The General Assembly would call for continued efforts to strengthen and preserve the integrity of the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) to keep it a cornerstone in maintaining world peace, according to one of ten draft resolutions introduced this afternoon in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).
Under further terms of the draft, introduced by the representative of the Russian Federation, the Assembly would call upon the Treaty’s parties to limit the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems and to refrain from the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems for the defence of their territories. It would also call on them not to provide a base for such a defence or to transfer to other States or deploy outside their national territories anti-ballistic missile systems or their components limited by the Treaty.
The Committee also heard introductions of draft resolutions on: total elimination of nuclear weapons; the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament; the nuclear-weapon-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean; transparency in armaments; conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels; assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms; United Nations Disarmament Information Programme; Disarmament Commission; and a United Nations study on disarmament and non- proliferation education.
A draft resolution introduced by the representative of Japan on a path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons would have the Assembly stress the central importance of taking practical steps to implement the call for nuclear disarmament under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Those steps included: the early signature and ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) by all States, especially by those whose ratification was required for its entry into force, with a view to its early operation before 2003, and immediate negotiations, and their conclusion as early as possible before 2005, on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes.
A 97-Power draft text introduced by the representative of the Netherlands on transparency in armaments would have the Assembly call upon Member States, with a view to achieving universal participation in the Register of Conventional Arms, to provide the Secretary-General by 31 May annually the requested data and would
First Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/DIS/3183 17th Meeting (PM) 18 October 2000
reaffirm its decision to keep the scope of and participation in the Register under review. According to a text introduced by the representative of India on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament, the Assembly would urge Member States to undertake multilateral negotiations with the participation of all interested States in order to establish universally acceptable, non-discriminatory guidelines for international transfers of dual-use goods and technologies and high technology with military applications.
The Assembly would welcome the concrete steps taken by some countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region during the past year in consolidating the regime of military denuclearization established by the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), by the terms of a draft text introduced by the representative of Mexico.
A draft resolution introduced by the representative of Mali on assisting States in curbing illicit traffic in small arms and collecting them would have the Assembly encourage the setting up in the countries in the Saharo-Sahelian subregion of national commissions against the proliferation of small arms, and invite the international community to support as far as possible the smooth functioning of the national commissions where they have been set up. It would urge the international community to give its support to the implementation of the Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa, adopted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in October 1998.
According to a draft text introduced by the representative of Mexico on the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme, the Assembly would commend the Secretary-General for his efforts to make effective use of the limited resources available to him in disseminating as widely as possible, including by electronic means, information on arms limitation and disarmament to governments, the media, non-governmental organizations, educational communities and research institutes, and in carrying out a seminar and conference programme.
Also introduced by the representative of Mexico was a draft resolution on a United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education, by which the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to prepare, with the assistance of a group of qualified governmental experts, a study on disarmament and non- proliferation, that would, among other things, define contemporary disarmament and non-proliferation education and training and recommend ways to promote education and training in disarmament and non-proliferation at all levels of formal and informal education.
The representative of Iran introduced a draft on the report of the Disarmament Commission, which would have the Assembly reaffirm the role of the Commission as the specialized, deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery that allowed for in-depth deliberations on specific disarmament issues, leading to the submission of concrete recommendations on those issues.
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Representatives of the following delegations made comments on draft resolutions or participated in the thematic discussion: Gabon; Poland; Niger; Brazil, on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR); Iran; Australia; China; Belarus; Sri Lanka; and Iraq. The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Thursday, 19 October, to continue its second stage of work, namely a thematic discussion and introduction and consideration of all draft resolutions.
First Committee - 3 - Press Release GA/DIS/3183 17th Meeting (PM) 18 October 2000
Committee Work Programme
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue its second phase of work, namely a thematic discussion on disarmament and security items as well as the introduction and consideration of related draft resolutions. The discussion, which began on Friday, 13 October, will conclude on 23 October.
The subjects to be covered in the thematic discussion are as follows: nuclear weapons; other weapons of mass destruction; the disarmament aspects of outer space; conventional weapons; regional disarmament and security; confidence- building measures, including transparency in armaments; disarmament machinery; other disarmament measures; and, related matters of disarmament and international security. The deadline for submission of draft resolutions was Friday, 13 October. The Committee has received 50 texts.
The Committee was expected to hear introductions of drafts on the following: Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty; the total elimination of nuclear weapons; the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament; the nuclear-weapon-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean; transparency in armaments; conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels; assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms; United Nations Disarmament Information Programme; a United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education; and the Disarmament Commission.
By the terms of a text on the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty)(document A/C.1/55/L.2), the General Assembly, stressing the paramount importance of full and strict compliance with the Treaty by the parties, would call for continued efforts to strengthen it and to preserve its integrity and validity, so that it remains a cornerstone in maintaining global strategic stability and world peace and in promoting further strategic nuclear arms reductions. The Assembly would also call for renewed efforts by each of the States parties to preserve and strengthen the Treaty through full and strict compliance.
