|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
4th Meeting (AM)
Rule of Law Not Rule of Power Needed to Tackle Disarmament Challenges,
First Committee Told in Debate on Full Range of Security Threats
Strict Adherence to Weapons of Mass Destruction Treaties, Rejection
Of ‘Irrational’ Arms Race, Halt to Runaway Defence Spending Recipe for Success
The rule of law and not the rule of power should be promoted in dealing with issues related to disarmament and international security, and exclusive and discriminatory approaches should be avoided, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today as it continued its annual general debate.
Iran’s representative also underscored the need to ensure the universality of the three major instruments on weapons of mass destruction, in particular the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). If that Treaty was to continue to promote international peace and security, then the nuclear-weapon States should prove that they were serious about their obligations.
Similarly, he said, if the new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) was ratified and fully implemented, it could be a positive step for disarmament. If not, then the act and the rhetoric surrounding it would jeopardize the NPT’s relevance and credibility.
The inalienable right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology, including to the fuel cycle, was one of the basic foundations of the NPT, he said. And Iran, in order to meet its growing energy needs, was determined to exercise that right. In so doing, it took its responsibilities seriously, and its commitment to non-proliferation remained intact.
Several delegations today worried that disarmament and non-proliferation treaties would remain toothless without full ratification and strict adherence. For all the decades-long efforts towards banning nuclear weapon testing, they warned, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) had not yet gotten its milk teeth, as it lacked signatures required to enter into force. Viet Nam’s delegation said that years after the cold war had ended, the world was still threatened by 20,000 nuclear bombs.
Turkey steadfastly believed that nuclear or any other weapons of mass destruction could not provide additional security to any country in the current era. On the contrary, the possession and the pursuit of such weapons undermined regional security and stability. His country, therefore, endorsed all meaningful steps for the establishment of effectively verifiable zones free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, particularly in the Middle East.
Lending support to the need to rid the world of chemical and biological weapons, Myanmar’s representative, on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), urged remaining States to join the conventions banning their development, production, stockpiling and use.
Legal mechanisms to allow for the implementation of disarmament instruments were needed, Peru’s representative said, calling the current runaway defence spending “an irrational arms race”. He urged all States to spend less on arms and more on development. It was absurd to spend money on weapons when humanity was challenged with poverty, hunger, illiteracy, diseases and environmental issues, he said.
Noting that 10 countries spent $25 billion on arms purchases and $150 billion on military budgets, he said that amount of money could have released 50 million people from the scourge of poverty. Mechanisms should be explored to halt the spread of weapons and increase allocation to development, taking into account security needs, he asserted.
Also speaking were the representatives of Chile (on behalf of the Rio Group), Jamaica, Philippines, Lesotho, Algeria, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, India, Honduras, Turkmenistan and Yemen.
The representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea exercised their right of reply.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 7 October, to continue its general debate.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its general debate on all disarmament and international security agenda items before the General Assembly. (For background on the Committee’s session and a summary of reports before it, see Press Release GA/DIS/3406.)
OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ ( Chile), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons constituted a crime against humanity. It was also a violation of international law and of the United Nations Charter. The Group stressed that all nuclear disarmament initiatives should be irreversible, transparent and verifiable. It further reaffirmed that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing processes.
He called on States parties of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to fully comply with the Treaty’s provisions and to fulfil their Treaty obligations; it was important that the Treaty not be interpreted or implemented selectively. Nuclear-weapon States, in particular, must comply fully with their nuclear disarmament obligations under the Treaty’s article VI through the implementation of the 13 practical steps towards nuclear disarmament agreed at the 2000 Review Conference and endorsed in the action plan adopted at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
Noting that members of the Rio Group belonged to the region that had established the first nuclear-weapon-free zone, under the 1967 Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), he called on nuclear-weapon States to withdraw the interpretative declarations they had made upon accession to the Treaty’s protocols. He renewed the Group’s commitment to the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in other parts of the world, and expressed satisfaction that the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference encouraged the establishment of such zones in areas of the world where they did not exist, especially in the Middle East.
