|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
2006 Substantive Session
271st & 272nd Meetings (AM & PM)
CONCLUDING GENERAL DEBATE, DISARMAMENT COMMISSION HEARS CALLS FOR UNIVERSAL
ADHERENCE TO TEST-BAN, NON-PROLIFERATION TREATIES
Speakers include Representatives of Bangladesh , Iran ,
Russian Federation, Pakistan, India, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Concerned that successive failures have left deep dents in the international community’s disarmament and non-proliferation endeavours, Bangladesh’s speaker told the Disarmament Commission today, upon the conclusion of its general debate, that the notion that the acquisition or retention of nuclear weapons guaranteed security was not only “baneful”, but also “fallacious”.
As the Commission proceeded with an agreed agenda, after two years without agreement, which included an item on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and another on confidence-building measures in the area of conventional arms, the representative called for universal adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), warning against making possession of nuclear weapons too “attractive”. If countries appeared to benefit from them, others would want them. That was simple, but incontrovertible logic, he said, urging all to acknowledge that, in the event of nuclear war, there could be no victors, only victims.
With the existence of thousands of nuclear warheads in the stockpiles of the nuclear-weapon States, and the increasing resort to the threat of their possible use, Iran’s representative said that the world community had the right to be assured that the nightmare visited upon the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would never again be repeated. Regrettably, the limited efforts of the major nuclear-weapon States to reduce their arsenals after the cold war had faced serious setbacks. Non-nuclear-weapon States had renounced the nuclear option, provided that they could exercise their inalienable right to peaceful nuclear energy development, without discrimination or arbitrary thresholds.
Iran’s commitment to the NPT was “unqualified”, he said. Iran had renounced nuclear weapons, not only because of its contractual obligations under the NPT, but also due to its historical background and religious edicts. As a State party to the NPT, Iran insisted on its inalienable rights to peaceful nuclear technology. It would not accept any arbitrary threshold, while it had gone out of its way to address any genuine concern about the exclusively peaceful nature of its programme. He assured members of Iran’s continued full commitment to the NPT, and cooperation with the IAEA. It would also engage in serious negotiations with interested parties, to find an acceptable solution to the current situation.
Despite recent setbacks, the speaker from the Russian Federation said the world had managed to avoid the recurrent threat of a global nuclear conflict, to prevent and settle dozens of armed conflicts, and to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of international terrorists. Russian nuclear weapons were located only within its national territory borders, and his country had provided security assurances to the NPT member countries participating in nuclear-weapons-free zones. His country fully complied with its NPT commitments and, since 1991, there had been a five-fold reduction of the aggregate stockpiles of nuclear weapons and a four-fold reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons.
Whether it was still possible to show the peoples of the world that the debate on nuclear issues at the United Nations was not hypocrisy, the speaker from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said, depended totally on the nuclear-weapon States. If they responded positively to the calls for a total ban on nuclear weapons, enormous progress would be made in the inseparable processes of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The United States had designated his country a target of nuclear pre-emptive strike, and disclosed that it had made new types of nuclear weapons with which to attack it. In those compelling circumstances, it had had no choice other than nuclear deterrence to counter the United States ever growing threat of nuclear attack.
Pakistan’s speaker said that credible steps by the nuclear-weapon States within a reasonable timeframe were essential to revalidate the “bargain” on disarmament and non-proliferation, and restore a genuine balance between them. Cooperation in the peaceful use of energy must also continue to enjoy international support under globally agreed conditions. There was a need to reconcile nuclear reality within the global non-proliferation regime -- there were eight, and not five, nuclear-weapon States. That should be achieved on a systemic and non-discriminatory basis, which strengthened, rather than weakened, the objectives of non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. Discriminatory approaches and double standards would not serve those objectives, he said.
For India, nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation were not mutually exclusive; they intersected and reinforced each other. The present discussion was how to go about the task of eliminating nuclear weapons and, in the process, deal with contemporary proliferation threats, emanating both from States and non-State actors. Disarmament and non-proliferation, therefore, were not polar opposites but two ends of a single continuum. Currently, sharp differences existed among States over the goals, priorities and approaches in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. Those differences could not be set aside or ignored. For any breakthrough, all States needed to sincerely engage in dialogue on their approaches to nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and understand and accommodate each other’s security concerns and threat perceptions.
Commission Chairman, Oh Joon ( Republic of Korea) announced this morning that members had not yet been able to elect a Chairperson for Working Group I, charged with deliberating the agenda item on nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. The two meetings of that working group, which were to have been convened this week, therefore, have been cancelled. The Bureau would continue consultations on the matter, and inform delegations on Monday of the status thereof. The meetings of Working Group II on the second agenda item would be held as listed in the Commission’s programme of work (document A/CN.10/2006/CRP.1).
Additional statements in the general exchange of views were made by Chile, United Republic of Tanzania, San Marino, Republic of Korea, Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Jamaica, Jordan and Libya.
The Disarmament Commission will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 13 April in plenary to discuss measures to improve its working methods.
The United Nations Disarmament Commission today continued its 2006 substantive session, which is scheduled to wrap up on Friday, 28 April.
HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile) said that the world’s disarmament machinery was today facing myriad challenges, including a trend towards unilateralism and the lack of political will to implement the various international instruments, such as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). There was also a lack of commitment on the part of a number of nuclear powers to provide assurances to non-nuclear States. Further, last year’s Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) had ended without reaching any substantive conclusions, and the overall “stagnant” disarmament atmosphere had been thrown into stark relief, when world leaders at the 2005 Summit this past September had been unable to agree on any language on the subject for that important conference’s Outcome Document.
As a result of all this and more, the entire system of collective security was coming into question. Moreover, Chile had also witnessed with growing concern the efforts being made to acquire nuclear technology that could be used for military ends. Indeed, the United Nations disarmament machinery was increasingly being questioned, so it was now time to look for new ways to overcome the stagnation in the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament, as well as the in the Commission itself. Chile, however, still believed in the United Nations disarmament machinery, and had faith in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). That agency needed strengthening in its verification methods, he said, adding that all States should adhere to its safeguards.
