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In the general debate in the First Committee, delegations principally addressed issues related to nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and to small arms and light weapons.
There was a deep current of concern about the existing stalemate in efforts to further nuclear disarmament and to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation. Possible negative implications involved in modifying the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and in further missile proliferation were widely underscored. The United States Senate's vote against ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty added to the concern. However, three Central Asian States renewed their commitment to negotiate a nuclear-weapon-free zone treaty for their region.
Many States reaffirmed their adherence to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions and expresed the hope that the negotiations on a verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention would be concluded promptly.
The majority of delegations advocated comprehensive, multidisciplinary and regionally-based approaches to tackle the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Many welcomed various initiatives taken in the field, in particular the decision taken in 1998 to convene in 2001 an international conference on the illicit arms trade in in all its aspects.