12 October 2012
General Assembly
GA/DIS/3457

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

First Committee

6th Meeting (AM)


Non-Nuclear-Armed States in First Committee Seek to Bridge Security Gap


with Unconditional Pledge of Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons against Them


Conventional Weapons ‘Hobbling’ Africa’s Ability to Achieve Development, Say

Speakers, Rejecting Practice of Spending More Money on Military than Development


Efforts to bridge the security gap between those who had nuclear weapons and those who did not drew the attention of the Disarmament Committee today, as the non-nuclear-armed States reiterated their longstanding demand for legally binding assurances that those weapons would not be used against them, as a surer path to protection pending fulfilment of the goal of complete nuclear disarmament.


The commitment of nuclear-weapon States to granting negative security assurances, said the representative of Bangladesh, had been inadequate to dispel the security concerns of the non-nuclear weapon States, mainly due to the non-binding nature of those pledges.  And, as long as some countries continued to possess nuclear weapons, the possibility of their use endangered safety globally.  Thus, the total elimination of those weapons was the only guarantee for peace. 


Establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones and accession to their non-use protocols might be a useful interim step towards constraining that unimaginable military option, he said.  However, the use of nuclear weapons against any country was a problem of global rather than regional nature, so his delegation and others today pressed for negotiations on a legally binding instrument on such guarantees. 


Also pressing forcefully for such assurances, pending fulfilment of the ultimate objective of a nuclear-weapon-free world, was the representative of Uruguay, who said those guarantees were intended to ensure that no non-nuclear-weapon State would suffer the catastrophic consequences of the use or threat of use of such weapons by the nuclear Powers.


He also drew the Committee’s attention to the small arms and light weapons scourge, which, he said, were the “true weapons of mass destruction” in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Benin’s representative asserted that those weapons were “hobbling” Africa’s ability to develop further.  He raised the link between disarmament and development, encouraging continued work on that relationship. 


A safer world, delegations said, was one in which resources were devoted to development instead of arms.  Nicaragua’s speaker declared it unacceptable that more money was spent on the means to develop nuclear weapons than on development itself.  The world was experiencing a financial crisis and children did not have food to eat, but military expenditures had grown, reaching more than $1.521 trillion.  More than 8 million small arms and light weapons were produced, and there were 2.5 munitions for every person on the planet.


The delegate from Costa Rica similarly urged States to reorient as many resources as possible from military spending towards investment in development, adding that the final document that had emerged from the second Review Conference of the 2001 Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons was a step in the right direction.  He added that, although the lack of consensus to reach an arms trade treaty was a blow to peace and human rights, there was a new opportunity to advance it, and Costa Rica, as a treaty co-author, would present a resolution to convene a new diplomatic conference in March of next year for that purpose.


Guatemala’s representative felt strongly as well that the lack of common international standards for the import, export and transfer of small arms and light weapons was having a devastating effect on countries.  His Government also supported an arms trade treaty in the hope it could significantly reduce the human cost of weapons proliferation at the global level.


Also speaking were the representatives of Belarus, Oman, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Cameroon, Indonesia, Qatar and Montenegro.


The representative of Syria spoke in exercise of the right of reply.


The First Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Monday, 15 October to continue its general debate.


Background


The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its general debate.  The Committee had before it a series of compatible reports of the Secretary-General, including the annual report of the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament.  For background, please see Press Releases GA/DIS/3453 of 8 October and GA/DIS/3454 of 9 October.


Statements


VLADIMIR GERASIMOVICH ( Belarus) said that the central element of international efforts remained nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  By the end of the next review cycle of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it was necessary to carry out meaningful work towards implementation of the 2010 NPT Action Plan, to enable significant progress in 2015.  Entry into force of the Comprehensive-Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) would also strengthen the global non-proliferation regime and hasten achievement of the international community’s disarmament goals.


