Efforts by States continued, within United Nations bodies and other multilateral and regional fora, to strengthen existing NWFZs or to establish new ones. On 6 November, the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) adopted the Havana Declaration at the conclusion of the XVIII regular session of the General Conference.1
In it, the States parties to the Treaty reiterated their satisfaction that, following Cuba's ratification in November 2002, the Treaty was fully in force for the region, thereby consolidating the first NWFZ in a densely populated region. Concern was expressed in the Declaration, however, over the development that a wider role was given to nuclear weapons in the national security strategies of some nuclear-weapon States, which could lead to the emergence of new types of nuclear weapons and arguments in favour of their use.
A communique, issued in August by the thirty-fourth Pacific Islands Forum, held in Auckland, New Zealand, from 14 to 16 August, called on the United States (the only nuclear-weapon State that had not ratified the relevant protocols to the Treaty) to ratify the Protocols to the 1985 Treaty of Rarotonga, as a means of enhancing global and regional peace and security, including global non-proliferation. The three Protocols, which were agreed in 1986 by the South Pacific Forum, respectively prohibit: the manufacture, stationing, and testing of nuclear explosive devices in the overseas dependent territories of nuclear-weapon States within the zone of application of the Treaty; the use or threatened use of nuclear explosive devices against Treaty parties and territories within the zone; and nuclear testing in the region.
The States parties to the Bangkok Treaty, formally known as the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ), continued to focus on setting up an institutional framework to implement the Treaty. Consultations with the nuclear-weapon States on the Treaty's Protocols continued within the organizational framework of ASEAN, with a view to securing their early accession. In this connection, some progress was made. China and the ASEAN countries reached agreements on the protocols.
In 2003 two more countries - Madagascar and Equatorial Guinea - ratified the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (also known as the Pelindaba Treaty), which increased the number of countries that had ratified the treaty to 19 (the Treaty requires ratification by 28 States to enter into force). The 58th General Assembly, in its resolution on the Treaty,2
called upon African States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the treaty. It also called on the States contemplated in Protocol III to take all necessary measures to ensure the speedy application of the Treaty to territories for which they are, de jure or de facto, internationally responsible and that lie within the limits of the geographical zone established in the treaty. The Treaty's implementing mechanism is the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), located in South Africa.
With the assistance of DDA, the five Central Asian States (C5) continued consultation on the CANWFZ with the five nuclear-weapons States. Early in the year, four of the five nuclear-weapon States submitted their comments on the draft treaty text.3
China expressed its support for the text as a whole and maintained a flexible position regarding its future. The UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), organized several meetings in order to facilitate the C5's task of examining the comments by the nuclear-weapon States. As a result, a revised treaty text was proposed. The Regional Centre also worked with the C5 and other parties concerned on organizing an expert group meeting to be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2004, with a view to coalescing the C5 around a common position on the comments by the nuclear-weapon States.
Since the General Assembly adopted a resolution on the establishment of an NWFZ in the Middle East in 1974, agreement among the States of the region to negotiate such a zone has remained elusive.4
The Final Document of the XIII Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), held in Kuala Lumpur, 24-25 February, called on all parties concerned to take urgent and practical steps towards the establishment of a NWFZ in that region, and that, pending its establishment, Israel should renounce possession of nuclear weapons, accede to the NPT without delay, and promptly place all its nuclear facilities under IAEA full-scope safeguards. The Heads of State or Government of the NAM welcomed again the initiative by Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak on the establishment of a zone free from WMD in the Middle East, stressing that necessary steps should be taken in different international fora for its establishment. The Director General of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, in his annual statement to the General Assembly on 3 November, stressed that it was essential that a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East be accompanied by a regional security structure that included the establishment of the Middle East as a zone free from WMD. Due to the prevailing political and security situation in the region, no concrete progress was made in that regard.
Acting on the recommendation of the First Committee, the General Assembly, once again, adopted a resolution on a nuclear-weapon-free Southern Hemisphere and adjacent areas.5
See OPANAL document CG/Res.457 of 6 November 2003. Also, A/58/622, 10 December 2003.
A/RES/58/30, 18 December 2003.
See The United Nations Disarmament Yearbook
, volume 27:2002, chapter IV, 147.
A/RES/3263 XXIX, 9 December 1974.
A/RES/58/49, 8 January 2004.