Mr. REIMAA (Finland):
I would like to underline that the appointment of a special coordinator and the possible subsequent establishment of an ad hoc committee on APLs will by no means exclude other items from the work of the Conference. Finland is open to discussions on any other item on the agenda. Since there are only two weeks left of this part of the session, it is my view that intensive contacts and consultations are also necessary to reach agreement on the other items on our programme of work. Finland considers the negotiations on a fissile material cut-off convention another important item. This is an issue which has a negotiated mandate and it is thus ready for concrete work. The ban on the production of fissile material would be an important step forward in the process of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Mrs. TOLLE (Kenya):
As a peace-loving country, Kenya attaches great importance to the maintenance of peace, which is critical to our national development. Kenya, however, views with concern the current inertia in the Conference that is characterized by its inability to agree on a programme of work for the present session at this late stage. The Russian Foreign Minister, in his statement before the Conference last week, aptly stated his delegation's readiness to "agree upon realistic priorities, and to harmonize positions constructively on the whole range of issues on the agenda of the Conference". It is imperative, therefore, that all members exercise political will, flexibility and understanding in order to arrive at an agreement that is acceptable to all.
Mr. de ICAZA (Mexico) (translated from Spanish):
"The ad hoc committee will establish working groups to negotiate, as a first step, a universal and legally binding multilateral agreement committing all States to the objective of complete elimination of nuclear weapons, an agreement on further steps required in a phased programme with time-frames leading to total elimination of nuclear weapons, and a convention on the prohibition of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and nuclear explosive devices, taking into account the report of the Special Coordinator on this item (CD/1299) and the views relating to the scope of the treaty.
Mr. SABOIA (Brazil):
Brazil has joined the large number of G.21 delegations in endorsing
the draft mandate for an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament just introduced
by the distinguished Ambassador of Mexico. Nuclear disarmament is a major
concern of our time and a legitimate aspiration of the international community.
It is incumbent upon the CD, as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating
body, to discharge its responsibilities in this regard. The call for the
immediate establishment of an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament in
the CD was recently renewed by the G.21 in document CD/1462, and has also
enjoyed the support of other members of the Conference. The present draft
mandate for an ad hoc committee reflects principled positions with regard
to nuclear disarmament and to the responsibilities of the CD in this matter.
It is consistent with General Assembly resolutions on nuclear disarmament,
as well as with the request to the CD contained therein. It also reflects
the view of the vast majority of States with regard to the priority that
should be conferred upon the issue of nuclear disarmament.
Mr. BERGUÑO (Chile) (translated from Spanish):
Concerning the proposed mandate for an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament,
my delegation would like to state here that we are also waiting for there
to be a reaction on this subject and for this subject to be considered.
My delegation is not in a position to subscribe to this particular mandate
for a clear and precise reason - because on one of the subjects which are
included in this mandate there is already an adopted mandate, which is
the subject of cessation of the production of fissile material for warlike
purposes. But the other one does not exist, and we would like it to exist
as soon as possible. We would like it to be possible to discuss this matter,
we would like not to be constantly confronted with a wall of silence, we
would like to have negotiations on the subject. The President of my country,
in 1958, I believe, answered a question raised by the then Secretary-General
of the United Nations, and expressed his willingness to see the negotiation
of a convention for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Time has passed
and we cannot conduct these negotiations. The important thing is to take
a step forward. The distinguished representative of Iran has made a proposal
in this regard. This proposal, a minimal proposal, the proposal for a special
coordinator for the topic, could not be accepted either. I would like to
make an appeal for flexibility, for a breakthrough, for serious-mindedness
in the consideration of these subjects. It is not possible to continue
indefinitely playing a game of concealment. It is necessary for us to know
whether we wish to work in this Conference on Disarmament for international
The PRESIDENT (translated from French): As you know, intensive consultations are continuing on the draft decision of 22 May 1997 concerning the appointment of a special coordinator on anti-personnel landmines, as well as on the proposed programme of work suggested by the Group of 21 in document CD/1462.
It is now June, and we have not yet achieved anything. We have a host of proposals, as Ambassador Berguño has reminded us, which have remained unanswered. We have before us proposals made by various quarters, which have been put to the Conference, some of which seem to have been forgotten, while for others we cannot arrive at a consensus, even though many of us think that a solution is at hand. Therefore, I too would like to appeal to the Conference to be good enough to make up its mind to take a decision on one or other of the proposals before it, whether it be anti-personnel landmines, the programme of work, expansion of the Conference.
