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Ambassadorial/Statements to the UN

STATEMENT BY

 

H.E. MR. PHILIP RICHARD 0. OWADE

AMBASSADOR/DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE

OF KENYA TO THE UNITED NATIONS IN GENEVA

ON

THEMATIC DEBATE: “CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS”

DURING

THE

63 SESSION OF THE

UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

United Nations, New York

 

Mr.  Chairman,

The Kenya delegation associates itself with the statement made by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. We however, wish to underscore a few points pertinent to our national interest.

1. Kenya has been in the forefront in the global efforts to address the problem of excessive accumulation and uncontrolled circulation of conventional weapons. We are particularly concerned over the continued production, manufacture and circulation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their excessive accumulation and proliferation in many parts of the world, including in my own region.

2. In this regard, we underscore the importance of the UN Programme of Action to prevent, combat and eradicate illicit small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. We welcome the innovations and progress made at the last BMS Meeting in July, 2008. The Regional Centre for Small Arms and Light Weapons (RECSA) with its headquarters in Nairobi has done commendable work in harmonizing and coordinating the activities of its Member States in the reduction of small arms and light weapons. We urge our partner States to continue with their invaluable support to the Centre in this noble endeavor.

Mr Chairman,

3. Kenya was an original co-author of the General Assembly

Resolution 61/89 at the 61 Session entitled, “Towards an Arms

Trade Treaty”. We were privileged to serve in the Group of

Governmental Experts to examine the feasibility, Scope and Draft

Parameters of an Arms Trade Treaty whose report contained in

Document A/63/334, was ably presented by Ambassador Roberto

Moritan. Kenya remains committed to the global efforts to govern

International arms transfers through a legally-binding treaty.

4. We convey our appreciation to more than 80 States that have so far sponsored the resolution tabled by the United Kingdom on behalf of the co-authors which seeks to establish an Open-Ended Working Group to begin consideration of the elements in the GGE Report for an eventuaL legally-binding Treaty on the Import, Export and Transfer of Conventional Weapons.

5. In this connection, Kenya hosted an African Regional Meeting in Nairobi from September 3-4, 2008, on The Arms Trade Treaty, International Transfers and Development, which I had the privilege to Chair. The meeting which was attended by representatives of 20 African Governments, members of the civil society, African and other Regional Organizations, discussed the impact of armed conflict and armed violence in Africa and adopted the Nairobi Outcome Document, which I have the pleasure to present to the Committee. A copy of the Outcome Document is attached to my statement. The Declaration calls for negotiations on an AlT to commence as a matter of priority. It further recommends:

• That these negotiations should lead to an effective AU that would promote peace and development of Africa.

• That an AU should include universally applicable criteria based on States’ existing obligations under international law.

• That it should be broad in scope and encompass all conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons and their ammunition, components and dual-use equipment etc.

• That an AlT should include provisions for international co-operation and assistance in order to ensure that developing countries acquire the capacity to implement its provisions at the national level.

Mr Chairman,

6. Kenya was among the first 42 countries that adopted the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development in June, 2006. As a Member of the Core Group in Geneva charged with the responsibility of implementing the Declaration, we welcome progress that has been made through the regional meetings in Guatemala, Nairobi and Bangkok, leading to wider acceptance of the Declaration by more than 86 countries. We welcome the Review Conference Declaration adopted last month and hope that the Resolution to be tabled at the Plenary will be adopted by consensus.

7. In particular, we hope that the partnership between States, the civil society and international organizations, which was duly underscored in the Declaration, will enhance and promote comprehensive responses to effectively address the scourge of armed violence. We hope that under this initiative, we shall be able to achieve measurable indicators and targets on armed violence and development, as a component of the Millennium Development Goals ( MDG5).

8. Kenya welcomes the adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the Dublin Diplomatic Conference in May, 2008 to end decades of civilian suffering. We urge as many States as possible to sign the Convention in Oslo, later this year. This will bolster and complement progress already made under the Mine-Ban Convention in ameliorating the humanitarian impact of these weapons.

M Chairman,

9. Before concluding, Kenya appeals to the international community to address, as a matter of urgency, the problem of piracy especially in the shores of Somalia which threatens to exacerbate the problem of illicit proliferation of weapons in the hands of criminals and terrorists. If not checked, this phenomenon will lead to greater insecurity and destabilization in the region. These recent experiences have demonstrated the need for the international community to intensify efforts to find a lasting solution to the conflict in that war-torn neighbouring country. Kenya stands ready to lend its support.

Thank you.