New U.N. First Committee chairman to strengthen ties with Conference on Disarmament

Dutch Ambassador to the United Nations Karel van Oosterom
Dutch Ambassador to the United Nations Karel van Oosterom
The U.N. Conference on Disarmament met this week to hear from Chairman-designate of the U.N. General Assembly’s First Committee Karel von Oosterom, who is seeking to reinforce the connection between the organizations’ disarmament goals.

The Conference on Disarmament was established in 1979 as the only multilateral disarmament negotiating forum for the international community, while the General Assembly’s First Committee is focused on seeking solutions to issues of disarmament and global threats to peace.

Dutch U.N. Ambassador Karel von Oosterom is set to take the helm of the First Committee and sought to establish a close working relationship between the similarly oriented institutions. von Oosterom told the assembled ambassadors that his task as the chair would be to navigate the work of the First Committee in a neutral, inclusive and transparent manner.

Present at the meeting were representatives from the United States, Cuba, Russia, China, Finland, the U.K., India, Syria and Egypt–-all of whom came to the table with varying disarmament agendas to discuss.

The United States is particularly interested in responses from China and Russia about advanced testing of anti-satellite weapons. The U.S. has expressed major concerns over such weapons, which pose a threat to satellites and the various services they provide. The consequences of using weapons against satellites could last for decades.

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