He said his country was in favour of revitalizing and reenergizing the work of the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament, which was a unique multilateral disarmament mechanism.  The disarmament negotiation process should not be pursued outside the United Nations, and he called for multilateral talks on the items on the Conference’s agenda within that forum.  Above all, developing delegations should focus on a fissile material cut-off treaty, to be conducted exclusively within the Conference.  That principle — only negotiating within the United Nations — also applied to other issues on the Conference’s agenda, such as the conclusion of an international agreement on negative security assurances and a ban on new weapons of mass destruction.


In that, he said, the proliferation of mass destruction weapons was directly linked to export controls, and it must be ensured that such weapons did not fall into the hands of terrorists or other criminal elements.  Thus, the international community must implement Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), providing an all-encompassing non-proliferation approach to counteract the spread of mass destruction weapons.  One way was to prepare national action plans outlining State priorities for implementation for the key terms of the resolution.


He welcomed United Nations efforts to combat the illegal and uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons.  The 2012 Review Conference on implementing the 2001 Program of Action gave hope that the issue would stay as one of the Organization’s priorities.  The uncontrolled spread of conventional weapons posed a serious threat to peace and security, inflaming and prolonging armed conflicts, organized crime and international terrorism.  The July conference on an arms trade treaty confirmed the scale and gravity of that problem.  While challenges remained in establishing an international mechanism for combating that scourge, Belarus stood behind efforts to create such a treaty.


THIERRY ALIA ( Benin), aligning with the African Group and Non-Aligned Movement, said that the growing threats to global security highlighted the need for the international community to take action.  This year saw greater attention to weapons and disarmament, with some progress, such as the success of review of the 2001 Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons.  He wished that all commitments would be honoured to enable African States to respond with greater effectiveness to those weapons, which were hobbling the continent’s ability to further development.  Good will and the spirit of consensus should become a permanent feature in negotiations for an effective arms trade treaty.


Despite certain headway, he said, significant challenges remained.  The dialogue on disarmament had stalled, meagre results had been achieved, and the promise of nuclear non-proliferation remained unfulfilled.  The Disarmament Commission finished its cycles without recommendations, and the Conference on Disarmament had been unable to agree on a Programme of Work.  Additionally, the threat of nuclear accidents loomed, as did the possible theft of nuclear materials and the possibility of terrorist armed groups building rudimentary weapons or a so-called “dirty bomb” with radioactive material associated with a dispersion device or explosive.  The First Committee must find way to break the deadlock, in order to advance towards a fissile material ban.  It was possible to make disarmament a top priority, and Benin called on everyone to “wake up”.


Because of the link between disarmament and development, Benin encouraged the United Nations to continue working on that relationship, he said.  Nuclear security and combating proliferation should top the agenda, with a view to establishing a safer world where resources could be devoted to sustainable development.  There also should be efforts towards complete disarmament, as well as towards nuclear-weapon-free zones in all continents.  Benin hoped that the international community would update multilateral instruments and step up action against nuclear proliferation while not infringing on the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  It supported the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), under whose authority all nuclear facilities should be placed.


GEIR PEDERSEN ( Norway) said his country wished to see a strong and effective United Nations, in the field of Disarmament and elsewhere.  Civilians continued to suffer as a result of armed conflict, and the vulnerable, poor and marginalized population groups were often victims of armed violence and organized crime.  The international community had a responsibility to eliminate the weapons that could not, under any circumstances, be permitted under international humanitarian law, and to prevent the irresponsible and illegal transfer of arms.  Failure to do so, because of deadlocks or procedural obstacles, could not continue.


He said that the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Mine Ban Convention) and the Convention on Cluster Munitions demonstrated that it was possible to negotiate multilateral instruments that had an immediate humanitarian effect on the ground.  The Convention on Cluster Munitions was a highly effective international instrument with two equally important pillars — a corrective pillar embodied in the articles on clearance, stockpile destruction and victim assistance; and a preventative pillar as articulated by the prohibition of any use of those weapons at any time, contained in article 1.


