BANNING LASER WEAPONS TRIUMPH OF CIVILIZATION OVER BARBARITY, RED CROSS OBSERVER TELLS FIRST COMMITTEE
BANNING LASER WEAPONS TRIUMPH OF CIVILIZATION OVER BARBARITY, RED CROSS OBSERVER TELLS FIRST COMMITTEE
BANNING LASER WEAPONS TRIUMPH OF CIVILIZATION OVER BARBARITY, RED CROSS OBSERVER TELLS FIRST COMMITTEE19951026 Says New Protocol to 1980 Weapons Convention Major Achievement; China, France Respond to Criticism, as Committee Concludes General Debate
The adoption this month of a Protocol banning the use or transfer of blinding laser weapons was "a triumph of civilization over barbarity", the observer of the International Committee of the Red Cross this afternoon told the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).
Referring to the action taken at the Review Conference of States Parties to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the observer said that although the Vienna Conference had failed to reach agreement on the issue of land-mines, its adoption of Protocol IV was a major achievement -- the first time since 1868 that a weapon had been prohibited before its use on the battlefield.
Also this afternoon, as the Committee concluded its general debate on a wide variety of disarmament issues, the representative of Hungary introduced a draft resolution on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (biological weapons Convention), which calls on all States that had not yet signed or ratified the Convention to do so without delay.
With several speakers reiterating concern at the recent nuclear tests carried out by China and France, both countries addressed the Committee in exercise of their right of reply. The representative of China said that his country had always exercised utmost restraint in testing, keeping the scale and number of its tests to a minimum, and had consistently opposed the nuclear arms race. It had developed a very limited number of nuclear weapons only after being subjected to repeated nuclear threat by certain nuclear Powers.
The representative of France appealed to the Committee to avoid exaggerated language in its discussion of France's recent "innocuous" testing
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program, and pointed to France's comprehensive position on the test-ban issue. She referred to the possibility that certain delegations might be preparing a draft resolution relating to resumed nuclear testing, and once again appealed for wisdom from the Committee.
Statements in debate were also made by the representatives of Cuba, Jamaica, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, Nicaragua, Morocco, India, Nepal, Malta and the Lao People's Democratic Republic.
Several other States requested the right to reply to comments made during the general debate and the Committee Chairman said those statements would be heard before the Committee's celebration of World Disarmament Week, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Friday, 27 October.
Committee Work Program
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue its general debate on a wide range of disarmament initiatives and international disarmament agreements. Those include the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water (partial test-ban Treaty), the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction (chemical weapons Convention), and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (biological weapons Convention).
Other agreements under discussion include 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 (Convention on indiscriminate conventional weapons), the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga), and the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Seabed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil Thereof (Seabed Treaty).
Other matters being considered by the Committee include the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, negotiations aimed at concluding a comprehensive test-ban treaty, the Register of Conventional Arms, and the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the international non-proliferation regime. The Committee was also likely to consider such bilateral agreements as the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START).
(For background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3020 of 11 October.)
HUMBERTO RIVERO (Cuba) said that even with the disappearance of the East-West confrontation, Cuba was discouraged that the United Nations had still been unable to make a reality out of its aspirations on nuclear weapons. While the cold war had come to an end, the military policies which supported nuclear weapons continued to exist, and some States were defending their relevance.
Last March, he said, Cuba signed the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Tlatelolco Treaty). The signing was accompanied by a statement of the obstacles that had prevented Cuba's full adherence to that Treaty. The United States continued its blockade of Cuba,
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and continued its illegal occupation of part of the territory. A solution to that problem should be considered a prerequisite to Cuba's continued adherence to the Treaty. The chemical weapons Convention was also signed on that day, and was currently being studied for ratification. In addition, Cuba had been working towards verification measures for the biological weapons Convention. Future meetings on that Convention would receive Cuba's full attention.
He said the link between peace and development needed to be emphasized. In that context, it was astounding to learn that the United States Congress was approving military budgets larger than its President was proposing.
PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica), speaking also for the 13 States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), welcomed Cuba's signature of the Treaty of Tlatelolco creating a nuclear-weapons free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean. With the signing of the quadripartite agreement last year, and with the ratification of the Treaty by Brazil, Chile and Argentina, that move consolidated the regime established by the Treaty.
While she also welcomed this month's joint announcement by France, the United Kingdom and the United States that they intended to sign the relevant protocols of the Treaty of Rarotonga next year, she urged nuclear-weapon States to respect the moratorium on nuclear testing. Jamaica was extremely disappointed at the recent decision by some nuclear-weapon States to resume nuclear testing; it was a serious blow to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
She recalled that in its declaration of the 1990s as the Third Disarmament Decade, the General Assembly had noted that the specific goals of the Second Disarmament Decade had not been fully realized. While the international community's disarmament goals had not changed over the years, they had at times seemed elusive. Despite a reported reduction since the end of the cold war, global spending on arms still totalled over $700 billion per year. That amount easily rivalled the debt burden of the developing countries and the global expenditure needed to redress the social and economic ills affecting most of the world's population.
As the Secretary-General had pointed out in his report to the fiftieth session of the Assembly on the work of the organization, "it has become increasingly evident that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the availability of their basic components, constitute a growing threat to international peace and security". The nations of CARICOM supported the view that the substantial plutonium stockpiles from commercial nuclear reactors and the proliferation dangers they represented required immediate action. Adequate long-term solutions to plutonium disposition must be implemented as soon as possible, an issue directly connected to the problem of the transport of hazardous waste. CARICOM leaders were concerned at the shipment of plutonium and hazardous and radioactive material through Caribbean waters.
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CARICOM countries possessed neither the resources nor the capability to deal with the potentially devastating effects of any possible accident related to such shipments and they intended to keep the matter before the attention of the international community.
RAJAB SUKAYRI (Jordan) noted that only nine countries were still outside the Treaty for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and that some of those nine States were already involved in other areas of the international non-proliferation regime, thereby making their accession to the Treaty in the Middle East less urgent. Therefore, he said, new methods of securing universality for that Treaty were needed. He suggested an ad hoc committee with the mandate of securing the accession of other States to such a Treaty. Perhaps the Security Council could adopt a resolution calling for the immediate accession to the Treaty by all Member States who had not yet done so; collective security must prevail over the interests of individual States.
He said more effective steps were needed to rid the world of its nuclear weapon stockpiles, and other weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological weapons and their delivery systems. On efforts made towards the conclusion of a comprehensive test-ban treaty, he said he was pleased with the recently announced waiver of the 10-year withdrawal term. The next step should be negotiating a multilateral, effectively verifiable cut-off treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
He said conventional weapons that were excessively injurious and had indiscriminate affects were another threat to international peace and security. Jordan recently adhered to the relevant Convention, and in particular supported all efforts leading to a complete ban on the export of anti-personnel land-mines.
NABIL ELARABY (Egypt) said this year's NPT Review and Extension Conference had adopted a series of decisions reflecting the interests of the NPT Parties and guided the international community in its pursuit of nuclear non-proliferation and towards an enhanced Treaty review process. Universality was an absolute condition for the attainment of the NPT's ultimate objectives. In the absence of universality, the proliferation of nuclear weapons would continue to threaten the world. The Middle East region at present bore witness to such a situation.
One country there had advanced ambiguous nuclear activities which were not subject to international supervision. That imbalance was unacceptable. The representative of Israel had told the Committee this week that his country supports the principle of non-proliferation. It was now time, after a quarter-century, for deeds to replace words, and for Israel to accede to the NPT and to place its nuclear facilities under full-scope IAEA safeguards.
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Egypt had for years consulted with all regional parties with a view to creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, but there still had not been any substantive, constructive response from Israel to its proposals.