The Commission now had a legitimate framework for action, and he urged setting realistic goals that could lead to substantive discussion. If there was genuine interest to make progress in this area, everyone would have to show flexibility. With that in mind, he said the discussion that would take place in the two working groups -- on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and confidence-building measures in the area of conventional arms -- as well as those on the Commission’s working methods, should be seen as building on and supplementing the ideas that emerged from this two-day exchange of views.
On nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he said that unilateral approaches had somehow replaced multilateral action. Reversing this trend would require political will. He also called for a genuine participation of civil society groups in the Commission’s discussions. Such organizations should not only monitor the discussions, they should also serve as a bridge with the wider public, so that all the people of the world knew who was making such important decisions on their behalf, and who was responsible for the inaction.
On confidence-building measures, he said that Chile subscribed to the common Latin American position, but would further urge all States to cooperate in areas of security, particularly those within the same region, to enhance security for all. New confidence-building measures must be developed to address new security challenges, he said, recalling the importance of the American Declaration on Security adopted at the Mexico City Summit in 2002. He also called for enhanced mechanisms for the sharing and exchange of information, particularly within regions and subregions. On the Commission’s working methods, he said there was a need for all delegations to step up their efforts to ensure that the Commission received the credibility that it deserved.
JAYANT PRASAD ( India) said there was a deep connection between the deficient functioning of the United Nations disarmament machinery and the decline in the multilateral ethic in international relations. The reconvening of the substantive session of the Disarmament Commission, after a gap of two years, to consider two important issues on the disarmament agenda was, in a sense, a reaffirmation of multilateralism. That was a symptom that the multilateral approach, even if contested, continued to be regarded by the international community as critical for the development of norms and standards governing international relations. The Commission played a unique role in the multilateral disarmament mechanism created by the General Assembly’s first special session devoted to disarmament.
He said that, as a subsidiary organ of the Assembly with the same universal membership, the Commission was mandated to consider and make recommendations to the Assembly on issues relevant to disarmament, and through it, to the negotiating body -– the Conference on Disarmament. The Commission provided a platform, whereby all States could engage in an interactive and thoroughgoing dialogue over those issues. The task was to prepare the ground for disarmament negotiations by elaborating a general approach to those talks. The Commission had previously been able to formulate principles, guidelines and recommendations on several disarmament issues, including on verification and confidence-building measures. Since the Commission reached its conclusions by consensus, its recommendations were a useful and universally acceptable framework for all States in their endeavour to achieve the final objective; general and complete disarmament under effective international control.
India remained fully committed to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world, to be realized by the complete elimination of nuclear weapons through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament, he said. The final document of the first special session on disarmament had accorded the goal of nuclear disarmament the highest priority. It had affirmed that its ultimate goal was the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, and outlined concrete steps to achieve that aim. The Millennium Declaration had reiterated Member States’ commitment to strive for the elimination of mass destruction weapons, particularly nuclear weapons. For India, nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation were not mutually exclusive; they intersected and reinforced each other. The present discussion was how to go about the task of eliminating nuclear weapons and, in the process, deal with contemporary proliferation threats, emanating both from States and non-State actors. Disarmament and non-proliferation, therefore, were not polar opposites, but two ends of a single continuum.
He said it had become evident during the 2006 session of the Conference on Disarmament, in a focused debate on nuclear disarmament, that all States, both those who possessed nuclear weapons and the non-nuclear-weapon States, remained firmly committed to the goal of nuclear disarmament. Several issues had been identified during the debate for achieving that goal. It was opportune, therefore, that the Commission was going to consider that in detail, and chart a possible path that provided a direction for the Conference’s future work. That task of the Conference on Disarmament, as the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, was to produce legally binding agreements and conventions. Although it was currently engaged in structured discussions on the issues on its agenda, it could not substitute the functions of the Disarmament Commission, the deliberative organ, which must consider issues relevant to disarmament and make recommendations to the Conference. He would present India’s perspectives on the steps for achieving the twin objectives of nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the course of discussions in the working group.
A basic problem afflicting the disarmament institutions and processes was the lack of trust among States, he said. The erosion of trust further begat the lack of willingness for mutual accommodation, making further progress on nuclear disarmament even more difficult. The absence of consensus on disarmament and non-proliferation paragraphs in the Outcome Document of the 2005 World Summit underscored the fact that, currently, sharp differences existed among States over the goals, priorities and approaches in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. Those differences could not be set aside or ignored. For any breakthrough, all States needed to sincerely engage in dialogue on their approaches to nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and understand and accommodate each other’s security concerns and threat perceptions. One way to restore that trust was to secure a reaffirmation of the unequivocal commitment of all nuclear-weapon States to the goal of complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The Commission provided all States an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and to outline their positions and priorities, as well as understand the positions and priorities of others.
Hopefully, he said, renewed consideration of the agenda item on practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons would be productive “this time”. In revisiting that issue, addressed during the last three substantive sessions, delegations should strive for a consensus that had earlier eluded them, by building on the deliberations held in the last cycle of work. He fully supported the adoption of confidence-building measures, whether bilateral, regional or global, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among States of a region. India had initiated, both unilaterally and bilaterally, a number of confidence-building measures in its “neighbourhood” to build trust and confidence, and to ensure greater transparency. It was committed to adopting further measures to prevent misunderstanding and promote a stable environment of peace and security with the countries in its neighbourhood. Besides consideration of the two agenda items, he welcomed the discussion of measures for improving the effectiveness of the Commission’s methods of work.
AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania), supporting the activities of the Commission in finding effective ways to address issues and problems of nuclear and conventional disarmament, said such issues required further time for reflection on the dynamics of the global security environment and how the international community could better use technological advancement in the military sphere to enhance human development and avoid conflicts. With that in mind, he emphasized the strong nexus between security, development and human rights. Although, in most regions, cooperation on defence and security matters was becoming a common practice, at the global level there was a worrisome lack of collaboration.
He called for the adoption of “constructive defence policies” that avoided confrontation and promoted confidence, transparency and broader cooperation for a safer world for all, beginning with a commitment to deeply cut into conventional and strategic nuclear arms structures, as well as a scaling down of overall defence spending. On the stagnation facing the United Nations disarmament machinery, he urged delegations to take a more serious approach, since issues related to disarmament should be at the forefront of international peace and security efforts.