Further, the Assembly would call upon the Treaty’s parties, in accordance with their obligations under the Treaty, to limit the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems and refrain from the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems for the defence of the territory of their country and not to provide a base for such a defence, and not to transfer to other States or deploy outside their national territory anti-ballistic missile systems or their components limited by the Treaty.
By further terms of the text, the Assembly would urge all Member States to support efforts aimed at stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. It would support further efforts by the international community towards safeguarding the inviolability and integrity of the Treaty, which is in the strongest interest of the international community.
The draft resolution is sponsored by Belarus, China and the Russian Federation.
According to a draft on the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) (document A/C.1/55/L.8) the Assembly would welcome the concrete steps taken by some countries of the region during the past year for the consolidation of the regime of military denuclearization established by the Treaty.
The Assembly would also urge the countries of the region that had not yet done so to deposit their instruments of ratification of the amendments to the Treaty approved by the General Conference of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean in its resolutions 267 (E-V), 268 (XII) and 290 (E-VII).
The draft resolution is sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.
According to a text on the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme (document A/C.1/55/L.9), the General Assembly would commend the Secretary-General for his efforts to make effective use of the limited resources available to him in disseminating as widely as possible, including by electronic means, information on arms limitation and disarmament to governments, the media, non-governmental organizations, educational communities and research institutes, and in carrying out a seminar and conference programme.
By further terms of the draft resolution, the Assembly would stress the importance of the Programme, as a significant instrument in enabling all Member States to participate fully in the deliberations and negotiations on disarmament in the various United Nations bodies, and in assisting them in complying with treaties and in contributing to agreed mechanisms for transparency. It would note with appreciation the cooperation of the United Nations Department of Public Information and its information centres in pursuit of the Programme's objectives.
It would further recommend that the Programme focus its efforts to inform, to educate and to generate public understanding of the importance of multilateral action and support for it, including action by the United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament, in the field of arms limitation and disarmament. It would also emphasize the importance of contributions to the Voluntary Trust Fund for the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme to sustain a strong outreach programme, and invite all Member States to make contributions to the Fund.
The draft resolution is sponsored by Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines and South Africa.
By terms of a draft resolution on the United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education (A/C.1/55/L.10) the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to prepare, with the assistance of a group of qualified governmental experts, a study on disarmament and non-proliferation, that would: define contemporary disarmament and non-proliferation education and training; assess the global situation of disarmament and non-proliferation education and training at the primary, secondary, university and post-graduate levels; recommend ways to promote education and training in disarmament and non-proliferation at all levels of formal and informal education; examine ways to utilize more fully evolving pedagogical methods to enhance efforts in disarmament education and training at all levels, in the developed and the developing world; recommend ways that organizations of the United Nations system with special competence in disarmament or education or both can harmonize and coordinate their efforts in disarmament and non-proliferation education; and devise ways to introduce disarmament and non-proliferation education into post-conflict situations as a contribution to peace-building.
The draft resolution is sponsored by Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Mozambique, Pakistan, South Africa, Sweden and Thailand.
A draft resolution on assistance to States for curbing illicit traffic in small arms and collecting them (document A/C.1/55/L.11) would have the General Assembly encourage the setting up in the countries in the Saharo-Sahelian subregion of national commissions against the proliferation of small arms, and invite the international community to support as far as possible the smooth functioning of the national commissions where they have been set up.
By further terms of the draft resolution, the Assembly would welcome the Declaration of a Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa, adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at Abuja on 31 October 1998, and urge the international community to give its support to the implementation of the Moratorium. It would also recommend the involvement of organizations and associations of civil society in efforts to combat the proliferation of small arms in the context of the national commissions and their participation in the implementation of the moratorium on the importation, exportation and manufacture of small arms.
It would express its full support for the appeal launched by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) at its thirty-fifth session for a coordinated African approach, under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity, to the problems posed by the illicit proliferation and circulation of and traffic in small arms, bearing in mind the experiences of the various regions. It would also expresses its full support for the convening of an International Conference on the Illicit Arms Trade in All its Aspects no later than 2001.
The draft resolution is sponsored by Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Japan, Madagascar, Mali and Senegal.
A text on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (document A/C.1/55/L.31) would affirm that scientific and technological progress should be used for the benefit of all mankind to promote the sustainable economic and social development of all States and to safeguard international security, and that international cooperation in the use of science and technology through the transfer and exchange of technological know-how for peaceful purposes should be promoted.
In that connection, the Assembly would urge Member States to undertake multilateral negotiations with the participation of all interested States in order to establish universally acceptable, non-discriminatory guidelines for international transfers of dual-use goods and technologies and high technology with military applications.
