‘Sri Lanka is a strong advocate for application of humanitarian principles in warfare and calls for regulation and prohibition of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems’ – Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane at the Vienna Conference on Lethal Autonomous Weapo

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On the invitation of the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane participated as a panellist at the “Humanity at the Crossroads: Autonomous Weapons Systems and the Challenge of Regulation” Conference held from 29-30 April 2024 at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.

Organised by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs with a view to addressing concerns and challenges related to the use of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), the Conference was attended by more than 1000 participants from 144 countries. The attendees included high-level representations from several States, the United Nations, international and regional organisations, academia, think tanks, industry and civil society.

Speaking at its high-level panel discussion on “Geopolitics and machine politics: How to move forward on LAWS?” Foreign Secretary Wijewardane reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s long-standing policy on advocacy for conventional and WMD disarmament and application of humanitarian principles in warfare, including supporting a legally-binding instrument regulating and prohibiting the use of LAWS . The Panellists included Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania Igli Hasani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation of the Republic of Sierra Leone Timothy Musa Kabba, and United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu.  Sri Lanka was a main sponsor of the first ever UNGA resolution on LAWS adopted last year.

In her bilateral engagements which followed the Conference, Foreign Secretary Wijewardane held discussions with Foreign Policy Advisor to the Chancellor of Austria Peter Launsky and also with her Austrian counterpart Nikolaus Marschik, Secretary General of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of Austria. The meetings took place at an important juncture as the two countries mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year. Foreign Secretary Wijewardane apprised Secretary General Marschik of the recent progress made by Sri Lanka in the economic front and covered a wide range of bilateral matters including of investment, energy transition, migration & mobility, visa and tourism promotion.

The Foreign Secretary also met Chairman of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Professor Daniel Froschauer and exchanged views on the proposed musical collaboration between the two countries.

The Foreign Secretary was accompanied by the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Austria and officials of the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Vienna.

Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Vienna

02 May 2024

Statement by Her Excellency Himalee Arunatilaka, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva Thematic Debate of the Conference on Disarmament Agenda Item 2 – Prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters

Statement by Her Excellency Himalee Arunatilaka, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva

Thematic Debate of the Conference on Disarmament

Agenda Item 2 – Prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters

12 March 2024

CD 12.03.2024

Mr. President

I join other delegations in thanking you for your leadership in guiding our deliberations in a positive direction and for allowing this discussions under agenda item 2.

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Statement by Sri Lanka at the First session of the 2024 CCW Group of Governmental Experts on emerging technologies in the area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (GGE on LAWS), 4-8 March 2024

Statement by Sri Lanka

First session of the 2024 CCW Group of Governmental Experts on emerging technologies in the area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (GGE on LAWS),4-8 March 2024

Agenda Item 5

 

Mr. Chair,

Let me congratulate you on assuming the role as the Chair of the Group and please be assured of the fullest cooperation and support of my delegation for the success of our work.

Mr. Chair,

We are pleased to note that over the past years, the mandate of the GGE on LAWS has evolved in a stronger and positive direction through the extensive deliberations of the Group. Today, we have before us, the most ambitious mandate since the establishment of the GGE entrusted ‘to further consider and formulate, by consensus, a set of elements of an instrument’.

Mr. Chair,

Emanating from the discussions of the meetings of the GGE held last year, Sri Lanka strongly believes that the mandate of the GGE on LAWS for this year should be interpreted in a manner that will allow a more holistic approach to cover possible ‘elements of an instrument’ and ‘other possible measures’ to address emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems.

With a view to organize the work of the GGE based on the new mandate to be more effective and outcome oriented and furthermore to make the objectives and focus more clearer in formulating ‘a set of elements of an instrument’, Sri Lanka supported a joint proposal on the topics for discussions at the First Session of the GGE on LAWS. In our view, we should not leave any of the elements unattended in the backdrop of rapidly evolving advanced technologies and automated functions of weapons powered by AI.