He also stressed that the lack of progress in the disarmament sphere also spelled dire consequences to wider security and development. For example, some regions had been declared nuclear-weapons-free zones, but delays in complete nuclear disarmament might increase the danger and possibility of proliferation, particularly the spread of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups and others. Moreover, this could also lead to the continued diverting of resources from the global commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
With all this in mind, he stressed the need to continue international efforts to strengthen and achieve universal adherence to, and full compliance with, effective implementation of the provisions of existing arms control and disarmament accords. At the same time, it was clear that the direction of nuclear disarmament had taken a new turn since 2001, characterized by new initiatives among the major powers to compete for space-based defence systems. Indeed, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) statistics showed that the global community spent $800 billion a year on military forces and kept more that 20 million personnel at arms, while the expenditures for promoting the health and wellbeing of men, women and children in 166 countries barely reached $225 million. “This is by far an irrational and ineffective way to use our very scarce global resources,” he said.
DANIELE D. BODINI ( San Marino) said that the vast majority of Member States, like his own, did not harbour such weapons as nuclear weapons, and were bystanders and witnesses of “frightening displays”. That was like playing with our children’s lives, waiting for the first catastrophic event to happen. Fragmented nations, international and national unrest, desperate acts of terrorism and irresponsible Governments all contributed to the “chilling uncertainty of our collective future”. Hopefully, in the next three weeks, with joint and reinvigorated effort, it would be possible to provide guidelines for complete nuclear disarmament. No less important was the reduction and regulation of conventional arms, with a special focus on the problem of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. Balancing the need of self-protection with that of transparency should be the Commission’s principal task in handling that problem.
Regarding agenda item one, he reaffirmed his concern about the slow pace of nuclear disarmament, and he hoped for a stronger non-proliferation policy. In that respect, he also underlined the reference in the Millennium Declaration for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.
CHOI HONG-GHI ( Republic of Korea) said that the meeting of the Commission was especially important, because it followed a series of setbacks in the field of multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation. Despite all the setbacks and challenges, or perhaps because of them, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) remained the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime. As such, there was every reason to preserve and enhance that Treaty’s integrity. Nevertheless, that regime was facing unprecedented challenges. There was increasing recognition that the Treaty’s monitoring and verification mechanisms should be strengthened. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement should become the new global standard, and its universal adoption should be promoted. A bolstered verification system, universally applied, would increase global confidence in the compliance of States parties with their non-proliferation obligations.
Still, he said, no verification system could be wholly foolproof against determined proliferators. To further protect the international community from the danger of nuclear proliferation, he supported ongoing efforts to strengthen existing export control regimes and create new supplementary measures to secure nuclear materials and technology. Non-proliferation had its counterpart in disarmament. The disarmament obligations on nuclear-weapon States, laid out in article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), were fundamental to the Treaty’s full implementation. He welcomed progress by the nuclear-weapon States over the past decades in reducing their nuclear arsenals, and he looked forward to further reductions under the Moscow Treaty. Nevertheless, progress in nuclear disarmament had not matched expectations set by the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference.
As he called on the non-nuclear-weapon States to strengthen their commitments to non-proliferation, the nuclear-weapon States must do their part, by making progress in disarmament, he said. The nuclear-weapon possessors should be more proactive and transparent in working towards the ultimate elimination of those weapons. To relieve the security concerns of the non-nuclear-weapon States, the nuclear-weapon States should provide “negative security assurances” to those States parties to the NPT that were in full compliance with that Treaty and other safeguards obligations. He also strongly supported the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the immediate start of talks on a fissile material cut-off treaty.
Turning to conventional arms, he said that confidence-building measures should begin in areas where they could be most easily achieved, moving from there to more difficult areas. Delegations must be cautious not to allow a lack of progress on the most controversial issues to be an excuse to inaction in other areas. He was hopeful that substantial progress could be made during the current session towards an agreement on confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons, which could have a positive effect on discussions on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. His Government’s efforts to promote inter-Korean reconciliation could be understood in that context. Mutual confidence and trust had been substantially enhanced through projects such as the reconnection of railroads and highways across the demilitarized zone, the removal of landmines in the zone’s vicinity and the development of the Gaesong Industrial Complex, among other things. Increasing mutual confidence had a positive impact on efforts to resolve many pending security issues. In contrast to the setbacks on nuclear issues, recent achievements in the small arms arena had been quite encouraging. The challenges before the Commission were substantial, but some progress was better than none.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY ( Bangladesh) said the Commission was meeting at a time when the international disarmament and non-proliferation machinery was in limbo. “Not only have we not made any progress during the last several years, we have, in fact, regressed on many fronts, as evidenced by some recent developments outside of the existing disarmament and non-proliferation machinery.” Those developments had further weakened the multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation regime, particularly the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). For over a decade, the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament, the sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiation, had been without much to do. The debacle of the 2005 NPT Review had been shocking, to say the least. And, the international community’s failure to make any reference to disarmament and non-proliferation issues in the Outcome of the 2005 World Summit surely could be called serious “underperformance”.
“The successive failures have certainly left deep dents in or confidence in the international community’s disarmament and non-proliferation endeavours,” he said, adding that Bangladesh, therefore, attached high importance to the Commission’s work this year. He went on to say that the NPT and the CTBT were the two key instruments for achieving nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and Bangladesh believed that the erosion of the NPT regime was a danger to world peace. Rejecting double standards, he called for universal adherence to both those critical treaties. “If the possession of nuclear weapons appears to strengthen the sense of security, their acquisition will become attractive. If some have them, and appear to benefit from their possession, others will want them. This is a simple, but incontrovertible logic,” he said.
He went on to say that Bangladesh had an impeccable disarmament and non-proliferation record and had consciously opted to remain non-nuclear. It believed that the continued existence of nuclear weapons and their possible use or threat of use was the greatest threat to humanity. Even with the horrors wrought on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world had yet to fully grasp the monstrous effect of nuclear weapons. Bangladesh was also convinced that such weapons served no purpose for humanity, and that they were inherently dangerous, hugely expensive and militarily inefficient. With the end of the cold war decades ago, the erstwhile foes had become partners, and even allies. The nuclear deterrence theory, which used to be called MAD (mutual assured destruction), had been developed and put into practice in a different historical era. It was no longer relevant today.