On the Conference on Disarmament, Mr. Errázuriz urged all members of the Conference to show political will, in order to ensure the commencement, without delay, of its substantive work through the adoption and implementation of a balanced and comprehensive programme of work. Such a work programme should advance the nuclear disarmament agenda, including through negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention, on a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument on negative assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States, and on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. It should also include negotiations for a non-discriminatory and multilateral treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices.
He added that the Conference on Disarmament should overcome its current impasse and establish an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament. The goal of such a committee would be to initiate negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specific time frame, including a convention on nuclear weapons. The complete elimination of chemical and biological weapons should also be a disarmament priority, as, like nuclear weapons, those were weapons of mass destruction. None of the members of the Rio Group possessed such weapons and they were all fully committed to maintaining that status. The Group attached great importance to universal adherence to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention) and to theConvention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (the Biological Weapons Convention).
RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica) said human survival remained precariously balanced on the brink of destruction given the continued existence of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Those weapons continued to occupy a place of prominence in the defence strategies of possessor States, despite the fact that history showed they created a climate of fear, mistrust and insecurity. The recent positive developments were juxtaposed against the fact that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) had yet to enter into force, nuclear terrorism was a daily reality, NPT States parties faced unresolved concerns, some States remained outside the NPT, and the Conference on Disarmament was in “a state of dysfunction”. Concrete actions were needed to realize the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
He said that the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions this year was a tangible demonstration of the international community’s willingness to act in the best interest of the world’s people and advance the disarmament agenda. Jamaica hoped to become a State party to that Convention soon. As a NPT State party, Jamaica supported all three pillars — disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy. He called on all States engaged in developing nuclear energy to comply with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verification, monitoring and safeguard provisions, which was necessary to uphold the Treaty’s integrity and avoid dangerous accidents.
Among Jamaica’s other concerns was the alarming rise in global military expenditures, with 10 countries in 2009 having spent $1.5 trillion. He was also concerned about the continued shipment of nuclear and other hazardous waste through the Caribbean Sea, and advocated that a more viable alternative was found. A two-State settlement of the Middle East question was an essential ingredient to achieving international peace and security. Pending a final resolution to that conflict, an important confidence-building measure would be the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in that region. Jamaica fully supported convening a conference in 2012 on establishing such a zone, and called on all States in the region to work assiduously towards reaching an agreement.
Illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons posed a serious challenge to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region, one that reversed socio-economic advances its member countries had worked so hard to achieve, and stymied the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Success would only be attained through partnerships, cohesive action and a genuine commitment at bilateral and multilateral levels. The 2001 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects was a key multilateral mechanism, as was establishing a legally binding instrument for marking and tracing. He appreciated work under way towards realizing a strong and effective arms trade treaty.
PHAM VINH QUANG ( Viet Nam) strongly supported multilateralism and the central role of the United Nations in disarmament. Long after the cold war ended, the world was still threatened by the existence of more than 20,000 nuclear bombs. There was a pressing need to convene an international conference to find ways and means to eliminate nuclear weapons in a specific time frame and, among other things, for a global, legally binding unconditional instrument on negative security assurances.
He said Viet Nam had acceded to core international arms control instruments, and he viewed the NPT as the backbone of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. However, the disarmament machinery should be strengthened. In addition, Viet Nam had considered that existing nuclear-weapon-free zones had made significant contributions to strengthening nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at international and regional levels. He paid tribute to the important work being undertaken by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
FAZLI ÇORMAN ( Turkey) said that his country shared the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. It supported working towards that goal within the framework established by the NPT, which was well balanced and consisted of three complementary and mutually reinforcing pillars, namely nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. An equal treatment of those three pillars would reinforce the Treaty’s integrity and credibility.
