General Comments by Sri Lanka on the Revised Drafts Elements paper of the Chair at the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems 27 September 2021

27 sep 2021 LAWS

Thank you, Mr. Chair,

We thank you and your team for the revised elements paper and look forward for more focused and constructive discussion on the revised paper.

At the outset, we note a number of substantive changes to the initial elements paper shared by the Chair in the previous GGE session, which many delegations including Sri Lanka considered as a step forward in our deliberations, providing a solid basis for the Group to agree on forward looking recommendations for the Review Conference later this year. The current revised version of the paper however, in certain important sections is a setback in our view. The approach of the revised paper in some sections appears to provide the notion that development and use of LAWS is acceptable as long as such development and use are done following certain guidelines and practices.

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Second Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) 20 September 2021

20 09 2021 CCM Rev Con statement

Agenda Item 7: Reaffirming the determination to put an end to the suffering caused by cluster munitions

Mr. President,

Sri Lanka is pleased to join the Second Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), a significant milestone of the Convention. We join with other delegations in congratulating you, Mr. President and your team for your hard work and dedication in the process leading up to this important Review Conference.

Mr. President,

As a country that has never used or produced cluster munitions, we take this opportunity to renew our persistent commitment to the humanitarian principles and objectives enshrined in the Convention on Cluster Munitions. We acceded to the Convention on 1 March 2018 as a country that has been a keen and active participant in the disarmament and non-proliferation deliberations over the years. Sri Lanka had the honour to preside over the 9th Meeting of State Parties to the Convention, one year after accession to the Convention. We remain fully committed to the multilateral regime of disarmament and non- proliferation discourse and yearn to see substantive progress on some of the key outstanding issues in the realm of disarmament and non-proliferation.

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Statement by Hon. Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka at the 48th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council, 14 September 2021, Geneva

14 sep 2021 48 session Human Right Council
Human Rights Council 
48th Regular Session

 Agenda Item 2: Oral update on Sri Lanka by the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Statement by Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka (Geneva, 14 September 2021)

 Madam President,

Let me begin by reiterating our strong and continued cooperation with this Council and the United Nations mandated human rights system, in keeping with our Constitution and our international obligations voluntarily undertaken.

Twelve years ago, Sri Lanka eradicated LTTE terrorism on its soil. We have restored peace, security and stability for the benefit of our people. We held firm to our democratic traditions and elections were held at regular intervals with high levels of voter participation – most recently at the 2019 Presidential and 2020 Parliamentary polls. The Government is committed to holding the Provincial Council elections at the earliest.

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Meetings of Experts of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), 30 August - 8 September 2021

8 sep 2021 bwc

Intervention made during MX 3 - Strengthening National Implementation 

Mr Chair,

Let me extend our warm congratulations on your assumption of duties as the chairperson, MX3 and hard work throughout.

Sri Lanka supports the BWC and very much in line with implementation process. We will further discuss implementation in Sri Lanka through preparedness and response at the proceedings of  MX4

I would like to congratulate Japan and US for the interesting working papers and comprehensive methodology applied for training and information sharing.

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Statement at the Plenary on “Women´s participation and role in International Security” Conference on Disarmament 26 August 2021

26 aug 2021 Statement at the Plenary on Womens participation and role in International Security



Mr. President,

Since this is the first time my delegation takes the floor during your presidency, allow me at the outset to congratulate you on the assumption of the presidency. You can count on our full support.

We thank the distinguished panelists for their valuable `insights into this timely discussion on Women and International Security.

Mr. President,

We repeat among ourselves at each session that the CD is the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. Yet, regrettably, we have not been successful in reaching consensus on a Programme of Work, let alone the negotiations.. Irrespective of the CD’s lack of progress, the world outside keeps moving and the already fragile international security situation is taking a turn for the worse. Trust in multilateralism is challenged and there are concerns on the return of strategic competition among military powers. It is in these worrying circumstances that we welcome this session on ‘Women´s participation and role in International Security, a discussion that will shed light on an important link on the chain of disarmament and non-proliferation that is often over looked.

