NOTE: FOLLOWING ARE SUMMARIES OF STATEMENTS IN TODAY’S SESSION OF THE DISARMAMENT COMMISSION. A COMPLETE SUMMARY OF THE MEETING WILL APPEAR AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING AS PRESS RELEASE DC/2860.
The Disarmament Commission met this morning to continue its general debate on two themes: ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament (for which it had before it a Chairman’s working paper, document A/CN.10/2003/WG.1/WP.1); and practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms (for which it had before it an explanatory note of the relevant working group chairman).
ANDREA GARCIA (Mexico) said that the convening of the session at a time when the international community needed to find an effective security formula that prevented conflict and prohibited the use of force in international relations –- and, rather, prompted the parties to use all peaceful means to resolve disputes -- represented a significant challenge. Thus, the Commission must redouble its efforts to proclaim disarmament as a fundamental task of the United Nations. On ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament, the work already done in the working group was a solid basis for progress. Nonetheless, it must be recognized that identifying concrete steps to achieve nuclear disarmament was not an easy task.
She said it was very disturbing, for example, that the Conference on Disarmament had not yet reached agreement about establishing ad hoc committees on nuclear disarmament and a ban on the production of fissionable material. Nor had the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) gained enough ratifications to enter into force. Soon, the second series of preparatory meetings for the seventh review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) would be held. In that connection, she was concerned about the announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of its intention to withdraw from that fundamental nuclear non-proliferation instrument. On the conventional arms item, the working group would make substantive progress on the basis of the chairman’s working paper. She would join other delegations in promoting confidence-building measures among States, and she reaffirmed her country’s commitment to multilateralism as a means of achieving significant disarmament agreements.
MARLY CEDEÑO REYES (Venezuela) said the Commission -- together with the First Committee, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Conference on Disarmament and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons -- was proper mechanism to achieve nuclear disarmament. She was concerned that the disarmament process in recent years had not made steady progress and regretted that the Conference on Disarmament was in a stage of stagnation. Welcoming the increase in the number of States parties to the NPT, she said the Treaty should be universal and expressed concern that there was not always the needed political will to implement obligations.
In the context of the CTBT, she announced that her country had given two seismic auxiliary stations in order to assist in implementation of verification. Her country supported prevention of proliferation of missiles, she said, and considered the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) was of great strategic value for total disarmament of nuclear weapons.
She said confidence-building measures constituted a fundamental component for peace and security globally and regionally, if they were designed with the peculiarities of regions and subregions in mind. She underscored the importance of the work of the international group of experts to enhance transparency of the Register of Conventional Arms. One confidence-building measure would be the limitation and reduction of military expenditures, so that such sums could be devoted to development and alleviate poverty.
VALENTIN RYBAKOV (Belarus) said that differences among States over the use of force in international relations complicated the search for consensus on the key issues of the Commission’s agenda. The meeting was also taking place against the backdrop of a military operation against a sovereign Member State of the United Nations and in violation of international law. The Commission had a key task in ensuring the successful completion of both the nuclear and conventional weapons items. The two working papers were a good basis for productive discussions, leading to proposals and recommendations. His country had made a considerable and practical contribution to nuclear disarmament by completing the withdrawal of all nuclear weapons from its territory in 1997 and ratifying the CTBT in 2000. It also continued to fully implement its international obligations in the nuclear disarmament field, including the destruction of 584 short- and medium-range nuclear missiles and launchers, and related equipment.
He proposed that the outcome document on the nuclear question should be strengthened by including the following: universalizing the CTBT; concluding legally binding guarantees to non-nuclear-weapon States against the threat or use of nuclear weapons; holding talks in the Conference on Disarmament, without delay, on banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and establishing an ad hoc committee; and complementing nuclear disarmament with practical steps towards strengthening existing nuclear-weapon-free zones and establishing new such zones. The nuclear danger should be reduced by consistent and phased disarmament measures, with the ultimate goal being the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
Belarus was pursuing a responsible policy aimed at meeting all of its international obligations, including under the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, he said. Under that instrument, Belarus had eliminated nearly 10 per cent of all heavy hardware covered by that Treaty, and it had been the first, in 2000, to ratify the amendments. His country attached great importance to evolving bilateral confidence-building measures, and viewed that as a priority of its foreign policy. It would continue to cooperate with neighbouring States to develop a broad range of issues in arms control, confidence building, transparency, and regional security. It also shared the concerns over the devastating humanitarian impact of the indiscriminate use of landmines. Belarus was pursuing a responsible and transparent export policy for conventional weapons. Indeed, that trade was governed by strict national legislation on the basis of a single procedure for all categories of weapons and dual-use goods.
JOHN GOSAL (Canada) said since the establishment of the “13 practical steps” established by the 2000 NPT Review Conference, there had been successes and failures. Positive steps included the Treaty of Moscow, the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction launched at the Group of 8 Summit in Canada, and Cuba’s adherence to the NPT.
He noted, however, that the CTBT remained 13 ratifications short of entry into force and that the Conference on Disarmament remained without a programme of work to enable much-needed negotiation of agreements on fissile material cut-off treaty. He was concerned about the announced withdrawal of the NPT by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and called on that nation to adhere to the NPT. He hoped the Commission’s recommendations would emphasize that achieving nuclear disarmament required unwavering support, both material and political, for the international framework of treaties and mechanisms that had been established over 50 years.
