NATO'S USE OF MILITARY FORCE, IN DISREGARD OF UN, WILL HARM DISARMAMENT, RUSSIAN FEDERATION TELLS DISARMAMENT COMMISSION
NATO'S USE OF MILITARY FORCE, IN DISREGARD OF UN, WILL HARM DISARMAMENT, RUSSIAN FEDERATION TELLS DISARMAMENT COMMISSION
NATO'S USE OF MILITARY FORCE, IN DISREGARD OF UN, WILL HARM DISARMAMENT, RUSSIAN FEDERATION TELLS DISARMAMENT COMMISSION19990413 Says Ratification of SALT II Deferred Due to Balkan Crisis; Commission Concludes General Exchange of Views for Current Session
However noble the goal, one-sided unilateral steps carried out in disregard of the United Nations -- such as the attempt by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to impose its will through military force on a sovereign country -- could only have negative effects on disarmament as well, the representative of the Russian Federation told the Disarmament Commission this afternoon, as it concluded its general exchange of views for the current substantive session.
Given the events in the Balkans, he said that the State Duma, which is one of the two Chambers of the national legislature, had deferred ratification of the 1993 Treaty on the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms -- START II -- in favour of a continued active and balanced disarmament process. Peace could not be built on the sufferings of a totally innocent people. Real, effective settlement of the problems was possible only on the basis of strict respect for international law and, first and foremost, of the United Nations Charter.
Also on the situation in the Balkans, the representative of India said the European crisis had threatened global peace and security and had disproportionately affected the disarmament agenda. The impact of European hot and cold wars were felt heavily in India, which could not look with equanimity on the situation in the Balkans. Apart from its impact on regional peace, the implications of the NATO action in Yugoslavia was far-reaching, and the Commission needed to consider the impact of the unauthorized use of force on the disarmament agenda, he said.
China's representative cautioned against security that was based on military alliances. He highlighted the tendency towards closer military alliances and "gunboat" diplomacy, and the persistence of the cold war mentality. Defiance of national sovereignty, hegemony and power politics had also manifested themselves in recent years. Bullying the weak with state-of-
Disarmament Commission - 1a - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
the-art weaponry while weakening the military power of other countries under the guise of international arms control treaties ran counter to international trends and hampered further development of arms control and disarmament.
Speakers this afternoon also addressed: guidelines and recommendations on the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones; the convening of a fourth special session on disarmament; and conventional arms control and limitation.
On the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea said that those zones should be created not only in areas free from nuclear weapons, but also in regions where nuclear weapons already existed. Therefore, the zones would serve both non- proliferation and nuclear disarmament. Thus, the objectives for establishing such zones should not be limited to non-proliferation aspects, but to nuclear disarmament as well.
The Republic of Korea's representative said that, while he supported the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of a region, the creation of such zones should not undermine the principles of international law, including free navigation of the high seas and the inherent right to individual or collective self-defence. The conclusion of such an agreement should be strengthened by an effective verification mechanism, such as full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.
Statements were also made by the representatives of the Philippines, Venezuela, Myanmar, Colombia, Pakistan, Brazil, and Syria.
The Commission will meet again to conclude its substantive session at a time and date to be announced.
Commission Work Programme
The Disarmament Commission met this afternoon to conclude its general exchange of views on the three topics being considered at its current substantive session: establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones; a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament; and formulation of conventional arms control guidelines.
PULAT ABDULLAYEV (Russian Federation) said the current session was taking place on the brink of a new millennium. As such, the United Nations was taking stock of past and current events and charting a future course. As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia was convinced that the United Nations must preserve the key role that properly belonged to it. It was precisely in the framework of the United Nations that the international community must lead the search in solving the problems facing mankind. In particular, it must resist any throwback to the cold war, when the principle of "might is right" prevailed over the force of right.