On the scope of the proposed comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty, he said Egypt supported a complete and total ban on all nuclear explosions without exception. Indeed a treaty that fell short of such a goal would be ineffective. On the question of security guarantees to non-nuclear-weapon States, he said those States had a right to such assurances, in legally binding form, which would provide in an effective manner for the following key principles: the determination that use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was a threat to international peace and security; a trigger mechanism to ensure Security Council response to any such attack or threat of attack; and a commitment by the Council to act effectively against such threats to the peace.
KAMAL KHARRAZI (Iran) said institutions created to curb the most destructive weapons had failed, along with efforts to reverse the arms race, despite the end of the cold war.
The Conference on Disarmament did not make any progress on any of its agenda and was unable to establish its traditional ad hoc committees except one on a test-ban treaty. The Disarmament Commission could not conclude its work on nuclear disarmament. The ad hoc committee on the Indian Ocean was unsuccessful. Work on the chemical weapons Convention in the Hague had not made progress. Although the NPT was a turning point in efforts towards a world free of nuclear weapons, there were many still to be convinced about its indefinite extension, support for which carried reservations and conditions. The conclusion of the Convention, despite its shortcomings, was truly a historical achievement. Iran, as the most recent victim of those inhumane weapons, actively and wholeheartedly contributed to its negotiation.
Regional and international approaches to disarmament were mutually reinforcing, he said. Nuclear-free zones would strengthen the non- proliferation regime. Progress made towards the African nuclear-weapon-free zone was welcomed, and new approaches by the ad hoc committee on the Indian Ocean zone were sought. Constructive and practical measures were required for the realization of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. "The reported possession by Israel of nuclear weapons and its refusal to accept NPT obligations and IAEA safeguards poses a grave destabilizing effect in the Middle East", requiring the attention of the international community.
He said the "reckless" build-up of conventional weapons had devoured much-needed resources and reinforced an atmosphere of mistrust and anxiety. In the post-cold war era, the reductions in national defense spending by most
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major arms exporting nations had forced the arms industries to seek foreign weapons contracts to replace declining domestic orders. Global measures were needed for reducing those arms.
ERICH VILCHEZ ASHER (Nicaragua), speaking also for Central American States (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama), said that although the cold war was over, major threats to peace and international security remained, through the growing numbers of regional conflicts and the dangers posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He regretted that last May's consensus decision on indefinite extension of the NPT, as well as the moratorium on nuclear tests declared by the major nuclear-weapons States, had failed to dissuade certain States from carrying out such testing. Those test explosions had provoked justified protests from the international community.
For the Central American region, he went on, de-mining was a matter of great urgency and importance in its implications for civilian life, for social and economic development, and the consolidation of democracy. Mine clearance was slow, perilous and costly, and of major importance for his country and its neighbours. In Nicaragua, for example, where some 95,000 anti-personnel mines were scattered throughout the territory, programmes to remove them had been delayed by lack of finances, despite the Government's superhuman efforts to continue the work with its own scarce resources. Ironically, a land-mine could be bought for less than $3, while removing it might cost as much as $1,000.
After a decade of fratricidal war, he continued, his region was finally on the path to the consolidation of peace, democracy, freedom and development. A new political, judicial and institutional reality was now evolving in the Central American isthmus, finding culmination in the elaboration of a regional security treaty. The treaty project would be on the table at the next meeting of Heads of State of the Central American countries, to be held in Honduras next December.
MOHAMMAD NACER BONJELLOUN-TUNIMI (Morocco), President of the Conference on Disarmament, introduced its report (document A/50/27), along with a related draft resolution. He said that in response to the call of the international community, the Conference had re-established an ad hoc committee on the nuclear test ban and had continued intensive negotiations, despite the turbulence surrounding the recent nuclear test explosions. The most significant advance related to the scope of the test ban. Although there was no final agreement, a clear convergence by nuclear-weapon States was emerging, made possible by the United Kingdom and France to commit themselves to a true zero yield.
