Continuing CHAPTER IV Regional disarmament


General Assembly, 2004

The General Assembly took action on nine draft resolutions and one draft decision dealing with the issues discussed in this chapter.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones

59/63. Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East
The draft resolution was introduced by Egypt, on 19 October. It was adopted without a vote by the First Committee on 26 October and by the General Assembly on 3 December. For the text of the resolution, see page 9.
The resolution urged all concerned parties to consider taking the practical and urgent steps required for the implementation of the proposal to establish a NWFZ in the Middle East and invited the countries concerned to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Pending the establishment of the zone, the resolution also called upon all countries of the region to agree to place all their nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards and invited them not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or permit the stationing on their territories, or territories under their control, of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices. It also requested the Secretary-General to continue consultations with the States of the region and other concerned States, taking into account the evolving situation, and to seek their views on the measures outlined in the study annexed to his report of 10 October 1990.1
First Committee
Prior to the vote, Israel said that it would join the consensus despite its substantive reservations. It maintained its support for the establishment of a mutually verifiable NWFZ in the Middle East, free of chemical and biological weapons as well as ballistic missiles, provided that certain conditions in the region were also met. Owing to the region's political realities, it advocated a practical, incremental approach that embraced confidence-building measures followed by the establishment of peaceful relations, reconciliation and possibly complemented by conventional and non-conventional arms control measures. It emphasized that the exportation of weapons of mass destruction-related technologies and non-compliance by some States with their international obligations were obstacles to achieving the goal envisioned in the draft resolution.
59/73. Mongolia's international security and nuclear-weapon-free status
The draft resolution was introduced by Mongolia, on behalf of the sponsors (see page 4 for the sponsors), on 22 October. The revised text was adopted without a vote by the First Committee on 28 October and by the General Assembly on 3 December. For the text of the resolution see page 27.
The resolution invited Member States to continue to cooperate with Mongolia in taking the necessary measures to consolidate and strengthen its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, the inviolability of its borders, its independent foreign policy, economic security, and ecological balance as well as its nuclear-weapon-free status. It also requested the Secretary-General and relevant United Nations bodies to continue to provide assistance to Mongolia in taking those necessary measures.
First Committee
After the vote, India affirmed its full support for the draft resolution and expressed its willingness and commitment to respond, whenever required, to Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free status.
59/85. Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas
The draft resolution was introduced by Brazil, on behalf of the sponsors (see page 9 for the sponsors), on 19 October. It was adopted by the First Committee on 1 November as a whole: 149-3-6; operative paragraph 5 as a whole: 144-1-8; and retention of the last three words "and South Asia" in operative paragraph 5 (139-2-9); and by the General Assembly on 3 December as a whole: (171-4-8); operative paragraph 5 as a whole: (158-4-7); and operative paragraph 5 the last three words (166-3-7). For the text of the resolution and the voting, see pages 57 and 16.
The resolution welcomed the continued contributions of the Antarctic, Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Bangkok and Pelindaba treaties towards freeing the southern hemisphere and adjacent areas covered by those Treaties from nuclear weapons. It also called upon concerned States to continue to work together in order to facilitate adherence to the protocols to NWFZ treaties by all relevant States that had not yet done so; and called upon the States parties and signatories to those Treaties to explore and implement further ways and means of cooperation among themselves and the treaty agencies.
First Committee
After the vote, several States explained their positions. France, speaking also on behalf of the United Kingdom and the United States , explained their negative vote, noting that a NWFZ in the southern hemisphere would interfere with the freedom of the high seas and rights of passage through maritime space. They held that such a measure would be contrary to existing international law and would therefore be unacceptable to those States that were committed to respecting the Convention on the Law of the Sea. India stated that it voted against operative paragraph 5 because of its call upon all States to consider establishing such a zone in South Asia which contradicted the well-established principle for creating NWFZs. In its view, a proposal for a NWFZ in South Asia had no more validity than a proposal for one in East Asia, Western Europe or North America.
Spain abstained based on its reservations over an international conference in 2005 of States parties and signatories to the NWFZ treaties proposed in preambular paragraph 8. It held that an international conference was a new concept, qualitatively different from the consensus achieved in the matter of NWFZs. In addition, the consensus reached in the April 1999 Report of the Conference on Disarmament and in the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference did not merit additional legal or political elements to justify holding such an international meeting.
59/513. Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia
The draft decision was introduced by Uzbekistan, on behalf of the sponsors (see page 17 for the sponsors), on 19 October. It was adopted without a vote by the First Committee on 26 October and by the General Assembly on 3 December. For the text of the resolution, see page 100.
By its terms, the General Assembly would include in the provisional agenda of its sixtieth session the item entitled "Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia."