He said it was Turkey’s steadfast belief that nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction could not provide additional security to any country in the current era. On the contrary, the possession and the pursuit of such weapons undermined regional security and stability. His country, therefore, endorsed all meaningful steps for the establishment of effectively verifiable zones free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, particularly in the Middle East. Turkey welcomed the consensus endorsement by the 2010 NPT Review Conference of the convening of a conference in 2012, to be attended by all States of the Middle East, on the establishment of a zone there free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.
His country also looked forward to the peaceful resolution of current non-proliferation issues that were of common concern to the international community, he said. In that vein, it attached importance to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to the six-party talks, immediately and without conditions. Turkey hoped that that country would abandon its nuclear weapons and return immediately to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State. It was also important that the outstanding issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme be resolved through peaceful and diplomatic means, without further delay. As a neighbour of Iran, Turkey would continue supporting and facilitating the diplomatic process on that issue.
He supported revitalization of the Conference on Disarmament. Various impediments to its substantive work should be dealt with in a constructive manner and by engaging the parties, in order to alleviate legitimate concerns. Second-track initiatives or new formations, without the participation of all concerned, would fail to bring about the desired outcomes.
U WUNNA MAUNG LWIN (Myanmar), speaking on ASEAN’s behalf, said the group had played a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability in South-East Asia and had also contributed to international peace and security. Among the existing tools and mechanisms made available to the ASEAN political-security community was the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, which was the key code of conduct governing inter-State relations in the region. Right now, nuclear disarmament remained the highest priority on the disarmament agenda of ASEAN members. Myanmar would be tabling a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament, which included the multilateral approaches that would lead to the total elimination of nuclear weapons, within a specified time frame.
He said that zones free of nuclear weapons strengthened global nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and such a zone should be established in the Middle East. In other areas, Myanmar urged remaining States to join the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, and underlined an urgent need to strengthen cooperation and assistance to States battling the illicit arms trade. Setbacks in the Conference on Disarmament were disappointing, and Myanmar called on its members to move forward, especially in expanding membership.
CARLOS SORRETA ( Philippines) said that recent political developments relating to the work of the Committee augured well for achieving some progress on the key issues of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. Those included the successful conclusion of the 2010 NPT Review Conference; the strong support for the entry into force of the CTBT expressed during the ministerial meeting on 23 September and the possibility of ratification by two more “Annex II” States soon; the successful high-level meeting on revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament; and the signing of the agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States to have a follow-on agreement to the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START).
He said that the conclusions and recommendations for the follow-on action section of the 2010 NPT final document contained 64 action points, as well as specific required measures related to the 1995 Middle East resolution and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. If the world was serious about making concrete progress towards the total elimination of nuclear arms and non-proliferation, as well as the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, all of those action points should be implemented. Of those, the Philippines attached particular importance to the fulfilment of the commitments of nuclear-weapon States; the universality of the NPT; negotiation of a nuclear weapons convention; and the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East by holding an international conference in 2012.
His country also attached particular importance to the entry into force of the Test-Ban Treaty; revitalization of the Conference on Disarmament; the conclusion of a legally binding instrument on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States; universal subscription to the IAEA Additional Protocol; bringing into force of the Comprehensive Safety Agreement for NPT States parties that had yet to implement it; resolution of all cases of non-compliance with IAEA safeguards obligations, in full conformity with the IAEA statute; guaranteeing full security of nuclear materiel, and access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
He restated the need for convening a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, which could review the methods of work of the Conference on Disarmament, aimed at crystallizing agreed outcomes in a timely fashion and evolving a differentiation between consensus and unanimity in decision-making. There was also need to expand the Conference beyond the 65-nation membership. Prior to convening a special session, an informal process could be set in motion approximating an expanded Conference on Disarmament. That would allow for wider sourcing of ideas and expertise.
MOTLATSI RAMAFOLE ( Lesotho) said the world must remember that the United Nations was founded primarily for saving mankind from the scourge of war. The only true security assurance to humanity was the total elimination of nuclear weapons by nuclear-weapon States. He urged those States to remain true to their commitments under the NPT. Member States should work towards implementing the 2010 Treaty Review Conference plan of action and, for those that had not done so, to ratify the CTBT to enable that instrument to quickly enter into force.