The draft resolution is sponsored by Bangladesh, Bhutan, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Viet Nam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
A draft resolution on conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (document A/C.1/55/L.35) would have the Assembly decide to give urgent consideration to the issues involved. It would request the Conference on Disarmament, as a first step, to consider the formulation of principles that could serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control, and looked forward to a report of the Conference on that subject. It would decide to include the item in the provisional agenda of the next Assembly session.
The draft resolution is sponsored by Bangladesh, Belarus, Fiji, Germany, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
A draft resolution sponsored by Japan on a path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/55/L.39) would have the General Assembly reaffirm the importance of achieving the universality of the NPT and call upon States not parties to the NPT to accede to it as non-nuclear-weapon States without delay and without conditions.
By further terms of the draft resolution, the Assembly would reaffirm the importance for all States parties to NPT to fulfil their obligations under the Treaty. It would stress the central importance of taking the practical steps to implement article VI of the NPT and paragraphs 3 and 4 (c) of the 1995 Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”, including: early signature and ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty by all States, especially by those States whose ratification is required for its entry into force, with a view to its early entry into force before 2003, as well as a moratorium on nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosions pending its entry into force; and immediate commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament and their conclusion as early as possible before 2005 of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
It would further call upon States to redouble efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, including their means of delivery, confirming and strengthening, if necessary, their policies not to transfer equipment, materials or technology that could contribute to the proliferation of those weapons.
A draft text on transparency in armaments (document A/C.1/55/L.43) would have the Assembly call upon Member States, with a view to achieving universal participation in the Register of Conventional Arms, to provide the Secretary- General by 31 May annually the requested data and information for the Register, including nil reports if appropriate. The Assembly would reaffirm its decision with a view to further the Register’s development, to keep the scope of and participation of the Register under review.
Towards that goal, the Assembly would recall its request to Member States to provide the Secretary-General with their views on the Register’s continuing operation and its further development and on transparency measures related to weapons of mass destruction. It would also request the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a group of governmental experts to be convened in 2003, on the basis of equitable geographical representation, to prepare a report on the continuing operation of the Register and its further development, with a view to a decision at its fifty-eight session.
The draft resolution is sponsored Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, and Israel.
Also, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Malta, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation; Samoa, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
A draft on the report of the Disarmament Commission (document A/C.1/55/L.26) would have the Assembly reaffirm the importance of further enhancing the dialogue and cooperation among the First Committee, the Disarmament Commission and the Conference on Disarmament. It would also reaffirm the role of the Commission as the specialized, deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery that allowed for in-depth deliberations on specific disarmament issues, leading to the submission of concrete recommendations on those issues.
The Assembly would recommend that the Commission, at its 2000 organizational session, adopt the following items for consideration at its 2001 session: ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament; and practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms. It would request the Commission to meet for a period not exceeding three weeks during 2001 and to submit a substantive report to the Assembly at its fifty-sixth session.
The draft resolution is sponsored by Argentina, Armenia, Benin, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, Luxembourg, Monaco, Sierra Leone and Venezuela.
ALFRED MOUNGARA-MOUSSOTSI (Gabon) said that the states of the Central Africa region, as part of efforts to ensure peace and security, had periodically organized meetings between their ministers of defence, ministers of interior, joint chiefs of military staff and chiefs of police. In addition, all States of the region intending to hold military manoeuvres were required to notify other States, who were also invited to observe such manoeuvres. The States had expressed their commitment to fight against the illicit purchase of weapons and drugs.
He said that because of the war going on in one of the countries of the region, the region had not been able to fight the war against the destabilization of small arms. A high council for peace and security had been set up in the region for the purpose of consolidating peace and security. That council included a multinational force and a rapid warning mechanism for the region. It was headquartered in Gabon. Recently, in Bujumbura, a regional conference on refugees had been organized to review problems inherent in the management of refugees. Gabon commended similar measures taken by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the South African Development Community (SADC).
CHRIS SANDERS (Netherlands) introduced the draft resolution on transparency in armaments (document A/C.1/55/L.43), on behalf of its 97 initial co-sponsors. Transparency was one of the major confidence-building principles among States, which had enabled the international community to be better informed about military transfers and developments. That had helped to avoid misperceptions and distorted information. Transparency certainly was not restricted to conventional arms only; it should also be applied to weapons of mass destruction. For its part, his country had always advocated greater transparency in nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms was not the appropriate vehicle towards reaching that goal.
He said he was pleased that only one text on transparency had been presented this year, instead of two, as had been the case in past years. He sincerely appreciated that the Egyptian delegation had not submitted its own text this year. He hoped that a single resolution on transparency would contribute to the promotion of universal participation in the Register. Mechanisms for transparency in nuclear and chemical weapons already existed, and an instrument for biological weapons was being negotiated in Geneva. Multilateral treaties related to weapons of mass destruction existed, and there would be more in the future. For conventional weapons, however, arrangements had been limited to certain specific types of conventional weapons and for certain regions.