He said that real, effective settlement of the problems was possible only on the basis of strict respect for international law and, first and foremost, of the United Nations Charter. Serious concern was aroused by the attempts of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), through military force, to impose its own will on sovereign Yugoslavia. However noble the goal that motivated those actions, it could not justify the means used. Peace could not be built on the sufferings of a totally innocent people. Such one- sided unilateral steps carried out in disregard of the United Nations could only have negative effects on disarmament as well. Under the influence of events in the Balkans, the State Duma of the Russian Federation had deferred ratification of the Treaty on the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms -- START II -- in favour of a continued active and balanced disarmament process.
A primary role in concluding implementation of multilateral disarmament belonged to the United Nations, he said. On the threshold of a new century, the priority targets in the disarmament arena must be defined. That guided his country's consideration of the convening of the fourth special session on disarmament. Scrupulous and thorough preparation was required, so that such a session could be crowned by a weighty document, which reflected the consensus of countries. Such a result was possible only if the special session took place in a calm and businesslike atmosphere, without confrontation and polemics.
In the field of nuclear disarmament, he said there had been large-scale reductions of armaments and the complete elimination of medium- and short- range missiles. Several thousand launching facilities and warheads for those
Disarmament Commission - 3 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
facilities had been liquidated, including submarine-based operations. Preservation and strict compliance with the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti- Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) was required, since its destruction would have pernicious repercussions on the non-proliferation regime, weapons of mass destruction, missile and missile technology. Other nuclear powers should associate themselves with efforts to reduce those weapons.
The time had come to solve that problem, he went on. Implementing far- sighted agreements would require lots of time. Only after moving through all the intermediate stages would it be possible, on a multilateral basis, to discuss the total elimination of nuclear weapons. He called for an immediate start to talks in the Conference on Disarmament on banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
He expressed concern about the ambitions of certain countries to limit the special session on disarmament to only nuclear-related questions, at a time when the threat to the world stemmed from regional conflicts fuelled by conventional weapons. There should be broad discussion on the issue at the special session. The working group on guidelines for conventional weapons control -- to be concluding its work in the current year -- could come up with useful recommendations in that regard.
The United Nations must be the fundamental centre for discussion of the question of the spread of small arms and light weapons, he said. As such, he supported the proposal for an international conference, but it was premature to work on any radical measures of an international character to limit those weapons and eliminate the excessive stockpiles. The delivery of weapons for legitimate defence needs was entirely in keeping with the United Nations Charter.
The essence of the problem was the illegal transfer of light arms, and the struggle against it must be a high priority of the international community, he said. Moreover, cooperation on the part of customs officials and law enforcement and licensing agencies was required. Only transparency would advance that goal. Despite the embargo declared by the United Nations Security Council on the delivery of arms to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, necessary measures had not been taken to prevent arms deliveries to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
He said his country considered the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones in various parts of the world the best way for non-nuclear-weapon States to obtain security guarantees. Those agreements, however, should be in keeping with internationally recognized norms and genuinely take into account the characteristics of the regions concerned. A dialogue between the nuclear Powers and the countries of South-East Asia would allow recognition of a nuclear-weapon-free zone there.
Disarmament Commission - 4 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
The episode with the Bangkok Treaty -- which had demonstrated that departure from the norms and violations of international law would not go unnoticed -- must be a lesson to States interested in forming such zones, he said. He supported initiatives for the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in central and southern Asia, the Middle East, as well as the initiative for a nuclear-weapon-free space in Central and Eastern Europe. The situation surrounding each proposal was different in each case, and the chances of its being realized in some cases were not too great. It was particularly satisfying, therefore, that the Central Asian States were conducting active practical work on a draft treaty on the subject.
LI CHANGHE (China) said that the international situation had undergone dramatic and profound changes since 1990, with peace, development and cooperation the main theme of the times. However, the cold war mentality was still there, and the defiance of national sovereignty, hegemony and power politics manifested themselves from time to time. There was a tendency towards closer military alliances, new forms of "gunboat" diplomacy were rampant and regional conflicts had cropped up one after another.