He was confident that given the renewed commitment to conclude the comprehensive text-ban treaty next year, the Conference would be able to present a treaty text to the committee at the same time. The Conference took
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a step forward on the issue of the prohibition of fissile material for nuclear weapons. An ad hoc committee would soon embark on such negotiations.
Following intensive consultation, there would be progress on expansion of the Conference's membership. With respect to additional work on the agenda, he said the Conference was unable to establish ad hoc committees in areas including transparency, the arms race in outer space, and several others described in the report. Inability to address all items placed on the agenda, was explained by the fact that the Conference convened against the background of uncertainties surrounding the Conference on the NPT. It was hoped that the extension of the NPT would add wisdom to the work of the Conference.
ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE (India) said that while negotiations on conventional weapons and on the comprehensive test-ban treaty were moving ahead satisfactorily, it could not be overlooked that the unconditional and indefinite extension of the NPT represented a flawed disarmament treaty. The nuclear arsenals of the nuclear-weapon States had now been legitimized for all time, and the division of the world into nuclear "haves" and "have-nots" had been perpetuated. Unless the nuclear-weapons States committed themselves to further measures towards the elimination of their nuclear weapons within a time-bound phased programme, it was a serious development bound to impact on all disarmament negotiations.
Security assurances, he went on, were still based on ideas of nuclear deterrence and had moved on to newer nuances, such as minimum deterrence and mutually assured safety. Those doctrines were being used to justify the continued retention and the option of possible use of nuclear weapons.
In that context the heads of State and government of the Non-Aligned nations, meeting recently in Cartagena, had called for "a renunciation of strategic doctrines based upon the use of nuclear weapons and for the adoption of an action plan for the elimination of all nuclear weapons". He hoped that it would be possible to find space on the Conference on Disarmament's agenda early next year for an ad hoc committee charged with initiating negotiations with that goal in view.
India, he recalled, was one of the lead sponsors of a 1993 consensus resolution on the prohibition of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear devices. That had been a major step on the road to nuclear disarmament, and he regretted that negotiations on the issue had not begun in the intervening two years. His country had also actively participated in the chemical weapons Convention negotiations, and had been among the first States to sign the Convention.
He said he wished to comment on remarks to the Committee this morning by the representative of Pakistan. He said that there was no tension in south Asia, nor any threat to international security in the region. India had for
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years proposed holding bilateral negotiations with Pakistan on all problems relating to Jammu and Kashmir, but Pakistan had systematically rejected those proposals. The only difference between the two countries was Pakistani occupation of Indian territory. He said India's position with regard to nuclear-weapon-free zones was too well-known to be reiterated.
SUSHILA REGIMA (Nepal) said that with the indefinite extension of the NPT, a major milestone had been created in the field of disarmament, particularly nuclear disarmament. Now was the time for the international community to faithfully implement the objectives of the Conference. Foremost among them was the early conclusion of a comprehensive test-ban treaty. Of equal importance to Nepal was the early conclusion of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for weapon use. Nepal was deeply disappointed by the resumption of nuclear testing and hoped that those tests would not preclude the conclusion of a comprehensive test-ban treaty in the stipulated time frame.
She said the chemical weapons Convention was a most important instrument for ensuring regional as well as global stability. She supported the call for intensified efforts for its ratification. While weapons of mass destruction continued to command attention, the problems of conventional weapons must not be overlooked. Nepal was ready to support the establishment of a group of experts to examine ways to reduce such weapons.
The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in more regions of the world was to be further encouraged. The decision a few days ago by the United Kingdom, France, and the United States to sign the protocol to the Treaty of Rarotonga was an important step. In light of Nepal's support for regional and sub-regional approaches to confidence-building measures, she was greatly disturbed to learn of the possible closure of the regional centres for disarmament, particularly the Kathmandu Center, which had been instrumental in promoting a dialogue known as the "Kathmandu Process".