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Statement by Hon. M.U.M. Ali Sabry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka at the High Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament on 26 February 2024

Statement by Hon. M.U.M. Ali Sabry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka

High Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament

Monday, 26 February 2024

 

Mr. President

Madam Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament

Excellencies

Ladies and Gentlemen

I extend my felicitations to you Mr. President on assuming the Presidency of this Conference and assure you of my country’s fullest support in carrying out the important work of this Conference.

I also appreciate the commitment and the untiring efforts of the Indian presidency that preceded, towards building consensus through open and broad consultations.

I am addressing this important body at a decisive time in human history. The need is more vital than ever, for effective disarmament diplomacy.   

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Statement by Ambassador and Permanent Representative Her Excellency Himalee Arunatilaka at the Plenary of the Conference on Disarmament on 30 January 2024

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Conference on Disarmament: Plenary meeting – Tuesday, 30 January 2024

Statement by Sri Lanka

Mr. President

On behalf of the Sri Lanka delegation, it is my pleasure to congratulate Ambassador Ray of India on assuming the first presidency of the Conference on Disarmament for the 2024 session. 

Sri Lanka aligns itself with the statement made by Vietnam on behalf of the G21 at the First Plenary of the CD.

Sri Lanka emphasizes the important role of the Conference on Disarmament as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. We further underscore the importance of this forum progressing in its substantive work and reaching agreement on a balanced and comprehensive programme of work that addresses the key issues of current disarmament agenda. We strongly believe that the members of CD collectively need to find a way out to overcome the existing deadlock on substantive work within the CD and intensify consultations on core issues.

For my delegation nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, prevention of an arms race in outer space and addressing the challenges and concerns raised by lethal autonomous weapons systems are particularly important. 

As an active partner of the global disarmament fora, Sri Lanka manifested its unwavering commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation by its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and our accession to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), in 2023. Moreover, Sri Lanka co-sponsored the new resolution on Lethal and Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) that was adopted at the 78th UNGA.  

We believe that the long-standing agenda item of the CD on ‘New types of weapons of mass destruction’ needs to be intensively focussed on emerging technologies including the broader and significant impact of AI in arms control.  In the present backdrop of technological advancements, Sri Lanka is deeply concerned of the legal, ethical and moral consequences of weapons systems that have no human control. Sri Lanka will continue its consistent position of supporting and promoting negotiation of a legally binding instrument on lethal and autonomous weapons systems. 

Sri Lanka has been actively engaging in multilateral efforts for the prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) over many decades, since becoming a signatory to the Outer Space Treaty in 1967. Significantly, Sri Lanka proposed a moratorium on the testing and development of space weapons preceding multilateral negotiations on a treaty to prohibit all weapons in space in 1985.

Furthermore, Sri Lanka has been co-presenting together with Egypt, the UNGA Frist Committee Resolution on ‘Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space’ in keeping with our longstanding and principled position on this subject and the promotion of peaceful uses of outer space. Sri Lanka will continue to support the negotiation of a legally binding instrument and the need for effective measures for verification to prevent an arms race in outer space.  Sri Lanka recognizes the common interest of humankind in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes without discrimination and remains deeply concerned on the evolving threats to outer space peace due to the emerging space technologies.

Mr. President, my delegation is mindful of the enormous challenges before you, particularly at a time of serious threats to international peace and security, including a nuclear threat. We are at a crucial juncture of finding durable solutions to challenges to global security architecture amidst geo-political tensions.  In this context, the relevance of this forum and the need for our collective efforts to achieve common ground becomes all the more significant.

Sri Lanka remains committed to contributing to the work of the CD in realising these common goals. We believe that the role and mandate of the Conference on Disarmament should be strengthened and its substantive work resumed without further delay with the collective commitment of all member states.

Mr. President, in your opening statement you conveyed a positive feeling of compromise and understanding, and expressed confidence in being able to broaden the convergences and narrow the divergences in the CD. 

My delegation wishes to assure you of our fullest cooperation and support and we wish you success in your deliberations for a fruitful outcome. We are confident of your skill and ability to navigate the challenges ahead and guiding the work of this forum.  