Norway was among those delegations disappointed that an arms trade treaty had not been adopted this summer, as the absence of such a treaty contributed to conflict, displacement, crime and terrorism, thereby undermining peace, reconciliation, safety and stability, he said.  The negative humanitarian consequences of unregulated arms transfers were severe, killing approximately 2,000 people daily.  While there could be a new opportunity to finalize deliberations on that treaty, the international community must be careful not to repeat what had happened in July.  The consensus format had watered down and paralyzed important disarmament processes time and again, and meant that small minorities were able to prevent adoption of international measures that could make a difference for civilians and vulnerable groups.


He also reiterated the importance of the NPT, the creation of a zone in the Middle East free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and well as the universalization of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  All must do their part to strengthen their non-proliferation obligations, including implementing the IAEA comprehensive safeguards and additional protocols.  Also necessary was to ensure that verification systems were robust enough to provide the confidence needed to preserve the integrity of the non-proliferation and disarmament processes.


NAJEEM SULAIMAN AL-ABRI (Oman), expressing his support for the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, said that after a period of “recession and lack of optimism”, his country welcomed the developments in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.  He hoped that what had been reached at the 2010 NPT Review Conference could be “translated into practical reality”.  The lack of progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation over the last three decades had encouraged some countries to seek to obtain those weapons under the pretext of protecting their independence and national security.  Their endeavours were due to the failure of the major Powers to reach a formula or an agreement that would give serious indications about the credibility of their intentions.  The call by the United States’ Administration to rid the world of nuclear weapons was considered a real opportunity and the beginning of a new era.


He also looked forward to the upcoming conference in Helsinki, aimed at reaching agreement on a Middle East zone free from nuclear and other mass destruction weapons, taking into account the legitimate right of States to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.  He called upon Israel to respond to the international appeal to ratify the NPT and to allow the IAEA to inspect all of its nuclear facilities.  Regarding the “Iranian nuclear file”, he called for continued negotiations, in order to find a peaceful solution to “assuage the fears of the international community” and preserve the security and stability of the region while also preserving Iran’s right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.


JASSER JIMÉNEZ ( Nicaragua), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that it was urgent to complete the process of nuclear disarmament, which was the only way to deal with the threat of those weapons.  Nicaragua has always advocated moves to limit the arms race and chart a course towards the elimination of nuclear weapons under a system of transparent, international control.  For Nicaragua, nuclear tests of any kind were unacceptable.  The terrible consequences of tests carried out since 1945 were still being experienced by populations worldwide.  Nuclear reactors could also represent attack against nature, he said, citing the accident in Japan two years ago.


He said his country urged advanced countries to not abuse their technological aptitude.  It was unacceptable that they spent more money on the means to develop nuclear weapons than on development, itself.  The world was experiencing a financial crisis and children did not have food to eat, but military expenditures had grown, reaching more than $1.521 trillion.  More than 8 million small arms and light weapons were produced, and there were 2.5 munitions for every person on the planet.  But the indirect damage was even greater, including social violence, forced displacement, the decline in economic activity, and damage to social structures, which handicapped development.


Nicaragua supported multilateral and bilateral initiatives banning nuclear proliferation and testing, chemical weapons, cluster munitions, and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, its speaker said.  A nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was also needed.  Nicaragua was a regional leader in mine clearance, having removed 313,405 anti-personnel mines, essentially “freeing” the country of those weapons.  Nicaragua had played an active role in the negotiating process on cluster munitions, and it supported the conclusion of a balanced and robust arms trade treaty.  The stalemate in the United Nations disarmament machinery was no secret, and everyone knew that it was due to a lack of political will.  Nicaragua supported the Non-Aligned Movement’s proposals for a disarmament timeline, and urged war and military alliances be eradicated. 


ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh), associating with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, attached utmost importance to complete disarmament as a means to ensure international peace and security.  Bangladesh was dismayed to see the near deadlock in United Nations-led multilateral disarmament diplomacy.  The cost of the failure to conclude an arms trade treaty was enormous, as illegal trade in weapons exacted heavy humanitarian costs.  Bangladesh believed that further negotiations would produce a legally binding treaty to regulate globally the conventional weapons trade.  As long as some countries continued to possess nuclear weapons, the possibility of their use would endanger the safety of the globe, and thus, the total elimination of those weapons was the only guarantee for peace.  Commitments of negative security assurances by nuclear-weapon States had been inadequate, and while the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones might be a useful interim step towards those assurances, negotiations must commence on a legally binding instrument for negative security assurances.