“The viewpoint that nuclear arms can ensure security of a country is not only baneful, but also fallacious,” he said, urging all to acknowledge that, in the event of nuclear war, there could be no victors, only victims. There must, therefore, be systematic and concerted nuclear disarmament with a view to achieving the total elimination of those weapons. He went on to say that Bangladesh was concerned by the slow progress of the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish that task, and called on such States to take immediate steps towards an irreversible and accelerated reduction and eventual elimination of the global stockpiles and nuclear arsenals, in accordance with the NPT.
Bangladesh also urged the Conference on Disarmament to immediately go back to its substantive work and start negotiations on a programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, within a specified framework. He also reiterated that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States contravened negative security assurances. Bangladesh deeply valued the role of nuclear-weapon-free zones in advancing the disarmament agenda. He said that the NPT guaranteed the inalienable right of all State parties to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination. The NPT also obliged State parties to cooperate among themselves on matters of exchange of equipment, material, and scientific and technological know—how.
It was disconcerting, therefore, that undue restrictions on such exchanges and exports to developing countries continued to persist, in contravention of the NPT. Such barriers must be removed, he said.
AIZAZ AHMAD CHAUDHRY ( Pakistan) said he hoped the Commission would be able to overcome the differences surrounding the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda and agree on actions required at the international and regional levels, with a view to reviving prospects for effective nuclear and conventional disarmament. On the nuclear weapons-related agenda item one, the Commission should be able to recommend ways and means of addressing the motives that drove States to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Those motives included perceived threats from superior conventional or non-conventional forces, the existence of disputes and conflicts with more powerful States, and discrimination in the application of international norms and laws.
He said that the new threat of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction must also be addressed. The threat of proliferation could be contained only if that was accompanied by a parallel effort to realize weapons of mass destruction disarmament. Discrimination and asymmetric possession of weapons of mass destruction was not a recipe for non-proliferation or regional and global stability. To deal with that threat effectively, collective and cooperative measures, not coercion and discrimination, would yield success. At the same time, new threats should not obscure the dangers posed by the existence and continuous improvement of nuclear weapons, such as their vertical proliferation (upgrading). Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were two sides of the same coin, and must be promoted and pursued simultaneously.
Initiatives that bypassed the existing multilateral framework offered only temporary solutions for counter-proliferation, non-proliferation and non-compliance, he said. An unequal and restricted Security Council could not supplant or circumvent multilateral negotiating processes. Unilateral restrictions and selective regimes would not promote security; they would exacerbate insecurity. Elaboration of treaty regimes was no doubt an arduous exercise, but once treaties had been agreed to freely, they had a better chance of commanding adherence and compliance. It was important, therefore, that the mandate of the Security Council’s “1540 Committee” should now be transferred to a more representative and legitimate body within the General Assembly.
In the area of nuclear disarmament, he said that credible steps by the nuclear-weapon States within a reasonable timeframe were essential to revalidate the “bargain” on disarmament and non-proliferation, and restore a genuine balance between them. Cooperation on the peaceful use of energy must also continue to enjoy international support under globally agreed conditions. There was a need to reconcile nuclear reality within the global non-proliferation regime -- there were eight, and not five, nuclear-weapon States. That should be achieved on a systemic and non-discriminatory basis, which strengthened, rather than weakened, the objectives of non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. Discriminatory approaches and double standards would not serve those objectives.
He said that, although Pakistan was a nuclear-weapon State, it subscribed to the objectives of the NPT. It was fulfilling the Treaty’s non-proliferation norms and objectives, and it was prepared, on a voluntary and non-discriminatory basis, to continue to act in consonance with the obligations undertaken by nuclear-weapon States under articles I, II, and III of the NPT. Efforts to secure the universality of that Treaty were commendable, but they must take account of realities, which were unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. He supported negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty in accordance with the Shannon Mandate and the A-5 proposal for a universal, non-discriminatory, multilateral, and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty.
Unless nuclear disarmament was achieved, non-nuclear-weapon States were entitled to assurances that nuclear weapons would not be used against them, he said. The security assurances offered by most nuclear-weapon States were “restrictive, partial and qualified”, and did not enhance the security of non-nuclear-weapon States. Threats to use nuclear weapons against non-possessor States in certain circumstances must be disavowed. Existing global legal instruments were inadequate to prevent the weaponization of outer space, and existing agreements should be consolidated and reinforced, in that regard. He also shared the global concern regarding unbridled ballistic missile proliferation. To avert that, he called for enhanced efforts to conclude a comprehensive, non-discriminatory and universally negotiated treaty, within the United Nations system, on missiles, covering all aspects.
He said that, while international attention was focused on the need to control weapons of mass destruction, the trade and military expenditures in conventional weapons continued to rise. After an initial decline in those outlays in the immediate aftermath of the cold war, in recent years, there had been a surge in expenditures and a build-up of conventional armaments and armed forces. Global trends in military expenditures worldwide were both “staggering and alarming”. In 2004, total military expenditures rose to $1.035 trillion, at 2005 prices. That was in sharp contrast to the total United Nations budget, mandated to maintain international peace and security, which was less than 1.5 per cent of the world’s military expenditure. The total value of arms transfer agreements in 2004 was estimated at $37 billion, a significant increase over 2003. In 2004, the value of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations was nearly $21.8 billion, an increase over $15.1 billion total in 2003.
In view of those disturbing trends, it was imperative to pursue conventional arms control, at the lowest possible levels of armaments and military forces, in order to promote regional and international peace and security, he said. The preservation of a balance in the defence capabilities of States at the lowest levels of armaments should be the prime objective of conventional arms control. The current session was taking place in the backdrop of several challenges, both to the disarmament and non-proliferation regime, as well as to its multilateral deliberative and negotiating platforms. The failure to achieve agreement on disarmament and non-proliferation at the September Summit last year highlighted those divergences. A decade long impasse at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and the deadlock, for two years, within this Commission underscored the fact that there were clear differences of perspective, approach and modalities among Member States to deal with nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues.
