|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
2008 Substantive Session
286th & 287th Meetings (AM & PM)
DISARMAMENT COMMISSION SPEAKERS SAY RISE OF NEW SECURITY CHALLENGES REINFORCES
IMPORTANCE OF STATES ADHERING TO DISARMAMENT, NON-PROLIFERATION OBLIGATIONS
The emergence of new challenges and threats to international security had reinforced the importance of States adhering to their nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation obligations, the Disarmament Commission was told today, as it concluded the general debate segment of its 2007 substantive session.
The representative of the Russian Federation told the Commission that States must adhere to the obligations they had assumed earlier. It was also important in order to promote greater stability of the international legal disarmament base and to bridge current legal gaps in the field of non-proliferation. That would prevent the creation of a legal vacuum, new areas of confrontation and a possible arms race, including a high-tech one.
He expressed concern over the increasing efforts by the United States to deploy its global anti-ballistic missile system, even as the prospect of expiration of the SALT I treaty loomed. That treaty would expire in December 2009 and, as far back as three years ago, the Russian Federation had proposed the idea of developing and concluding a new fully fledged agreement on further verifiable reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms, with the goal of preserving stability and predictability in strategic relations between the two countries. Unfortunately, there was still no certainty about the future of that process.
The representative of Australia said that globalization had increased the need for vigilance about States acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction. With the rise of transnational terrorism, the international community also confronted the possibility of terrorists fulfilling their desire to obtain and use those weapons. To address that situation, Government strategies needed to be multidimensional, making full use of a range of tools in responding to that important challenge. The major treaties and measures of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, such as the United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), were central to maintaining shared international standards.
Several speakers stressed the need for complete and total disarmament. The representative of Slovenia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that there was a need for both general and complete disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control and argued that it was of utmost importance that all existing disarmament and non-proliferation agreements were effectively resourced, implemented and fully complied with. In addition, a multilateral approach to non-proliferation provided the best means of countering the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. Reiterating the Union’s call for universal accession to the NPT, she urged all States that were not yet party to the Treaty to accede to it as non-nuclear-weapon States.
The representative of Malaysia said that it was only through total elimination of nuclear weapons that the threat they posed could be abolished. He warned that, without working towards that goal, scepticism would continue among the non-nuclear-weapon States.
India’s representative called for a consensus that would strengthen the ability of the international community to initiate concrete steps towards achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament. Such consensus, he said, should be based on certain elements, including reaffirmation of the unequivocal commitment of all nuclear-weapon states to the goal of complete elimination of nuclear weapons, reduction of the salience of nuclear weapons in security doctrines, and adoption of measures by nuclear-weapon States to reduce nuclear danger, including the risks of accidental nuclear war.
Austria’s representative said that it was time to design a framework suited to the nuclear realities of the twenty-first century and to restrict enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear materials exclusively to facilities under multilateral control. Such restriction should be accompanied by proper rules of transparency and by an assurance that legitimate users would get their supplies. He proposed that, as an initial step, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should be entrusted to serve as a virtual broker for all transactions in the civilian nuclear fuel cycle, with every buyer buying the fuel through it. Gradually, that transparency would be supplanted with control rights of the Agency over enrichment and reprocessing facilities. In the long term, increasing those control rights should transform all enrichment and reprocessing facilities from national to essentially multilateral operations under the auspices of the IAEA.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea told the Commission that the disablement of his country’s Nyongbyon nuclear facilities had already reached over 90 per cent. A report on the nuclear declaration had been worked out and the United States side was informed last November. His country had taken the exceptional measure of allowing United States experts to see even sensitive military objects and provided them samples, with a view to clarifying the issue of “suspected uranium enrichment” raised by that country. If the United States was sincere in its attitude towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it should abandon its hostile policy to his country through practical actions and should refrain from laying obstacles to the resolution of the nuclear issue by antagonizing his country, with such acts as a joint military exercise with South Korea.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Nigeria, Syria (on behalf of the Arab Group), Belarus, Bangladesh, Algeria, Sudan, Kuwait, Japan, Nepal, Egypt, Argentina, United Republic of Tanzania, Morocco, Nicaragua, and Jordan.
The representatives of the Russian Federation, Iran, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Disarmament Commission will meet again at a date to be announced.