In 1991, the European Union, Japan and Canada and others had taken the initiative to establish the Register of Conventional Arms. That Register had fulfilled a key role as a confidence-building measure designed to improve the security of States, both within their regions and, ultimately, globally. The Register and the United Nations Military Expenditure Instrument were the only two global transparency instruments that the United Nations incorporated as a part of its transparency in armaments initiative.
He supported expansion of the range of items covered by the Register, and universal participation. The Commission could recommend that Member States submit their national laws, regulations and procedures on export, import, transit or retransfer to the Secretary-General. The Commission could also recommend that the United Nations play a larger role in the follow up to the information emerging from the Register.
BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba), also noting that the Commission was meeting at a time when Iraq was being subjected to military aggression, said that the war was not only unnecessary, but violated international law and was unequal, as one of the aggressors was the “hegemonic superpower” with all its overwhelming military and technological force. With that war, the United States Government reinforced its “unilateralist vocation”, evidenced previously in negotiations on a protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention, the repeal of the ABM Treaty, advances in the deployment of a national anti-missile defence system, and its opposition to the CTBT, among other examples. A so-called nuclear posture review and a new national strategy had also been elaborated, in which the potential uses of nuclear weapons was envisioned against States that did not possess them. That Government was also seeking to impose a doctrine of “pre-emptive war” in clear violation of the United Nations Charter.
He said he defended the need to preserve multilateralism in international relations, including in disarmament and arms control. Cuba also rejected unfounded accusations of a failure to comply with international instruments on mass destruction weapons, and reiterated the need for States parties to use the procedures established in those instruments and to provide the necessary evidence. Despite according nuclear weapons the highest priority on the disarmament agenda, tens of thousands of those weapons still existed and defence doctrines, broadening the scope for their use, were proliferating. It was not possible to solve all the problems posed by those weapons through non-proliferation alone. The total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only guarantee against their use. Despite the present complex international juncture and the permanent hostility against his country by the main nuclear power and the only one in its hemisphere, Cuba recently acceded to the NPT and the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco). Its adherence to the NPT, however, should not be interpreted to mean a change in its well-known position about the weakness of the Treaty and its discriminatory nature.
The final document to be adopted by working group I on ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament could not be limited to its theoretical elaboration, he stressed. It was particularly important that the deliberations on that issue be aimed at implementing concrete recommendations on how to advance towards nuclear disarmament. The section on “achievements and the situation in the sphere of nuclear disarmament” should contain a critical and objective balance on the current situation. The new paper of the working group constituted a good basis for concluding negotiations, which required the political will of all States, particularly the nuclear-weapon States. Similarly, the paper before working group II on conventional weapons was also a good basis for discussions. It was important to bear in mind the complementary nature of confidence-building measures at regional and subregional levels, with those at the global level. Little progress would be made in achieving real confidence, however, if military threats and the hostile and aggressive policies of some States did not disappear, or if military doctrines persisted in giving priority to the concept of pre-emptive war.
CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said two opposing perspectives existed in the current situation. The first was based on the conviction that conflicts could be resolved through a determined and broad-based willingness to negotiate effectively, in light of the ways and wisdom of the law. The second perspective maintained that, in the face of elusive and re-emergent threats, force was more effective and direct. However, the latter appeared to only reduce international cooperation in disarmament, rather than enhance it, with negative repercussions for multilateralism. A clear message in favour of the force of law, and not the law of force, should emerge from the current session.
He said the arms control system appeared to have worked effectively and to have brought significant results over the last decades. It only needed strengthening to better solve new challenges and meet new threats. He, therefore, reiterated the Holy See’s support for the principles and the effective implementation of the NPT. Interdependence among nations and the risks of reciprocal destruction required a major accent on multilateralism, which required all States and individuals to enforce decisively the laws and procedures that had been established towards eliminating the threats posed by nuclear and conventional arms.
JAIME ACUNA (Chile) said that, with the current situation in Iraq, disarmament and the security of States in a world free from the threat of weapons remained an international goal. While States required the effective backing of weapons to ensure their secure existence, the concept inherent in the United Nations Charter was geared towards achieving the peaceful co-existence and security of nations at the lowest possible level of armament and without their threat or use. While the international community had progressed, much remained to be done to complete that long-standing and irreversible process. Today, multilateral disarmament, as entrusted to the Conference on Disarmament, was at a standstill. And, the Commission had failed to clear its schedule in 2002 for its regular session.
He said that the challenges confronting the Commission required prudence and pragmatism. Members must be cautious and the measures they evolve, in the face of present and anticipated complexities, should serve peoples for generations to come. Chile supported all nuclear disarmament measures, be they unilateral, bilateral or multilateral in scope, and strict compliance with the non-proliferation regime must become universal. That was an area in which progress had not been possible in the Conference, and the 13 steps agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference constituted only limited progress.