He said the mentality and practices of bullying the weak with state-of- the-art weaponry while weakening the military power of other countries under the guise of international arms control treaties was still popular among some countries. That ran counter to the international trend and hampered further development of arms control and disarmament. The times called for new security concepts and new ways to safeguard peace.
Security based on military alliances was not conducive to durable world peace, he said. Only by establishing a new security concept and a new and just international order could peace be maintained and the disarmament process developed in a healthy fashion. The following five principles served as the foundation for world peace: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity; mutual non-aggression; non-interference in internal affairs; equality; mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence. Dialogue, consultation and negotiation by concerned parties on an equal footing were the correct approach to resolving disputes. It was not desirable to weaken or abolish the Disarmament Commission. Rather, United Nations reform should strengthen it.
Remarkable disarmament progress had been made, he said, but it had been coupled with practices not conducive to the ultimate objective of international disarmament. In particular, the deployment of anti-missile systems and attempts to amend and even withdraw from agreed arms control treaties had turned outer space into a battlefield. That would have a far- reaching negative impact on international security. Furthermore, to cling to or expand the nuclear deterrent doctrine and to expand military alliances ran counter to the aspirations of the world's people. At the current juncture, the convening of a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament was appropriate, to review all issues.
Disarmament Commission - 5 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
Nuclear-weapon-free zones played a positive role in facilitating nuclear disarmament, he said. China respected and supported efforts to establish them, and had undertaken unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear States or those in nuclear-free zones. It had ratified the protocols of 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 Africa Nuclear-Weapon- Free-Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba). It was working towards an early settlement of pending issues, to allow it to sign the South-East Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Bangkok Treaty).
China believed that the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone should be in line with the United Nations Charter and international law, he said. They should be established with the support of the States in the region, and should not cover continental shelves and exclusive economic zones, nor areas of dispute between participating and neighbouring States. Existing security arrangements should not take precedence over the zones, and State parties should not exempt themselves from their obligations because of membership in military alliances. It was essential that the Commission continued its deliberations on zones and he hoped it would reach consensus at an early date.
Given the different national conditions and complicated causes of conflicts, he said, it was difficult to establish guidelines or principles for conventional arms control applicable to all countries. It was essential that any measures be in line with local conditions and be taken within an appropriate time frame. It would be undesirable to copy or blindly follow another country's experience. China hoped that the Commission would reach consensus on guidelines without duplicating efforts of other United Nations reviews.
He said that in formulating and implementing practical disarmament measures, it was imperative that the legitimate self-defence requirements of countries concerned be taken into account and agreements be reached freely by all parties. Countries outside regions, but with influence on the parties in conflict, should undertake special responsibility to promote arms control and disarmament in the regions concerned.
FELIPE MABILANGAN (Philippines) said much had been achieved on disarmament, but much remained to be done. The longer the world waited before destroying weapons of mass destruction, the closer it was to the nightmare. Even when they were not used, they created uncertainty. At the same time, the international community had to deal with the growth in conventional weapons. While the Commission could not be the sole provider of answers to disarmament questions, its success lay in that it had found and discussed matters in a way that would allow continued discussion to resolve them tomorrow.
Disarmament Commission - 6 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
In three years of discussion about the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, States had agreed on almost all details, he said. As part of the larger disarmament mechanism, the Commission should promote agreement on the fourth special session to allow the organization of States to come to terms with the challenges before it.
Nuclear arsenals were still maintained and new ones still developed, he said. Changes in society, advances in military technology and production, and financial globalization all mitigated in favour of a special session. The failure of the few to live up to their commitment to pay their just dues meant the United Nations was deprived of the resources it needed. In disarmament, the failure of the few to hear the call of the many meant what was required -- a special session -- might not be realized. There was no lack of determination or persistence on the part of the majority to convene the session, and the Philippines hoped the Commission would arrive at a decision on its agenda, objectives and timing.