Turning to “the deadliest and most easily accessible weapons of them all”, he said that small arms and light weapons continued to wreak havoc on societies, especially in Africa and developing countries. Innocent lives were lost and the humanitarian consequences were devastating. Despite an annual destruction of illegal arms and light weapons in Lesotho, those weapons still existed in abundance and still claimed the lives of men, women and children in unprecedented numbers. Their illicit transfer, manufacture and circulation needed to be rooted out. Lesotho welcomed technical assistance in arresting the proliferation of those weapons, leading to their ultimate elimination.
ESHAGH AL HABIB ( Iran) said that, if the NPT was to continue its role in promoting international peace and security, then the nuclear-weapon States should prove that they were serious about their responsibilities and obligations by fully implementing its article VI and all commitments they made at NPT Review Conferences. Sixty-four years ago, the General Assembly, through its first resolution on disarmament, called for the elimination from national arsenals of atomic weapons. That goal had yet to materialize. While the heightened attention of the international community to nuclear disarmament proved the continuity of the desire of all nations for a nuclear-weapon-free world, it was also indicative of unfulfilled nuclear disarmament obligations.
He said that during the last year many euphemistic statements had been made and a treaty had been signed to reduce strategic offensive arms. That treaty, if ratified and fully implemented, could be a positive step for disarmament. If not, then the act and the rhetoric surrounding it would jeopardize the NPT’s relevance and credibility. More despair and mistrust among nations would increase the vulnerability of the international security environment.
Iran strongly supported the early start of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a nuclear weapons convention to ban all nuclear weapons, he went on. The implementation of such a convention should lead to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons by 2025. A certain nuclear-weapon State, in its latest nuclear posture review, had threatened to use those weapons against NPT States parties. It was imperative, therefore, to start negotiations within the Conference on Disarmament to conclude a convention to assure all non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
He stressed that, in dealing with issues related to disarmament and international security, there was the need to promote the rule of law rather than the rule of power and to avoid exclusive and discriminatory approaches. There was also need to ensure the universality of the three major instruments on weapons of mass destruction, in particular the NPT. In that context, there should be the full implementation of the resolution of the 1995 NPT Review Conference on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. The Israeli regime had flouted all international instruments on weapons of mass destruction and continued to be the only impediment to the realization of such a zone in the region.
The inalienable right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology, including to the fuel cycle, was one of the basic foundations of the NPT, he noted. In order to meet its growing energy needs, Iran was determined to exercise that right. In so doing, it took its responsibilities seriously, and its commitment to non-proliferation remained intact. During recent years, Iran had always demonstrated its firm commitment to negotiations, without preconditions, based on justice and mutual respect. Its positive response to requests had led to the Tehran Declaration of 2010, jointly signed by the Foreign Ministers of Iran, Turkey and Brazil, on exchange of nuclear fuel. That most recent action had been largely welcomed by the international community.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said 2010 was a landmark year for advances in the field of disarmament, and the momentum to move further ahead should be seized. As a party to principal treaties, Algeria held the view that the ultimate goal was to ban weapons of mass destruction permanently. States parties to the NPT must work towards this goal. The nuclear issues concerning Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should be dealt with diplomatically. Nuclear energy was increasingly being pursued by States, and nuclear fuel supplies should be discussed.
He said that this General Assembly session was an opportunity to break through the roadblock in the Conference on Disarmament. Likewise, the progress in establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones, for instance, under the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty), should lead to the creation of other zones, including the Middle East. Despite Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, Israel continued to block the creation of that zone in the region. Regarding illicit arms, Algeria urged full implementation of the 2001 programme of action on small arms and light weapons. For its part, Algeria had engaged in working on the international tracing instrument. Other national initiatives were under way.