He said that those differences were dangerous for peace and security, particularly in regions riven by conflicts and tensions. It was essential, therefore, to promote, through consultations and agreement among all Member States, a new security consensus to achieve disarmament and non-proliferation. That must be premised on one of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter; that security was the right of every State. He outlined several elements, which could constitute the basis for such a consensus, including the de-alerting of nuclear weapons; compliance by all States parties with their respective disarmament and non-proliferation obligations; normalization of the relationship of the three non-NPT States with the NPT regime; commitment by all States to prevent terrorists’ acquisition of weapons of mass destruction; and reaffirmation that goals of peaceful uses of nuclear energy should not be used as a cover for proliferation.
YOUCEF YOUSFI (Algeria) said the Commission was approaching its work in today’s “disquieting” international environment, marked not only by new fears concerning the spread of nuclear weapons, but by the general stagnation of the international disarmament machinery, including paralysis in the Commission itself. Algeria believed, nevertheless, that the disarmament process needed to be relaunched, because complete and total disarmament was the only way to ensure peace and security for future generations. Algeria would, therefore, participate actively in the work of the Commission, which now had, after some years, a substantive agenda. He added that the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament should also be strengthened, so that it could substantively discuss and elaborate doctrines aimed at non-proliferation.
On the importance of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), he recalled the 13 practical steps adopted at the 2000 NPT Review, which remained important in today’s environment. He also stressed the need to promote technological cooperation and other measures to enhance exchange of relevant information for socio-economic purposes. On confidence-building measures, he urged the Commission to take the view of all delegations into account. Such measures should have a global character and should not be selective in their approach.
Indeed, a focus on only conventional weapons in this regard did not serve anyone’s interest. He added that economic measures could also contribute to confidence-building measures. Finally, he reiterated that, at a time when the Conference on Disarmament was faced with a deadlock, he hoped the Commission could serve as a forum for fruitful and productive dialogue aimed at promoting an era of collective peace and security.
AMR ABOU EL ATTA ( Egypt) said that the success of deliberations during the Commission’s session was even more pertinent, in view of the setbacks in 2005 due to the withdrawal from the priority of nuclear disarmament commitments under the pretext of “changing international security priorities”. That withdrawal had led to the failure of the seventh Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), as well as the failure of the 2005 Millennium Review Summit to reach agreement in its final document on measures for achieving nuclear disarmament and strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime. As such, it was incumbent on the current session to pave the way in overcoming the recent failure, through full compliance by the nuclear-weapon States with the unequivocal undertaking, agreed to by consensus at the 2000 NPT Review, to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. Regional efforts towards nuclear disarmament were a major contribution, of which the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones were among the most important.
He said, however, that, despite the successes achieved by the various zones around the world and the fact that the Arab States had striven to establish such a zone in the Middle East for the past 25 years, no such progress had been attained. Israel was still a non-party to the NPT, which threatened regional security and challenged the non-proliferation regime. Addressing that threat required the implementation, particularly by the nuclear-weapon States, of their commitment to the resolution adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. That resolution had ensured Israel’s accession to the Treaty and placement of its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, as well as the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and had formed an integral part of the Treaty’s indefinite extension. That was a precondition to the continued viability and validity of the non-proliferation regime in the region, achievable only through the NPT’s universality and full compliance by all States parties in its entirety, on a non-selective basis.
Egypt would pursue those efforts during the current session, based on the Commission’s 1999 recommendations regarding nuclear-weapon-free zones, he said. The non-proliferation regime was today facing serious challenges; prime among them was non-compliance with nuclear disarmament commitments and the 13 practical steps agreed by consensus in 2000, as well as the challenges emanating from strengthened strategic doctrines, which promoted the continued possession of nuclear weapons and their development, as well as the threat of their use against non-nuclear-weapon States. He, therefore, echoed the call by the Non-Aligned Movement for the convening of an international conference to reach agreement on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specific timeframe. Such a conference should also strive to achieve a multilateral and legally binding instrument on negative security assurances within the NPT framework, pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
On the second agenda item, confidence-building measures could not substitute for disarmament measures, but they were complementary steps that provided a suitable environment to strengthen disarmament efforts, he said. Those measures must be impartial, objective, transparent, comprehensive and agreed upon voluntarily among the States concerned. Their application, in an integral manner and on the basis of equality, could contribute to establishing more effective security arrangements based on cooperation and transparency, and the rejection of the use of force or threat of use of force. Confidence-building measures by themselves were insufficient in the absence of a strategic and political commitment to the principle of equal security for all and to a peaceful coexistence based on cooperation, and not on military or other forms of advantage. The United Nations Register of Conventional Arms could not serve its purpose as a confidence-building measure regionally and internationally, as long as its scope was not expanded to include military holdings and procurement through national production, as well as weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons.
ANDREY DENISOV ( Russian Federation) said that, despite recent setbacks, the world had managed to avoid the recurrent threat of a global nuclear conflict, prevent and settle dozens of armed conflicts, and prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of international terrorists. The cause of strengthening the regimes of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems was now coming to the fore of multilateral efforts. His delegation had co-authored Security Council resolution 1540, aimed at fighting “WMD black markets”, and he called on all States to implement its provisions rigorously. He expected the Council to extend the text’s mandate this month. His country had initiated and was the first to have signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. The moment had come to bring it into force and implement it everywhere.
He said that the world had recently encountered complicated issues of ensuring the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Preserving the NPT’s integrity and promoting the Treaty’s universalization were crucial tasks in ensuring international peace and security. The main role belonged to the IAEA, whose task was to ensure non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the legitimate interests of States to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. He called for further efforts in seeking resolution of the Iranian nuclear programme issue within the IAEA framework in a “calm and depoliticized” atmosphere. The Agency was capable of clarifying the remaining issues.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was one of the key elements in the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation field. He called on all States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify it as soon as possible, especially those whose ratification was required for the Treaty’s operation. Also important was for the ban on nuclear test explosions to be observed until the Treaty enters into force. The next multilateral measure in that field should be the development of a fissile material cut-off treaty, for which he supported the re-establishment of an ad hoc committee within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament. He also supported the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in different regions of the world as a key point of narrowing the geographical area of deployment of nuclear weapons. Russian nuclear weapons were located only within the national territory borders, and his country had provided security assurances to the NPT member countries participating in nuclear-free zones.