The Disarmament Commission met today to continue the general debate of its 2008 substantive session. It is the third year of a three-year cycle in which it is focusing on the agreed agenda items: nuclear disarmament and nuclear proliferation; and confidence-building in conventional weapons.
LAWRENCE OBISAKIN (Nigeria) agreed with the positions expressed earlier on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group and said that his country favoured total and verifiable nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction through multilateral diplomatic negotiations. To that end, Member States needed to demonstrate full commitment to the complete implementation of all relevant instruments negotiated to achieve universal adherence.
On nuclear-weapon-free zones, he said that his country had observed the increasing efforts at signing such treaties at the regional and subregional levels. In that regard, the country called on Member States to show political goodwill in order to fully operationalize those agreements. He also reiterated Nigeria’s concern at the heavy casualties inflicted by the so-called small arms and light weapons and the serious threat that they posed to international peace and security and development all over the world. Those arms needed to be curtailed and controlled urgently. While Nigeria was encouraged at the ongoing meetings of the Government experts on small arms and light weapons, it was of the view that Member States still needed to demonstrate further commitment to a universal legal instrument relating to those weapons.
Nigeria agreed that the ultimate objectives of confidence-building measures were to strengthen international peace and security, to strengthen relations among States, to promote the socio-economic and cultural well-being of peoples of the world and to prevent wars, he continued. In view of the multidimensional nature of that issue, Member States should show more magnanimity towards understanding those aspects of world peace and security.
HAMIDON ALI (Malaysia), associating himself with the statement made by the representative of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that achieving nuclear disarmament was the priority of the international community. That fact should shape the paper of the Commission’s working group, and the Commission should be among the disarmament forums to lay out a road to reach consensus at the 2010 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference. Nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation were two sides of the same coin.
Only through the total elimination of nuclear weapons could their threat be abolished, he said. Without working towards that goal, scepticism would continue among the non-nuclear States. In regard to conventional weapons, he supported confidence-building measures at the unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral level that would contribute to peace and security. Malaysia, he noted, had ratified the Ottawa Convention and had completed its stockpile destruction of anti-personnel landmines by January 2001.
BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group and supporting the statement of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the development of new horrifying weapons in some nuclear States and their support of Israel’s nuclear programmes made it seem like those States were undermining international commitments and made their demands for implementation of treaties look ridiculous. The extension of NPT in 1995 would not have happened without the agreement on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. As that zone had not been created, Israel had been emboldened to declare it possesses nuclear weapons, which had resulted in an arms race in the region.
He called for Israel’s accession to NPT, the placing of its nuclear facilities under safeguards and the destruction of its nuclear-weapon stockpiles. He reiterated, as well, the call for action to make the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. He affirmed the inalienable right, moreover, of States to acquire non-weapon nuclear capabilities. Israel was still the only State in the region that did not accede to NPT and the only one that possessed nuclear weapons, after many United Nations resolutions calling on Israel to change that fact. In all areas, confidence-building measures could not be a substitute for disarmament. He supported, in addition, all measures to reduce military spending, and strictures on the exports of conventional weapons. Some exporting States were developing weapons in conjunction with Israel -- that encouraged Israel to continue its occupation.
SERGEI RACHKOV (Belarus), supporting the statement of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that nuclear disarmament should remain the highest priority of the international community and that concrete steps towards that goal were urgently needed. As a State party to NPT that voluntarily renounced an opportunity to continue to possess nuclear weapons before joining, his country believed it was important to maintain the integrity of the Treaty by keeping a balance between the obligations of all States. It was also necessary to implement not only the Treaty but also the package of agreements that made possible its indefinite extension in 1995, as well as agreements reached at the 2000 NPT Review Conference.
His country was convinced that a progression of confidence-building measures provided a good basis for preventing the proliferation of weapons and maintaining peace. It also attached great importance to the elaboration of additional bilateral confidence-building measures, on the basis of the 1999 Vienna Document, the advancement of treaties to prevent the arming of space, further discussions on preventing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and the banning of inhumane weapons, such as landmines.