In closing, let me also take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to colleagues from Pakistan, Japan, Malaysia, Finland, Norway and Ireland who have joined us in the CD. 

I thank you.

 

Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC), Twenty-First Meeting of State Parties, 20-24 November 2023, Statement by Sri Lanka – Agenda Item 10 a – Assisting the Victims

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Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC),

Twenty-First Meeting of State Parties, 20-24 November 2023

 Statement by Sri Lanka – Agenda item 10 a – Assisting the Victims

 Delivered by Mr. Rajitha Ambalampitiya, Head of Operations and Senior Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) officer of the National Mine Action Center (NMAC) of Sri Lanka on 21 November 2023

Thank you Mr. President,

First of all, allow me to express the Government of Sri Lanka’s sincere gratitude to the ISU of the Convention and GICHD for your continuous support to Sri Lanka’s mine action programme and guidance provided for victim assistance.

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Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC), Twenty-First Meeting of State Parties, 20-24 November 2023, Statement by Sri Lanka-General Exchange of Views

Pic 1 Sri Lanka Statement 1 MediumPic 2 Sri Lanka Statement Medium

 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC),

Twenty-First Meeting of State Parties, 20-24 November 2023

 Statement by Sri Lanka– General Exchange of Views

 Delivered by Mr. Rajitha Ambalampitiya, Head of Operations and Senior Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) officer of the National Mine Action Center (NMAC) of Sri Lanka on 20 November 2023

 Thank you Mr. President,

First of all, allow me to express the Government of Sri Lanka’s sincere gratitude to the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the Convention and Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) for your continuous support to Sri Lanka’s mine action programme.

We are pleased to inform you that Sri Lanka’s mine action programme has engaged in several important activities, in a collaborative manner with all international and national partners.

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2023 Meeting of High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW), 15-17 November 2023

Sri Lanka Statement CCW 2023 1

 2023 Meeting of High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW)

 Statement by Sri Lanka, 16 November 2023

Mr. President,

We take this opportunity to congratulate you on the assumption of the Presidency of the 2023 Meeting of High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. We also thank the ISU of CCW for facilitating the meeting and the process of implementation of the Convention.

We are confident that this meeting of High Contracting Parties will lead to constructive discussions and substantive outcome will further strengthen the universal implementation and adherence to the Convention by all parties to end devastative use of arms and their destructive impact, in order to ensure the wellbeing of entire human kind.

Sri Lanka continues to express its serious concerns at the unprecedented loss of life and suffering of the people of Palestine causing a grave humanitarian situation due to the escalation of violence and military action in Gaza. We condemn the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas affecting civilians and civilian infrastructure. Sri Lanka also condemns terrorism in all its forms, including by all those who resort to violence to achieve their goals whether political or otherwise.

Sri Lanka supports the urgent call of the UN Secretary General and UNGA for an immediate ceasefire and for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to provide unimpeded access for humanitarian aid including supplies of food, water, medicine, fuel and electricity as well as access to aid workers into the besieged areas.

At this critical juncture where the escalation of violent acts is witnessed in many parts of the world, we believe and recognize the CCW framework as an important component of multilateral disarmament, to develop international law to ‘ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately in armed conflicts of international and non-international nature’. Therefore, we believe that a vital responsibility lies in the hands of High Contracting Parties to assess the emerging sophisticated High-Tec warfare technologies and bring international community to a consensually agreed mechanism to address the related issues.

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Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions 11 – 14 September 2023

11 09 2023 11 MSP CCM Statement
Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions 11 – 14 September 2023

Statement by Sri Lanka

Agenda Item 8: General Exchange of Views

Thank you Mr. President,

Sri Lanka joins other delegations in congratulating you for assuming the Presidency of the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. I wish to assure you of my delegation’s fullest support towards a productive outcome of our deliberations. We also warmly welcome Nigeria and South Sudan as the 111th and the 112th States Parties to the Convention. This is an important step towards universalization of the Convention.

