Press Release

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Committee

25th Meeting (AM)



Committee Concludes Work for Current Session

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) this morning concluded its work for the current session, with the consensus approval of a draft resolution recognizing the value of the Antarctic Treaty in furthering the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.

A further term of the text on the Treaty -- which provides for the demilitarization of the continent, the prohibition of nuclear explosions and the disposal of nuclear wastes, and the freedom of scientific research -- would take note of the Secretary-General's report on the topic.

The draft text would also have the Assembly note with satisfaction the entry into force of the Madrid Protocol, under which Antarctica has been designated as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science.  Also, the Assembly would recall that States carrying out research activities in Antarctica should make their findings available to the international community.

In closing remarks, Committee Chairman Matia Mulumba Semakula Kiwanuka (Uganda) said that the Committee had considered some of the most important issues on the international peace and security agenda, ranging from small arms to the biggest of arms.  Members had not taken a business as usual approach, for there was nothing at all "usual" about the issues they had addressed.  Most importantly, the Committee had reaffirmed the basic principle that multilateral cooperation was essential in addressing global security problems.  That sound principle was the mighty rock upon which everyone must continue to build.

Recalling his reminder to colleagues at the opening of the session to reduce the number of reporting requirements from the Secretariat, as well as the number of resolutions, he said that they had, in fact, considered more resolutions and requested more reports this year.  He urged members to consider carefully the advantages of fewer, more consolidated resolutions and a smaller number of focused, more analytical reports.  The world's problems might not have been solved last month, but some progress had been made.

Of the 23 resolutions that were subjected to recorded votes, 15 gained support over previous recorded votes, and more than half of those gaining votes

dealt with nuclear issues, he said.  Tough simple comparisons of votes were risky, given the substantive differences in texts; those votes, nevertheless, represented a positive development.  The Committee approved five new resolutions -- on strategic nuclear arms reductions, reductions in non-strategic nuclear weapons, national legislation on military transfers, terrorism and mass destruction weapons, and the promotion of multilateralism.  Those texts were approved either by large majorities or without a vote.

He said that those divisions showed that, while the Committee was broadly unified on the fundamental goals of disarmament and non-proliferation, there were some substantial disagreements on the appropriate means to achieve such goals.  As long as the disagreements did not compromise the goals, they should be seen as part of the process for building support for global norms, which took time and persistent effort.  Those recorded votes only suggested that work remained ahead in pursuing that goal. 

The Committee had rekindled faith in the fundamental objectives of disarmament and non-proliferation as a way of enhancing international peace and security, and the essential role of multilateralism in pursuing that goal, he went on.  He paid tribute to the members of the Secretariat and Conference services and commended the many non-governmental organizations that had contributed to the Committee's work.  The more the public understood the work being done here, the greater the likelihood that governments would respond to the urgent demand for action to convert the principle goals of the Committee's important agenda into concrete achievements.

Speaking after the vote, the representatives of Malaysia and Poland expressed satisfaction that the draft had been approved.

The Committee will meet again at a time to be announced.

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