He said his country fully complied with its commitments under the NPT’s article VI, with its treaties with the United States, and unilateral initiatives on nuclear disarmament. Since 1991, there had been a five-fold reduction of the aggregate stockpiles of nuclear weapons and a four-fold reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons. Those reductions -- and that had been a labour intensive, technically complex and very costly effort -- were well under way and running smoothly and without interruption. The Russian Federation was attached to the principle of irreversibility of nuclear weapon reductions, and it was ready to take new constructive steps in that field.
Regarding confidence-building measures, he said his country had done everything possible in support of the entry into force of the renewed Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE Treaty), including the ratification, in 2004, of the Agreement on the CFE Treaty adaptation. Now, it was its partners’ turn. It had no intention to “continue to pretend” that the CFE Treaty of 1990 -- when there was a confrontation between the Warsaw Treaty Organization and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) -- functioned normally and suited the Russian Federation. NATO member countries had to fulfil their Istanbul obligations of 1999 to take effective efforts to complete national ratification procedures. If that situation remained unchanged, the participants of the third CFE Treaty Review Conference, to be held in May, would have to decide, in principle, on the future of that cornerstone of European security.
During the current Disarmament Commission session, he was ready to consider the improvement of the United Nations disarmament machinery, but that process should not infringe upon legitimate interests of each member of the international community, and should not turn into a purely bureaucratic process, conducted by a few “officials”. It was not necessary to dismantle the existing triangle of multilateral disarmament -- the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), the Disarmament Commission and the Conference on Disarmament. The key issue was to optimize and increase the practical outcome of their activities. At the same time, the Commission should serve as an “integrator” of concrete ideas and concepts, and identify problems to be addressed through global agreements.
NCUMISA NOTUTELA ( South Africa) said her delegation was gravely concerned by the lack of meaningful progress on nuclear disarmament and the apparent paralysis of the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament -- one of the major parts of the United Nations disarmament machinery. Those impediments, along with the failure of the 2005 NPT Review, were an indictment that “we have not risen to the challenge posed by nuclear weapons”. The deadlock also reflected a serious lack of political will to implement previously agreed commitments on nuclear disarmament. “They equally reflect our lack of courage to negotiate on certain core issues that would advance nuclear disarmament,” she said, stressing that South Africa believed that this state of affairs left the international community in a “precarious position”.
Faced with such difficulties, the Commission should strive to make headway in it is deliberative capacity on matters regarding disarmament and non-proliferation. Frustrated that some still refused to believe that nuclear disarmament was a concern for the entire international community, South Africa would call for all aspects of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to be strictly implemented and enforced. Each article of the Treaty was binding on all States parties, she said, adding that the Commission’s deliberations should be aimed at identifying further tangible ways and means to positively address the core elements required to facilitate action and results in moving the global disarmament agenda forward.
She went on to say that the excessive and destabilizing accumulation of conventional weapons negatively impacted confidence among neighbouring States. The critical factor for confidence-building measures in that area was the need for transparency -- the key to the early detection of destabilizing accumulations of conventional weapons. The Commission’s work in this area should draw on its previous discussions, as well as relevant outcomes of various regional workshops and seminars held in the context of strengthening transparency measures in the implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.
Another measure that would boost transparency would be full implementation of the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons. She said the United Nations should play an important role in the smooth application of that instrument, including by facilitating cooperation and assistance in the field of marking and record-keeping. Another practical measure to promote confidence among States in the field of conventional arms, which South Africa had actively pursued and implemented, was the destruction of surplus and obsolete weapons. Such activities, accompanied by appropriate reporting systems, would most certainly promote confidence among States towards regional stability, she said.
YERZHAN KAZYKHANOV ( Kazakhstan) said that the global security system was in serious crisis, and that threats and challenges, such as the proliferation of nuclear arms and the rise of international terrorism, had become grave concerns for the global community. He added that the danger of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons or their components had grown tremendously, and even become imminent, and called for full support for the universalization of instruments in the area of nuclear disarmament, demilitarization and non-proliferation, including those elaborated by the Conference on Disarmament, as well as the Commission itself. Kazakhstan, for its part, had just marked the tenth anniversary of the removal from its territory of all nuclear devices left over from the Soviet Union.
He went on to express his country’s strong support for the critical importance of adherence to the NPT, which remained the cornerstone of global efforts to strengthen the non-proliferation regime. Kazakhstan also reaffirmed its position regarding a total ban on nuclear testing and stressed the need to speed up ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. His country was also convinced that establishing internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free zones was compatible with the global goal to ensure the integrity and sustainability of the international non-proliferation regime. Kazakhstan was actively involved in negotiations on a treaty to create such a zone in Central Asia.
Kazakhstan was actively working on confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons, within the framework of the regional Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building in Asia (CICA), he said. CICA member States treated the Conference as a forum for the exchange of views on security problems in the Asian region, and had adopted several important documents, including a “Catalogue of the CICA Confidence-Building Measures” in 2004. The group’s second summit was set to take place this summer in Almaty, where, among other events, a CICA Secretariat would be inaugurated.
ARUN P.DHITAL ( Nepal) said that, now that the Commission had reached agreement on its agenda, the deliberations of Member States would generate momentum to boost multilateral efforts in the area of disarmament, verification of compliance and the establishment of relevant new norms and standards. Nepal favoured multilateral negotiations that ensured transparency and accountability in disarmament and non-proliferation, and was a party to the NPT, among other multilateral treaties and agreements.
Nepal would, therefore, encourage the expansion of the United Nations Register for Conventional Arms and reiterate its support for the necessary measures to prevent non-State actors from acquiring small arms and light weapons. He added that the acquisition of such weapons by non-State actors had destabilized and threatened peace, security, and the economic and social stability of nations, particularly small ones.
He said that Nepal believed that, unless and until the international community created an environment that led to the elimination of nuclear weapons once and for all, the incentive would always be there to produce such weapons to “get into the club” of powerful nuclear States. To that end, Nepal believed that confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms would play a significant role in creating an environment for international cooperation on wider arms control and disarmament. Such measures should take into consideration any regional political and military conditions.
