirmed that Ireland would make a substantial contribution to the Lao PDR Cluster Munitions Trust Fund when it is established shortly.

The Minister spoke of the impact of armed violence on human security, sustainable development and implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.  He stated that the Irish Government attaches a high priority to practical initiatives on the ground and in the past five years had spent over €27 million to make genuine differences to people’s daily lives through armed violence prevention and reduction strategies.

On nuclear disarmament, the Minister recalled that this week marks the anniversary of a proud moment in Irish and international history, with the fortieth anniversary next Friday, 5 March, of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  In 1958, Frank Aiken T.D., then Minister for External Affairs, introduced the first of a series of UN resolutions which called for prevention of the further dissemination of nuclear weapons. This ultimately led to adoption of the NPT, which has diminished the spectre of a nuclear war.

The Minister stated that the outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference in New York next May should make it crystal clear that we are on an irreversible path to achieve the aims set out so clearly over forty years ago.  He pledged that Ireland will play its part in the negotiations in May, which should reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons in existence.  The Minister also said that we face very serious and different proliferation risks, particularly from Iran and the DPRK. These must be tackled seriously

Note for Editors

The full text of the Minister’s Statement is available here.




The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) opened for signature on 1 July 1968 in London, Moscow and Washington and entered into force on 5 March 1970.  The NPT Review Conference will take place in New York from 3-28 May 2010. It will review the implementation of the Treaty since the last Review Conference in 2005, which was widely perceived as a failure, and will look ahead to the future. From Ireland’s perspective, a successful NPT Review Conference) in 2010 would constitute agreement on a balanced, consensual and forward-looking package of decisions across all three pillars of the Treaty and on the Middle East resolution, which calls for the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.


Conference on Disarmament

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) was established in 1979 and is the only multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community. Ireland became a member in 1999. In May 2009, after a gap of some twelve years, the CD adopted a programme of work but has failed to make further progress because of Pakistani reluctance to open negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (FMCT).



Press Office

2 March 2010


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