Such important regional initiatives and arrangements on conventional armaments, he went on, underpinned the great contribution that global institutions could make in that regard. Unfortunately, nothing comparable existed at the global level, except for modest reporting on military expenditures and transfers, on a voluntary basis. The Register, as part of a broader range of international efforts to promote transparency globally was a step in that direction. The Register helped prevent the accumulation and destabilization of arms; ease tensions; and strengthen regional and international peace and security. Given the scarcity and limited nature of global arrangements on major conventional weapons systems, countries should do their utmost to protect and further improve the Register, both in terms of participation and reporting.
He recalled the report and recent Committee statement made by the group of governmental experts. He supported their recommendation that a convention of governmental experts be convened in 2003. The total number of Member States that had contributed to the Register now stood at 146 and growing. Of those, approximately 80 had been regular participants and had included nearly all of the main exporters and most of the main importers of conventional weapons covered by the Register. The level of participation over the years had remained high compared with other reporting instruments. Indeed, the Register had established a de facto norm of transparency in armaments and provided a significant amount of official government information.
He said that the Register had, thus, provided a legitimate basis for regional and inter-regional cooperation between governments. It had promoted the accountability of political and military leadership and had stimulated many governments into improving their reporting systems. Finally, it had set an example for regional initiatives. The number of countries reporting on a regular basis had stabilized in recent years; the slowdown was apparently due to a number of dropouts. Furthermore, countries with no transfers had not reported to the Register. He would appeal, once again, to those countries that had no transfers to report in a given year to turn in a nil report.
KRZYSZTOF JAKUBOWSKI (Poland) said that more than half a century after the inception of the United Nations, a heavy agenda of pending disarmament problems still remained. That illustrated how far the international community had fallen behind the target anticipated in San Francisco. The threat of nuclear conflagration had receded, but only to be replaced by challenges, to stability and security. Those challenges characterized by untold violence and unusual cruelty often came in the form of intrastate, ethnic or religious conflicts that were fought with conventional arms. The principal victims were often non-combatant civilians, the young, the old and the infirm.
As the sole multilateral negotiating body, the Conference on Disarmament could play a critical role in negotiating global measures concerning specific conventional weapons and weapons systems, he continued. The international community should work out a comprehensive approach in that regard. There was a consensual view that progress in conventional disarmament was inextricably linked to the strengthening of international security. More often than not, security started in the region and at home. The adoption of the Charter of European Security and the successful completion of negotiations on the adaptation of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty had made Europe safer. Poland had actively participated in that process and would participate in the implementation of what had been achieved.
The annual meetings of the Conference on Disarmament should not represent vigorously enforced cut-off dates for the work of subsidiary bodies, he said. Once a subsidiary body was established and entrusted with a specific mandate, it should be able to continue until its mandated task was achieved. There should be no need for its mandate or its existence to be renewed every year. A concrete benefit would be avoidance of the divisive and unbecoming wrangle over the work programme.
CHEICKNA KEITA (Mali), on behalf of ECOWAS, submitted the draft text on assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms (document A/C.1/55/L.11). The substance of the text remained an essential element of stability and cooperation in the region and beyond. As in previous years, the draft should continue to enjoy the consensus support of the Committee.
ADO ELHADJI ABOU (Niger) said that the importance of the draft resolution introduced by the representative of Mali on curbing the illicit traffic in small arms, lay in its great implications for the efforts of the international community directed against that illicit circulation. It was essential that States that strongly wanted to build peace ensure the security of populations, to enable them to address questions of development.
The “Flame of Peace” ceremony, held in Agadez on 25 October, he said, represented Niger’s determination to consolidate peace through concrete measures of disarmament. In the course of that event, more than 1,000 arms, turned in by former rebels as part of the implementation of the peace accords, were burned. During the ceremony, a decision was also taken by the ex-rebels to reintegrate themselves into the economy.
He believed that the consolidation of peace called for the implementation of a programme of awareness, particularly in areas affected by conflict, he said. It also required the recovery of arms from the civil population, who had turned to such weapons for self-defence, and the implementation of development programmes, including anti-poverty efforts. In that regard, his Government had introduced several activities, notably development programmes in pastoral zones, which were being implemented by the High Commissioner for the Restoration of Peace in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme.
S.S. PALANIMANICKAM (India) introduced the draft resolution on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (document A/C.1/55/L.31). The text addressed an issue of importance to both the international community and the developing world. The growth of science and technology offered immense possibilities for development. At the same time, however, there was a need to recognize that several of those advances could have military applications and were “euphemistically” described as “dual use” in character. The draft was similar to last year’s, except for a deletion in operative paragraph four, which was no longer relevant.
