Statement by Deputy Political Coordinator Alice Jacobs at the UN Security Council debate on export of weapons and military equipment

Alice Jacobs, UK Deputy Political Coordinator at the UN, speaks at the UN Security Council

I’d like to start by congratulating Mozambique on their Presidency in March and also thank you to Under-Secretary-General Nakamitsu for her briefing today.

As the perpetrator of a war of aggression against a sovereign nation, Russia has taken up the Security Council Presidency while it fails to meet the most basic obligations of a UN Member State.

Russia’s decision to unleash an illegal war of choice on an innocent people threatens the fundamental principles of the Security Council. And as it sources weapons for its war, Russia is violating the very UN sanctions it helped to draft, on states such as Iran and the DPRK.

The wider consequences of this war on food and commodity prices are severe, and are likely to drive further conflict. The UK calls on all other states to cease assistance to the Russian military and its affiliated forces. Arming the aggressor state is fuelling global instability.

To preserve the Charter principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, Member States should assist Ukraine to protect itself from this aggression, in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter. The UK has provided a wide range of equipment and support to Ukraine and will continue to do so, as a responsible UN Member State.

Colleagues, the diversion and misuse of conventional arms costs hundreds of thousands of lives every year across the world, undermines security and sustainable development, and fuels conflict, crime and terrorism.

The Security Council can play an important role on this issue, complementary to multilateral and national processes. Regrettably, it is Russia that has long sought to undermine this work – opposing new texts and consistently abstaining from resolutions on this issue, such as resolution 2117 in 2013, resolution 2220 in 2015, and resolution 2616 in 2021.

The UK operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We are committed to full implementation and universalisation of the Arms Trade Treaty. And we remain committed to all related UN mechanisms, including the UN programme of action on small arms and light weapons. We will continue to support appropriate measures through the Security Council.

Colleagues, let me finish by restating one simple point. If Russia is serious about strengthening international peace and security its first action should be to end its illegal invasion, withdraw from Ukraine and uphold its responsibilities under the UN Charter.

Published 10 April 2023