Sri Lanka in 1960 produced the world’s first elected female Prime Minister who mooted the proposal for the Indian Ocean to be made a Zone of Peace at the United Nations General Assembly in 1971. , Sri Lanka has over the years seen women leaders rising up to important government positions including the office of the President, Cabinet Ministers, Chief Justice, and the Attorney General. In the recent past two Sri Lanka female career diplomats have held senior positions at the IAEA and at the OPCW contributing to disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. We consider active female participation is essential in the disarmament and non-proliferation discussions and negotiations due to several reasons.

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Statement at the Plenary on Youth and Disarmament Conference on Disarmament 12 August 2021

20 Aug 2021 cd 2

Mr. President,

Since this is the first time my delegation takes the floor during your presidency, allow me at the outset to congratulate you on the assumption of the presidency. You can count on the full support of my delegation.

We appreciate the valuable insights of the distinguished panelist including Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth. Sri Lanka is proud of her leadership and proactive contribution to the youth strategy of the United Nations.

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New quarantine measures for travelers arriving in Sri Lanka - 18 August 2021

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New quarantine measures introduced by the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka with effect from 18 August 2021.

For further information

Circular issued by Director General Health Services dated 18 August 2021 in English

 

Intervention by Sri Lanka on Section 4 of the Chair’s Working paper on draft elements on possible consensus recommendations in relation to the clarification , consideration and development of aspects of the normative and operational framework on emerging

11 August statement photo


11 August 2021

Thank you Mr. Chair,

I will make two brief comments on section 3 before providing some comments on section 4. We fully support the retention of specific references to branches of international law in section 3.1 for reasons we have repeatedly mentioned in our previous statements and by other colleagues this morning as well.  

Secondly, the willingness of programmers of autonomous weapon systems to ensure compliance with the existing legal norms and principles is a serious concern. Therefore, we support the inclusion of the word ‘development’ in section 2 as suggested by Austria and supported by other delegates.

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Intervention by Sri Lanka on General Considerations Section of the Chair’s Working paper on draft elements on possible consensus recommendations in relation to the clarification , consideration and development of aspects of the normative and operational

10 Aug 2021 Sri Lanka statement

Sri Lanka fully supports the reference to international human rights law in the general considerations section. Given the possibility of autonomous technology to be used in situations of armed conflicts as well as in law enforcement situations, recognition of the relevance of international human rights law and criminal law is important. Principles of non-discrimination and human dignity are cardinal principles of international human rights law which have a direct relevance to our discussion today.

Secondly Sri Lanka supports a stronger emphasis on ethical considerations. While it is understood that ethical dimension is already included in the IHL principles, a separate paragraph on this issue, we believe is an important reinstatement. Decisions on human life are too important to be left to the blunt expedient of a mechanical judgment.

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Statement by Sri Lanka on Chair’s Working paper on draft elements on possible consensus recommendations in relation to the clarification , consideration and development of aspects od the normative and operational framework on emerging technologies in the

9 August 2021 statement photo
9 August, 2021

Mr. Chair,

We thank you for the draft elements paper on possible consensus recommendations circulated last Friday.

We have been engaged in discussions on technological, legal, military and ethical considerations of the development of autonomous weapon systems in this GGE forum since 2017. Over the years, a growing number of States have repeatedly flagged the alarming consequences of the challenges posed to fundamental IHL principles and humanity by the potential use of autonomous weapon systems and the urgent need for internationally agreed prohibitions and limitations.

During the discussion last Friday, some delegations re-iterated the need for our discussion to be based on the 11 guiding principles adopted in 2019, as reflected in the decision of the High Contracting Parties in 2019 , where it called upon the Group to consider the guiding principles, with a view to further develop and elaborate.

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Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) Statement by Sri Lanka

3 Aug 2021 Statement photo


5 (a)   An exploration of the potential challenges posed by emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems to international humanitarian law

3 August, 2021


Mr. Chair,

Excellencies, Distinguished participants,

At the outset, Sri Lanka would like to congratulate you on your assumption of the Chair of the Group of Governmental Experts on LAWS and for the continuous engagement with states on this issue. Let me assure you Mr. Chair, of the full support and cooperation of my delegation as we approach the preparation of the recommendations of the GGE to the 6th Review Conference of the CCW.

Sri Lanka aligns itself with the position expressed in the Working Paper submitted by Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on possible consensus recommendations.

Since this session is dedicated to exploration of the potential challenges posed by LAWS to IHL, our remarks will be aimed at addressing this particular issue.