He said that access to scientific and technological advances for developmental purposes had remained a priority issue for developing countries. In fact, such access promoted economic growth and could positively affect global trade. At the same time, several developing countries had been forced to pay a cost in terms of development, because of the persistence of discriminatory control regimes. Those regimes were no more than exclusive groupings of countries that limited the exchanges of such technologies among themselves, while denying access to others that might require them for peaceful development. Those regimes were the equivalent of “non-economic barriers” to normal trade and went against the generally accepted principles of global economic relations.
Policies devoted exclusively to export controls had been initiated to address proliferation concerns at a time when there were no global agreements that comprehensively addressed that issue, he said. Questions had arisen concerning whether such exclusive arrangements with limited membership had effectively achieved their stated purpose of strengthening the international non-proliferation regime, especially with respect to the applications connected with advanced weapons, as well as weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means.
He drew attention to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons (Chemical Weapons Convention), which was the first multilateral disarmament agreement of a universal character. The Convention had eliminated a complete class of weapons of mass destruction and offered an opportunity to put in place a multilaterally negotiated, non- discriminatory, legal mechanism which would simultaneously address proliferation concerns emanating from unregulated transfers, while at the same time promoting the economic development of States parties.
He said that ongoing negotiations for an effective protocol to strengthen the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention) had provided States parties with an opportunity to put in place an effective system of regulation of transfers of agents, toxins, equipment and technologies relevant to the Convention, while avoiding measures that hampered the economic development of States parties. The negotiations should also benefit from the lessons learned from the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The lack of a genuinely non-discriminatory, universal agreement regarding nuclear weapons had also reduced the effectiveness of non-proliferation efforts in the nuclear field, he said. Nuclear non-proliferation, in all its aspects, could not be divorced from the need for measures that promoted nuclear disarmament and the progressive elimination of those weapons. Absence of a disarmament benchmark had rendered nuclear non-proliferation difficult to implement and measure. His country had consistently maintained that proliferation concerns regarding materials and technologies related to advanced weapons systems, weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means were best addressed through multilaterally negotiated, non-discriminatory agreements, which were transparent and open to universal participation. Reflecting that principle in multilateral disarmament agreements would not only improve their effectiveness, but also create an added impetus for their universality.
CLEUZA MARIA PEREIRA (Brazil), on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), noted the progress achieved in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Approximately 140 countries had acceded to or ratified that Convention. Great efforts were still needed, however, to make it a universal convention. Since August 1998, all countries of MERCOSUR had signed and ratified the Convention. In 1998, MERCUSOR created a peace zone, free of weapons of mass destruction. More recently, the 12 countries of Latin America agreed to set up a peace zone in South America.
She expressed MERCOSUR’s support for a renewal of the mandate of the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). It also supported the inclusion of a theme of cooperation between the United Nations and the OPCW. The government and industries of the MERCOSUR group had cooperated with the seven inspections and programmes carried out by OPCW in the region. Those inspections were carried out with professionalism. The Chemical Weapons Convention and the OPCW were the appropriate mechanisms for the eradication of chemical weapons from the face of the earth.
MARIA ANGELICA ARCE de JEANNET (Mexico) introduced the draft resolutions on the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme (document A/C.1/55/L.9) and the United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education (document A/C.1/55/L.10). The two drafts described in detail educational tools in disarmament. She appreciated those States that had generously contributed to the relevant Trust Fund and hoped that more States would join them in the future.
She said that the last preambular paragraph of the text on the Disarmament Information Programme welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on its activities. In its operative portion, the text emphasized the need to disseminate disarmament data via electronic means and publications through the Department for Disarmament Affairs. It recommended that the Web site be continued, with a view to keeping an updated information source with easy access. Hopefully, it would be produced in as many languages as possible.
The draft text on a United Nations study on disarmament and non- proliferation education was the outcome of a proposal adopted unanimously by the members of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. Her Government had agreed to present the proposal to the First Committee, without amending its contents. The Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to report to the fifty-seventh Assembly session on a study -- undertaken with the assistance of a group of qualified governmental experts on the basis of equitable geographical distribution -- on disarmament and non-proliferation. The study would define contemporary disarmament and non-proliferation training, assess education in that regard and determine ways to promote the processes. The study would also recommend ways for the United Nations system to coordinate their efforts and introduce such education and training in post-conflict situations.
JAVAD ZARIF, Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, introduced the annual report of the United Nations Disarmament Commission and the draft resolution (document A/C.1/55/L.26). He said that the United Nations Disarmament Commission could play an important role in consolidating United Nations activities in the field of disarmament. It was an important machinery that could contribute to a new security posture at the regional and international level.
