(As Prepared)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

On behalf of the United States Delegation, I congratulate you on Morocco’s election as Chair of the 76th UN General Assembly First Committee.  We also congratulate the other members of the Bureau and commit to working with each of you toward a successful session.

Mr. Chairman, I first want to say that my heart aches for those who have been affected by this pandemic.  It has reminded us that we face pressing challenges that know no boundaries and respect no borders.  We must remember that we are all in this together.

The United States remains committed to leading the way on arms control and addressing complex global security challenges.  As President Biden said, we have a national security imperative and moral responsibility to manage and eventually eliminate the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction.  The extension of New START was the beginning of our effort to resume a leadership role on arms control and nonproliferation.  We are now entering an era of relentless diplomacy, as demonstrated by our Strategic Stability Dialogue with Russia, that is focused on building a stable, predictable foundation for the future of arms control.

The United States understands that arms control negotiations are a complicated process, yet we are committed to confidence building, risk reduction, and transparency.  Yesterday, as a demonstration of our commitment to transparency, the United States released newly declassified information regarding our nuclear weapons stockpile.  As we, along with the United Kingdom and France, demonstrate transparency about our stockpiles, we call on other states with nuclear weapons to do the same.  

Since its inception, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has made fundamental contributions to international security and prosperity.  It remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime, enabling progress on nuclear disarmament and international cooperation to share the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.  As we look towards the 10th NPT Review Conference, we remain committed to achieving a positive outcome.

I also want to reiterate that the United States supports the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and is committed to work to achieve its entry into force.  We recognize the challenges that lie ahead in reaching this goal.  In the meantime, the United States continues to observe its zero-yield nuclear explosive testing moratorium and calls on all states possessing nuclear weapons to declare and maintain such a moratorium.

We must acknowledge that our current strategic environment is one of increased geopolitical tension and competition.  In that context, the United States will sponsor two resolutions this session: the Compliance with Non-Proliferation, Arms Limitation and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments and Advancing responsible State behavior in cyberspace in the context of international security.  Both address an essential element of international peace and security and their adoption would strengthen confidence in international norms.

We are also cognizant that some nations are pursuing policies to undermine the international rules-based order.  The international institutions that we have built over the past several decades are being undercut by autocratic regimes that seek to foster instability to the detriment of us all.  These regimes also pose new nuclear dangers that remind us of the importance of preventing nuclear war, avoiding nuclear arms races, and stopping the further spread of nuclear weapons.

And regrettably, the challenges we face include threats posed by other weapons of mass destruction.  We continue to witness the repeated and abhorrent use of chemical weapons in defiance of long-standing norms and international legal obligations, including the poisoning of Mr. Aleksey Navalny on Russian territory, and the Syrian Arab Republic’s use of chemical weapons.  We must steadfastly call out offenders and hold those who use chemical weapons accountable. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need to prevent future outbreaks – whether natural, accidental, or deliberate in origin. We will therefore take action to break the two-decade deadlock over strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention.  At the upcoming Review Conference, we must bring the Convention into the 21st century.  The United States will propose that BWC States adopt and implement specific measures to strengthen the BWC in key areas and take steps to intensively explore measures to strengthen implementation and promote compliance.

Although we face an increasingly complex security environment, it is institutions such as First Committee where the international community can come together to share ideas and help build a bridge to a safe, prosperous, and secure future.  We commit to do our part in cooperation with other UN Member States and the United Nations to advance our common objectives for peace and international security.

Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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