Mr. ORFI (Syrian Arab Republic) (translated from Arabic):
My delegation was surprised to learn of the request of the Ambassador of Finland that a decision be taken at this meeting concerning the appointment of a special rapporteur/coordinator on anti-personnel landmines. We were surprised because the information that we received from the Coordinator of the Group of 21, following Presidential consultations yesterday afternoon, indicated the following:
(continued in English)
"The President was in a position to draw the following conclusions:
"(a) There is no consensus to take a decision in the plenary on the proposal submitted on 22 May 1997, regarding APLs;
"(b) There exists a proposal to have open-ended Presidential consultations on two items - the proposal dated 22 May 1997 and the proposal submitted by the G.21 (CD/1462). These two proposals are to be considered together with no order of priority;
"(c) There will be open-ended informal Presidential consultations tomorrow."
(continued in Arabic)
I believe, Madam President, that your assessment of the situation is correct. My delegation came to today's meeting on the basis of the conclusions submitted to us concerning the outcome of yesterday's Presidential consultations. On this basis, we have no objection to the holding of informal consultations immediately after this meeting.
Mr. KESKINTEPE (Turkey): Madam President, since my Ambassador had the opportunity to express his congratulations to you upon your assumption of the presidency at the last plenary, I shall confine my statement to our present discussion.
I should like to express my delegation's appreciation to the G.21 for their proposal on the CD programme of work as contained in document CD/1462. We also welcome the proposal on a mandate for the ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament. We will give serious consideration to this proposal. My delegation has noted the statements made last week by some members of the G.21 to the effect that a lot of hard work had gone into the document on the work programme and that it had been a genuine effort in search of finding common ground so that the CD could break the impasse that it has found itself in. We have carefully studied the proposal in its entirety. While all items in the proposal may not command consensus in the CD, we have ascertained elements which could be isolated and used as the basis for taking other decisions, the sum of which could constitute our work programme in the remaining part of this year.
My delegation supports the establishment of ad hoc committees on negative security assurances, outer space and transparency in armaments, as well as the establishment of an ad hoc committee on cut-off. We can also go along with decisions to appoint special coordinators on the expansion of the Conference and the CD agenda and its improved and effective functioning. However, in our view, we should first take those decisions which are ripe. We have in mind the draft decision of 22 May 1997 on the appointment of a special coordinator on APLs. It deserves our immediate attention. This is all the more so in the light of the statements of some of the previous speakers. If we can successfully take this decision now at this plenary, we could then move on to take decisions on other proposals. My delegation therefore adds its voice to the request that the distinguished Ambassador of Finland has made which was supported by other delegations.
Ms. CRITTENBERGER (United States of America):
We have heard many times over the past several weeks in formal and informal consultations of the description that there is no consensus on one or another issue. We have also heard pointed calls for transparency in this forum. Unfortunately, the phrase "no consensus" is not a transparent phrase, and it does not really offer us the tools that we would need to move forward. Looking at the progression of the calendar, today is already 12 June. The delegation of Finland has asked that a decision be taken today on the so-called 22 May proposal, contained in document CD/1458, as modified by all of us in informal consultations, and now available in all languages.
Regarding yesterday's Presidential consultations, or any other Presidential consultations, I would like to note that these forums are not decision-making forums. They are really devices to help the President on how to conduct the formal meetings. The plenary is the decision-making body. It seems to my delegation that no conclusions reached in informal Presidential consultations can bind us in this setting, the formal decision-making body of the Conference. So, with an appeal for transparency, and with an appeal for the desire to take decisions and to know where we stand, I would like to support the proposal that we take a decision today on the document contained in CD/1458, as revised by us in informal consultations.