NORMA TAYLOR ROBERTS ( Jamaica) said that the challenges facing the international disarmament agenda, the prevailing uneasy feeling that the multilateral non-proliferation regime was under threat, the increased anxiety over the proliferation of deadly weapons and the fact that such weapons could fall into the hands of terrorist actors, made the Commission’s work this year particularly important. While the international community was trying to be forward looking and open to new and innovative ideas that could relaunch the global disarmament agenda, such a quest should not come at the expense of previously agreed instruments and obligations, she said.
“Our approach needs to be based on a firm commitment to multilateralism, underpinned by strong political will. In this case, rather than ambition being tempered by realism, there is a need to be cognizant of the grim reality facing us all, with the continued existence of nuclear weapons,” she said, stressing the critical need for the nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their obligations under all relevant multilateral instruments, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), as well as to the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. No progress towards non-proliferation gaols could be made without full commitment to those important treaties, she said, also adding that the strengthening of confidence in international security would be dependent on rejecting discriminatory or selective applications of the norms and regulations governing arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.
Turning to confidence-building measures in the area of conventional arms, she said the relative ease of access to, and portability of, conventional weapons posed security dilemmas for many States, but had, nevertheless, to be balanced against the relative right of States to defend themselves. Unfortunately, such consideration had come at the expense of human life and had lead to untold suffering. But, it also underscored the importance of relevant confidence-building measures as an integral component of efforts to further disarmament and prevent conflict. Indeed, increased security, gained from transparency, openness and accountability in military matters, could do much to enhance international stability and reduce military tensions.
MEHDI DANESH-YAZDI (Iran) said that the continued existence of thousands of nuclear warheads in the stockpiles of the nuclear-weapon States, which could destroy the entire globe many times over, and the increasing resort to the threat of their possible use, were the major sources of concern, with regard to global peace and security. The international community had the right to be assured that the nightmare that visited upon the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would never be repeated. Regrettably, the limited efforts by the major nuclear-weapon States to reduce their arsenals after the cold war had faced serious setbacks, particularly in recent years. Nuclear weapons continued to be deployed in non-nuclear-weapon countries, as part of the coalition of certain groups of States -- a fact that exacerbated the already tense situation. Furthermore, concerns remained over the research and development of new non-strategic and low-yield easy-to-use nuclear weapons, coupled with the daily threat of their probable use against non-nuclear-weapon States, even in conventional combat.
Unfortunately, he said, a serious attempt had been made to undermine the obligations agreement by consensus in the 1995 and 2000 Reviews of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Non-nuclear-weapon States, despite the difficulties that the non-proliferation regime had historically faced, generally assessed that the Treaty had been successful in containing the number of nuclear-weapon States and, therefore, in 1995, had agreed on a package of decisions to allow the NPT’s indefinite extension. The consensual Final Document of the 2000 Review had reconfirmed those obligations and agreed on 13 practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement nuclear disarmament. As a follow-up to the 1995 Middle East resolution, NPT States parties had called on Israel, by name, to accede to the NPT and to place all its clandestine nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards in realizing the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East.
After the 2000 NPT Review, however, a “trend of denials” had been added to the previous rejection of the inalienable rights of the States parties to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, he said. Certain nuclear-weapon States first rejected the unequivocal undertakings to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament, and later, even claimed that obligations under article VI did not exist at all. As a result, the 2005 NPT Review ended without any substantive outcome. Soon after, the World Summit failed to include a section on disarmament. The General Assembly, in resolution 60/72, tabled by Iran, expressed its grave concern over those failures. Adoption of the agenda items for the 2006 substantive session of the Disarmament Commission was a good opportunity to revive the nuclear disarmament process.
He said that priority should be given to security assurances. In the last decades, non-nuclear-weapon States had been under threat of the “high risk of possible use of nuclear weapons”. The lack of progress in nuclear disarmament, coupled with recently stated positions to possibly use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States, had created a fragile international environment, where the national security of non-nuclear-weapon States was in “deep jeopardy”. All promises given by nuclear-weapon States about their readiness to negotiate a legally binding instrument to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the threat or use of nuclear weapons had “turned out to be empty undertakings”, thereby contributing to mistrust among members of the international community.
Iran strongly believed that non-proliferation and disarmament were mutually reinforcing, he said. Iran, as the initiator of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, fully supported genuine efforts aimed at curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Iran had been among the first countries to have ratified the NPT and concluded the comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA, thereby putting its facilities under the Agency’s supervision. The accession of Iran to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention, and its signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty were indicative of its resolve to adhere to the non-proliferation objective. The best way to assure the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was the full and non-selective implementation of those treaties, and transparency measures provided by them, as well as promoting their universality. Double standards, rewarding non-parties and setting arbitrary thresholds only undermined the credibility of the disarmament and non-proliferation instruments.
Efforts directed towards non-proliferation should be complemented by simultaneous disarmament efforts, he said. Strengthening those two concepts together would secure a world that was free from weapons of mass destruction. Attaining the universality of non-proliferation and disarmament treaties, particularly the NPT, was a must for the safety and security of the international community. The integrity and durability of the NPT regime depended solely on the full and non-discriminatory implementation of all its provisions. The NPT remained the key instrument for halting vertical and horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons. Non-nuclear-weapon States renounced the nuclear option, provided that they could exercise their inalienable right to peaceful nuclear energy, without discrimination or arbitrary thresholds. Nuclear-weapon States were also bound by certain obligations under the NPT, including nuclear disarmament and not restricting the peaceful application of nuclear technology.
He said that Iran’s commitment to the NPT was “unqualified”. Iran renounced nuclear weapons, not only because of its contractual obligations under the NPT, but also due to its historical background and religious edicts. As a State party to the NPT, Iran insisted on its inalienable right to peaceful nuclear technology. It would not accept any arbitrary threshold, while it had gone out of its way to address any genuine concern about the exclusively peaceful nature of its programme. He assured members of his country’s continued full commitment to the NPT provisions and cooperation with the IAEA. Iran was also willingly prepared to engage in serious negotiations with interested parties to find an acceptable solution to the current situation.