Over decades, other decisions had been taken by States to further disarmament, he said. The Philippines supported deliberation on nuclear- weapon-free zones, with the understanding that the objective was to move disarmament forward. It would, however, reject any guidelines that would allow the perpetuation of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. It also supported the concept of a single-State nuclear-free zone. The Philippines itself had chosen to be nuclear-weapon-free. At the same time, it would resist any notion that States could be forced to subscribe to a zone.
Decisions on disarmament also had to be made about conventional weapons, he said. Small arms almost always seemed readily available and in increasingly lethal doses. International crime and terrorism also benefitted from the arms transfer process. Landmines placed national recovery at jeopardy and took lives. The Philippines supported attempts to broadly address all conflict and post-conflict matters. However, in supporting practical disarmament regarding conventional weapons, it would not wish other disarmament areas to be considered impractical.
WILMER MENDEZ (Venezuela) said that the world was approaching the end of the decade in the midst of great uncertainties about disarmament. At the beginning of the 1990s, there had been a suggestion that widespread disarmament would take place within the decade. That had not happened. Some analysts believed disarmament diplomacy lacked direction. In a global world, with forces leading to both convergence and fragmentation, the United Nations remained the appropriate path for challenges that demanded a collective response. It was the privileged forum to promote disarmament measures. At a time of great change, the relevance of the Disarmament Commission was also great.
Disarmament Commission - 7 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
For the third year, nuclear-weapon-free zones were to be considered, he said. The working group chairman's working paper was important and deserved consideration. Zones were important to non-proliferation and to disarmament, and Venezuela supported any efforts to establish or further zones based on arrangements freely reached, as was the case of Central Asia. It also welcomed Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free status.
He said the transfer of illicit arms was a great danger and, as the Secretary-General had said, most victims were women and children. Measures to control the transfers were needed and some initiatives had been taken regionally. He also recognized the work of the group of experts on small arms, and the Assembly's decision to have an international conference on illicit trafficking in arms by 2001. Although preparation by the Commission of guidelines on conventional weapons was important to disarmament, in that process the security and defence needs of countries could be ignored.
The fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament was significant, as all Member States had agreed in the last General Assembly session, he said. There were differences of opinion on the agenda and that had delayed the prompt convening of the meeting. He believed that conditions warranted the special session. Further, he was convinced that the session would contribute to the international community's efforts towards disarmament and to redefining the role of the United Nations in disarmament. He hoped that the current Commission session would help overcome the difficulties and thereby allow the special session to be convened as soon as possible.
He said his Government would ratify the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention) in the near future. That would mean all formalities necessary for it to become a State party would be fulfilled.
KIM SAM JONG (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said that the major obstacles to resolving the issues of global and regional disarmament and security were the ever-undisguised attempts to rely on power politics. That was manifested in deterrence policies based on nuclear monopoly, military alliances and the development of new weapon systems. Thus, fundamental problems remained, despite the ongoing strenuous efforts towards disarmament.
He said that the complete elimination of nuclear weapons was the most urgent problem. Yet, no practical or legally-binding measures had been taken, due to the practice of nuclear deterrence. Moreover, an arms race was being instigated, as a result of the pursuit of political and military confrontation. Consequently, grave difficulties were in the way of real progress in international and regional disarmament and security issues.
Disarmament Commission - 8 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
The situation on the Korean peninsula clearly showed the reality prevailing throughout the world, he said. The forces of the United States remained, thereby providing a nuclear umbrella. Further, efforts were underway to expand and strengthen the military alliance and "beef up" the armed forces. The recent attempt to introduce a new theatre missile defence system was being unmasked. That situation entailed increased threats to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and adversely affected all disarmament efforts. Unless those threats -- the root cause of the tense situation on the Korean peninsula -- were removed, peace there would never be achieved.
He said that the inequitable relations, in which only a few countries possessed nuclear weapons, thereby threatening others, should be eliminated. In addition, double standards -- which allowed certain countries to possess highly sophisticated weapons and enabled them to improve them, while denying other countries the same right -- should not be tolerated. Also, particularly hypocritical acts, such as debating disarmament and peace while threatening other countries, should not be overlooked.