Regarding confidence-building measures in the conventional weapons sphere, he said that was of particular interest to his region. Since the 1990s, Chile had been actively involved in that process among its neighbours and regionally, and had made some progress. He paid sincere tribute to the dedicated work of the previous working group chairperson. Appropriate confidence-building measures could curb the uncontrolled flow of conventional arms, particularly the increase in their illicit trafficking and proliferation. The current session was a real opportunity to conduct an effective and fruitful multilateral dialogue, which should be inspired by the profound need for progress in definitively eliminating the dangers of mass destruction weapons, including their potential use by terrorists.
HAYDAR ALI AHMAD (Syria), aligning himself with the statement of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Commission was the sole United Nations body entrusted to discuss disarmament questions in-depth, in order to arrive at guidelines regarding nuclear disarmament and confidence-building measures on conventional arms. It was, therefore, regrettable that the session coincided with an unjustifiable war in Iraq. The aim of the war was the removal of weapons of mass destruction, the undeclared goal was domination of the region.
He said the total elimination of nuclear weapons could be achieved through universality of the NPT and establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones. In that regard, the situation in the Middle East should be taken into account. All countries in that region had called for establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone, had complied with NPT obligations, and had placed their installations under the Safeguard Agreement -- all countries, except Israel, which refused to place its nuclear installations under the safeguards of the IAEA.
As a confidence-building measure, the Register for Conventional Arms was not comprehensive, as it only included seven categories of conventional arms, he said. To achieve a comprehensive Register, it must also include those conventional weapons which had great destructive power. Moreover, the Register should not be selective. It must cover all countries.
LUIS CAPPAGLI (Argentina) said that despite the favourable prospect created by the adoption of the final document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, the anticipated results had not been attained. The nuclear disarmament objectives of the NPT would not be completely met without the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The unequivocal undertaking by nuclear-weapon States to advance towards the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, as well as the inclusion of the principle of the irreversibility of nuclear disarmament measures and implementation of the 13 practical steps towards nuclear disarmament identified at the 2000 review, should be made without preconditions. The international nuclear non-proliferation regime was composed of a range of instruments that were indispensable to the regime as a whole. To prioritize some to the detriment of others would derail the implementation of obligations under the NPT. On the IAEA safeguards, Argentina supported measures to strengthen them under the additional model protocol to the safeguards agreements.
Turning to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, he said that the nuclear Powers, by signing and ratifying the Treaty’s additional protocols, had entered exceptions to their commitments regarding the non-use of nuclear weapons, when their claims involved self-defence or the defence of an alliance that included some States parties to that Treaty. He proposed that the nuclear Powers be asked to consider withdrawing those interpretive statements, taking into account the following: that Treaty established the first nuclear-weapon-free zone, which had been in existence for more than 36 years; it had proven to be effective in avoiding the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Latin America; the recent inclusion of Cuba in 2002 had made it possible to apply the Treaty throughout the region; all parties to that Treaty were also parties to the NPT and accepted the IAEA safeguards; and the fact that the Treaty was a model used by other regions seeking to rid their territories of nuclear weapons.
Indeed, he continued, the exemplary conduct of Latin America and the Caribbean in the field of nuclear non-proliferation should be recognized by the nuclear Powers, leading to a withdrawal of their exceptions to protocols I and II. If that was not possible, there was a need to apply a restrictive interpretation to their exceptions, so that they might only be invoked for a hypothetical nuclear weapons attack by a State party to that Treaty. Anything less would be contrary to its letter and spirit. The application of confidence-building measures should not be aimed only at avoiding conflicts, but should deepen cooperation in the field of security to the benefit of integrated relations among States. He reaffirmed Argentina’s conviction about the usefulness of the implementation of such measures for the fashioning of a peaceful continent that contributed to strengthening the democratic systems of its countries and respect for the human rights of their peoples.
CHUYKA C. UDEDIBIA (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the Group believed strongly in the promotion of multilateralism in the field of disarmament and expressed its deep concern at the growing resort to unilateralism in addressing issues of multilateral interest. The most effective means of achieving nuclear disarmament should be the commencement of multilateral negotiations towards a convention prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapon and on their total elimination. It was important to ensure that any nuclear disarmament process was irreversible, transparent and verifiable.
He said the Group emphasized the importance of consolidating the existing nuclear-weapon-free zones and the establishment of new ones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned. The Group strongly supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and called on countries in the region to take urgent steps for the implementation of proposals for the establishment of such a zone. Pending establishment of such a zone, countries of the Middle East must refrain from producing, acquiring or possessing nuclear weapons and agree to place their nuclear facilities under the IAEA safeguards.
Practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms should not be a substitute or precondition for disarmament measures, nor divert attention from such measures, he said. The Group emphasized the importance of confidence-building measures at regional levels as crucial for enhancing regional peace and security. The Group also underscored the importance of transparency and verification processes in promoting confidence-building measures in disarmament.
The Group was deeply concerned about the illicit transfer, manufacture and circulation of small arms and light weapons and their excessive accumulation in many regions, especially in Africa. Implementation of the programme of action on small arms, adopted in 2001, was an important confidence-building measure in the field of disarmament. The Group supported all regional and subregional initiatives in Africa and other regions in the fight against illicit proliferation of small arms and reaffirmed its commitment to the Bamako Ministerial Declaration of 2000 containing Africa’s common position on the illicit trafficking in small arms.