Mr. President,

As a country which has never used, developed, produced, acquired or stockpiled Cluster Munitions even during the time of a brutal terrorist conflict, Sri Lanka wishes to reiterate its strong and enduring commitment to realizing the core objectives of the Convention inter alia ‘to put an end for all time to the suffering and casualties caused by cluster munitions’.

We consider that the Convention on Cluster Munitions is a significant disarmament treaty adopted by more than half of the world in the past decade, with far-reaching obligations.

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Fourth Session of the open-ended working group on reducing space threats through norms, rules, and principles of responsible behaviours, 28 Aug – 01 Sep 2023

OEWG Reducing Space Threats 1OEWG Reducing Space Threats 2

General Intervention by H.E. Himalee Arunatilaka, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, on 28 August 2023

Mr. Chair,

Sri Lanka compliments the work accomplished by you as the Chair of this open-ended working group to date, based on the mandate given by General Assembly resolution 76/231. We are thankful to all Member States for their constructive engagement throughout the past sessions towards reaching a substantive outcome of this working group.

Mr. Chair,

Sri Lanka recognizes the common interest of humankind in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes without discrimination. Sri Lanka has been actively engaging in multilateral efforts for the prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) over many decades since becoming a signatory to the Outer Space Treaty in 1967. Significantly, Sri Lanka proposed a moratorium on the testing and development of space weapons preceding multilateral negotiations on a treaty to prohibit all weapons in space in 1985.

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The Second Meeting of the Working Group on the Strengthening of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), 7-18 August 2023, Palais des Nations in Geneva

Intervention by Dr. Samiddhi Samarakoon, National Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness and Response Division of the Ministry of Health on National Inventory of Dangerous Pathogens (NIDP)

18 08 2023 Statement BWC

Thank you Mr. Chair,

I take this opportunity to brief on the background of the establishment of National Inventory of Dangerous Pathogens (NIDP) in Sri Lanka which is a key step in national implementation of the BWC. Following the Joint External Evaluation of International Health Regulations (IHR) implementation in 2017, while acknowledging the several activities that were undertaken to improve the biosafety and biosecurity in Sri Lanka, it was recommended to develop a National Inventory of Dangerous Pathogens and Toxins (NIDP) as well to further strengthen the biosafety and biosecurity in the country.

Thus, action was undertaken to develop the National Policy on Biosafety and Biosecurity, including policy statements required to satisfy the 15 Articles of the BWC; appointing two contact points including the National Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness and Response of the Ministry of Health. The Disaster Preparedness and Response Division (DPRD) of the Ministry of Health applied for extended assistance from the UNODA for implementation activities of BWC and BWC-ISU in collaboration with the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RVIM), of the Netherlands supported Sri Lanka to develop the NIDP. We are grateful to the Government of the Netherlands and UNODA for this assistance and the European Union (EU) for funding the project.

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The Second Meeting of the Working Group on the Strengthening of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), 7-18 August 2023 Intervention by Sri Lanka on Implementation of Biological Weapons Convention Plan

Intervention by Dr. Samiddhi Samarakoon, National Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness and Response Division of the Ministry of Health on the Implementation of Biological Weapons Convention Plan in Sri Lanka

17 08 2023 bwc statement sri lanka

Mr. Chair,

Thank you for giving me the floor. First of all, I would like to express sincere appreciation of Sri Lanka delegation for your steady stewardship of this Working Group. I also thank the ISU staff and the representatives of other international organizations for their presentations on important topics.

Sri Lanka has also been in the forefront of major initiatives in the field of disarmament and was among the very first countries to sign the BWC in 1972.

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Second Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, 2023 18th May 2023

Intervention on the revised draft

Mr. Chair

Thank you very much for sharing this new draft.

Even though many delegations in this room argued for strengthening of the text in order to ensure that centrality of human control is retained in AWS in order to ensure compliance with international law and IHL in particular, we are quite concerned that the text in several ways is now even further weakened to the extent that we run the risk of even previously agreed understandings are backtracked. Our concerns are mainly with paragraph 20 such as deletion of the word ‘anticipation. Which we believe is already an IHL requirement as well as concerns regarding para 21 in this regard.