He said the security policy of Bangladesh did not include nuclear weapons.   Bangladesh supported the three pillars of the NPT: nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  Bangladesh, with the assistance of the IAEA, had been working on civil and peaceful uses of nuclear technology, especially in agriculture, energy and health.   Bangladesh had also been the first “Annex 2” South Asian nation to have joined the Test-Ban Treaty, whose entry into force was crucial.  Bangladesh had also acceded to most of the protocols to the Certain on Certain Conventional Weapons and remained committed as well to the Biological Weapons Convention regime.  Additionally, it considered outer space to be the common heritage of mankind and called on the major space-faring nations to avert its weaponization.


MARTIN VIDAL (Uruguay), aligning his statement with that made by CELAC, said his delegation was committed to combating the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons, which were truly weapons of mass destruction in the Latin and Caribbean region.  Progress had been made on forging an outcome document for an arms trade treaty, and he advocated for a legally binding international instrument to ensure the responsible trade of conventional weapons, which prevented their diversion to the illicit market.  Uruguay maintained its firm commitment to continue to work on the basis of what had been achieved in July, so that in 2013, the international community could finally adopt an arms trade treaty with the highest standards.


He said Uruguay was also committed to the multilateral framework, which was embodied in its foreign policy.  With the end of the first session of the preparatory conference for the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the country awaited the firm commitments of all States parties for the success of the next session, to take place in Geneva in 2013.  He urged the preparatory process to aim to achieve specific progress in the nuclear disarmament realm.  That included implementation of complementary instruments to the NPT to facilitate the ultimate objective of a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Further, he urged the CTBT’s “Annex 2” States to ratify, and called on all States once again to maintain their moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and other explosive devices.  He called for the Conference on Disarmament to begin negotiations on a non-discriminatory treaty to ban fissile material and urged the international community to begin, without conditions, negotiations for a legally binding agreement on negative security guarantees.


He celebrated the anniversary of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), and urged the nuclear-weapon States and others mentioned in the Treaty to ratify the relevant instruments as quickly as possible.


KHAM-INH KHITCHADETH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating with the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), noted the promising developments in disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control and called for the full implementation of the Action Plan adopted in 2010.  His country welcomed the launch of the CTBT Ministerial Meeting on 27 September, and hoped to see more States sign and ratify that Treaty.  It supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free Zone in the Middle East and encouraged the nuclear-armed States to accede to the Protocol annexed to the Treaty on the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Bangkok Treaty) as soon as possible.  It welcomed the upcoming session of States parties to the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, as well as the outcome document adopted by consensus of the Second Review Conference in 2012 of the United Nations Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons.


He said his country, as one of the most affected by cluster munitions, welcomed the third year of the entry into force of that Convention, and had committed to implementing it by destroying and clearing the country of those contaminating weapons.  It supported efforts for that treaty’s effective implementation.  Notwithstanding some progress, difficulties and impasses remained.  Only strong political will and collective efforts would overcome them.


JOSÉ ALBERTO BRIZ GUTIÉRREZ (Guatemala), associating his statement with those made on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement and CELAC, said that the new challenges facing the world today with respect to international peace and security had shown that it was more urgent than ever to advance along the path towards a world free of nuclear weapons.  Nuclear disarmament was the only sensible path, and nothing would contribute towards preventing the risk of using those weapons other than their total elimination.  The NPT was the cornerstone of the non-proliferation and disarmament regime, and he supported its full compliance, which was a legal obligation of the States parties.  The Treaty’s three pillars were mutually reinforcing.  Until a CTBT entered force, the moratorium on nuclear testing must be upheld, he added.