ROBERT HILL ( Australia) said that globalization had increased the need for vigilance about States acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction. With the rise of transnational terrorism, the international community also confronted the possibility of terrorists fulfilling their desire to obtain and use those weapons. Government strategies needed to be multidimensional, making full use of a range of tools in responding to that important challenge. The major treaties and measures of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, such as the United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), were central to maintaining shared international standards. Australia also strongly supported practical measures that reinforced the multilateral treaties, such as export control regimes. The country chaired the Australia Group, which sought to impede the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons. From November, it would take up the role of Chair of the Missile Technology Control Regime.
Australia had readily embraced the Proliferation Security Initiative as an important new means to strengthen international cooperation on combating weapons of mass destruction proliferation, he continued. It also considered that balanced and progressive steps towards nuclear disarmament were vital to the continued political strength and vitality of the NPT. His country acknowledged the progress in the reduction of nuclear-weapon arsenals and encouraged all nuclear-weapon States to entrench that progress through irreversible reductions in all types of nuclear weapons. Non-NPT States with nuclear weapons should also take similar steps. In addition, Australia supported the swift entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and immediate negotiations on a fissile materials cut-off treaty as important disarmament priorities.
IGOR SHCHERBAK ( Russian Federation) said that the emergence of new challenges and threats to international security placed particular emphasis on the importance of the adherence of States to the obligations assumed by them earlier. It was important to promote greater stability of the international legal disarmament base, to bridge current legal gaps in the field of non-proliferation, to prevent the creation of legal vacuum and new areas of confrontation and a possible arms race, including a high-tech one. His country was committed to the total elimination of nuclear weapons as an ultimate goal. The achievement of that goal was a gradual and complex process in which all nuclear States should participate and which should provide for maintenance of strategic stability and observance of the principle of equal security for all.
The NPT was a pivotal element of the modern international security system, he continued. It was important to ensure further viability of the Treaty proceeding from the unity of its three fundamental elements: non-proliferation; peaceful uses of atomic energy; and disarmament. Relations between the United States and the Russian Federation in the area of limitation and reduction of strategic offensive arms were of key importance to real disarmament. Unfortunately, there was still no certainty about the future of that process. The SALT I treaty would expire in December 2009. As far back as three years ago, his country had offered the idea of developing and concluding a new fully fledged agreement on further verifiable reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms, with the goal of preserving stability and predictability in strategic relations between the two countries. Russia felt concerned over the situation where, with the looming prospect of expiration of that treaty, there were increasing efforts by the United States to deploy its global anti-ballistic missile system. There was an inseparable relationship between strategic offensive and defensive armaments and it was impossible not to take that fact into account in future military planning.
The activities of States in outer space were closely linked to strategic stability issues, he continued. Free access to outer space, its exploration and use in the interest of humankind were of vital importance for ensuring the development of science and maintaining international peace and security. In order to consolidate the efforts of the leading space-faring nations for those purposes, further steps were needed. Elaboration of effective measures to keep outer space free from any weapons and prevent it from turning into a new arena of confrontation and a potential theatre of war remained a priority. On 12 February, a draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space was officially submitted to the Conference on Disarmament, on behalf of his country and China. All States should take active part in the consideration of that draft. The Russian Federation and other member States of the Collective Security Treaty Organization had made an important step towards such a treaty, by declaring that they would not be the first to place weapons of any type in outer space. Other States should follow suit.
ISMAT JAHAN ( Bangladesh) said that her country had an impeccable disarmament and non-proliferation record. It had consciously and unconditionally opted to remain non-nuclear and was party to almost all disarmament-related treaties, including the NPT. It had also concluded a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including the Additional Protocols. Those were tangible testimonies to its unwavering commitment towards the goal of disarmament. The NPT guaranteed the inalienable rights of States, particularly non-nuclear-weapon States, to develop research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Those guarantees needed to be applied without discrimination. There was need for the IAEA to continue to pursue the goals of technical cooperation in peaceful applications of energy.
Bangladesh strongly believed that regional approaches could be an effective tool for achieving nuclear disarmament, she went on. In that regard, it appreciated the work of the existing nuclear-weapon-free zones and called for the establishment of more such zones in all regions of the world. Bangladesh was also deeply concerned at the alarming increase in military expenditure and the negative impact of that situation on the development agenda of the international community. Steps needed to be taken to de-escalate the arms race and to release the much-needed resources for global socio-economic development.