Adoption of a substantive repot is important for our delegation as much as it is the same for other delegations but we believe that it should be progressive and forward looking in nature.

 

Second Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, 2023 17th May 2023

17 05 2023 cd

Thank you Mr. Chair,

Our comments at this point are with regard to paragraph 25 on legal review. It is the understanding of our delegation that legal reviews with regard to autonomous weapon systems should be inline with the already existing obligations under Art. 36 of the Additional Protocol I and that we should not in anyway agree to obligations on legal review for autonomous weapon systems that are weaker than the already existing obligations under Art,36. It is also recalled that most provisions of the Additional Protocols have gained the status of customary international law. We also note that the obligation under Art 36 of the Additional Protocol I finds its basis in article 35 of the Protocol which provides that the right of states to choose means and methods of warfare is not unlimited.

Art. 36 requires to determine whether the employment of weapons, means and methods of warfare would, ‘in some or all circumstances’ be prohibited by international law. In this sense we believe that the legal review process should consider whether the use of an AWS is in compliance with international law “ in some or all circumstance” and we therefore suggest to make this change in the text. We also support the suggestion by the Swiss delegation as well the delegation of Ireland now to delete the words “ seek to” in this section.

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Second Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, 16th May 2023

16 05 202 LAWS expert group

With regard to paragraph 21 on limitations we would like to state at the outset that in our view the purpose of the imposition of these limitations is to ensure ‘ meaningful human control’ in weapon systems on the premise that autonomy in weapon system cannot be unlimited. We do not agree with the argument that the limitations imposed during the stages of development, deployment and use go beyond the existing IHL requirements. To the contrary these limitations are essential to ensure meaningful human control is retained in weapon systems which would be the only way to ensure in turn that these weapon systems in compliance with IHL.

The chapeau of paragraph 21 should refer to international law and to IHL in particular since complexity of these weapon systems pose a challenge not only to IHL but to the broader regime of international law. We also request to remove the qualifier ‘where appropriate’ in this section as these limitations should be upheld at all times. We stress once again the importance of these limitations as well as the prohibitions with regard to autonomous weapon systems codified in the form of a binding legal instrument to ensure their compliance rather than “possible voluntary measures” left for the discretionary implementation of national mechanisms.

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Second Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, 15th May 2023

15 05 2023 statement

As this is the first time my delegation takes the floor, we wish to congratulate you and assures you of our full support as we approach the final stage of this year’s GGE which we believe marks a significant turning point on the future direction on the issue of regulation of the use of autonomy in weapon systems.

In this light we commend the significant efforts you and your team have put on in presenting the draft report of the 2023 session which we consider as a good basis to commence our work for this session.

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1st Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems,6th March 2023 General Statement

6 March 2023 LAWS r

Mr. Chair,

Our delegation commends your leadership in steering our work in the Group of Governmental Experts and assure you of our continued support as we endeavor to advance our work in the GGE.

As a country that has consistently advocated for the importance of centrality of human control in weapons system and the legal, ethical, military as well as security concerns related to autonomous weapon systems we are encouraged by the recent developments and the growing momentum on the call for regulation in autonomous weapon systems. We consider the joint statement delivered at the UNGA last year supported by 70 states on this subject as well as the Communiqué issued at the Latin American and the Caribbean Conference of Social and Humanitarian Impact of Autonomous Weapons more recently calling for “the urgent negotiation of an international legally binding instrument on autonomy in weapons systems” as important steps forward in this regard. We emphasize on the importance of building on these progressive developments to ensure meaningful human control in weapon systems through the development of an international legally binding instrument.

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Address by H.E. Himalee Arunatilaka Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at the Conference on Disarmament

02 03 2023 ambassador himalee arunatilaka CD

Madam President,

Distinguished delegates,

It is an honour to address this august assembly and to share my country’s perspectives on the work of the Conference on Disarmament, at a time the world is facing myriad of security threats which are at the core of issues discussed at the CD for decades, primarily the threat of nuclear escalation. Other current global security challenges such as transnational organized crime, terrorism, advanced weapon delivery systems add to the dangers associated with the existence of WMD. The situation has heightened the need for progress in global disarmament and the non-proliferation regime which remains the primary purpose of this Conference.