Speaking in his national capacity, ALAA ISSA (Egypt), who is also chairman of working group I on nuclear disarmament, reaffirmed the vital role of the Commission and his intention to work seriously to elaborate recommendations on the two agenda items. He hoped all members would adopt a balanced methodology to dealing with the two agenda items, and the proposed recommendations would strike a balance between hopes and practical achievements. On ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament, he regretted the slow pace of that critically important process. His concern was not restricted to the slow pace, but also the enhancement of strategic concepts that were based on continuing possession of nuclear weapons. In certain cases, that prospect had risen to the possible use of those weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States. In that connection, he reaffirmed the importance of the political commitment consecrated in 2000 at the NPT Review Conference, with regard to the unequivocal undertaking by nuclear-weapon States to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.
He noted the recent progress achieved by those countries, but most of that had related to the framework of political commitments, which had not yet seen the light of day. He also noted efforts, within the context of a regional framework, to strengthen the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaty regimes. He hoped to those achievements, would be added Mongolia and the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia. The Middle East region also deserve special mention, since Egypt, for more than 25 years, had sought to achieve progress towards ridding that region of nuclear weapons and highlighting the dangers of nuclear proliferation. He was exerting similar efforts within the framework of the NPT and had endeavoured to achieve progress in regional negotiations in the Middle East, but that had not been crowned with success. He would pursue those efforts within the current Commission session, in order to build on its 1999 guidelines for the creation of such zones. His goal was the creation of such a Middle East zone.
Regarding practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms, he said that those were no substitute for disarmament measures, but were complementary steps to foster a conducive atmosphere to consolidate disarmament efforts. Those ways and means, therefore, should be characterized by impartiality, objectivity, and be voluntary among the countries concerned. When applied according to a complementary methodology, those could contribute to achieving security arrangements and to the rejection of the threat or use of force. Yet, the experiences of the Middle East in the 1990s had confirmed that confidence-building measures alone were not sufficient, in the absence of a strategic and political commitment to the principle of equitable security for all.
VASYL POKOTYLO (Ukraine) said, regrettably, some of the features that characterized the current disarmament situation included the growth of military expenditures, the vague future of the CTBT, an absence of progress in nuclear disarmament, stagnation within the Conference of Disarmament, and problems regarding the development of the fissile material cut-off treaty. His country, whose role in nuclear disarmament could serve as an example, was one of the strongest supporters of efforts aimed at attaining a nuclear-weapon-free world.
He said nuclear disarmament was not possible without the achievement of strategic stability, which should include economic, social, humanitarian and environmental factors. Nuclear disarmament should continue, including the entry into force of the CTBT and conclusion of negotiations on the fissile material treaty. Further discussion was needed on such issues as the reasons for possessing existing numbers of nuclear weapons, today’s deterrence concepts, the transparency of nuclear weapons inventories and measures to promote irreversibility of weapons reductions. He supported the establishment of an international commission on weapons of mass destruction.
Proper implementation of confidence-building measures had the potential not only to significantly enhance peace and stability, but also to promote arms limitation and disarmament, as well as a climate of social and economic integration. Ukraine had concluded confidence-building bilateral agreements with the Slovak Republic, Hungary and Belarus and was negotiating agreements with Romania, Poland and the Republic of Moldova. In April 2002, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine had adopted the document on confidence- and security-building measures in the naval field in the Black Sea.
THETTALIL SEETHARAM (India) said the ongoing war in Iraq had called into question many assumptions that the international community once took for granted. Some would express doubts about what the Commission could achieve or contribute in terms of pursuing peace and undiminished security for all. The Commission had to demonstrate the pressing need for collective and multilateral action. There was a need to look beyond the “coalitions of the willing” to the problems that confronted the world, and re-establish the sanctity and credibility of norms that all could collectively agree upon.
Reiterating his country’s resolve to remain committed to global nuclear disarmament and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified time frame, he said the search for unilateral advantage had lead to measures that undermined the principle of the irreversibility of reductions. There was no move towards collectively renouncing “first use”. Instead, there were prospects of advocacy of pre-emptive use, and a move towards developing new types of arsenals. There was also a trend to go back on commitments made regarding negative security assurances. Those and other factors did not bode well for the prospects of early nuclear disarmament. The recommendations of the Commission should be applicable universally, and not merely to States parties to specific treaties.
As an initiator of confidence-building in its own region, India recognized the usefulness of such measures in the field of conventional weapons, he continued. Promoting adherence to existing significant multilateral arrangements in the field of conventional arms was also a confidence-building measure. His country played an active role in the Chemical Weapons Convention process and was implementing the programme of action regarding small arms and light weapons. It was, however, important to remember that building confidence between countries was a process that required considerable time and effort. The effectiveness of unilateral, bilateral, regional or multilateral measures could eventually be measured only in terms of the sincerity of intentions that they collectively conveyed, he said.