JOANNA DARMANIN (Malta) said the will and commitment that had led to the indefinite extension of the NPT should be pursued to achieve universality. Of equal importance were other principles and objectives agreed to by the States Parties, calling for nuclear-weapon-free zones, nuclear safeguards and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The most recent nuclear tests indicated the clear need to translate the concept of "utmost restraint" into a comprehensive test-ban treaty. The engagement to finalize such a treaty by the end of 1996 required a sustained momentum. That treaty, coupled with a cut-off treaty on the production of fissile material, would be a signal of the international community's will to achieve disarmament.
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Malta shared the concern of the international community about the suffering inflicted on millions of people by the use and the indiscriminate effects of anti-personnel land-mines. It would again co-sponsor the draft resolution calling for a moratorium on their use and stressing the need to develop more human and viable alternatives.
She said that the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had been foremost in the promotion of confidence- and security-building measures. The framework of cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE was an effective and exemplary contribution towards the enhancement of regional security. Malta supported the idea of a Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean, and had proposed two distinct but correlated ideas -- a Council of the Mediterranean and a Stability Pact for the Mediterranean. Both proposals were aimed at the fostering of dialogue in a region of turbulence. The region's diversities were many and the threats pervasive, and the common understanding of such diversities could be achieved only through dialogue.
ALOUNKEO KITTIKHOUN (Lao People's Democratic Republic) said that in spite of a half-century of achievements, the world was still living in an atmosphere of uncertainty. The existence of nuclear arsenals and other weapons of mass destruction remained a source of concern. It was high time the international community redoubled its efforts to reduce and eliminate those dangerous weapons from the planet.
As a non-nuclear-weapon State, Laos believed the conclusion of a Comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty would mark an important step in nuclear disarmament. The commitment by nuclear-weapon States and the recent announcement, by some, of their decision on a true zero yield option, would give impetus to the non-proliferation efforts now under way. The immediate commencement and early conclusion of a convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons required great efforts and the true willingness of Conference on Disarmament members to persevere. The issue of security assurances remained a serious concern to the vast majority of non- nuclear-weapon States, which deserved an internally legally binding instrument.
He welcomed the recent announcement by France, the United Kingdom and the United States of their intention to sign the relevant protocols of the Treaty of Rarotonga in the first half of 1996. The conclusion of an African nuclear-weapon-free zone was also welcomed. In addition, he would spare no effort to continue working towards the establishment of such a region in South-East Asia.
He said the people of Laos still faced the war's deadly legacy more than 20 years after the long and devastating conflict: more than 50 per cent of its territory was littered with "unexploded ordnance" -- cluster bombs, land-
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mines, mortar shells and munitions. In spite of some successes, much remained to be done. On the matter of the regional centres for peace and disarmament, the Centre in Kathmandu played an important role in the promotion of regional dialogue; it was hoped it could continue.
PWETER KUNG, of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said that although disappointed at the failure of the Vienna Conference on Conventional Weapons to reach agreement on amendments to Protocol II on land mines, he believed several important gains had been made, in particular the adoption of the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons and agreement on certain aspects of Protocol I.
The adoption this month of Protocol IV on Blinding Laser Weapons, he said, was a major achievement. Humanity had thus been spared the horror that such blinding weapons would have spawned. The effect of its adoption was a strong message that States would not tolerate the deliberate blinding of people in any circumstances, and as such it was a triumph of civilization over barbarity. The ICRC hoped that States would adhere to the Protocol as quickly as possible.
During the three-week session of the Review Conference, he continued, 36 people were killed and 243 maimed by land mines in Cambodia alone, while worldwide about 1600 people had suffered the same fate. Medical workers had also paid a heavy price. All delegations in Vienna were aware of the importance of reaching agreement on amendments to Protocol II.
The problems centred on the criteria that should dictate a decision, he said. Some delegations, for example, indicated that they would need grace periods of up to 15 years in order to fit mines with a minimum metal contact and equip them with self-destructing or self-deactivating systems. Yet if mines continued to be sown at the present rate, up to 75 million mines could be added in such a "grace period" to the existing 110 million land mines. The ICRC appealed to States to evaluate whether measures short of a total ban on anti-personnel land mines would in fact put a stop to the present situation. It earnestly hoped that States would rise above short-term national interests in favour of the general interest of humanity as a whole.