With respect to the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones, it was important to set the objectives properly and impartially, he said. Those zones could be created, not only in areas originally free of nuclear weapons, but in regions where nuclear weapons existed. Accordingly, the establishment of those zones served both non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. Since nuclear disarmament was the primary disarmament task, the objectives of establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones should not be limited to non- proliferation aspects, but should be directed at expanding such zones.
The obligation of nuclear-weapon States to provide unconditional assurances not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against nuclear- weapon-free zone parties should also be clearly defined, he said. If nuclear- weapon States evaded their obligation in that regard, by invoking the plea that existing security arrangements must not be jeopardized, that was tantamount to their opposing the establishment of the nuclear-weapon-free zone itself. If the Korean peninsula was to be denuclearized, the United States should make a political decision to rescind its nuclear umbrella and cease the nuclear threat against the north.
WIN MRA (Myanmar) said that nuclear-weapon-free zones prevented the geographical proliferation of nuclear weapons and contributed to nuclear disarmament. The recent trend towards initiating the creation of new zones was eloquent testimony to their relevance. His country welcomed Mongolia's decision to establish its territory as a nuclear-weapon-free single State, which could enhance stability in Central Asia.
Similarly, the attempt by Belarus to seek a nuclear-weapon-free status for Central and Eastern Europe had Myanmar's support, but broader consultations among all States in the region could have resulted in wider
Disarmament Commission - 9 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
support for the relevant General Assembly resolution. As a State party to the Bankgok Treaty, he called on the nuclear-weapon States to speedily sign and ratify the relevant protocol.
In order to arrive at a consensus concerning the convening of a fourth special session on disarmament, he said members must set aside their differences and seek a common ground, based on the ideas that had emerged in previous sessions. A special session would allow the international community to review, in a most comprehensive manner, developments in the disarmament and international security spheres. Although it was envisaged that the special session would review all disarmament-related issues, nuclear disarmament should be given a high priority on the agenda.
Concerning the formulation of conventional arms control guidelines, he said that although some delegations sought to adopt a comprehensive and integrated approach, his delegation believed that, in view of the complexity of the issues involved, the guidelines should focus on some selected aspects of the problem, such as illicit manufacturing, trafficking and use of small arms. Care should be exercised, however, in matters concerning the legal transfer of arms for legitimate self-defence, while the illicit arms trade -- especially to insurgent groups operating within the territory of a sovereign State -- should be restrained at all costs.
ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) said that nuclear-weapon-free zones were a concrete contribution to international security, confidence-building and nuclear non-proliferation. Every new nuclear-weapon-free zone was an advancement towards the ultimate goal of ridding the world of those weapons. In that context, his country advocated the consolidation of existing nuclear- weapon-free zone treaties, including the early entry into force of the Treaty of Pelindaba and a rapid conclusion of negotiations for such a zone in Central Asia. His country also supported the General Assembly resolutions calling for a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere, Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free status, and the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
The present international situation required a broad examination of disarmament issues and their relationship to peace and international security, he said. The developments following the cold war had shown that disarmament was, once again, in the front line of international concerns. The convening of a fourth special session on disarmament would be the adequate forum with which to review that issue. Among the issues on which the Commission must reach agreement was the inclusion of a review of the implementation of the programme of action agreed upon at the first special session on disarmament.
He said that guidelines on conventional arms control could have practical implications in his country, which had suffered internal conflict for more than three decades. The armed conflict involved various actors,
Disarmament Commission - 10 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
including government forces, guerrilla groups and right-wing paramilitaries. As in the case of most internal conflicts, it was the civilian population which suffered most. The traffic in small arms and light weapons was a special problem, because they permeated civil society and increased violence. The threat posed by anti-personnel mines was another growing problem in Colombia. If the peace efforts of his Government succeeded, it might be a direct beneficiary of the guidelines being considered. In elaborating those guidelines, it was necessary to carefully maintain the balance between idealism and pragmatism.