SAJA S. MAJALI (Jordan) said that, as delegations moved into consideration of the items on the Commission’s agenda, Jordan believed that they should consider, among other things, the fact that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) remained the key instrument in all the international community’s efforts to halt the vertical and horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. In that regard, a balanced and non-selective implementation of the NPT and strict implementation of all its provisions were needed, in order to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
Delegations should also acknowledge that, pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, efforts towards the conclusion of a universal legally binding instrument on security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States should be pursued as a matter of priority. She also said that Jordan was concerned that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which represented a major achievement in the field, had yet to enter into force. Jordan hoped that States that had not done so would ratify that treaty as soon as possible. She went on to highlight the pivotal importance of nuclear-weapons-free zones, and recalled the Security Council’s resolution 487 (1981), as well as the outcome of the 2000 NPT Review, which called for the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.
To that end, she emphasized that Israel was the only State in that region that had refused to accede to the NPT and had chosen to preserve the nuclear option. Israel’s accession to the NPT would not only contribute to the universality of the Treaty, but would also defuse existing tensions at the regional level, lead to tangible progress on the other bilateral tracks in the peace process, and enhance confidence-building measures among all the parties. She went on to say that the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament must be broken to allow negotiations on a convention banning the production of fissile material. She also stressed that confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms were not a substitute or precondition for disarmament measures.
KIM CHANG GUK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that certain nuclear-weapon States and their allies had forced past debates on nuclear issues to be dominated by a “conflict of values”, and not in terms of world peace and security, aimed at saving the planet and humankind from nuclear destruction. For two years, the Commission could not even agree on an agenda, failing to contribute to actual nuclear disarmament. That showed that, as long as there was the ambition for nuclear supremacy, the efforts of the international community for a nuclear-weapon-free world would be in vain. Today, military strength was being mobilized under the guise of spreading “democracy” and “freedom” around the world, and nuclear weapons were playing the main role. The post-cold war hopes for a world free of nuclear arms had faded, and threats of nuclear war had increased.
He said that, whether it was still possible to show the peoples of the world that the debate on nuclear issues at the United Nations was not hypocrisy, today depended totally on the nuclear-weapon States. If they responded positively to the calls of the non-nuclear-weapon States for an agreement on a ban on nuclear weapons, enormous progress would be made in the process of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Those two processes were inseparable, and nuclear disarmament had a priority over non-proliferation.
In the Security Council and the United Nations disarmament machinery, the United States and its allies set nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as separate issues, and insisted on their “odd arguments” that only nuclear proliferation threatened international peace and security, he said. In other words, if proliferation was contained, there would be no nuclear threat anywhere in the world, because their nuclear weapons were not posing any threat at all.
Their insistence on non-proliferation only reflected their ulterior intensions of avoiding nuclear disarmament, he stated. As long as nuclear weapons and threats of their use persisted, the logical conclusion was the proliferation of those weapons. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea considered the nuclear doctrine of the United States the actual obstacle to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The United States had declared pre-emptive nuclear strike as its security strategy, and was engrossed in developing new types of nuclear weapons. It was applying dual standards in its nuclear policy, according to its relations with other countries and its strategic interests.
He said that the United States doctrine of use of nuclear weapons represented the “total negation” of the NPT and an actual threat to world peace and security. The development of new types of nuclear weapons, the threat of pre-emptive nuclear strike and dual standards would inevitably foil the efforts for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and instigate a nuclear arms race. The nuclear issue of the Korean peninsula was a direct product of the hostile policy of the United States towards his country. The Bush administration was pursuing the ambition of a “regime change” by pre-emptive strike, while calling the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea part of an “axis of evil” and a “tyrannical State”. The United States had designated the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a target of nuclear pre-emptive strike, and disclosed that it had made new types of nuclear weapons with which to attack it.
In those compelling circumstances, he said his country had no choice other than nuclear deterrence to counter the United States ever growing threat of nuclear attack. That was a “reasonable exercise” of the sovereign rights to defend its territory, people and social system from foreign invasion. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea maintained a consistent position of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The Beijing Joint Statement of six-party talks of September last year clearly stipulated the obligations of his country and the United States for the denuclearization of the peninsula and the principles of simultaneous actions to realize that. The United States, however, was demanding that his country give up its nuclear programme first, which not only contradicted reason, but also showed that the United States had no interest in finding realistic ways to settle the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.
How could the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea put down arms when the United States had not abrogated its hostile policy of defining his country as the “main enemy”? he asked. How could his country dismantle its nuclear weapons first, when the United States was “stepping up” its nuclear war exercises to pre-emptively strike the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea? When the United States had a mind to co-exist with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, by abandoning its hostile policy towards it, then his country would have no need for a single nuclear weapon. The United States should refrain from setting up obstacles to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula any further, but show, practically, its will to implement the obligations under the Beijing Joint Statement.
EMAD M. B. BEN-SHABAN ( Libya) recalled that his country had renounced all weapons of mass destruction. That initiative had stemmed from the fact that Libya was convinced that the arms race could not enhance global security. Through that initiative, it wanted to see to it that it served as a model for the entire world. Libya accorded much significance to creating nuclear-weapon-free zones in various regions of the world. Doing so strengthened international peace and security. Notwithstanding strenuous efforts by the international community to free the Middle East of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, Israel maintained nuclear facilities and dozens of nuclear warheads, which threatened peace and security, not just in the region, but in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. That defied the international community, which, in various resolutions and decisions of the United Nations and regional organizations, had sought to achieve progress in that regard.
He said he welcomed the determination of the current session of the Commission to examine ways and means to strengthen the disarmament process, and he hoped the deliberations would lead to a positive outcome. The discussions and the proposals should be imbued with a sense of realism. The fact that delegations had not yet managed to achieve a satisfactory outcome in disarmament was not a reflection of a weakness in the working methods of the disarmament machinery, but that of a lack of political will shown by some countries to make the necessary strides. The United Nations disarmament machinery must be reactivated. He reaffirmed the importance of pooling efforts to promote progress within the Commission, along the lines of the overall reform of the Organization, in a way that allowed its Member States to master the complicated issues before them and create the necessary climate to give tangible expression to strengthening the multilateral approach to world peace.
* *** *For information media • not an official record