Mr. RAMAKER (Netherlands):
For some time already, the Netherlands has been concerned about the situation in this Conference, where there does not seem to be any progress towards the assumption of concrete work. Now, on the other hand, we had more or less expected that the Conference would go into a difficult year, a year of reorientation of what it was that it could do, and what it was that it could not do, in the wake of the conclusion of the negotiations on a major issue last year, the comprehensive test ban. But in the last few weeks, and today in particular, I should say that the concern of my delegation has become more profound in nature. It is not so much the fact that we are not working in a concrete manner, but it is rather the fact that we seem - I hope it is only that we seem - to be confused on how we should get to our decision-making. Already for a few months - and I think that it is wise to recall the presidencies of your Romanian and your Russian predecessors - there seems to be a tendency to, as it were, diminish the importance of the role of the President in the CD. I remember vividly that here in this room the necessity was evoked that one should consult and reach consensus, then, subsequently, on how to consult on our so-called work programme. Today, we hear that apparently there was no consensus on whether there was a consensus - it becomes complicated. There was a consensus yesterday that you concluded there was no consensus on how to establish consensus on the proposal made by Finland. I hear some laughing, but I think the situation is very, very serious if we go on on that path, if really we first have to reach consensus on how to establish consensus, on how to make a decision. It seems to me that those who plead for that are taking the seat of the President of the Conference, and I think if that is a path to follow, then I must say that I take a rather dim view of the future of this Conference. So, like others, I have no problem in accepting that on the substance we need consensus, but it would be rather difficult for my delegation to accept the thesis that the question on how to run the Conference is also subject to consensus. Therefore, I think that on these issues it is not you who are in the hands of the Conference but rather the Conference which is in your hands, and I think that here I tend to agree with the last speaker before the United States, the Ambassador of India, that indeed there is a heavy responsibility for you, so there is indeed an enormous task for the President. It does not mean that we underestimate the difficulties, but I think we should make a couple of fundamental distinctions, all of us here, if we want really to move forward. So, I think, like others, that we should be careful to preserve the prerogatives of the President of the CD. We should be careful and be aware that the President has his or her own responsibilities, and I am sure that if these premises are kept in mind, in the end we will reach a solution.
Mr. BENJELLOUN-TOUIMI (Morocco) (translated from French): I see that the dialogue of the deaf is continuing. I do not want to participate in it; I would simply like to revert to my initial proposal and ask you whether it would be possible - this would perhaps be one of the first decisions to be taken today - to decide that before the end of your presidency, we would devote the plenary meeting on 26 June to the expansion of the Conference so that all delegations can make statements and clarify their positions.
Mr. AMAT FORES (Cuba) (translated from Spanish):
For weeks now we have been hearing about the deadlock in the work of the Conference, and we wonder whether we are deadlocked or whether we have spent all this time groping blindly about in the dark. We see how many proposals of all sorts have been made, and the problem is that we have not carried out the exercise of formulating our plan of work, which is stipulated in the rules of procedure of this Conference. It is as if we tried to build a house without having drawn up plans and began to discuss how to make the roof, whether making the terrace will not cause problems, and whether we are going to start with the terrace or whether we should deal with the windows first of all.
The rules of procedure of the Conference are very clear when they state in paragraphs 27 and 28 that at the beginning of each session the Conference shall adopt its agenda for the year and that on the basis of its agenda, the Conference, at the beginning of its session, shall establish its programme of work, which will include the schedule of its activities for that session. We have seen that many proposals have prevented us from genuinely succeeding in carrying out that exercise, which we regard as essential to know in which direction we are heading. References are made to transparency, and we constantly use the expression, which has already become something of a cliché, but we see that many proposals can be seen as smokescreens, and we all know that smoke is not transparent, in fact it prevents you from clearly seeing the essence of things.
Mr. de ICAZA (Mexico) (translated from Spanish): I apologize
for taking the floor again. It is due to the need to make two points of
clarification. The first: when I referred to the fact that there are some
delegations that want to introduce the subject of mines in the Conference
so that no progress is made on mines, I was not of course referring to
all the delegations which want the subject in this forum, still less was
I referring to those which have displayed a will to arrive at concrete
conclusions by participating in the forums that my delegation considers
appropriate for bringing about the total bans for which we hope. That is
the first point of clarification, a necessary point of clarification in
view of the fact that there are other delegations which, of course, and
we all know this, do not want to make progress in the field of mines and
for that reason want to bring it to disarmament, and other delegations
which are also extremely bothered by the Ottawa Process and the very existence
of the 1980 Convention.
The PRESIDENT (translated from French): I thank the representative of Syria. So now what we have is a clear position. There is no consensus on the request for the appointment of a special coordinator on anti-personnel landmines. We all knew it - let us be honest enough to admit that that was the case. I had hoped, during the Presidential consultations yesterday, to continue the informal consultations so as to enable us to succeed in finding a solution. That has not been done for the time being. I propose once again that the Chair should be allowed to continue the consultations so as to succeed in finding a solution which can secure the support of all sides. If you agree, I will therefore hold these consultations, in various forms, which I would ask you to leave to my discretion. I give the floor to the representative of the United States of America.
Ms. CRITTENBERGER (United States of America): Thank you for at least putting the question that had been requested of you. I wanted to seek clarification regarding your summary. I believe I heard you say that there was no consensus in the Conference for the appointment of a special coordinator on mines. I believe what we had no consensus on was a specific proposal, CD/1458, as revised on 22 May. So I hope that we do not reach the conclusion prematurely that there is no consensus at all for a special coordinator.