Canada Resumes Engagement in Conference on Disarmament

(No. 240 - August 19, 2011 - 11 a.m. ET) John Baird, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, today announced that Canada will resume its engagement in the Conference on Disarmament as North Korea's presidency of the conference has come to an end.

"In July, I announced our government's decision to suspend its engagement in the Conference on Disarmament for the duration of North Korea's presidency, which ended today, August 19, 2011.

"Canada has made it very clear: as a major nuclear proliferator, North Korea completely lacks credibility to serve as president of a forum dedicated to advancing disarmament.

"This action was in line with our principled approach to North Korea's ongoing proliferation activities. Canada remains strongly concerned about North Korean involvement in the illicit transfers of nuclear weapon- and missile-related materials and technologies.

"Canada is considering all options to prevent known proliferators like North Korea from chairing non-proliferation and disarmament-related institutions, including the Conference on Disarmament.

"Our government received a strong mandate to advance Canada's values—freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law—on the world stage."

Canada adopted a controlled engagement policy toward North Korea and as part of its principled approach enacted tough new economic sanctions against the regime under the Special Economic Measures Act just one week ago. These measures followed a commitment made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper after the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan, which claimed the lives of 46 sailors.

For more information, including on the extent of the sanctions and the available exemptions, please see North Korea: Overview of New Sanctions.

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