He said his country was proud to be a party to the Treaty of Tletololco, which established the first nuclear-weapon-free zone in a populated area and set an example for other regions.  With respect to conventional weapons, he was pleased with the latest review of the 2001 Programme of Action.  Not only had a positive result been achieved, but also a balanced document that reaffirmed commitment to the Programme and allowed a vision to emerge of a future path.  However, he would have liked certain elements to have been stronger, including references to armed violence and munitions transfers.


Guatemala knew full well that the lack of common international standards for the import, export and transfer of small arms and light weapons had a devastating effect on countries, he said, noting his country’s consequent support for an arms trade treaty, which could significantly reduce the human cost of weapons proliferation at the global level.  It was necessary to tackle problems related to the unregulated trade of weapons and their transfer to the illicit market, as those activities exacerbated terrorism and organized crime.  The international community must conclude what it started in July.


DER KOGDA (Burkina Faso), associating with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that humanity faced the threat of nuclear weapons and that his delegation was pleased that the international community had woken up to that situation.  Meetings on nuclear terrorism and chemical weapons, and the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones was another advancement.  But additional steps were necessary.  When it came to the Biological Weapons Convention, there was an absence of a verification structure.  Also, there could be no progress without tangible results from the Conference on Disarmament and Disarmament Commission.


He said that another threat to peace and security — the proliferation of conventional weapons — had contributed to destabilizing States.  To counter that, the international community had adopted the small arms and light weapons Programme of Action in 2001.  Burkina Faso commended that final document, saying that the implementation of its recommendations would allow for future progress.  Burkina Faso called on States to shoulder responsibilities to make the current Committee session a success.  It also paid tribute to the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, whose advisory work had helped advance the process.  Without peace, there could be no development and, with that, he noted his country’s participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations.


GYÖRGY MOLNÁR ( Hungary) reiterated its concern at the growing number of countries and non-State actors that had, or were seeking to have, weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.  Hungary, as a country with an active peaceful nuclear programme, fully supported the role of the IAEA in improving nuclear safety worldwide.  Subscribing to the call for enhancing the security of nuclear material, Hungary was ready to offer practical training courses in the field of physical protection of nuclear facilities and materials.  Hungary also called on those States that had not yet ratified the Test-Ban Treaty to do so without delay or precondition.


He said his country, following its long-time practice had prepared a draft resolution on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which it hoped would be adopted with broad support.  Hungary had also always been a dedicated supporter of the chemical weapons disarmament process.  His country, earlier this year, had ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and it expected continued discussions on the treaty.  Hungary would be the first of the six presidents of the Conference on Disarmament in 2013 and would make every effort to come up with a proposal at the beginning of next year that accurately reflected a programme that could be acceptable to all.


NURAN NIYAZALIEV ( Kyrgyzstan) said that the NPT faced extraordinary challenges.  Welcoming the positive atmosphere that had prevailed at the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference, he hoped for similar success at the forthcoming sessions.  The 2010 NPT Review Conference was especially noteworthy for its innovative adoption of an Action Plan format, which provided the international community with 64 specific benchmarks with which to assess implementation of the final document.  He attached particular importance to the expeditious ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which his country had ratified in 2003.


He said that international safeguards and physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities was the first line of defence against nuclear terrorism.  As such, he strongly endorsed the IAEA’s efforts to strengthen the international safeguards system.  Fully recognizing the dangers of the possession of weapons of mass destruction by terrorist groups, his country had signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.


He drew attention to the “vital but often neglected” issue of the role of education and training as tools to promote disarmament and non-proliferation.  Although not generally thought of as nuclear challenges, one might argue that among the greatest threats today in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation were complacency and ignorance on the part of otherwise well-educated citizens and their elected officials.  While that low knowledge base was deplorable, it was also understandable, given the general absence of opportunities for studying the subject.  Few high schools had curriculums that exposed students to issues of weapons proliferation and strategies for their control.  Further, the possibility for university and graduate training was also deficient.  In short, at a time when there was a pressing need for new thinking about disarmament and non-proliferation matters there were few venues available for training the next generation of specialists, or even for introducing future leaders to the subject.