Madam President,

The times are difficult, and our responses require swift action with a sense of collective responsibility, conviction and firm determination. We are deeply concerned about our collective failure to reach a consensus outcome at the 10th Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, a missed opportunity indeed given our increased vulnerabilities and growing nuclear threats. The implementation of disarmament commitments and obligations have stalled to a great extent, while the expansion and modernization of nuclear arsenals, and the introduction of advanced nuclear weapons continue to take place. We emphasize the equal importance of the three pillars of the NPT; nonproliferation, disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy and urge for meaningful dialogue to find possible convergence building on our work during the last review conference. Sri Lanka remains committed to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, the only guarantee against their proliferation.

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Sri Lanka Statement at the Thematic Session on Negative Security Assurance Conference on Disarmament , 09 February 2023

crest

Mr. President,

Let me thank you and your team for convening this meeting [thank the panelists] on this very important topic on negative security assurances.

Mr. President, let reiterate at the outset that total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. As stated in our previous statement to this Conference in January this year, we attach utmost priority to the goal of complete and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons. Negative Security Assurances (NSAs), while it is commonly agreed as an essential legitimate interest of non-nuclear weapon states, is only an interim measure pending the achievement of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Final document of the 1978 First Special Session on Disarmament obliges nuclear-weapon states to “pursue efforts to conclude, as appropriate, effective arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons”. The topic of NSAs has been in the agenda of the CD since its inception of 1979. We also note the UN Security Council resolution 984 adopted unanimously in 1995 providing pledges on NSAs to nonnuclear-weapon States parties of the NPT in the context of obtaining an indefinite extension of the NPT. Furthermore, the consensus Action Plan of the 2010 NPT Review Conference refers to action points 8 and 9 on NSAs. However, despite discussions that have been continuing in the CD in various forms over the years, we have not been able to conclude a legally binding instrument to effectively assure non-nuclear-weapon States (NNWS) against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

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Sri Lanka Statement at the Plenary of the Conference on Disarmament , 23 January 2023

24 1 2023 pleanary CD

Mr President,

[I thank you Mr. President, for your kind words of welcome.]

Sri Lanka congratulates Egypt and you, Ambassador Ahmed Gamaleldin, on assuming the first Presidency of the 2023 session of the Conference on Disarmament. My delegation assures you and other P6 Presidencies of our full support and cooperation to find common ground for fulfilling CD’s obligations towards strengthening international peace and security. We also thank the Secretary General and the CD Secretariat for their continuous support.

I have the honour to make a statement at the plenary of this august Conference following my assumption of duties as the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva earlier this month. It is a pleasure to be back in the Conference on Disarmament after 20 years; however it is sad to see that the CD is still going through excessive institutional pain year after year with no real progress on fulfilling its negotiating mandate. I look forward to working with all delegations in a spirit of cooperation and wish to reiterate our position that only through confidence building and equal respect for the security of all Member States that we will be able to achieve the much-needed consensus towards adopting a programme of work.

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Tenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (10MSP) 30 August to 2 September 2022

30 Aug 2022 10msp 4 c

Agenda Item 8: General Exchange of Views

Mr. President,

We join with other delegations in congratulating Ambassador Aidan Liddle of the United Kingdom on your assumption as President of the Tenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Please be assured of our delegation’s full support in ensuring a successful conclusion to our deliberations. We also wish to thank the CCM ISU for their work to implement the Convention.

Mr. President,

At the outset allow me to reiterate Sri Lanka’s strong commitment to realize the humanitarian objectives and principles of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, to put an end to inhumane injury and suffering caused by cluster munitions during and after conflicts. Sri Lanka had the honour to preside over the 9th Meeting of State Parties to the Convention in 2019, one year after its accession to the Convention.