PARK IN-KOOK ( Republic of Korea) called on the Committee to address three concrete agendas during its current session. First was the issue of the increasing concerns regarding the effectiveness of the Conference on Disarmament. If it remained mired in deadlock, its status and legitimacy as the premier forum for disarmament would be jeopardized. His country firmly believed that the Conference should act quickly if it wanted to keep playing a central role. Its members should cooperate in commencing substantive work on a fissile material cut-off treaty at the earliest possible time, not only for nuclear non-proliferation, but also for nuclear disarmament. The Republic Of Korea would do its part to jolt the Conference into motion.
He said that the second issue related to the entry into force of the CTBT. The prospects for its early entry into force were ever brighter, and the international community should seize the window of opportunity for action presented by the current atmosphere. In that regard, States that had not ratified the Treaty, in particular the remaining nine Annex II States, should do so immediately. It was also important to maintain a moratorium on nuclear testing until the entry into force of the Treaty.
Along with the ongoing efforts to achieve the universality of the NPT, the Treaty’s monitoring and verification mechanisms should be strengthened further through the universalization of the IAEA Additional Protocol. He said that had become even more important given the current renaissance of nuclear energy. In particular, the final document of the May 2010 NPT Review Conference could breathe new life into the NPT. The Republic of Korea was fully committed to the early implementation of the conclusions and recommendations for follow-up actions adopted at that review.
He said that North Korea’s nuclear programmes represented a serious threat to regional peace and security and an unprecedented challenge to the international non-proliferation regime. The international community had demonstrated a unified and resolute position against North Korea’s nuclear ambitions by adopting relevant Security Council resolutions, as well as the final document of the NPT Review Conference in May. His country looked forward to continued efforts by the international community to urge North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. Unfortunately, that country had been turning a deaf ear to the legitimate demands of the international community. Moreover, it had attacked a Republic of Korea vessel in March.
North Korea must take responsibility for its actions, refrain from further provocations and demonstrate a genuine change in its behaviours and attitude, he urged. Despite North Korea’s repeated acts of defiance, the Republic of Korea would continue to exert efforts for a peaceful and comprehensive resolution of the North Korea nuclear issue. It was maintaining a two-track approach by implementing sanctions while leaving the door open to dialogue.
KHALID ALNAFISEE ( Saudi Arabia) said weapons of mass destruction and the illicit arms trade were of utmost importance for this Committee. The 40-year-old NPT had been signed by Arab States. Israel, however, had not signed. Saudi Arabia abided by all its provisions. Saudi Arabia sought a nuclear-weapon-free world, and locally, a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East, which Israel continued to block by not acceding to the NPT.
He said that Saudi Arabia supported current initiatives to limit the use of ballistic missiles, including the Hague Code of Conduct, and encouraged Middle Eastern countries with ballistic missile capabilities to support those efforts. Saudi Arabia also supported the landmine ban, as well as efforts to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. He welcomed the continuing efforts of the United Nations in that regard. He had submitted a report on Saudi Arabia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), concerning weapons of mass destruction. He concluded saying disposing of nuclear weapons was the best way to keep those weapons out of the hands of terrorists.
HAMID ALI RAO ( India) said that his country attached the highest priority to global and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament. That vision for establishing a nuclear-weapon-free and non-violent world order had been articulated by Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at the United Nations in 1988. Twenty years later, that vision remained as compelling as before, but the goal remained a distant reality. Newer threats had emerged, including the threat of terrorists gaining access to weapons of mass destruction.
In 2006, he recalled, his country had tabled a working paper on nuclear disarmament, with specific proposals reflecting the spirit and substance of the Rajiv Gandhi action plan. That paper suggested measures, including reaffirmation of the unequivocal commitment by all nuclear-weapon States to the goal of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons; reduction of the salience of those weapons in security doctrines; measures to reduce nuclear danger, including de-alerting of nuclear weapons and negotiation of a global agreement among nuclear-weapon States on “no-first-use” of nuclear weapons; and negotiation of a convention prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons and their complete elimination within a specific time frame. India believed that the progressive de-legitimization of nuclear weapons was essential to achieving the goal of their complete elimination. There was need for a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed multilateral framework for achieving global and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.
