Malaysia supports the proposal for the United Nations to develop a structured track of dialogue at all levels aimed at raising greater awareness, with a view to generating the necessary impetus for a solid global movement against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) proliferation to non-State actors.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the dialogue should also involve parliamentarians, industry, academics and the civil society.
He said this at the United Nations Security Council high-level open debate on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, ‘Challenges in Addressing the Proliferation of weapons of Mass Desruction, the means of delivery and related materials’, which he also chaired at the UN Headquarters here Tuesday.
Zahid who is also Malaysian Home Minister said the Security Council should acknowledge the equally significant contributions by several international and regional arrangements or initiatives in addressing WMD proliferation, especially by non-State actors.
“Collectively and through various national, regional and international approaches, we have certainly made great strides and achieved significant progress in responding to this multifaceted complex issue,” he said.
He said the Security Council, consistent with its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations, has a key role to play in this regard.
“Resolution 1540 is admittedly a historic contribution by the Security Council in the field of non-proliferation of WMD. We commend Spain, as Chair of the Council’s 1540 Committee, for its effective stewardship of the Resolution 1540 Comprehensive Review process.
“My delegation is of the view that, in so doing and while acknowledging the threats posed by terrorist groups, the thrust of this resolution – in preventing WMD proliferation by States and non-State actors – should be maintained,” said Zahid who also led the Malaysian delegation at the meeting.
He said member states should move forward by further strengthening global efforts in light of the emerging threats and challenges, particularly in the field of science and technology, ICT and international commerce.
“As such, we call on the 1540 Committee to regularly review the scientific, technological and international commerce advancements on related controls under UNSCR 1540. This would ensure synergy in merging implementation of States’ obligations, taking into account the exponential risk of misuse of these advancements,” he said.
Resolution 1540 adopted unanimously on April 28, 2004, establishes the obligations under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter for all Member States to develop and enforce appropriate legal and regulatory measures against the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, in particular, to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors.
Zahid is on a working visit to the United States from Aug 22 to 26 in conjunction with Malaysia’s Presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of August.
Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and Malaysia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ramlan Ibrahim were among those attending the meeting.
At a press conference after the open debate, Ahmad Zahid said member states collectively have an important role to play to minimise the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“I am particularly encouraged by the participation of over 60 member states in today’s open debate, which reflects the high level of interest by the international community, on this agenda.
“For far too long, discussions on non-proliferation of WMD have been linked with, and marred by slow progress towards real disarmament and zero proliferation.
“We need to continue deliberating on how our obligations can translate into actions and measures that would prevent from likelihood of a catastrophe.”
He said one practical step would be to regularly review the biosecurity, chemical security, exports controls and proliferation-financing elements under Resolution 1540 in parallel with the relevant scientific, technological and international commerce advancements.
“In this regard, I am pleased that the open debate today had highlighted areas where practical collaboration can continue, and enriched our discussion, among others, on the challenges posed by non-proliferation of WMD related materials.
“Furthermore, the idea of developing a structured track of dialogue between Member States, parliamentarians, industry experts, academics and members of the civil society on regulation of emerging proliferation risks, warrants due consideration,” he said.
Zahid also said that the Security Council were also very supportive of practical initiatives on customising assistance; capacity building and training needs to improve implementation that would lead to better synergy between requesting states and assistance providers.