Further, she believed that combating the proliferation of small arms and light weapons was a priority for the international community. Her country was, however, dismayed at the lack of agreement on the Programme of Action on the illicit trade in those weapons. Still, the significant recent developments in the field of cluster munitions were encouraging. Her country also welcomed the ongoing work of the group of governmental experts established to study the viability, scope and parameters of a draft legally-binding arms trade treaty, covering the international trade in conventional weapons.
SANJA ŠTIGLIC ( Slovenia), speaking on behalf of the European Union, recommended to the chairs of both the Commission’s working groups to keep the objective of consensus in sight. There was a need for both general and complete disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, she said; therefore, it was of the utmost importance that all existing disarmament and non-proliferation agreements were effectively resourced, implemented and fully complied with. In addition, a multilateral approach to non-proliferation provided the best means of countering the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. She reiterated the European Union’s call for universal accession to the NPT, and for all States not yet party to the Treaty to accede as non-nuclear-weapon States. She said the Union continued to support the results of the 1995 and 2000 review conferences, with updates that recognized subsequent events.
She further supported implementation and extension of all other effective agreements for disarmament, non-proliferation and control of weapons testing. She also called on all States in the Middle East to make the region into a verifiable zone free of nuclear weapons, and called upon Iran to fulfil the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Security Council, favouring a dual-track approach to the issue that included negotiation and reiterating the European Union’s recognition of Iran’s right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. She called for particular attention to enhancing the detectability of violations of international regimes, calling for strengthening the role of the Security Council in that light and highlighting the IAEA’s role in verifying States’ compliance. She also supported a wide range of national and multilateral control mechanisms for conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons and man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS). She called on all remaining States to accede to the Convention banning land mines and supported progress on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons that seeks to curb the use of cluster munitions.
YOUCEF YOUSFI (Algeria), associating himself with statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Group and the Arab Group, said that further failures in the area of disarmament would severely harm the internationally regulatory regime. To avoid that, deep changes in attitude needed to be effected that would promote the rule of law and resuscitate the multilateral framework. He said his delegation would like to contribute to a climate that could achieve consensus. Stricter respect for the first special session of the General Assembly was important, in that light. It had to be remembered, in addition, that the NPT was the cornerstone of the international cooperation that allowed for all States to have access to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. He reiterated the hope that the Disarmament Commission would continue to remain the forum for constructive and fruitful exchanges in all those areas.
NIRUPAM SEN ( India) said that his country joined the Non-Aligned Movement in reaffirming that achieving nuclear disarmament continued to be the highest priority of the international community, as underlined in the final document of the tenth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament. The International Court of Justice, in its landmark advisory opinion of 1996, pointed out that there existed an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion, negotiations leading to a nuclear disarmament under strict and effective international control. The Millennium Declaration also underlined the need to strive for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons, while successive Non-Aligned Movement summits had underlined the importance of nuclear disarmament.
The Disarmament Commission needed to send a strong signal of the international community’s resolve to initiate concrete steps towards achieving the objective of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, he said. Member States should use the forum to intensify dialogue, so as to build consensus that strengthened the ability of the international community to initiate concrete steps towards achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament.
He said that such consensus should be based on certain elements, including reaffirmation of the unequivocal commitment of all nuclear-weapon States to the goal of complete elimination of nuclear weapons, reduction of the salience of nuclear weapons in security doctrines and, taking into account the global reach and menace of nuclear weapons, adoption of measures by nuclear-weapon States to reduce nuclear danger, including the risks of accidental nuclear war, by de-alerting nuclear weapons to prevent their unintentional use. Other important elements were the negotiation of a convention on the complete prohibition of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, negotiation of a global agreement among nuclear-weapon States on “no first use” of nuclear weapons and negotiation of a nuclear-weapon convention prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons and on their destruction, which should lead to global, non-discriminatory and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified time frame.
He added that the implementation of appropriate types of confidence-building measures in specified regions should take into account the specific political, military and other conditions prevailing in that region. Such arrangements needed to be freely agreed upon by the States of the region concerned, taking into account specific conditions and characteristics of that region. A step-by-step approach should be adopted.