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Special Deposit Account with an Additional Interest

Special Deposit Account CBSL

Main Features of the Special Deposit Account

1. Eligible Persons

a.    A Sri Lankan individual resident in or outside Sri Lanka
b.    Dual citizens
c.    Citizens of other states with Sri Lankan origin
d.    A non-national resident in or outside Sri Lanka
e.    Funds, corporate bodies, associations incorporated/registered outside Sri Lanka.
f.    Any other person as permitted by Regulations made under the Foreign Exchange Act, No. 12 of 2017.

2. How to open a Special Deposit Account?

Eligible persons who wish to deposit funds in Sri Lanka may open “Special Deposit Account (SDAs)” with an Authorized Dealer (any Licensed Commercial Bank and National Savings Bank) in Sri Lanka in the following manner.

a.    With inward remittances received into Sri Lanka through banking system until 07.04.2022.
b.    With remittances received into Sri Lanka through an Inward Investment Account or an account at the Offshore Banking Unit, maintained with an Authorized Dealer in Sri Lanka, to the credit of SDA on or after 08.04.2020.
c.    Out of foreign exchange legitimately acquired and brought into Sri Lanka by persons who have arrived in Sri Lanka from overseas on or after 01.01.2020 subject to a declaration made to the Sri Lanka Customs (if the amount exceeds USD 15,000) and the relevant Authorized Dealer (if the amount equals or less than USD 15,000)
d.    Out of foreign currency notes in the possession of any person in, or resident in, Sri Lanka, up to the limit of USD 15,000 and subject to a declaration on the source of funds to the relevant Authorized Dealer and applicable Foreign Exchange Regulations, Orders and Directions.

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Rehabilitation of Ex-Combatants by Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation and Department of Government Information

 

Rehabilitation of ex combatants

Book on Rehabilitation of Ex-Combatants by Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation and Department of Government Information

Statement delivered by Sri Lanka during the Quadrennial panel discussion on promoting human rights through sport and the Olympic ideal at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council

Madam President,

Sri Lanka believes that sports and international sporting events should serve as a platform to promote inclusiveness and cooperation among the community of nations. The importance of the Olympics as a significant global opportunity in this regard cannot be over-emphasised.

In 2018, Sri Lanka chaired the Social Forum of this Council which brought together many participants from around the world to discuss how sports and the Olympic ideal can contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and human rights. We hope that the Council and all stakeholders will continue further action in this direction.

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Statement delivered by Sri Lanka during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council

Madame President,

Sri Lanka takes note of the Special Rapporteur’s report on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories and wishes to express regret at the serious escalation in violence in the territory following evictions, demolitions, settlement expansion and settler violence. We deeply regret that the outbreak of violent hostilities in May caused wanton loss of many civilian lives. The long-term effects of such violence on infrastructure including water, sanitation and electricity will only lead to the suffering of the people of the Palestinian Territories.

We appreciate the work of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in responding to the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Territories and call on the international community to strengthen support for their activities. We also highlight the paramount importance of addressing the aggravated humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories, including the provision of urgent healthcare including vaccines and therapeutics, and social and economic assistance to the populations affected by hostilities.  

Sri Lanka re-iterates its consistent and principled position regarding the right of the Palestinian people to statehood and to the natural resources in their territory and re-iterates the importance of the early implementation of the relevant UNGA resolutions. We remain committed to supporting a negotiated settlement in line with the internationally agreed parameters of two states living side by side on the basis of the 1967 borders, which is key to achieving long term security, peace and prosperity.

I thank you

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Statement delivered by Sri Lanka during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council

Madam President,

Sri Lanka notes the report presented by the Special Rapporteur on ‘means to address the human rights impact of pushbacks of migrants on land and at sea’.

In this context, we wish to draw this Council’s attention to the critical challenges faced by migrant workers, particualrly during the current pandemic situation.

The remittances of migrant workers who comprise 3.5% of the world’s population, contribute to the socio-economic development of communities and societies, lifting millions out of poverty, raising standards of living and providing access to health services, nutrition, education and housing. [According to the World Bank, remittance flows to low and middle income countries were US $ 540 in 2020, only 1.6% lower that the US$548 recorded in 2019.]