India remained committed to maintaining a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing, he said. The country had a policy of a credible minimum nuclear deterrent. It did not subscribe to any arms race, including a nuclear arms race. It had espoused the policy of no-first-use against non-nuclear-weapon States and was prepared to convert that policy into multilateral legal arrangements, such as a global no-first-use treaty, and it supported negotiations towards that goal. India also supported the negotiation of a legally binding instrument to strengthen space security and to prevent an arms race in outer space.
He expressed his country’s strong commitment to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, noting that it had ratified all five of its protocols. India was also actively engaged in the negotiations on a draft protocol on cluster munitions. On small arms and light weapons, it had participated actively in the preparatory meetings for the arms trade treaty, and believed that the prospects for a viable and effective outcome would be enhanced “only if the interests of all the stakeholders are addressed in a transparent and consensus-based process”.
MARY FLORES ( Honduras) said her country suffered deeply from the violent effects of illicit arms trafficking. Real disarmament would be impossible without a collective effort. However, disarmament must be analysed within the framework of development.
She sought the expansion of existing nuclear-weapon-free zones, using the Middle East as an example. All nuclear activities should be under the supervision of the IAEA. To move forward in the Conference on Disarmament, multilateral negotiation methods should be revised. There was an urgent need to establish mechanisms and controls over the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons that caused great suffering in Honduras and the region, where 12 million such arms circulated. An arms trade treaty would help to address that issue.
AKSOLTAN ATAYEVA ( Turkmenistan) proposed that a single security concept should be drawn up within the United Nations. Such a concept would facilitate the creation of a multilateral mechanism of interaction in the Central Asian and Caspian regions, allowing for regular consultations at the high level and assisting the international community to effectively implement a set of measures to help address the issues of disarmament and non-proliferation. It would also be prudent, during the current session of the First Committee, to substantively consider revitalizing the Conference on Disarmament. In June 2010, his country had hosted an international conference on security. The Conference, in Ashkhabad, had concluded that the challenges to the disarmament regime should be tackled within existing mechanisms. Those, however, must be complemented by new approaches. In that regard, the international community could consider the creation of standing structure for dialogue.
He called for the effective implementation of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty. His country had acceded to international instruments outlawing weapons of mass destruction. At the sixty-first General Assembly session, the President of Turkmenistan had expressed the country’s commitment to those instruments and to efforts to implement them in the Central Asia and Caspian regions. The country believed that it was necessary to create a mechanism for region-wide dialogue, with a view to establishing a stable approach to disarmament and non-proliferation. The participants in such a mechanism must have the necessary authority to adopt decisions. Turkmenistan was ready to host the first such high-level forum for security in the region.
GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ ( Peru) had been issuing a call to all States to spend less on arms and more on development. He said it was absurd to spend money on weapons when humanity was challenged with poverty, hunger, illiteracy, diseases and environmental issues. Ten countries spent $25 billion on arms purchases and $150 billion on military budgets. With that, 50 million people could have been released from poverty. The current situation was “an irrational arms race”. Mechanisms should be explored to halt the spread of weapons.
He said that, through trust-building measures, States could deal with poverty. It was also important to continue discussions at all levels on the control of arms and increased allocation towards development, taking into account security needs. Confidence-building measures must continue, and transparency in military spending should be increased. Legally binding instruments should be adopted to trace weapons, and national capacities in that regard should be promoted. He supported the process towards the 2012 arms trade treaty conference, which could bolster transparency and build trust. Peru was a party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Mine-Ban Convention), and had destroyed thousands of mines and provided assistance to victims.
Legal mechanisms to foster implementation of disarmament instruments were needed, he said. The Conference on Disarmament should be strengthened. It should assume its responsibilities and commence negotiations. Peru would not stand in the way of other negotiating initiatives, should the Conference fail to proceed.