In that regard, he said the 34 recommendations of the United Nations Experts Group on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education, elaborated in 2002, were particularly relevant and merited great attention by all Member States.


OWONO MENGUELE DESIRE JEAN-CLAUDE (Cameroon), associating with the statements made on behalf of the African group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the Committee’s work should allow the international community to address the important challenges of disarmament.  Security challenges were many in number and would continue to cause problems until they were properly addressed.  The NPT did not provide an exhaustive solution to all of the obstacles posed by the different kinds of weapons, he said, stressing that there was still a need for an arms trade treaty and a ban on fissile material for nuclear weapons.


He said that conventional weapons, small arms and light weapons, cluster munitions and explosive remnants of war continued to kill, maim and fuel armed violence.  Challenges were growing in that regard, while the disarmament machinery seemed unable to respond adequately to expectations.  The shortcomings were already being felt and would intensify in the future if solutions were not found.  A cross-cutting approach to address the growing list of challenges was needed, as were more inter-regional alliances.  He hoped that 2012 would be a true starting point on the path towards a more functional and more effective multilateral disarmament framework.


EDUARDO ULIBARRI ( Costa Rica), aligning itself with CELAC, said that multilateralism was the only path to complete disarmament.  No country could demand that others fulfil their obligations under the NPT or Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty unless they did so, themselves.  Regarding the Conference on Disarmament, Costa Rica insisted that it should extend membership to other CELAC members.  It was an unjustifiable irony that a State such as Costa Rica, which had achieved total disarmament and embodied the ideals pursued by the Conference, could not participate in the forum.


He urged States to reorient as many resources as possible from military spending towards investment in development, stating that the final document of the recent Review Conference of the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons was a step in the right direction.  The lack of consensus, however, on an arms trade treaty was a blow to peace and human rights, but there was a new opportunity to advance negotiations, and Costa Rica, as a co-author, would present a resolution to convene a new diplomatic conference in March 2013.  Costa Rica also supported the Convention on Cluster Munitions, as well as the initiative of Chile and Peru to convert Latin America and the Caribbean into the first cluster munitions-free zone.


YUSRA KHAN ( Indonesia), associating himself with the statements made by the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN), declared that the good objectives of the NPT were diluted when nuclear-weapon States back-pedalled on their commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  Despite a “trust deficit” among Member States, he remained optimistic and hoped about seeing tangible progress on the subjects of nuclear weapons elimination within a specific timeframe, the prevention of an arms race in outer space, and the banning of fissile material production for weapons.


He said his country did not waver in its commitment to strengthen and expand nuclear-weapon-free zones, and called on States that had not already done so to sign the revised Protocol to the Bangkok Treaty, at the earliest opportunity.  Likewise, he advocated increasing the number of signatories to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which his country had ratified in December 2011 and continued to support at the regional and national levels.  He remained concerned at States that had not complied with their Chemical Weapons Convention obligations, thereby endangering its credibility and integrity.  The many recommendations of its review would, if implemented, advance bio-security and bio-safety.  In that regard, he would like to see more collaboration between the Implementation Support Unit and the World Health Organization (WHO), in order to enhance national capacities in those areas.


Concerning an arms trade treaty, he said that, for his country, any such treaty must be in line with its “Law on Defense Industry”, which it had passed in October.  It obligated his Government to ensure that no political conditionalities were attached when it imported arms, which would in any way undermine or limit the capacity of Indonesia to use force in international or armed conflicts.


He concluded by calling on the international community to further discuss norms on the use of information and communication technologies, in order to protect critical national and international infrastructures.  Common terms and definitions relevant to past discussions in the Governmental Group of Experts should be elaborated.  Confidence building and risk reduction measures were also vital.


KHALED AL KABI ( Qatar), associating with the statements made by the Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the “selective and unfair dealing” with the proliferation of nuclear weapons had led to their stockpiling in “terrifying amounts”.  The Middle East remained a clear example of the lack of effectiveness of the NPT in achieving security, as the region remained the only one that had not witnessed international efforts aimed at effectively freeing it from nuclear weapons.  In that regard, he called on all stakeholders to participate in the upcoming conference on the establishment of such as zone in that region.