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Statement delivered by Sri Lanka during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to health at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council

Madam President,

Sri Lanka notes the report presented by the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health.

The loss of lives and livelihoods and impediments to economic and social development due to the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated poverty, inequality and suffering, with serious consequences on the physical and mental health of billions around the world.

Recovery from this pandemic as well as prevention of a resurgence requires equitable access to diagnostics and therapeutics including vaccines, as well as adherence to other preventive measures. Despite early calls by the UN Secretary General and world leaders for international cooperation and solidarity in the response to the pandemic and for Covid-19 products to be considered global public goods, as we speak, millions of people from developing and least developed countries have been left behind due to unequal distribution of vaccines.

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47th session of the Human Rights Council: Statement delivered by Sri Lanka at the Right of Reply segment of the Interactive Dialogue on the Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Mr. Vice President,

We exercise this right of reply in response to references to Sri Lanka made by the United Kingdom and other speakers during this interactive dialogue.

The proscribed groups referred to in these interventions include organisations linked to the LTTE and other international terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda and their regional and Sri Lankan affiliates. They have been listed under the relevant domestic regulations as a part of Sri Lanka’s obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1373 which has been in operation for almost a decade. The list is based on cogent evidence. It is misleading and unwarranted to characterise action to prevent financing of terrorism and violent extremism as targeting of any particular community or as a hindrance to reconciliation.

Sri Lanka experienced the Easter Sunday suicide bombings in April 2019, which is by far the biggest terrorist attack on a civilian target to take place anywhere in the world. Measures taken by Sri Lanka to prevent recurrence of such terrorist attacks have been taken in the interest of public security and in accordance with the recommendations of the Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security of 2019/2020. This was a unique national effort which had the participation of Parliamentarians of both the then government and the opposition, representing all ethnic and religious communities in the country. Sri Lanka continues to cooperate with foreign intelligence services including those of the OIC countries, to combat cross border terrorism. Some of the perpetrators of this act of terrorism have already been charged outside Sri Lanka.

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Incentive Scheme on Inward Worker Remittances as per Budget Proposal 2021

The Budget 2021 has proposed an incentive scheme above the normal exchange rate for the foreign exchange remittances sent by foreign workers through all Licensed Banks registered under Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Accordingly, the foreign currency income earned through an employment by a Sri Lankan national who is working or has worked abroad will qualify to receive additional Rs. 2 per US Dollar remitted and converted to Rupees through the formal channels of all licensed Banks.

Notice by Central Bank of Sri Lanka to all Licensed Banks

 

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN
Geneva

01.06.2021

Sri Lanka Statement at the Thematic Debate Session under Agenda Item 1 of the Conference on Disarmament on 12 May 2021

Mr. President,

Since this is the first time my delegation takes the floor during your presidency, the delegation of Sri Lanka extends greetings and convey sincere good wishes for every success. The delegation of Sri Lanka assures you of its fullest support and cooperation. Our thanks are extended to the distinguished panelists for their contribution to this discussion

While we regret that the Conference fails yet again to reach consensus on a programme of work due to apparent lack of political will, we consider this thematic debate an important opportunity to reiterate our principled position on agenda item 1 on cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament. This agenda item is of particular significance given the importance of the upcoming NPT review conference.

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Review of Approval Procedure to Enter Sri Lanka

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Please be informed that as per the instructions received  from the Foreign Ministry, Colombo, today, 06.04.2021, the procedure for inbound travelers to Sri Lanka has been revised with immediate effect as follows :



a) The following categories of persons will be permitted to enter into Sri Lanka without prior approval of the Foreign Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority:

            - Sri Lankans

            - Dual citizens who travel on Sri Lankan passports/Emergency Travel Documents

            - Spouse of a Sri Lankan who is a foreigner

            - Unmarried children of Sri Lankans who are foreigners

            - Sri Lankan seafarers arriving by air



b) The respective Airlines will facilitate the travel of above persons in consultation with local authorities in Sri Lanka.

c) All passengers are required to adhere to the Health Protocols/ Guidelines that are applicable at the time of arrival. Currently applicable health guideline issued by the Ministry of Health on 6th April 2021 can be accessed at https://www.lankamission.org/2013-08-29-07-25-36/mission-statements/3016-new-quarantine-measures-for-travelers-arriving-in-sri-lanka.html.