He said that this year the Commission had set forth a programme of work that focused on the elimination of nuclear weapons and conventional arms. Members agreed to consider two items, namely: ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament; and practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms. For the first time, the Commission was able to discuss more directly the issue of nuclear disarmament. The report of the Commission contained the results of deliberations in the two working groups set up on the two agenda items.
Concrete ideas and proposals were presented during the deliberations, he said. The paper of the chairman of the working group on nuclear disarmament contained his own conclusions but represented a good basis for further consensus building. Differences could not be fully reconciled on the item on practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms. A paper by the Chairman of that working group could not be attached to the report.
On the draft resolution on the report of the Commission, he said that it was the same as in previous years, except for some minor changes. Paragraph five referred to the two new agenda items covered in the work of the Commission this year. The draft would lay a solid foundation to make building consensus more focused. He hoped that the resolution would enjoy consensus support, as in previous years.
SEIICHIRO NOBORU (Japan) said that since 1994 his delegation had submitted a draft resolution entitled “nuclear disarmament with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons”. It had always been widely supported. Indeed, it had recently been adopted with the support of all of the nuclear-weapon States. In light of the successful conclusion of the 2000 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), he decided to submit a new text drawing upon past resolutions and from the final document of the NPT review. Hopefully, it would be widely supported, so that it might provide a solid foundation for future progress in nuclear disarmament.
Noting that Algeria had also introduced a resolution welcoming the outcome of the NPT Review, he had included in his text some additional values vital to achieving progress in nuclear disarmament. He had no intention whatsoever to deviate from or contradict the final document of the NPT Review. He had only sought to make the agreements in the final document more realistic. While consultations with various delegations had revealed that some points might not be agreeable to all Member States, he wished to retain them, since the language reflected his country’s special background in the nuclear weapon area. A nuclear- weapon-free world should be achieved as early as possible through a step-by-step approach, implementing practical and concrete measures, one after another.
He introduced the new draft entitled, “A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/55/L.39). The operative paragraphs specified steps to be taken along such a path on the basis of the unequivocal undertaking of nuclear-weapon States towards the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. The operative paragraph three, which specified a number of such steps, was derived from the final document. A few new elements had been added, such as in sub- paragraph (a), which set 2003 as a target year for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Sub-paragraph (b) of the text was more straightforward than the NPT document in calling for the immediate commencement of negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty. It also set 2005 as a target year for the conclusion of those negotiations.
Continuing, he said that a reference in last year’s resolution was retained concerning a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. That step should be given high priority in the nuclear disarmament and non- proliferation processes. Operative paragraph four had specified two immediate steps to be undertaken by the nuclear-weapon States, namely the continuation of the nuclear disarmament process beyond Strategic Arms Limitation and Reduction Treaty (START) III and deeper reductions by all of the nuclear-weapon States, unilaterally or through negotiations, of nuclear weapons, in the process of achieving their elimination. The draft was a quest to define, as much as possible, a path that all must take to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. It should receive wide support.
LES LUCK (Australia) welcomed the draft resolution introduced by Japan and hoped that it would attract wide support, including that of the nuclear-weapon States. That draft resolution reflected key elements of the outcome of the recent Review Conference of the NPT. It was vital that the international community remain solidly behind the commitments made at the Review Conference. The draft resolution called for entry into force of the CTBT by 2003. Australia had called for the entry into force of that Treaty as soon as possible. His country endorsed the emphasis on International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards contained in the text.
Ms. ARCE DE JEANNET (Mexico) took the floor once again to introduce the draft resolution on the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco)(document A/C.1/55/L.8). The States parties to the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties welcomed the recognition contained in the final document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference and the important role those nuclear-weapon-free areas had played in promoting peace and security and in attaining the objectives of nuclear disarmament.
The text also requested the Secretary-General of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean to draft a proposal to convene an international conference of parties to the nuclear-weapon- free zone treaties and to establish contacts with the authorities of other such zones. The priority granted to the consolidation of the regime banning nuclear weapons, under the Treaty of Tlatelolco, had been demonstrated, once again this year by the co-sponsors of the text, which included all of the Treaty’s parties and signatories.
ANATOLY ANTONOV (Russian Federation), in conjunction with Belarus and China, introduced a draft resolution on the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) (document A/C.1/55/L.2). The draft was identical to that of last year. It was not confrontational, but was based on the language of the ABM Treaty itself and the joint statements of the presidents of Russia and the United States on the issue. It was not targeted against any country and did not impinge on anybody’s interests. The objective was to secure the continuity of the position of the international community in support of the ABM. It sought to ensure the preservation of the Treaty as it currently stood. The Treaty affected the fundamental security of practically every State, and compliance with it could not be considered a matter for the Treaty parties only.