In addition, he said, regional and subregional organizations, such as the League of Arab States, played an effective and complementary role to the United Nations, and Qatar maintained ongoing coordination with them.  Touching on the dispute over the Iranian nuclear issue, he called for its resolution through peaceful means in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law, and stressed the inviolability of the right of States to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.


Another matter of deep concern, he said, was the proliferation of landmines and cluster munitions, such as those planted by Israel in southern Lebanon, which continued to kill and maim civilians.  In addition, there was the problem of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.  A “blind eye” was turned to the responsibility of countries of origin, which exported millions of those weapons without sufficient controls.


Turning to military spending, he said that, contrary to what some might think, and despite numerous United Nations conferences and forums that had unanimously agreed on the need to reduce military spending to maintain regional and international stability, the last 10 years had witnessed an “unprecedented rise” in global military spending, particularly with respect to the acquisition of conventional arms.  The international financial crisis had not discouraged countries, especially developed and emerging ones, from increasing the budgets earmarked for weapons purchase.  The declarations made by some countries expressing their intention to reduce military spending were not sufficient in themselves; they must be translated into reality.


He said that that the only beneficiaries of the rapid rise in military spending were the arms producers, while the biggest victims remained peace and security throughout the world.  If the military brought geopolitical superiority, peace brought economic prosperity and stability.  Building a peaceful, secure world was also contingent on Member States meeting their obligations and providing the United Nations with the necessary financial resources to enable it to carry out its functions.  While the total budget allocated to the United Nations and its agencies was nearly $30 billion annually, the rate of global military spending stood at $1.74 trillion in 2011, up from $1.3 trillion just a year earlier.


MILORAD ŠĆEPANOVIĆ (Montenegro), associating with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, said that no time could be spared and much work remained ahead in the struggle to achieve the goal of a safer world for all, where weapons of mass destruction had no place.  He welcomed the positive atmosphere and solid outcome of the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Non-Proliforation Treaty review, and said that efforts were being displayed by the two major Powers within the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) were commendable and deserved recognition.  However, a world free of nuclear weapons was still far from reach.  The Test-Ban Treaty’s entry into force must remain a priority, as well as strengthening adherence to the IAEA and its comprehensive safeguards agreement and Additional Protocol.


He said everyone was aware of the severe negative and destructive effects of irresponsible and poorly regulated global trade in conventional arms.  Although the international community had been unable to reach an agreement on the arms trade treaty in July, significant progress had been made.  He added his country’s voice to the more than 90 countries advocating for the conclusion of that treaty.  He reaffirmed attachment to the universalization and full implementation of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, Mine-Ban and Cluster Munitions Conventions, as well as the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and he informed the Committee that the Amended Protocol II (landmines, booby traps) of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons had entered into force in June for Montenegro.


The international community should take the opportunities presented by the significant strides made so far on the long path towards a safer and more secure world, and galvanize efforts to recommit to a more effective multilateralism, compromise and mutual trust to revitalize the United Nations disarmament machinery and strengthen the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime.


Right of Reply


The representative of Syria, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that Norway’s representative had repeated baseless allegations, which had also been circulated by others to preserve a political agenda aimed at impacting Syria’s political choices.  As one example, he reminded the Norwegian colleague that Norway had provided Israel, without the knowledge of the IAEA, with heavy water, which had helped it to produce nuclear weapons, and, therefore, introduced Israeli nuclear weapons to the Middle East region, thereby threatening the peace and security of the peoples of the region.  What was really worrying was the fact that the Norwegian representative did not call on Israel to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon State, and it was the only nuclear Power in the region.  He also did not call on Israel to place its nuclear facilities under the comprehensive safeguards system of the IAEA.  If the representative of Norway was keen on crowning with success the 2012 conference aimed at a Middle East zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, he should take those remarks into consideration.  Syria was of the view that all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and not just chemical weapons, were abhorrent.


* *** *


For information media • not an official record