On December 15, an open debate entitled “Preventing catastrophe: A global agenda for stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors” was held at the UN Security Council, chaired by Alfonso Dastis, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain. Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson made an opening statement. Representatives of more than 70 member states took part in the debate, including Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations.
In his statement, Ambassador Mnatsakanyan noted in particular, that currently we are all witnesses to the growing risks of the acquisition by non-State actors, such as terrorists and other criminal groups, of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and the related lethal threats to global security. “Non-State actors, such as terrorists and other criminal groups have been taking advantage of the globalisation in order to pursue their sinister goals of acquiring relevant CBRN weapons-related knowledge and skills. Several existing groups may have generated financial resources to achieve this. While technical barriers may still prevent them from producing sophisticated means of delivery, however, given the deadly nature of such weapons, even crude, low-level attacks with the use of toxic or radiological materials will have deeply disturbing fatal effects. It is imperative to advance stronger national nuclear control and counter-proliferation capacities coupled with enhanced international cooperation to resolutely and effectively address such threats posed by non-State actors, such as terrorists and other criminal groups”, - emphasized Armenian Permanent Representative. In his words, Armenia attaches great importance to reinforcing nuclear security both at national and international levels through the ratification and implementation of international legal instruments as well as the establishment of robust national legislation. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan also reminded that in 2015 Armenia has adopted amendments to the respective Government decrees on approval of the licensing procedure for import and export of radioactive materials, on the rules of physical protection for radioactive materials and on the concept of physical protection and security of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant and nuclear materials.
Ambassador Mnatsakanyan added that Armenia fully implements its international obligations under the UN Security Council Resolution 1540, also noting that the National Action Plan of Armenia for 2015-2020 outlines series of concrete steps, ranging from reviewing already implemented national measures to the coordination of ongoing and anticipated activities. “We are also active in counter-proliferation initiatives such as Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and Proliferation Security Initiative. The Government of Armenia is continuously working with its international partners at bilateral and multilateral levels to further enhance its national capabilities in countering nuclear smuggling”, - stressed Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.