ERENDO ZAGAR (Mongolia) said that despite the concerted efforts of the international community, the spread of mass destruction weapons and their means of delivery had not been curbed. “9/11” opened everyone’s eyes to the risk of non-State actors with ill intentions gaining access to those weapons. Securing strict observance and effective implementation of all international disarmament agreements, therefore, had become the international community’s utmost priority. Nuclear disarmament was not only the key to the solution of a wide range of disarmament and non-proliferation issues, but also for maintaining and strengthening international peace and security. He attached special importance to universal adherence to the NPT, as the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime. The “creeping retreat from nuclear disarmament”, to which the Under-Secretary-General had referred yesterday, should not erode the credibility and effectiveness of that Treaty.
He said he also sought the entry into force of the CTBT. The conclusion of a universal and verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty was an immediate task of the Conference on Disarmament. Two years ago, his Foreign Minister had proposed that nuclear-weapon States declare a moratorium on the production of weapons-grade fissile materials and promote greater transparency through disclosure of their present stocks. He had also urged the United Nations to establish a Register for all stocks of such material, in a proposal that was still timely and valid. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones had had a positive impact on regional security and stability. As a nuclear-weapon-free country, Mongolia had adopted the necessary legislation and was now working on institutionalizing its nuclear-weapon-free status at the international level.
Regarding conventional arms, he said that confidence-building measures themselves did not represent practical disarmament. Those created an environment conducive to disarmament negotiations and increased trust and interaction among States. Indeed, as the Under-Secretary-General had noted, issues related to the reduction of conventional arms were extremely complex because of the legitimate right of States to possess such weapons for their self-defence, and because commercial and political motivations frequently underlined their continued production, perfection, and export. The chairman had also cautioned that the Commission should not be overly ambitious. He wished to add that members, however, should be tenacious in achieving the Commission’s goals.
ALEXANDER KONUZIN (Russian Federation) said that the twenty-first century had ushered in new trends and new challenges in international relations. Countering those modern challenges was possible only through the consolidated efforts of the world community. A new democratic world order should be built that guaranteed the harmonious combination of different approaches. The unilateral use of military force in contravention of the United Nations Charter and in violation of the principle of international law could undermine the system of international security and encourage individual countries to possess weapons of mass destruction. In that connection, the war in Iraq was a serious political mistake. The multilateral mechanism for arms control and disarmament remained most effective. Thanks to the collective efforts of the international community, a solid basis of international law for strategic stability had been created. Certain arms control agreements had withstood the test of time. Russia favoured the further strengthening of international law for strategic stability and international security.
He said that political and diplomatic methods for resolving disarmament problems at forums such as the Disarmament Commission and the Conference on Disarmament had been far from being exhausted. There was no alternative to such work, because the military option was not a way to resolve problems of disarmament or to strengthen the non-proliferation regime. He not only declared his country’s commitment, as the ultimate goal, to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and the conclusion of complete disarmament under strict and effective control, but would also continue to take steps towards nuclear disarmament. Russia had ratified and was implementing all treaties for “real” nuclear disarmament. A major step forward in that regard had been the conclusion with the United States of the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty (Moscow Treaty) and the signing of the Russian-United States declaration on new strategic relations.
The Moscow Treaty provided for continuity in the disarmament and arms control process, once the ABM Treaty ceased to be valid, and while other disarmament agreements were undergoing serious tests, he explained. The new Treaty was intended to provide the impetus for non- proliferation efforts. The complete elimination of nuclear weapons, however, was possible only through a gradual step-by-step process on the basis of a comprehensive approach, with the participation of all nuclear Powers and under circumstances of strategic stability. He emphasized the binding importance of the NPT, as a major instrument of international law that contained the spread of nuclear weapons, which was a factor for both regional and global stability. It was necessary, therefore, to ensure a successful review process. Another key element of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation was the CTBT, which should be signed and ratified, without delay, by all countries, especially those upon whom its entry into force depended. He also advocated the speedy drafting of a global convention to combat acts of nuclear terrorism. Meanwhile, interaction should be increased among national and international organizations to counter the trade in nuclear and radioactive materials.
He said that by significantly strengthening its safeguards system, the IAEA was now an important element of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The strengthened safeguards had provided the necessary elements for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In that connection, he supported the plan for innovative nuclear reactors and fuel cycles, consonant with the initiative of President Vladimir Putin to work out stable nuclear technologies that were impervious to proliferation. In that context, the problem of delivery systems, a necessary component of nuclear weapons, should not be overlooked. One important measure was the launching of The Hague international code to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles. He also drew attention to the Russian initiative to have a global system of control over the proliferation of missiles and missile technology, which provided for a non-discriminatory policy for all interested States.
Nuclear disarmament, primarily the reduction of offensive strategic weapons, was intrinsically linked to the prevention of an outer space arms race, he said. He highlighted the Russian-Chinese initiative to prepare a treaty to prevent the emplacement of weapons in outer space and the use of force or threat of force against space objects. He appealed for work to be started immediately on that problem in the Conference on Disarmament. His country had already started to implement its initiative to give prior warning about future launches of space objects, their intended purpose, and basic parameters. He called on States that launched space objects to join in implementing that confidence-building measure in outer space conventional weapons also continued to occupy a significant place in national arsenals and were becoming more sophisticated and, in certain cases, had much bigger strike capabilities. He stressed the preservation and strengthening of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, as well as the speedy entry into force of the 1999 adaptations. That should be ratified without any “artificial” delay. Because of the ongoing process of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s expansion, Europe’s security would be fostered by the speedy accession to adapt to the new Treaty.