Conventional disarmament at regional levels

59/87. Confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context
The draft resolution was introduced by Pakistan, on behalf of the sponsors (see page 10 for the sponsors), on 25 The revised draft resolution was adopted without a vote by the First Committee on 3 November and by the General Assembly on 3 December. For the text of the resolution see page 61.
The resolution urged States to comply strictly with bilateral, regional and international arms control and disarmament agreements to which they were parties; and encouraged the promotion of bilateral and regional confidence-building measures to avoid conflict and prevent the unintended and accidental outbreak of hostilities. It also requested the Secretary-General to submit a report to the General Assembly at its sixtieth session containing the views of Member States on confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context.
First Committee
After the vote, India said that it supported the resolution as the text was an improvement over last year's on the same subject. However, it clarified that joining the consensus should not be seen as its support for resolution 58/43 which, in its view, presented concepts not in keeping with generally accepted principles on confidence-building measures.
59/88. Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels
The draft resolution was introduced by Pakistan, on behalf of the sponsors (see page 10 for the sponsors), on 22 October. It was adopted by the First Committee on 27 October as follows: (165-1-1) and by the General Assembly on 3 December (178-1-1). For the text of the resolution and the voting see page 62.
The resolution requested the Conference on Disarmament to consider formulating principles that could serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control and looked forward to a report from the Conference on this subject. It also requested the Secretary-General to seek the views of the Member States and to submit a report to the sixtieth General Assembly session on the subject.
First Committee
After the vote, India gave several reasons for its negative vote. It could not support the request for further work in the CD on the subject and the call for the Conference to formulate a principle for a framework for regional instruments on conventional arms control. Furthermore, from its standpoint, a resolution that set about applying regional security approaches to narrowly defined geographical regions was restrictive.
59/89. Regional disarmament
The draft resolution was introduced by Pakistan, on behalf of the sponsors (see page 10 for the sponsors), on 22 October. It was adopted without a vote by the First Committee on 27 October and by the General Assembly on 3 December. For the text of the resolution see page 64.
The resolution called upon States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels. It also supported and encouraged efforts at promoting confidence-building measures to ease regional tensions and to further disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation measures.
59/96. Regional confidence-building measures: activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa
The draft resolution was introduced by Equatorial Guinea, on behalf of the sponsors (see page 13 for the sponsors), on 22 October. It was adopted without a vote by the First Committee on 27 October and by the General Assembly on 3 December. For the text of the resolution see page 74.
The resolution requested the Secretary-General, pursuant to Security Council resolution 1197 (1998), to provide States members of the Standing Advisory Committee with the necessary support for the implementation and smooth functioning of the Council for Peace and Security in Central Africa and its early-warning mechanism. It also requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide the States members of the Standing Advisory Committee with assistance to ensure that they were able to carry out their efforts and to submit a report to the Assembly's sixtieth session on the implementation of the resolution.
59/59. Maintenance of international security - good-neighbourliness, stability and development in South-Eastern Europe
The draft resolution was introduced by the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, on behalf of the sponsors (see page 1 for the sponsors), on 22 October. The revised text was adopted without a vote by the First Committee on 4 November and by the General Assembly on 3 December. For the text of the resolution, see page 1.
The resolution urged all States to take effective measures against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW) in all its aspects and to help programmes and projects aimed at the collection and safe destruction of surplus stocks of SALW. It also called upon States and the relevant international organizations to communicate to the Secretary-General their views on the subject of the present resolution.
59/108. Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region
The draft resolution was introduced by Algeria, on behalf of the sponsors (see page 17 for the sponsors), on 25 October. It was adopted without a vote by the First Committee on 28 October and by the General Assembly on 3 December. For the text of the resolution see page 95.
The resolution called upon all States in the Mediterranean region that had not yet done so to adhere to all the multilaterally negotiated legal instruments related to disarmament and non-proliferation, thus creating the necessary conditions for strengthening peace and cooperation in the region; it encouraged these States to create necessary conditions for strengthening the confidence-building measures among them by promoting genuine openness and transparency on all military matters, by participating, inter alia, in the UN system for the standardized reporting of military expenditures and by providing accurate data and information to the UN Register of Conventional Arms. It also requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on means to strengthen security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region.

1A/45/435, Report of the Secretary-General on "Effective and verifiable measures which would facilitate the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East".