DILIP LAHIRI (India) said the Assembly resolution 53/79 A was a guide and a benchmark for the current session of the Commission.
Concerning the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, he said that as the threshold of a new millennium arrived, it was logical that the international community review the current situation and assess progress towards disarmament. The session, to be credible, should focus on nuclear disarmament and put forward a positive programme that would build on achievements of the past for a continuous future programme of action. That would be made possible by reaffirming the priorities of the Final Document of the first special session on disarmament and defining a brick-by- brick approach to pursue the unfinished task.
India had been at the forefront of initiatives calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons since the 1950s, at the United Nations and elsewhere, he said. Today, it was the only nuclear State calling for a nuclear-weapon convention for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons from the face of the earth. That convention should be along the lines of the global and verifiable instruments put together to tackle other weapons of mass destruction, such as biological and chemical weapons. He saw no reason to shy away from a similar measure to tackle nuclear weapons. It was incongruous to have huge nuclear arsenals today. Dangerous doctrines of first-use continued to be embraced and new justifications were put forward for retaining nuclear weapons forever.
Apart from nuclear weapons, the special session would have to address a host of other issues, he said. Those should include a review of the implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention) and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) Weapons and on Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention), transparency in conventional arms transfers, measures against illicit arms transfers and regulation of certain conventional arms.
European tension and crisis had threatened global peace and security and had a disproportionate impact on the disarmament agenda, he said. The impact of European hot and cold wars were felt heavily in India. It could not,
Disarmament Commission - 11 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
therefore, look with equanimity on the situation in the Balkans. Apart from its impact on regional peace, the implications of the NATO action in Yugoslavia were far reaching. When a group of States decided to use violence against another State in violation of the United Nations Charter, the legal foundations built up since the Second World War were gravely undermined, as was the confidence of States in agreeing to disarmament measures. The Commission needed to consider the impact of the unauthorized use of force on the disarmament agenda.
India had always believed that the threat of use of nuclear weapons transcended regional dimensions, he said, and nuclear-weapon-free zones could not do justice to the wide scope and global nature of that threat. However, it respected the sovereign choice of non-nuclear States to safeguard their security through such zones. Last year it had stated that it fully respected the status of the South-East Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and it was ready to convert that into a legal obligation.
The guiding principles for the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones were contained in the Final Document of the first special session, he said. India remained committed to the principles set out in its working paper to the Commission last year. A comparison of existing zones would be useful and the Commission deliberations should also include relevant issues impacting on zones, such as single-State nuclear-weapon-free zones, hemispheric nuclear- weapon-free zones and the impact of the latest nuclear doctrines put forward by the nuclear States.
The Commission session should also reach consensus on the conventional weapons guidelines, he said. It should focus on disarmament and not duplicate efforts elsewhere. Guidelines should be for the consolidation of peace in post-conflict situations, applicable to the United Nations and regional organizations and restricted to recently concluded conflicts in which all parties had requested international assistance. Given the diversity of conflict situations, the guidelines should be flexible. Instruments or concepts with limited validity or regional contexts should be avoided. Guidelines for greater transparency in the manufacture and transfer of small arms and light weapons were also needed, and a review of the international arms trade would be useful.
KHALID AZIZ BABAR (Pakistan) said the end of the cold war had opened up new and exciting opportunities for global peace. The events of the last few years, however, did not augur well for such optimism. There were still more than 30,000 nuclear weapons in operational readiness, and the entry into force of START II remained elusive. Those and other developments posed new and complex challenges to the international community on the eve of the new millennium.
Disarmament Commission - 12 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
He said his country's proposal for establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South Asia was motivated by its consistent desire to preclude the possibility of an overt nuclear arms race in the region. India's nuclear tests last May, however, had dashed that hope. Indeed, the tests had drastically altered the strategic balance in the region, exposing Pakistan's security to an unprecedented risk. The clear asymmetries between Pakistan and India in conventional forces, and the hostile statements by Indian leaders towards Pakistan in the wake of the tests, left his country with no option but to restore the strategic balance in the interest of peace and security in South Asia.