MADINA JARBUSSYNOVA (Kazakhstan) said the fertile soil of her country had been turned into nuclear wasteland because of 40 years of nuclear tests. It was, therefore, understandable that after withdrawal of the last nuclear warheads from its territory and elimination of the remaining nuclear device at Semipalatinsk in 1995, Kazakhstan became a State that voluntarily refused to possess nuclear weapons. The current nuclear-free status of the country secured stability along its borders.
She said her country attached great importance to the realization of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia. In 2002, the General Assembly had welcomed the decision by the five States to sign such a Treaty as soon as possible. A nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia and in other regions would constitute an important step towards strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and promoting general and complete disarmament.
The establishment of concrete and practical confidence-building measures was very useful in easing regional tension. Alongside China, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation and Tajikistan, Kazakhstan had signed the Agreement on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field in Border Areas, and The Agreement on Mutual Reduction of Military Forces in Border Areas, in 1996. In July 2001, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan had signed the Declaration of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which should become an effective tool in ensuring security and stability in the region. The first summit meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICA) in June 2002 in Almaty had adopted the Almaty Act on the institutionalization of the CICA and the Declaration on Eliminating Terrorism and Promoting dialogue Among Civilizations.
BRUNO STAGNO (Costa Rica) said his country had a long-lasting experience in the field of disarmament. In 1949, with its constitutional abolition of armed forces, his country had declared peace to the world. Its security was entrusted to the mechanisms of international law. Priority was given to development as the proper basis for internal security. Commitments entered into in disarmament were clear-cut and could not lend themselves to interpretation. Unfortunately,
25 years after the NPT, there had not been real progress in the speedy disarmament of nuclear powers.
He said the ratification of existing instruments on nuclear proliferation were an essential step on the way to nuclear disarmament. The entry into force of the CTBT would be a significant step forward, and he regretted that the 13 States with nuclear capacity had not ratified that instrument. He urged nuclear countries that were not party to adhere to that instrument, and urged all nations to place all installations under the IAEA safeguards. The nuclear-weapon States had a special obligation to commit themselves to disarmament negotiations. They must commit to systematic destruction of their arsenals. The Moscow Treaty could be expanded to include missiles.
As a member of the first nuclear-weapon-free zone, he was convinced that such zones would promote trust and world peace. Trafficking in weapons was responsible for the proliferation of conventional weapons and greater transparency was needed in the international weapons market. Oversight was insufficient. United Nations embargoes were violated, and there were still grey and illicit markets. That situation required robust international law. He urged all Member States to support the proposal to adopt a Convention on the Transfer of Arms. The Register of Conventional Arms had to be strengthened, as well.
PAK GIL YON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that due to high-handedness and arbitrariness prevalent in international relations today, the principles of justice and fairness were often disregarded and the principle of sovereign equality, a lifeline to United Nations activities, had been shaken to its very core. Force had been used to intervene in the internal affairs of sovereign States. The unilateral attack on Iraq by the United States had been a “grave encroachment” on its sovereignty, despite the strong opposition of the United Nations and the world. The violation of Iraqi sovereignty had been a vivid violation of the rights of Iraq’s people. Countries that liked to call for the protection of human rights were directly joining in the current armed attack, or conspiring with it. Such hypocrisy disturbed the international order and seriously threatened peace and security, not only in the region, but also throughout the rest of the world. Now, the United States was openly asserting that the basic aim of the Iraqi war was to overthrow the Iraqi leadership.
He said that the “arrogant and outrageous” behaviour of the United States, aimed at killing the State leader of another country, was “typical State terrorism” that must never be tolerated. War against the independence of a sovereign State could never be justified. The major threat and challenge to world peace and security lay in power politics, based on the absolute supremacy of nuclear weapons. Those manifestations could be found in the recent shift of nuclear deterrence policies to include pre-emptive strikes and the open clamour about nuclear threats. The core issue of disarmament was nuclear disarmament, and the disarmament process could proceed properly only when nuclear disarmament was achieved. That included, among other things, the prohibition of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and their total elimination. Pending the conclusion of an instrument banning those weapons and the complete destruction of existing stockpiles, priority should be given to implementing assurances of the non-use of those weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States and withdrawing all nuclear weapons deployed outside the territories of nuclear-weapon States.
Real disarmament, however, could never be achieved in an environment of hostility between States and the increased threat to sovereignty, such as listing Member States as part of the “axis of evil” or calling for pre-emptive strikes, he said. It was not reasonable to insist on reducing the self-defence forces of other countries, while deploying abroad huge armed forces and weapon of mass destruction, and even developing new types of nuclear weapons. It was urgent to adopt an effective action programme for comprehensive disarmament, including nuclear disarmament. The large-scale joint military exercises being staged by the Untied States and South Korea had created such a tense situation on the Korean peninsula that a nuclear war might break out there at any moment. Sabre ratting against his country was being staged in “real earnest”, timed to coincide with the United States attack on Iraq. That clearly proved that the United States “win-win” strategy, a key link in the strategy to dominate the entire world, was being put into practice on the Korean peninsula.