ALEXANDER MARSCHIK ( Austria) said that his country shared the vision of a world free of weapons of mass destruction -- a world free of nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and biological weapons. Verifiable and irreversible disarmament of the nuclear arsenals, global adherence to the CTBT and a comprehensive cut-off of weapon-grade fissile material was needed. The dangers related with the increasing access to nuclear technology could not be ignored for the sake of short-sighted focus on national economic interest, fears of a limitation of State sovereignty or loss of control over a key technology sector. The time had come for new thinking, in the light of new dramatic challenges.
Austria believed that it was time to design a framework suited to the nuclear realities of the twenty-first century and to restrict enrichment and reprocessing exclusively to facilities under multilateral control, he continued. Those limitations should be accompanied by proper rules of transparency and by an assurance that legitimate users would get their supplies. An initial step could be to entrust the IAEA to serve as a virtual broker for all transactions in the civilian nuclear fuel cycle. Every buyer would buy fuel through the IAEA. That would provide immediate internationally shared transparency. Gradually, that transparency could be supplanted with control rights of the Agency over enrichment and reprocessing facilities. In the long term, increasing those control rights should transform all enrichment and reprocessing facilities from national to essentially multilateral operations, under the auspices of the IAEA. That proposal countered the oft-derided division into haves and have-nots. The confidence crisis about the use of civilian nuclear technology could only be overcome by establishing an international system that was fair and treated all States equally.
He said that the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction rose exponentially with the development of advanced delivery systems. The time was ripe to establish within the United Nations a multilateral missile control arrangement. The joint statement made by the Russian Federation and the United States on 25 October 2007 before the First Committee on the proposal to multilaterize the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty could serve as a basis for such a new arms control treaty.
ABDALMAHMOOD MOHAMAD ( Sudan) said that the recent failures in disarmament were due to the lack of implementation of the NPT, which reflected the lack of political will on the part of States that were not willing to put their advanced arsenals under the control of international regimes. International treaties must be implemented without exception; nuclear-weapon States should reduce their military expenditures and shrink their nuclear arsenals. The right of all to benefit from nuclear technology must also be guaranteed.
He said that nuclear-weapon-free zones must be established. Thanks to regional initiatives, almost half of the world was covered by such zones, but it was regrettable that Israel stood in the way of a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East. Serious efforts must be taken to implement the 1995 agreement, in that regard. In addition, the spread of illicit small arms made such weapons available to terrorists and other non-State actors, and he emphasized the need to enforce controls that have been agreed upon.
NASER ABDULLAH H.M. AL-HAYEN ( Kuwait) said that, while the international community recognized the dangers that nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction posed to international peace and security, the required progress to eliminate those dangers had not been achieved, due to the lack of political will on the part of some to comply with relevant international agreements and conventions. That situation confirmed the importance of continuing current efforts, as well as making the necessary arrangements for confidence-building in order to achieve the desired target of a world free of those destructive weapons and where peace and security prevailed. All States that had not done so should conclude the comprehensive safeguard agreement with the IAEA and sign the Additional Protocol, while all States parties to the NPT should comply with their obligations.
He said that Israel, the only country in the Middle East that was not party to the NPT and the only State in the region that possessed nuclear weapons, should eliminate its nuclear arsenal and subject its nuclear facilities to the safeguard system of the IAEA. Israel’s situation presented a clear disorder in the balance of power and was a constant source of worry in the Middle East. The international community should also stop the sale of scientific and technological means that contributed to further strengthen Israeli nuclear arms. Sales to other countries seeking to develop programmes to produce weapons of mass destruction should also stop. At the same time, Kuwait believed in the right of all States in the region to acquire the necessary technology and know-how for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, within what was admissible under relevant international conventions.
Turning to illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, he welcomed the adoption by the General Assembly in December 2005 of the international instrument that allowed States to identify illicit weapons and trace them. Despite the fact that the United Nations conference to review the implementation of the work programme concerning the trade in small arms and light weapons had not achieved the desired result, it succeeded in shedding light on an important issue.
TAKAHIRO SHINYO ( Japan) expressed hope that the exercise of flexibility would allow the Commission to break out of its current impasse and successfully adopt recommendations. As the only country that had suffered from the devastation of atomic bombs, his country sought a world free from nuclear weapons. Practical measures for eliminating them were needed. For that purpose, strengthening the NPT was necessary, despite the grave challenges facing it. The Treaty must become universal, and all nuclear-weapon States must implement their article VI obligations. Progress must also be made on a successor framework for the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START). In addition, the early entry into force of the CTBT was imperative.
