U.N. member states begin negotiations on multilateral nuclear disarmament

The U.N. Open-Ending Working Group on taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations opened on Wednesday at the Palace of Nations in Geneva.

The OEWG was established by the U.N. General Assembly pursuant to a resolution adopted in December that passed 147 to 4. Only the U.S., U.K., Russia and France were against the resolution with 31 abstentions.

The group will develop proposals on how to take the multilateral negotiations of nuclear disarmament forward and will submit a report to the assembly on its work, reflecting on all discussions held and proposals made. The group plans to meet for up to 15 days in May, June and August within the timeframe of the 24-week-long session of the conference on disarmament.

Ambassador Manuel Dengo, Costa Rica's permanent representative to the U.N. office at Geneva, will help to develop the proposals for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear weapon-free world.

In Dengo's opening remarks, he emphasized his intention to fulfill the group's mandate all-inclusively and transparently. He said the group's final report will reflect all proposals made.

Specific topics of discussion between Tuesday and May 24 include two main clusters. The first is taking stock of existing disarmament commitments and nuclear disarmament proposals that were already put forward. The second will concern the challenges, perspectives and aspects of nuclear disarmament and multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.

Most of the group's work will consist of informal and interactive meetings with some thematic panels and one scheduled formal and general exchange of views and proposals.