Pakistan's nuclear deterrent now formed an indispensable part of its defence strategy and assured its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, he said. His country did not have any ambitions beyond its security. Although South Asia had been nuclearized, his country remained sensitive to international concerns about preventing further nuclear proliferation. It was observing a unilateral moratorium on further nuclear testing and had committed not to transfer sensitive materials, equipment or technology to other countries.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan had declared that his country's adherence to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) would take place once there were conditions free from coercion and pressure, he recalled. Pakistan also remained opposed to a nuclear arms race in South Asia, and would continue to seek a comprehensive approach to building security and stability in the region. To that end, it had repeatedly affirmed its readiness to engage in meaningful and results-oriented dialogue aimed at resolving outstanding issues -- especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, establishing a nuclear restraint regime and the balanced reduction of conventional forces.
He said that India was continuously engaged in a massive acquisition of weapons. The recent testing by India of a new intermediate-range ballistic missile (Agni II) in the Bay of Bengal only aggravated the conventional imbalance already present between the two countries. The development of Agni II added to his country's concerns and threatened its security.
Despite recent events in South Asia, he said his country continued to support the nuclear-weapon-free zones in Latin America, the South Pacific, Africa, South-East Asia and Central Asia. It also supported the proposal for the creation of such a zone in the Middle East, in accordance with the relevant United Nations and Security Council resolutions.
Concerning the convening of a fourth special session on disarmament, it was now time to assess the implementation of the first special session, as well as to outline a future course of action in the field of disarmament, arms control and related international security matters. The special session must address the issue of nuclear disarmament as a priority matter. It must review
Disarmament Commission - 13 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
the new challenges confronting the international community that were manifested in programmes to develop new types of nuclear weapons, new doctrines, theatre missile defences, and anti-ballistic missile systems. Any development towards the militarization of outer space should also be monitored.
In the area of conventional weapons, he said that the special session should: examine the widening inequalities between countries; formulate proposals to curtail the development and proliferation of those increasingly lethal weapons; and address regional disarmament issues.
CHO CHANG-BEOM (Republic of Korea) said that nuclear-weapon-free zones were an important complement to the NPT. While continuing progress had been made towards the establishment of such zones in various parts of the world, formidable challenges still remained in some regions, including South Asia. He hoped the newly posed danger of nuclear proliferation could be averted through more intensified diplomatic efforts aimed at making those regions nuclear-weapon-free.
In that connection, he stressed that the 1992 Joint Declaration on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula should be fully implemented as soon as possible. Its early implementation would strengthen the global non- proliferation regime, as well as the peace and security on the Korean peninsula and beyond. While he supported the establishment of nuclear-weapon- free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of a region, those should not undermine the principles of international law, including free navigation of the high seas and the inherent right to individual or collective self-defence. Following the conclusion of such an agreement, an effective verification mechanism, such as full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, should be ensured.
Considering the remarkable developments in the field of disarmament and international non-proliferation, as well as the fundamental shift in the international security environment since the end of the cold war, he said it was time to review the most critical aspects of disarmament and chart a future course of action. Appropriate norms were needed to cope with the destabilizing impact of conventional weapons. In setting those guidelines, emphasis should be placed on practical disarmament measures, such as control of small arms and light weapons, the illicit arms trade and transparency in armaments.
LUIZ TUPY CALDAS DE MOURA (Brazil) said that the current session took place at a complex moment in the disarmament arena. Promising steps on landmines and chemical weapons had taken place, but there was not much cause for optimism in nuclear weapons. From 1968 to 1995, half the globe came to be covered by nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. It was now 30 years since the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the
Disarmament Commission - 14 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) -- the first such treaty -- and Brazil was aware of the benefits of living under such a regime. It encouraged the establishment of the Central Asia zone and the single country Mongolian zone. The working group chairman's working paper was a good basis to express a formal understanding of the nature of such zones.