The Mission website (www.lankamission.org) will be updated in case the applicable health guidelines are revised by the Ministry of Health.

In view of the above, it is no longer necessary to obtain a prior approval from the Foreign Ministry thorough this Mission for your return to Sri Lanka for the above categories of persons.

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
Geneva, Switzerland  

06.04.2021


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Statement by Hon. Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Agenda Item 2: Interactive Dialogue on the OHCHR Report ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ (A/HRC/46/20) 24th February 2021

24 feb 2021 hon mfa r

Statement by Hon. Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka
Agenda Item 2: Interactive Dialogue on the OHCHR Report ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ (A/HRC/46/20)

24th February 2021

Madam President,

Madam High Commissioner,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The OHCHR Report which is presented today, emanates from the Resolution 30/1 and 40/1, from which the Government of Sri Lanka announced its withdrawal of co-sponsorship, at the 43rd Session of this Council last year.

Sri Lanka rejects the High Commissioner’s Report which has unjustifiably broadened its scope and mandate further, incorporating many issues of governance and matters that are essentially domestic for any self-respecting, sovereign country. This is in complete violation of Article 2 (7) of the Charter of the UN that states: “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state…”

The trajectory that has emerged with regard to the recommendations and conclusions reflects the preconceived, politicized and prejudicial agenda which certain elements have relentlessly pursued against Sri Lanka. These recommendations are based on ill-founded allegations.

Sri Lanka categorically rejects the conclusions and recommendations in the High Commissioner’s Report.

The call for asset freezes, travel bans, references to the ICC and the exercise of universal jurisdiction by individual States, based on evidence that up to date has been denied access to and retained by the High Commissioners Office with some of it unreleased for thirty years, particularly in relation to a country like Sri Lanka which has consistently and constructively engaged with the UN and its mechanisms, points to a distinct and eminent danger which the international community as a whole need to take note of. Such unilateral actions by certain countries are unacceptable and a violation of the principles of natural justice.

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Statement by Hon Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka at the High Level Segment of the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council 23 February 2021, Geneva

23 feb 2021 Hon mfa high level segment r


Madam President,

Madam High Commissioner,

Distinguished Ambassadors,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. As I address you today, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has published a report on Sri Lanka accompanied by an unprecedented propaganda campaign on that report.
  1. Sri Lankan heroic armed forces militarily neutralized the LTTE in 2009 after three-decades of conflict. The Sri Lanka Government acted in self-defense to safeguard the unitary state, sovereignty & territorial integrity from the world’s most ruthless separatist terrorist organization.
  1. The LTTE is the only terrorist organization in the world which has killed two world leaders: a serving President of Sri Lanka and a former Prime Minister of India extending its terror beyond the borders of Sri Lanka.
  1. End of terrorism guaranteed the most cherished of all human rights - right to life of all Sri Lankans – Sinhala, Tamil, and Muslims.
  1. Nonetheless hegemonic forces colluded against Sri Lanka in bringing an unsubstantiated resolution against Sri Lanka which was defeated by the support of friendly nations who remain by Sri Lanka’s side even today. Further resolutions were presented to this Council on purely political motives. In each instance Sri Lanka presented the procedural improprieties, and how such processes could set a dangerous precedent affecting all member states of the United Nations.

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Sri Lanka Statement at the Plenary of the Conference on Disarmament 26 January 2021

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Mr President,

At the outset the delegation of Sri Lanka wishes to congratulate you on your assumption of the first Presidency of the 2021 session of the Conference on Disarmament. Our delegation assures you and other P6 Presidents of its full support and cooperation to find common grounds for fulfilling CD’s obligations towards strengthening international peace and security. We are encouraged by the approach of the six presidencies working together as a team in this regard. We also thank the Secretary General of the CD and the CD Secretariat for their support.

Sri Lanka aligns itself with the statement of G21 delivered by Indonesia.

Mr. President, our delegation notes with appreciation the package proposal presented by you on behalf of the six Presidents. We affirm our full support for your efforts to develop this package through a consultative process and reach consensus on a balanced and comprehensive programme of work with a view to resuming multilateral disarmament negotiations, which we have failed to achieve for far too long.

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