He strongly appealed to all Member States to commence negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty, without delay, and he urged all nuclear-weapon States and non-NPT State parties to declare a moratorium on the production of such materials. His country was also ready to examine issues related to preventing an arms race in outer space and he supported the idea of negative security assurances. Turning to conventional arms, he said that confidence-building measures were important. He supported measures to control such arms and to strengthen transparency in their production, stockpiling and trade. As a matter of principle, Japan had not exported weapons for more than 60 years. With that spirit, the country would vigorously contribute to the discussions on an arms trade treaty. Its presidency of the Group of Eight and its International Conference on African Development would also emphasize the reduction of armaments.
Mr. SHCHERBAK ( Russian Federation), exercising the right of reply, said that the representative of Slovenia’s reference to the suspension of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) needed an explanation. The suspension of Russia’s obligations under that treaty was a logical step, since it was old-fashioned, no longer valid and contradicted the Russian Federation’s security interests. The door was not closed on negotiations, however, on the basis of an adapted CFE. In that regard, proposals had been made by his Government in 2007, and the country was pursuing bilateral negotiations to bring positions closer together with its Western partners. Frequently, however, those partners take one step forward and then two steps backward. The Russian Federation would give the treaty regime a new life only after resolving the problems.
NARAYAN DEV PANT (Nepal), aligning himself with the statement made by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, in order to move beyond the impasse in the disarmament agenda, it was necessary to build upon previous accomplishments and regenerate political will. As a State party to the NPT, his country believed that the NPT formed the bedrock of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. He underlined the need to make that treaty universal. All three pillars must be supported, and the nuclear-weapon States must lead by example through disarmament steps, security guarantees for non-nuclear-weapon States and the fulfilment of other provisions.
In addition, he said that the need for strengthening IAEA safeguards had become more pronounced. Similarly, the early entry into force of the CTBT and the conclusion of the fissile material cut-off treaty were indispensable. Turning to conventional arms, he said that confidence-building measures were best instituted under the aegis of the United Nations and other multilateral processes. Regional measures could create a climate of collaboration among regional stakeholders. In that respect, United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament had a meaningful role to play. He looked forward to the inauguration of the Regional Centre in Kathmandu and pledged his Government’s full cooperation in that regard.
HONG JRYONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that an extremely tense situation was now in the making on the Korean peninsula due to the reckless acts of anti-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and anti-reunification forces at home and abroad. As was well known, United States-South Korea joint military exercises were conducted throughout South Korea in early March. In light of their scale and nature, those manoeuvres -- for which the latest military hardware, including the nuclear-powered carrier Nimitz and nuclear-powered guided missile submarines were mobilized -- were a nuclear war rehearsal for an attack on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by force of arms. Furthermore, most recently, violent remarks to pre-emptively strike his country’s nuclear base were made openly by a high-ranking South Korean military official. It was regrettable that those attempts were aimed at putting the situation of the Korean peninsula back to a confrontation phase. That situation had been positive until last year and had been moving towards reconciliation and cooperation. A peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation was the consistent stand of his country. The country had made every possible effort to implement the joint statement of 19 September 2005 and its consequent agreements of 13 February and 3 October 2007.
The disablement of the Nyongbyon nuclear facilities had already reached over 90 per cent, he continued. A report on the nuclear declaration had been worked out and the United States side was informed last November. His Government took the exceptional measure of allowing in United States experts to see even sensitive military objects and provided them samples, with a view to clarifying the issue of “suspected uranium enrichment” raised by that country. As requested by the United States, his country had reconfirmed its commitment not to proliferate nuclear technology when that country first raised the issue of “suspected nuclear proliferation”.
If the United States was sincere in its attitude towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it should abandon its hostile policy against his country through practical actions, as it had pledged to do, he said. It should refrain from laying obstacles to the resolution of the nuclear issue by antagonizing his country with such acts as joint military exercises with the South Korea.