His Government would support the convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, he said. On its agenda, without prejudice to consideration of weapons of mass destruction, he supported consideration of confidence-building measures and of conventional weapons. The session would be a valuable opportunity for the international community to make an overall assessment of the work done in the disarmament field.
Regarding guidelines on conventional weapons, he said his country would work on the basis of the working group chairman's paper. The Security Council resolution on illicit small arms in Africa -- resolution 1209 (1999) -- should be considered by the Commission. Measures being considered in the area of small arms within societies were useful, but should not be considered a replacement for existing disarmament measures. The Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Traffic and Manufacturing of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Similar Materials provided a regional approach to the problem.
There was an increased need for transparency about conventional arms, he said, and the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms must be turned into a truly universal instrument. Brazil had consistently provided information to the register. A draft inter-American convention on transparency in the acquisition of conventional arms -- a recent initiative sponsored by Brazil and the United States -- would reinforce at a regional level the voluntary obligations foreseen by the Register. It was hoped it would be adopted at the Organization of American States (OAS) Assembly in June.
Having joined the NPT and ratified the CTBT last year, Brazil reinforced its credentials to ask for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, he said.
KHALIL ABOU-HADID (Syria) said that all States could contribute to the formulation of measures for disarmament within the Commission, and to the formulation of disarmament principles consistent with the United Nations Charter for peace and security. The current session was of special importance, as the current items were to be finalized. It was necessary to arrive at a consensus.
The advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons said they had unique destructive capacities and the capacity to cause massive suffering now and harm future generations, he said. Their destructive force could not be contained within
Disarmament Commission - 15 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
space and time. Rather, they could destroy the civilizations and the ecosystems of the entire world. The Court had said there was an obligation to seek complete nuclear disarmament under international control.
Syria's foreign policy, aimed at the maintenance of international peace and security, had spared no effort to support United Nations disarmament resolutions, he said. Further, Syria had joined the NPT and supported the proposed Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone. It had been the first State to officially propose, in 1989, to render the Middle East free from all weapons of mass destruction under United Nations auspices. Its objective was to leave succeeding generations a world where there was no chance of a repetition of the dark epic of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
He reiterated his profound concern about the obstacle in the way of the establishment of a Middle East zone -- Israel's refusal to adhere to the NPT. Alone in the region, he said, it remained outside the Treaty, despite the international community's understanding of the harm that had on the Treaty itself. How could a zone be established without Israel adhering to the Treaty? he asked.
The United Nations should have a greater role in the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, he said. If the international community, as represented in the Commission, was serious about fruitful results for the session, it would demand that Israel denounce nuclear weapons and take steps to place its facilities under the IAEA safeguards and the NPT. The Commission needed to urge all countries that had not signed the Treaty, particularly those that had nuclear weapons, to do so.
He supported the convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, he said. It would provide an opportunity to direct the international community's attention to the destruction of weapons of mass destruction and then to the control and limitation of conventional weapons.
It was consistent with the purpose and principles of the United Nations to call for an end to excessive production and stockpiling of conventional weapons, while recognizing State rights to self-defence, self-determination and to oppose international occupation, he said. States with larger arsenals must attempt considerable reductions in conventional weapons to maintain peace and security. The United Nations Register of Conventional Arms failed, in its current form, to cover the concerns of a large number of States. It should cover weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear weapons, not just conventional weapons.
Disarmament Commission - 16 - Press Release DC/2637 229th Meeting (PM) 13 April 1999
The Commission's third agenda item was both important and delicate, and touched on the interests and concerns of all countries, he said. In view of the delicacy of the issue, it must be dealt with by the Commission purely from a disarmament perspective. Other elements must not be introduced. It must limit its scope to post-conflict periods, and ensure that any international intervention would be positive and conducive to peace. Any intervention must also be in accordance with international law and the United Nations Charter.
* *** *