The ICRC's concern over land mines and blinding weapons, he said, was rooted in experience with a much larger phenomenon -- the virtually unrestricted flow of vast quantities of weapons around the world. He urged the First Committee to make the issue of global arms transfers a matter of the highest priority and to consider both the inclusion of small-arms transfers in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and possible restraints on such transfers.
He added that the mass attack on civilians on the Tokyo underground and several subsequent incidents reminded the world of the urgency of controlling
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the threat of chemical and biological weapons. He urged States that had not already done so to ratify the chemical weapons Convention and to ensure its early entry into force.
TIBOR TOTH (Hungary), introduced a draft resolution on behalf of the co- sponsors, on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. He said there were more than 130 States parties to the Convention, including the permanent members of the Security Council.
The draft resolution, he continued, urged the Ad Hoc Group, established to consider measures to strengthen the Convention, to complete its work as soon as possible and submit its report to the States parties for consideration at the Fourth Review Conference or later at a special conference. It also requested the Secretary-General to continue to render the necessary assistance to the governments of the Convention, and to provide the necessary services to implement the recommendations of the Third Review Conference as well as those contained in the final report of the special conference.
At the request of the States parties, the draft text called for the Fourth Review Conference to be held at Geneva in 1996, he said. Finally, it called upon all signatory States that had not yet ratified the Convention to do so without delay, and for those other States that had not signed the Convention to do so at an early date.
Right of Reply
SHA ZUKANG (China) said he had listened attentively to expressions of concern about his country's nuclear tests. China had exercised utmost restraint in testing, keeping the scale and number of its tests to a minimum. It had consistently opposed the nuclear arms race and had never taken part in it. The Chinese Government had always believed in a complete prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons.
Moreover, China's possession of a limited nuclear arsenal was solely for self-defence; its nuclear weapons were not directed against any other country. It had been subjected to repeated threat by certain nuclear Powers. It opposed hegemonism and pursued an independent foreign policy of peace; it was not allied to any major Power or major military blocs, or under the nuclear umbrella of other countries. It had unilaterally undertaken not to use or threaten to use such weapons against non-nuclear-weapon countries.
China had always supported the goal of achieving a comprehensive test- ban treaty within the framework of complete and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. It would be difficult to foretell the exact date at which next year's hoped-for conclusion of the test-ban treaty could be achieved.
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"As none of us is a fortune-teller, it will be better for us to speed up our work than to make good-hearted predictions."
JOELLE BOURGOIS (France) stressed the innocuous nature of her country's latest nuclear tests. Those who criticized should take a step back and take a longer view. In a few months, present fears would have dissipated; members of the Committee would be able to take note of France's overall position, for example its support for the comprehensive test-ban treaty. It was clearly the intention of some delegations to work on a draft resolution on the French tests, and she called for wisdom and moderation to prevail. Other countries should not indulge in exaggerated language. The urgency of the work before the Committee should be given priority.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said India's response to his country's call for peace and non-proliferation could most charitably be described as "intractable and largely fictional". He said he was happy to hear that there was "no tension in south Asia", where nearly 2 million armed men faced each other across the border between India and Pakistan. Seven hundred thousand Indian troops were deployed in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Indian forces had blockaded the Neelum Valley, where 100,000 people were without food and shelter as winter approached.
He said he was also glad to hear India's claim that it had offered to talk to Pakistan on all issues, but India had not mentioned Pakistan's own proposals, which had remained unheard. India referred to the "so-called dispute" over Kashmir. Pakistan, he said, was used to such "double-speak". The fact was that Kashmir was a recognized dispute between India and Pakistan; it was on the Security Council's agenda, and the Council had called for a plebiscite in the disputed area.
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