His country stood for continuing dialogue with the United States, but it did not consent to the adaptation of the ABM Treaty to accommodate the nuclear missile defence of the United States. Russia had not conducted, was not conducting or willing to conduct any negotiations with the United States on amending the ABM Treaty in order to adapt it to accommodate the American national missile defence programme. Such an adaptation was not possible. The core provision of the Treaty was the prohibition of the deployment of such a defence. Any change of the provisions would deprive the Treaty of its purpose. The adoption of the draft resolution would offer a signal from the international community in support of the viability of the Treaty. Russia expected that the text would enjoy broad support.
HU XIAODI (China) thanked the Russian Federation for introducing the draft resolution on the ABM Treaty. Presently, the ABM Treaty was at risk of being weakened or even repealed. It was the urgent task of the international community to preserve compliance with the Treaty, which was the cornerstone of global strategic balance and international security. It was also the basis for the further reduction of strategic offensive weapons. One country, however, in seeking ultimate absolute security and military superiority, was pushing hard for a national missile defence programme and for an amended Treaty. That country had even threatened to withdraw from the Treaty if it was not revised.
He said that weakening the ABM Treaty would inevitably lead to serious consequences, upsetting the global strategic balance and stability, compromising mutual trust, impeding disarmament and jeopardizing non-proliferation. It would also lead to the “weaponization” of outer space and trigger a new arms race. Last year’s resolution on the Treaty had been adopted by an overwhelming majority, which testified to the political will of the international community to oppose the development of national missile defence and revision of the ABM Treaty. Indeed, the majority of countries worldwide did not want to see erosion of the positive results achieved in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation since the end of cold war. Further, they did not wish to see national missile defence become a negative factor in those processes, eroding trust and cooperation.
There had been important developments with regard to the missile issue, he said. Some countries had become increasingly anxious. Yet, with the relaxation of tension in certain regions, the excuse that national missile defence would counter the missile threat of the States concerned, had become even more untenable. Still, some differing views had persisted about the ABM Treaty and national missile defence. A certain country had spread all kinds of seemingly plausible, but false arguments, which deserved a close look. Some had argued that the ABM Treaty and national missile defence mainly concerned the bigger Powers and had little to do with other countries. It was also felt that the States parties to the Treaty should determine any revision to the ABM Treaty and that the First Committee should not get involved.
He said that security had always been neutral. In today’s world, all countries had confronted increasingly common security interests and challenges. The ABM Treaty’s significance and implications far exceeded bilateral relations. Rather, it concerned the security interest of all States. If national missile defence were deployed, the results of many years of bilateral and multilateral negotiations would “go down the drain”. It was in the common interest of the entire international community, therefore, to safeguard the interests of the ABM Treaty and urge the relevant country to abandon its national missile defence plan.
Each country was obligated to do its part to further that goal, he went on. The Committee should pay greater attention to that important issue, in order to avoid the development of national missile defence and its grave consequences. Some had said that the ABM Treaty was concluded 20 years ago and had already been amended, thereby justifying another revision. It was true that past arms control treaties should adapt to the present security situation. The question was whether the ABM Treaty still suited the current situation, and the answer was, yes. Past arms control and disarmament treaties were amendable, but any revision should seek to promote a Treaty’s promises and objectives. If amendments compromised the Treaty’s objectives and jeopardized international peace and security, then those should be rejected. The present proposal for revising the ABM Treaty fell into the latter category. It was “totally untenable”.
Indeed, he went on, amending the ABM Treaty to pave the way for deploying national missile defence was “an attempt to repeal the Treaty on the pretext of proposing amendments”. Some felt that since the country in question would not deploy national missile defence for the time being, the international community should not concern itself with that issue anymore. The anxieties of the international community had prompted that country to reflect on its national missile defence plan. That did not mean that the plan had been abandoned. In fact, the research and development had been stepped up. Those developments must be closely followed. He urged strict compliance with the Treaty.
Others had argued that the country was developing only a limited national missile defence, he continued. The ABM Treaty, however, had prohibited all kinds of national missile defence systems. Furthermore, the national missile defence being developed by the country concerned could not be limited, as a limited programme would inevitably be expanded and evolved into a “limitless national missile defence”. Once the “Pandora’s box opened”, serious consequences would result. Unilateral measures detrimental to global strategic stability could not possibly solve the missile problem effectively.
He said that the missile issue in all its aspects should be dealt with comprehensively and objectively through the establishment of a global regulatory regime. The Russian Federation, Belarus and China were, once again, co-sponsoring a draft on the ABM Treaty, which was entirely constructive in nature and not directed against any country. Hopefully, more countries would support the text this year, and hopefully, the country concerned would heed the call of the international community and make “a right decision” in the fundamental interest of all of the countries and peoples of the world. A national missile defence system would harm everyone and benefit no one.