Continuing, he said that the United States and South Korea had ceaselessly staged war exercises against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but it was the first time they had staged month-long war exercises by mobilizing huge numbers of troops and modern operational equipment, such as the transfer of a super-sized aircraft carrier “Carl Vinson”, dubbed the “Golden Eagle”, to a South Korean port on 14 March. While staging exercises in the air and sea, and on land, the United States was concentrating its efforts on an aerial strategy. That meant it was going to mount a pre-emptive attack on the nuclear facilities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and “take it as an opportunity of escalating the war”. The United States had so far put international pressure on his country to scrap its nuclear weapons programme, claiming that the “nuclear issue” posed a threat to the world. As that had not worked, it was now going to settle the situation by military means.
As was well known, the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula was a bilateral matter that should be settled by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States, in view of its origin, nature and substance, he said. The situation was a product of the hostile policy of the United States towards his country. The United States was claiming that its unilateral demand represented the common view of the international community, while describing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s restart of its frozen nuclear facilities and its withdrawal from the NPT as a “breach” of international law. That was no more than a crafty attempt to equate an assailant with a victim. The nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula required that both countries “sit face to face and negotiate”. The United States was insisting on “multilateral talks” in a bid to “internationalize” the nuclear issue, while turning down his country’s consistent call for a negotiated settlement between the parties directly concerned.
He said that no threat or blackmail, no pressure or sanctions, would ever work on the Korean people. They would never beg for peace at the expense of their national dignity and sovereignty, simply out of fear of war, and the country would never sell out its supreme interests under pressure. The United States should not boast of its military muscle. His country had a powerful enough self-defence capacity to “beat back any formidable enemy at a single stroke”. The United States would be well advised to clearly understand that self-defence power and single-hearted unity of the Korean people. If it finally ignited a nuclear war against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the latter would “mercilessly punish the aggressors” to protect its sovereignty. Before South Korea talks about the “nuclear issue”, it should refrain from encouraging confrontation between North and South and from aggravating the situation on the peninsula. South Korea was pushing the situation to the brink of a war by siding with outsiders rather than standing by its fellow countrymen, who were exposed to the outside threat of aggression.
He said he could not but express deep concern about the irrevocable adverse impact such reckless “sabre-rattling” in South Korea would have on peace on the Korean peninsula and on inter-Korean relations. South Korea would be held wholly responsible for having hamstrung the inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation and laid obstacles in the way of achieving a peaceful unification. The people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would never remain a mere onlooker to the serious developments in South Korea. If South Korea truly wanted peace and stability, it should approach the nuclear issue on a fair and impartial basis, and not following the unilateral assertion of the United States.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said the security situation between States had become asymmetric, some enjoying absolute security and some none at all. That situation was aggravated by international terrorism. In the present circumstances, many of the premises of disarmament were discouraged. The concept of nuclear deterrence had changed from bipolar to a dynamic multi-polar calculation involving at least eight nuclear-weapon States. Reliance on international treaties as a medium for disarmament had eroded. The role of multilateral forums had become stalled and the scope was narrowing. Even the capabilities of the United Nations for independent analysis of disarmament issues appeared to be eroding.
He said the two major nuclear parties had to urgently implement the Moscow Treaty. Multilateral nuclear reductions could start thereafter. The commitments undertaken at the NPT Review Conference by the five nuclear-weapon States needed to be implemented, as well, and the CTBT had to be brought to life again. The search for effective missile defences needed to be examined to ascertain whether they were consistent with nuclear deterrence in a multi-polar context. The issue of missiles must be addressed in a comprehensive and cooperative framework. A conference on the reduction of nuclear danger would be useful, as would a legally binding instrument for negative security assurances and establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones where they did not exist.
Military expenditures consumed about $900 billion each year, a substantive part of which was being spent on sophisticated conventional weapons, which lead to an asymmetry based on economic power, he said. The principal threats to international peace and security came from regional conflicts and tensions. Special attention should, therefore, be focused on possible flashpoints of confrontation in the Korean peninsula, the Middle East and South Asia.
He said South Asia had been described as the most dangerous place in the world. The conflict in Kashmir festered, because of non-implementation of Council resolutions. The reckless build-up of weapons by the one State in the region that sought hegemony in the area was increasing tensions. His country opposed a debilitating arms race in the region. The growing imbalance in military capability could provide incentives for aggression by the stronger party. His country had proposed mechanisms for the resolution of outstanding disputes. His country was prepared to pursue those proposals at the bilateral level, or through the United Nations.
MOHAMMAD H. FADAIFARD (Iran) said the events of 2001 had shown that the maintenance of security required collective efforts and international unity in combating the menace of terrorism. However, there was a tendency towards unilateralism and reliance on military power, rather than collective security. Shunning multilateral agreements and increasingly favouring unilateral approaches by one powerful State had resulted in the regrettable situation in Iraq. Despite achievements in disarmament, the emergence of unilateralism had reversed the hopes such achievements had encouraged. Setbacks began when one nuclear-weapon State questioned many previous undertakings and issued a new doctrine on the first use of nuclear weapons and pre-emptive attacks.