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OEWG on reducing space threats through norms, rules, and principles of responsible behaviours, 10 May 2022

10 may 2022 Photo General Exchange of Views r

Statement by Sri Lanka on General Exchange of Views

Mr. Chair,

Sri Lanka would like to congratulate you on your assumption of the Chair of the first session of the 2022 of the OEWG on reducing space threats and for the opportunity to share our views on this subject. You have our full support in moving this process forward towards a substantive outcome. We would also like to appreciate the thought-provoking presentations made by today’s panelists.

Sri Lanka’s active engagement on the issue of Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) has been well known and dates back to the early 80’s when with likeminded developing states, we called for the preservation of outer space as the common heritage of all mankind, to be used in cooperation and solely for peaceful purposes. It is in as far back as 1985 that Sri Lanka proposed a moratorium on the testing and development of space weapons preceding multilateral negotiations on a treaty to prohibit all weapons in space. As you are aware Sri Lanka continues to present the First Committee Resolution on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) alternatively with Egypt each year for over four decades and remains true to its principled position that outer space is the common heritage of all humanity and should be kept free of weaponization.

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Take stock of international law and other normative frameworks concerning threats arising from state behaviour with respect to outer space, 9 May 2022

9 may 2022 Agenda Take stock of international law concerning threats arising from state behaviour with respect to outer space

Statement by Sri Lanka
9 May 2022

Mr. Chair,

Since the first launching of a satellite in 1957, space exploration, interest and use of space have developed rapidly. Conflict in space could affect not only space faring nations but also those who do not have space power in view of the interconnectedness and the reliability of space based services. The Outer Space Treaty, the legal cornerstone of international law on space activities, recognizes in its preamble “the common interest of all mankind in the progress of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes” and establishes in its Article 3 the basic principle that, “activities in the exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations.” In addition, the Rescue Agreement of 1968, the Liability Convention of 1972, Registration Convention of 1974, the Moon Treaty of 1984 as well as UN declarations and principles which are non binding in nature provide important references to existing legal regime and principles on space behaviour.

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Address by the Hon. Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka at the High Level Session of the Conference on Disarmament, 28 February 2022

28 02 2022 hon mfa CD


Mr. President,

Madam Secretary General and

Distinguished delegates,

It is an honour for me to address the high-level segment of the Conference on Disarmament, the world’s sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum.

Mr. President as a member of the Conference on Disarmament since its inception, we take pride in its past achievements and recall its successes and those of its predecessor entities which led to the conclusion of landmark Conventions such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).   I would like to reiterate at the outset Sri Lanka’s long-standing policy against the possession development and use of all weapons of mass destruction; chemical, biological and nuclear. We remain a strong advocate of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament in line also with the principles of the Non Aligned Movement in multiple fora in New York , Vienna , the Hague   and in particular here at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

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Sixth Review Conference of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW) - Intervention during the adoption of the Report o

24 12 2021 CCW

Thank you Madam Chair

allow me to congratulate you at the outset on your appointment as the chair of this Committee and to assure of our full support.

Sri Lanka takes note of the content of the draft report, and we note with concern that the recommendations on the future mandate of the GGE have fallen short of the expectations of those who voiced for a more ambitious mandate for the GGE.

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Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects CCW Sixth Review Conference General Exchange of Views Statement-Sri Lanka 13.12.2021

13 dec 2021 2 CCW Rev con  

Mr. President,

Allow me at the outset to congratulate you on the assumption of the Presidency of the Sixth Review Conference. We also congratulate the other members of the Bureau upon their election. As you are leading this important conference amidst challenges posed by the pandemic situation as well as by the critical substantive issues before the Review Conference for discussion, I would like to assure you of the full support of my delegation to make this Conference a success. We sincerely hope that our discussions this week would lead to forward-looking outcomes that would contribute to further strengthening the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols.

The CCW framework is an important pillar of the multilateral disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control system. We therefore believe that the Review Conference provides an important opportunity to assess fast developing technologies and their application to sophisticated weapon systems with a view to providing legal clarity as well as possible improvements to the CCW framework through internationally agreed benchmarks in response to the evolving warfare technologies.

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