Responding to an earlier statement by the representative of the Republic of Korea, he said that there were no confidence-building measures more reliable than the declarations adopted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea several years ago. Those declarations had been supported and welcomed by the Member States of the United Nations. Since then, inter-Korean relations had started moving towards reconciliation and his country sincerely hoped for their continuation. However, the present ruling conservative forces in the Republic of Korea had disrupted that process. The nuclear situation in the peninsula had come to the fore, because the United States. The United States had gone so far as designating the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as part of an axis of evil and a subject of possible pre-emptive strikes. In that regard, his country had no option other than to develop its own nuclear capabilities. The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula should not be for one half of the peninsula, but for the whole peninsula.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), associating himself with the statement made by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, despite agreements on the goal of nuclear disarmament, the world still witnessed obstacles in that area. The efforts of the five nuclear States remained extremely limited. Priority had been regrettably granted to non-proliferation, without parallel progress in disarmament. In addition, non-proliferation had been wrongly linked to limiting the inalienable rights of non-nuclear States to the use of peaceful nuclear energy. At the same time, little resolve had been shown in convincing Israel to join the NPT as a non-nuclear State, and that had threatened the treaty’s universality. Changes in the guidelines of the Nuclear Supplier’s Group for the benefit of States that were not party to the NPT threatened the treaty’s credibility, as well.
All such problems must be dealt with at the 2010 Review Conference, he said. In order to contribute to the success of the Preparatory Committee of that Conference, the Commission on Disarmament should push towards the implementation of the outcomes of the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences. He pledged his country’s efforts to maintain and strengthen the credibility of the non-proliferation regime without politicization, selectivity or double standards.
JORGE ARGÜELLO ( Argentina) said that his country was firmly committed to nuclear disarmament. Its commitment was based on principles and conviction, and also because, as a country that produced and consumed energy and nuclear materials, it believed that a special responsibility fell upon it. Argentina had made important efforts in that field at the national, bilateral, regional and global levels. Since the adoption of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the Latin America and Caribbean region had been a pioneer in the search for a world free of nuclear weapons. However, regional actions, no matter how important, could not replace those of a universal nature.
The challenges in nuclear arms proliferation would have a more effective response if possessing States demonstrated their willingness to completely eliminate of those arms, he said. That situation was further deepened, due to the growing disposition to include nuclear arms in new security doctrines. Doublespeak could not be sustained, as one could not talk about the benefits of non-proliferation while more sophisticated nuclear arms were being developed, the destruction of existing arsenals was being delayed and the entry into force of the CTBT was being avoided.
He added that the objective of confidence-building measures was to reduce uncertainties and misperceptions about the behaviour of States, thus diminishing the risk for military confrontations. Keeping in mind that that concept was dynamic, its implementation and consolidation not only helped prevent armed conflict, but also offered an efficient tool for greater transparency and cooperation in the field of defence and security, so that greater integration could be pursued in the social, political, economic and cultural areas. It was important to transmit experiences that had been developed in the bilateral, subregional and regional context, so that the international community could contribute to the design of similar experiences in other regions.
AUGUSTINE MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) associated himself with the statements of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on behalf of the African Group and of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. He said that the allegation that some of the nuclear-weapon States were positioning their arsenals on alert was a frightening reminder of the cold war era. Unambiguous assurances from all quarters were needed on that sensitive issue. He reaffirmed that total nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were the main pillars of the NPT regime and he called for the universalization of that regime. It was unreasonable to expect non-nuclear-weapon States to comply with their obligations, if nuclear-weapon States did not comply with theirs.
Conventional weapons were of great concern to the developing world and to the Great Lakes region, in particular, he said. He commended those responsible for recent resolutions on their control. He supported the arms trade treaty, in addition, and agreed it must include all conventional weapons and that the range of activities under its scope must be defined clearly. He also supported the universalization of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions. Finally, he said that spending on arms should be curbed, in favour of spending on development.
SAMI MARRAKCHI (Morocco) endorsed the statements made earlier by the representatives of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Democratic Republic of Congo on behalf of the African Group and Syria on behalf of Arab States. He called on all delegations to show a spirit of responsibility and compromise during the current session of the Commission, in order to ensure that consensus was reached at the end of its work.
He said that the document that had been prepared for the session with regard to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation was good as a foundation for discussion. In that regard, Morocco would spare no effort in contributing to developing and improving it. The country had signed and ratified all bilateral instruments in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It remained committed to the goal of general, complete and irreversible disarmament and had worked consistently to strengthen international instruments in that regard, and for the entry into force as soon as possible of the CTBT.
