Tánaiste calls on nuclear states to engage in talks on disarmament27 February 2013
At the UN Conference on Disarmament, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D. called for an urgent start to talks on nuclear disarmament, recalling the Irish Government's historic opposition to the use or possession of such weapons. In a strongly worded statement, he said:
'Nuclear weapons can never and will never guarantee the security of any nation. Possession of these weapons entails unacceptable risks and there is no place for them in any defensive arsenal or security posture. Their very existence threatens international security.'
Ireland's Foreign Minister, Frank Aiken, initiated the process that lead to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 1968.
The Tánaiste's message was clear, the consequences of nuclear detonation, whether deliberate or accidental, would be 'calamitous, unimaginable and immoral'.
The recent nuclear test by North Korea illustrates the need to take action now to eliminate the risk posed by nuclear weapons and their proliferation. He said:
'I call upon the DPRK to cease, immediately and without pre-conditions, nuclear testing and ballistic missile activities and to re-engage with the Six Party Talks on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. The DPRK must – as we all must – comply fully with Treaty and other international obligations. '
The Tánaiste also addressed the UN Human Rights Council Ireland was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on 12 November 2012 for a period of three years, 2013 to 2015 and his speech is at the start of the annual High Level Segment of the Council. While the Tánaiste addressed the Council on behalf of the EU and High Representative Ashton, his appearance before the Council is notable in that this will be the first time an Irish Minister has addressed the Council as a member.
“We are determined to make a meaningful contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights during our tenure on the Human Rights Council. The first six months of our membership coincide with Ireland’s Presidency of the European Council and we will work closely with EU partners to ensure our coherence and effectiveness on a range of issues.”
The Tánaiste’s speech to the UN Human Rights Council focused on a number of pressing human rights crises including Syria, Mali, North Korea, and Iran anda number of thematic issues including LGBTI rights, freedom of religion or belief, children’s rights and human rights defenders.
During his visit to Geneva, the Tánaiste also met with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mr. Peter Maurer, and with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay.