I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia*, and Albania*, as well as Georgia align themselves with this statement.
I wish to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Tatiana Valovaya, Director General of the UN Office at Geneva, and congratulate her on her appointment as Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament. We are pleased to note that the UN Secretary-General has chosen a female candidate, the first woman to hold this important position. Women traditionally are under-represented across multilateral fora and institutions that focus on security. The EU will continue to advocate the full and equal participation of women and men in all decision-making and action, including in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.
I take this occasion to emphasise that the CD's continued relevance is of utmost importance for the EU. The CD should fulfil its crucial function to negotiate multilateral disarmament treaties and it could also elaborate other instruments and norms, such as guidelines and codes of conduct. We deeply regret that it has not been possible to reach consensus on a negotiating mandate for more than 20 years. We reiterate that our longstanding priority in the CD is to immediately commence negotiations of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices (FMCT) and we support starting such negotiations in accordance with the document CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein.
Strong political will and flexibility are required from all CD members if we are to break the impasse and bring the CD back on track. We should bring forward technical, substantive work and broaden areas of agreement so that we are better prepared to start negotiations when the overall context so allows. We must modernise our working methods to avoid protracted procedural debates on the organisation of work, as proposed in the Working Paper by the Netherlands, which was discussed yesterday.
The EU has a longstanding commitment to the enlargement of the CD which currently comprises 65 members. We underline the importance of furthering substantive consultations on the expansion of its membership and strongly support the appointment of a special coordinator in this respect.
Furthermore, we support engagement with civil society, academia, industry and research institutions and would welcome further initiatives in this regard, building on the Civil Society Forum initiative of the outgoing Secretary-General of the CD.
We are grateful to the UN Secretary-General and the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs for their continued engagement on disarmament and non-proliferation issues and their support for the CD, and we look forward to close cooperation with the new CD Secretary-General for the benefit of all CD members.
With regard to today's panel discussion on the agenda item Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), I would like to refer to the EU statement delivered in the CD on 13 June 2019, which is available on-line.
Thank you, Mr. President