Morocco had always worked for the respect of the principles of international law in the area of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he continued. It believed that true implementation of those instruments took place at the regional and subregional levels. That was why it had supported the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.
He hoped that negotiations during the current session would make it possible to reach consensus on the issue of confidence-building measures with regard to conventional weapons. The delicate issue of conventional weapons hindered development, particularly in Africa. His country had made important efforts at the national level to address that issue and which had allowed it to establish a high degree of control over those weapons.
MARIO CASTELLON (Nicaragua), associating himself with the statement of Mexico on behalf of the Rio Group and that of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the implementation of international and regional agreements on disarmament were essential, as was the International Court of Justice’s Judgment on the non-use of nuclear weapons. States parties must fulfil the NPT without selectivity and in full compliance with all its provisions. States should also implement the agreements of the 1995 and 2000 NPT Review Conference and hasten the entry into force of the CTBT.
He expressed great concern, in addition, over the widespread illicit distribution of small arms and light weapons. States that produced those weapons should ensure that they were bought only by legitimate Governments. Intergovernmental efforts to control such weapons at the regional level in Central America should be supported. Immediate action was also needed to prohibit cluster bombs. Nicaragua had destroyed 1,000 missiles to help avoid conflict at the subregional level and had proposed a scheme for the destruction of more weapons in exchange for support for hospitals.
SAJA MAJALI ( Jordan), subscribing to the statement made by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said delegations should exercise flexibility and political will to reach a successful conclusion of the Commission’s session. In that effort, the vision and principles resulting from the General Assembly’s first Special Session on Disarmament remained valid. To achieve the NPT’s goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons -- the only guarantee against the threat of those weapons -- a balanced, non-selective implementation of the Treaty was necessary. Also essential was full implementation of the packages agreed to at the 1995 and 2000 NPT Review Conferences, and the establishment of more nuclear-weapon-free zones, particularly in the Middle East. In that light, Israel’s accession to the NPT would contribute greatly to peace and security in the region. The early entry into force of the CTBT and the adoption of a convention banning the production of fissile material were also important.
In the area of conventional weapons, she said that confidence-building measures were neither a substitute, nor a precondition, for disarmament measures, but instead were useful for creating an atmosphere conducive for those goals. Transparency and a comprehensive approach to controlling conventional arms were also important. In addition, the register of conventional arms must become a more effective component of arms control and confidence-building.
Mr. ROBAT JAZI (Iran), exercising the right of reply to the statement of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union, said that Iran’s nuclear programme was and would remain completely peaceful. He cited reports in that regard and said that Iran was persistent in the fulfilment of its obligations and adamant of its right to pursue peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The focus on Iran, then, instead of Israel’s proliferation threat, could seriously undercut the credibility of the international non-proliferation regime.
LEE DO-HOON ( Republic of Korea), in exercise of the right of reply, said that the claim that had been made by the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was groundless. The Republic of Korea had previously sent a message to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in which it stated that it had sincerely upheld the non-aggression policy with that country and that that position would not change in the future. The new Government in his country had also announced plans to cooperate with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea so it could reach a per-capita income of $3,000 in 10 years. That policy was a manifestation of efforts to reduce tension through dialogue and achieve denuclearization peacefully. The Republic of Korea was fully implementing the joint statement of 2005.
HONG JERYONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), speaking in further exercise of the right of reply, said that his statement reflected the reality on the Korean peninsula. It was true that, in March, the Republic of Korea and the United States carried out military exercises that simulated nuclear war. He wondered why that was done, when a positive atmosphere currently existed. That nuclear war exercise was a clear indication that the United States had not renounced its policy against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Republic of Korea had joined that exercise. With regard to confidence-building measures, he declared that the measures contained in the declaration adopted earlier by the two Koreas were more than enough. The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula was only possible when the United States gave up its hostile policy towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Mr. LEE ( Republic of Korea ), in another statement in the right of reply, said his intention regarding his statement on confidence-building measures and denuclearization had been sincere.
Mr. HONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that if the representative of the Republic of Korea was sincere, then he should urge his Government to renounce its confrontational approach. Things had changed overnight with that Government. There had been very good relations between the two Governments, but now they were quarrelling again.
* *** *For information media • not an official record