Madam President,

Like my colleagues, I would like to start by thanking Japan for putting this important issue on this Council's agenda. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General, Ms Mukhatzhanova and Dr Floyd for their interventions and for their commitment.

The suffering of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was etched on the collective conscience of humanity in August 1945 and must never be forgotten. Awareness of this traumatic rupture is underlined by the fact that the first resolution adopted by the General Assembly in January 1946 was dedicated to nuclear disarmament. For decades, preventing the further use of nuclear weapons was a raison d'être of the United Nations. Our organisation has played a decisive role in this respect by enabling dialogue even between the hardest fronts, even in moments of extreme tension.

For we should remember that when the world was on the brink of collapse, during the Cuban missile crisis, the leaders of the time were able to take a step towards each other in order to contain the most frightening dangers. This moment of maximum tension led to the beginnings of an agreement and the development of multiple nuclear arms control instruments, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

"A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought".

At a time of geopolitical volatility when the risk of nuclear weapons being used is unprecedented since the end of the Cold War, it is our responsibility to ensure that this truth, lived by the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, affirmed by Mr Gorbachev and Mr Reagan in 1985, and reaffirmed by the permanent members of this Council in January 2022, does not remain a dead letter.

To achieve this, we must first return to the path of nuclear disarmament, as the Secretary-General emphasises in his New Agenda for Peace. Maintaining an international order based on international law and rules is essential for our collective security. Progress towards nuclear disarmament is an obligation under the NPT. The commitments made in this treaty remain valid and must be implemented. We are concerned by the denunciation, and even violation, of essential nuclear arms control instruments. The three largest nuclear powers have still not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). We call on them and all other States listed in Annex 2 of the CTBT to sign and ratify this instrument without delay. Furthermore, this Council should play a key role in strengthening these norms. It should draw inspiration from its past actions, for example its Resolution 984 of 1995 by which it granted negative security assurances to non-nuclear weapons States.

At the same time, Madam President, we must reduce nuclear risks. This is neither a substitute nor a prerequisite for nuclear disarmament. But the risks posed by the nuclear arms race are undeniable, and the recent nuclear rhetoric is to be condemned. In addition, new technologies, particularly in the field of digital technology and artificial intelligence, pose unprecedented challenges. Switzerland calls on the nuclear-weapon States to conduct a sustained dialogue for nuclear risk reduction with a view to adopting concrete commitments. We encourage the P5 and nuclear-weapon States to consider tangible confidence-building measures, for example by establishing crisis communication channels to avoid misunderstandings between nuclear-weapon States. We also call on all states possessing nuclear weapons to be transparent about their policies, doctrines and arsenals.

Finally, the global non-proliferation architecture must be maintained and strengthened; nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation being two sides of the same coin. The NPT has made a major contribution to limiting the number of states possessing nuclear weapons, hence the importance of doing everything possible to ensure its continued existence. Major concerns arise from the rapid development of nuclear and ballistic programmes in the DPRK, the gradual unravelling of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the many open questions raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency's reports on Iran. Switzerland recalls that the resolutions of this Council are binding and must be implemented by all Member States. We also call on all States to apply the highest standards of nuclear safeguards through a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement complemented by an Additional Protocol.

Madam President,

This Council has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. We must therefore provide responses to the current nuclear risks. The five permanent members have a particular responsibility to advance nuclear disarmament. They also have a duty to respect and maintain the pillars of the non-proliferation architecture. The renewal of the mandate of the expert group on sanctions imposed on the DPRK later this week, will be a further demonstration of this commitment. As Chair of the 1718 Committee, I would ask all the members of this Council to make a constructive commitment to preserving this important instrument for the committee.

As the Secretary General said in his address to the tenth NPT Review Conference: " peace cannot take place in the absence of trust and mutual respect". And all States have a responsibility to help rebuild that trust. In this vein, the Pact for the Future represents an important opportunity to build on the lessons of the past, by reaffirming and resuming the path towards a world free of nuclear weapons. Let us assume this responsibility now, in the present.

I thank you.

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