SERGEI LING (Belarus) said that his country was convinced that the key factor in security was the need to maintain balance. Compliance with the ABM Treaty was logical for maintaining international stability. That was why his country was a co-sponsor of the draft resolution on compliance with the Treaty. Maintaining the ABM Treaty would allow the maintenance of strategic stability and end the senseless and dangerous arms race in the nuclear area. The importance of the Treaty for the entire system of international security could not be overlooked.
Belarus was in favour of the strict and mandatory fulfillment of the Treaty obligations, he said. It was also in favour of not allowing the Treaty to be undermined. The obligation not to deploy anti-ballistic missiles or to create a basis for national missile defence systems was contained in article one of the Treaty. The temporary deferral of the deployment of such a defence by the United States did not eliminate the danger of such deployment.
D. MENDIS (Sri Lanka) said that the illicit arms trade was now recognized as posing one of the most serious threats to global peace and stability. Despite some initiatives undertaken by individual countries and regional groups, the lack of more effective and comprehensive national and international measures against the easy availability of illicit arms had provided an impetus to terrorist organizations to continue on a path of violence. Since illicit arms traffickers frequently operated across borders, national laws often proved inadequate. The recent act of terrorism perpetrated against a United States naval ship had brought into focus the reality of the constant danger of illicit arms and explosives.
She said that the magnitude of the problem and its transnational dimension called for international cooperation and resolute action at national, regional and international levels. In that context, sharing information on the sources of supply, clients, types of weapons involved and methods used to finance and traffic small arms, was crucial. The forthcoming international conference on the small arms trade would provide an effective global cooperative framework in which to prevent, counter and eliminate illicit arms smuggling. A more complex and possibly contentious discussion on a control regime for self-defence requirements should be avoided, however, at the preparatory level.
Government procurement procedures, insofar as those related to the aspects and transparency measures relevant to the illicit arms trade, would naturally figure in the discussions, she said. That was only to ensure that legitimate State defence procurement was not confused with the illicit trade, or that the illicit trade was not misconstrued or labeled as arms for any legitimate activity. She was encouraged by the adoption by Member States of national measures against trafficking by terrorists and measures to destroy surplus and confiscate or collect small arms and light weapons. She had also welcomed the reappraisal by certain States of laws governing the possession of firearms and attempts to introduce legislation criminalizing the traffickers.
She said that capacity-building to enable States to effectively implement national and international measures was equally important. Likewise, at the regional level, bilateral exchanges of information, joint border and sea lane control measures, customs cooperation and common export control standards were also important. The United Nations should play a significant role in developing an international cooperative regime against illicit arms and in support of practical measures to make the regime operational.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) introduced a draft resolution on conventional arms control at regional and sub-regional levels (document A/C.1/55/L.35). He said that, despite the peace dividends at the end of the cold war, there was reason to be concerned about arms races in different parts of the world involving conventional weapons. Expenditures on arms were on the rise again and 80 per cent of such expenditures were on conventional weapons. The expenditure was rising sharply in certain parts of the world. The draft resolution addressed the issue of conventional arms control at the regional and subregional level.
He said that the text recognized the crucial role of conventional arms control in promoting regional peace and security. It pointed to the fact that conventional arms control needed to be pursued in the regional and subregional context. It also noted the initiatives taken in Latin America and Europe, and reaffirmed the basic principle that militarily significant States had a special responsibility in the control of conventional arms. Pakistan hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.
MOHAMMAD HUSSAIN (Iraq) thanked the delegations of the Russian Federation, China and Belarus for co-sponsoring the draft text on the ABM Treaty. It was regrettable that the text adopted last year had not deterred the United States from developing its national missile defence, which undermined the aims and purposes of the ABM Treaty. That instrument was a cornerstone in the maintenance of strategic security and stability in the world today. Since its signature in 1972, it had helped to control and limit the deployment of national missile defence in the former Soviet Union and the United States. It had played a crucial role in controlling the nuclear arms race and helped propel the nuclear disarmament process.
He said that the Treaty was facing serious challenges because the United States had endeavoured to weaken it, contrary to the desire of the other Treaty party and the will of the majority of Member States of the international community. Those States had tried to strengthen disarmament measures, not weaken them. The aim of the United States in weakening the ABM Treaty was crystal clear: to strengthen its nuclear supremacy by developing offensive missile defence systems, which did not exclude outer space from its sphere of application. The United States was relying more heavily on nuclear deterrence and had resorted to force in its international relations. It was using force against Iraq in a manner counter to the United Nations Charter, by, among other things, imposing no-fly zones. Continuing, he said that the United States had worked with a Zionist entity to develop joint national missile defence programmes. The rocket successfully tested by Israel a few days ago was one fruit of such arms cooperation, which had left the door open for another stage in which both shirked their responsibilities and destabilized international and regional security systems. Such actions were diverting more financial and human resources away from much needed economic and social development programmes. He supported the draft resolution and called upon all other States to do so as well.