He said one of the most important steps towards a world free from nuclear weapons was the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones. In the sensitive and strategic region of the Middle East, Iran had been the first country that inscribed a proposal for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the agenda of the General Assembly. The only existing obstacle to establishing such a zone in the Middle East was the non-adherence of Israel to the NPT and its continued clandestine operation of unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.
All international instruments in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation recognized the rights of States parties to peaceful applications of materials and technology, he said. Iran was firmly committed to the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention and the NPT, but would not abandon its rights because of politically motivated accusations or outside pressures. In accordance with the provisions of article IV of the NPT, all States parties had the inalienable right to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination. The unimpeded access of developing countries to materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes was an internationally recognized right of the States parties.
Confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms could not divert the attention from disarmament, but could create a favourable atmosphere for progress in that area. If in a region some party was not be ready to renounce weapons of mass destruction, as was being witnessed in the Middle East, there would not be much use for those kinds of measures. Transparency and openness in different military matters, military holdings and expenditures were all possible means through which uncertainties and mistrust could be reduced.
ARJUN BAHADUR THAPA (Nepal) said, in the midst of growing tensions in the global community, the number of countries with nuclear weapons capability and other weapons of mass destruction had steadily increased. Treaties that ensured strategic stability for so many years had been flouted and even discarded. Equipped with elaborate practical guidelines to assist Member States in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, the Commission should move forward, building on its long experience. Although the agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation to reduce the deployment of strategic nuclear weapons was welcome, it gave little comfort that weapons capable to destroy the planet several times over still existed.
He said the international community had not yet witnessed the entry into force of the CTBT and the proposed fissile material cut-off treaty was yet to get off the ground. The spread of ever more lethal small arms and light weapons, particularly among non-State actors, deepened the frustration of people in the field of disarmament. Regional initiatives for disarmament could positively contribute to consolidate confidence-building measures within the region. Regional centres for peace and disarmament, including the one that was supposed to work from Kathmandu, had a critical role to play in that process. Nepal was taking measures to relocate the Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific, still based in New York, to Kathmandu as soon as possible.
His country had a strong moral commitment to the anti-personnel landmine Convention and favoured the full implementation of the programme of action adopted by the small arms Conference in 2001. It was unequivocally opposed to an arms race in outer space. Regional measures for nuclear disarmament and confidence-building should be encouraged. Robust monitoring and verification measures needed to be in place to ensure compliance in areas of weapons of mass destruction. The Register on Conventional Arms needed to be strengthened and expanded.
JOSEPH SHERWOOD McGINNIS (United States) said it was clear to all that since the Commission last met in 2001, the international security environment had changed dramatically. In fact, the international political situation of today was substantially changed from that of 25 or 50 years ago. That was why it was imperative for the Commission to focus its efforts on the realities of today and on those of the future. It served no one’s interests to advocate approaches that no longer “track” with the current international situation and the new directions in which it might be heading. It must be acknowledged that it was a changed world, one faced with new threats to international security. In the days ahead, his delegation would be urging that the Commission emphasize forward-looking thinking that took into account the past, without dwelling in it.
He said it was essential to build confidence that the security of the States represented here would be preserved and enhanced. An important question to be addressed was how the international community should acknowledge and deal with the current security situation. For example, there had been significant recent progress towards the goal of nuclear disarmament since the Commission met last. Most notable were the substantial effort undertaken by the Russian Federation and the United States to reduce their nuclear arsenals. The Moscow Treaty strengthened international security and stability, not just for today, but for the next 10 years of its implementation. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that weapons of mass destruction programmes in a number of States, and the risks that terrorists might one day soon acquire them on their own, posed serious challenges to international peace and security.
Responding to the statement made by the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, moving forward on disarmament required that the parties to existing treaties fulfil their obligations. North Korea was in breach of its international non-proliferation obligations. The United States felt strongly that that was an issue of concern to the entire international community. As such, it sought a multilateral diplomatic solution and for North Korea to return to compliance with the NPT and its IAEA safeguards agreement.
JANICE MILLER (Jamaica) said the importance of setting global disarmament norms was especially relevant in the current international environment, where the disarmament agenda continued to be challenged. The achievement of a stable and peaceful international environment demanded the continued commitment of the international community to general and complete disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
She noted recent progress on certain key disarmament issues, including the conclusion of agreements on reductions of strategic nuclear weapons, as well as an increased adherence by States, including nuclear-weapon States, to the IAEA safeguards and the Additional Protocol. Those efforts should be bolstered by increased adherence and universalization of the relevant international legal instruments, including the NPT.
The relative ease of access and portability of conventional weapons had posed security dilemmas for many States and had to be juxtaposed against the relative right of States to defend themselves. That situation underscored the role of confidence-building measures as an important component in strengthening international peace and security, and in the prevention of war. She supported efforts to arrive at practical disarmament measures through the establishment of internationally agreed guidelines to govern the manufacture, development, sale and acquisition of conventional weapons. The first biennial meeting of States on the implementation of the programme of action of the 2001 Conference on small arms in July would be an important step in the area of practical disarmament and confidence-building.