ABDULLAH FADHEL AL-SAADI ( Yemen) emphasized the importance of implementing practical measures to attain the goals of non-proliferation and disarmament. Yemen had a principled position on those areas and had always fulfilled its commitments and it would remain compliant to all international instruments. He reiterated Yemen’s principled position on the total elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. In that regard, it had established national commissions and enacted legislation that banned those weapons. It believed that the NPT was the backbone of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime and, as such, it adhered to that Treaty. However, Israel’s policy could push the Middle East area into a nuclear arms race. The world had been silent on that issue, and that had encouraged Israel to continue its policy. The Security Council should seek to implement its resolutions on nuclear non-proliferation. The resolution dealing with the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region should be implemented.
He added that Yemen had taken measures to implement the programme of action on small arms and light weapons. In addition, it was seeking to establish a unit to coordinate all actions on the illicit small arms and light weapons trade. An act had been submitted to the parliament to regulate firearms policies in cities and the rural areas and to confiscate all unauthorized weapons. Yemen called for more efforts and practical measures to deal with the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons since those weapons affected the security of states and encouraged organized crime. There was need for international supervision in combating that trade. The manufacturing countries should provide technical and financial support to countries where the weapons were dumped and where they caused social problems.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea exercising the right of reply noted that some delegations had mentioned his country’s nuclear programme. South Korea and Japan, and other colleagues had expressed concerns about solving the issues through diplomacy. However, the delegates from Republic of Korea and Japan had mentioned the six-party talks.
He said he totally rejected their remarks. On the issue of nuclear activities on the Korean peninsula, he said the United States had introduced nuclear weapons on the peninsula in 1957, with 1,000 such weapons currently deployed there. The United States had continued to strengthen the nuclear threat against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for more than a half century. No brand of conventional weapon could ever cover the threat of a nuclear strike. The nuclear capacities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was none other than a deterrence, he stressed.
He said the Republic of Korea had mentioned fabrications of the warship incident. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had nothing to do with that drama. The case was nothing but the fabrication of the United States and South Korea. Those two countries had tried to portray an image of an international inspection of that incident. Why did the United States and South Korea refuse to accept the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s inspectors to the site of the incident?
In the Hanoi meeting this year of ASEAN, some member countries had suggested to turn the page on that incident.
Turning to Japan’s reference yesterday to the six-party talks, he said the United States had been sanctioning and pressuring the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which blocked practical results and eroded confidence. If the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was to take part in the six-party talks, it would be on equal footing and trust. There was a lack of confidence because of the hostile relations. His country earlier this year had proposed the conclusion of a peace agreement between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States, which would objectively guarantee the confidence-building needed to establish peaceful circumstances under which the six-party talks could resume.
The representative of the Republic of Korea, also in exercise of the right of reply, pointed out that, concerning the incident in question, undeniably the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s submarine sank a Republic of Korea ship. Investigation findings had been endorsed. He urged North Korea to apologize for the attack.
Regarding the North Korean nuclear issue, the argument was absurd, he said. Following the logic, every country should develop nuclear weapons. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should act responsibly. It should not have status of a nuclear-weapon State party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Regarding United States’ deployment of 1,000 nuclear weapons, he said the Republic of Korea had clearly stated in the past that there was no nuclear arsenal in the southern Korean peninsula. He asked the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to prove his statement. The international community had urged that country to return to the NPT and fully comply with its provisions. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had continuously provoked the Republic of Korea. The United States and the Republic of Korea had strengthened their own deterrence, on a defensive level.
Concerning the six-party talks, the Republic of Korea’s Government had encouraged a peaceful solution, he said. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea must first demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization.
Exercising his right of reply once more, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea asked why inspection teams were continuously refused to see the site of the incident.
The nuclear threat from the United States had existed for a long time, he said. The NPT failed to prevent the United States’ threat. The United States had misused the NPT to force the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to receive an inspection of its projects. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s withdrawal from the NPT was in exercise of article VI. No one could expect the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to that Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon State. The NPT failed to prevent of the deployment of the United States’ arsenal in South Korea, or eliminate the nuclear threat against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Exercising his right of reply again, the Republic of Korea said violations had often been alleged, and provocations had often been made, against his country by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
* *** *For information media • not an official record