Kane says U.N. CD must get away from "my priorities first" approach

The U.N. Conference on Disarmament must employ flexibility and compromise to fulfill its mandate as the world's single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, the U.N. High Representatives for Disarmament Affairs said on Tuesday.

Angela Kane made the remarks on Tuesday at the plenary meeting of the CD at the Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Kane said the public and many member states are voicing frustration at the CD's lack of progress as a forum for disarmament negotiation.

"These frustrations have given rise to real doubts about whether the CD is still capable of performing this function, given the stalemate that it has been unable to break due to chronic differences over priorities and over the scope of application of its consensus rule," Kane said. "This impasse, year after year, has led many to propose the establishment of alternative negotiating arenas. And the longer the stalemate exists, the greater will be the temptation to pursue those options."

Kane said she would not welcome the establishment of alternative forums for negotiation, because she values the multilateral dimension of disarmament norms and the goal of ensuring the norms are fully universal in scope. She also said that the stalemates of recent years go far beyond the achievement of consensus on universal norms.

"We are seeing this great institution-the Conference on Disarmament-functionally immobilized by what might be called a 'my-priorities-first' approach to diplomacy that, if not altered, will jeopardize its very existence as a vital component of the U.N. disarmament machinery," Kane said. "Where flexibility and compromise are necessary, we are seeing intransigence and the transformation of national negotiating positions into immovable objects."

Kane closed by imploring all CD members to heed advice received by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to resume the productive work of the distinguished institution.