Nuclear disarmament

Friday, 13 November 1998

Mrs. Bourgois (France) (interpretation from French): The revised draft resolution A/C.1/53/L.16 contains a number of elements which are unacceptable to France. It is based on the position of principle that nuclear weapons are in themselves dangerous to international security and contrary to the principles of the United Nations Charter.

This is not France's point of view. Nuclear deterrence is an essential element of its defence policy. Furthermore, the draft resolution calls for a review of nuclear doctrines, a prerogative that falls solely under the national sovereignty of the nuclear-weapon States.

With respect to the alert and targeting levels to which the text refers in the context of intermediate measures, France has adjusted to the international context. Thus, in 1992, France reduced the alert level of its nuclear forces and in 1996 eliminated the land component of its nuclear forces and further reduced the alert level of its strategic maritime force. On 26 September 1997, the President of the Republic announced that, with the dismantling of ground-to-ground missiles on the Albion plateau, no nuclear weapon in France's deterrence force was thenceforth targeted.

I will not go into the other elements of the text that we find unacceptable, such as the inappropriate language on nuclear disarmament and the selective reference to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice.

France could only vote against such a text.