TWENTIETH CENTURY WARS DASHED HOPES OF MANY FOR GROWTH, PROSPERITY, OBSERVER OF HOLY SEE TELLS FIRST COMMITTEE

GA/DIS/3143
14 October 1999

TWENTIETH CENTURY WARS DASHED HOPES OF MANY FOR GROWTH, PROSPERITY, OBSERVER OF HOLY SEE TELLS FIRST COMMITTEE

14 October 1999


Press Release
GA/DIS/3143


TWENTIETH CENTURY WARS DASHED HOPES OF MANY FOR GROWTH, PROSPERITY, OBSERVER OF HOLY SEE TELLS FIRST COMMITTEE

19991014

Ten More Speakers in Committee’s General Debate Address Issues of Prevention Strategies, Illicit Small Arms Traffic

More than 110 million people had been killed in the wars of the twentieth century and the killing had not diminished in the last decade, the so-called post-cold-war period, dashing the hopes in many regions for growth and prosperity, the Observer of the Holy See told the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) this morning, as it continued its disarmament and security debate.

Citing a lengthy list of recent conflicts, he said that in the past decade distinctions between military combatants and civilians had disappeared and human rights violations against women and children had occurred in unprecedented numbers –- 2 million children had been killed in armed conflicts, 4 to 5 million more had been disabled and more than 12 million had been made homeless. Building a path to peace in the next century required universal acceptance of the Security Council as the pre-eminent authority in enforcing peace and security, he added.

The representative of Ghana said, the world had been blessed with the availability of the early warning detection of conflict, as well as with the tools of preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-building. Powerful new tools to prevent war included: confidence- building measures; transparency and information exchange; mutual constraints on force deployments; negotiated reductions in armed forces; and restriction on the arms trade. All those approaches to peace should be integrated into a unified programme to prevent war. Sequenced steps towards building a permanent global security system, making war rare along the way, would save thousands of lives and huge sums of money.

The representative of Libya said global instability had been exacerbated by an escalated arms race and the eruption of age-old, bloody conflicts. The sale of weapons by powerful countries

First Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/DIS/3143 6th Meeting (AM) 14 October 1999

to weaker ones had fueled the arms race and caused economic and social deterioration. In the last decade, developing countries had bought some 70 per cent of the arms on the global market, at the expense of development, while the super Powers had accounted for some 80 per cent of the arms sales. Despite the end of the cold war, the risk of sudden nuclear wars had persisted. There were between 30,000 to 40,000 nuclear bombs, with one-sixth of them in rockets ready for launching, despite agreements among States to avoid such risks. The Arab region was threatened by the nuclear weapons possessed by Tel Aviv, which had between 300, and 500 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium -- an amount capable of producing 250 nuclear weapons.

The representative of Sierra Leone said that, although he understood the established disarmament priorities of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, the bitter experience in Sierra Leone had convinced him that conventional arms could pose perhaps as much a threat to both national and international peace and security. The lukewarm international response to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme in his country was disappointing. Three months after the signing of the Lomé Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the lack of resources had stalled progress.

Similarly, the representative of Togo said his country was greatly concerned about the illicit traffic of small arms and light weapons, which had been exacerbated by the absence of internationally-recognized standards. The issue was a high priority for African States, confronted by all kinds of wars and crises. While his Government had supported the arms moratorium in West Africa and had set up a national committee to combat the illicit arms trade, concerted international action was also required to thwart the arms flows.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Venezuela, San Marino, Mongolia and Fiji.

The First Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its general debate.

Committee Work Programme

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its general debate on a wide range of disarmament initiatives and a number of international disarmament agreements.

One such multilateral agreement -- the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test- Ban Treaty (CTBT) -- still requires the ratification of 18 countries critical to the Treaty's success. The United States Senate rejected the Treaty yesterday. Ratification by two other nuclear-weapon States, Russian Federation and China, is pending and may be in question because of the rejection by the United States. Other States whose ratification is required under article 14 of the Treaty, namely the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India and Pakistan, still have not signed the Treaty, which opened for signature in 1996.

A conference to facilitate the Treaty's entry into force concluded last Friday, 8 October, in Vienna. In a Final Declaration, the participating States parties and signatories to the CTBT called upon all States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible and to refrain from acts which would defeat its object and purpose.

On non-proliferation, the lack of positive results from the three preparatory committee sessions leading up to the 2000 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will be discussed. The Treaty, which was designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, is considered by many experts to be the bedrock of the non-proliferation regime. With 188 States parties, it is the most universal of all disarmament agreements.

The nuclear disarmament debate was expected to take into account bilateral arrangements, including the 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems -- the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty -- by which the United States and the Russian Federation agreed to limit the deployment and development of anti-ballistic missiles.

Attempts to revise that cornerstone treaty of strategic balance could have other ramifications, such as the further delay in ratification by the Russian Duma of the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II), which is the second of two treaties by which the United States and the Russian Federation agreed to significantly reduce the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads.

The original treaty, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or START I, was signed in 1991 and called for a 30 per cent reduction in strategic weapons over seven years, with stringent verification. In 1993, START II provided for the elimination of heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and all other multiple-warhead ICBMs, as well as a two-thirds reduction of the total number of strategic nuclear weapons deployed by both sides. Negotiation on further reductions under START III can commence only upon entry into force of START II.

Treaties banning the production and stockpiling of other weapons of mass destruction were also expected to dominate the debate. Among them, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention). The call has intensified to forge a consensus behind a protocol that would establish effective verification of and compliance with that 1978 Treaty.

The entry into force on 29 April 1997 of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention) triggered the operation of a complex verification mechanism, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which has completed 503 inspections and has witnessed the destruction of more than 3,000 metric tons of chemical agents. So far, 126 States have ratified or acceded to the Convention.

The Committee is also expected to focus on the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones. The zones already in existence are governed by the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), the South Pacific Nuclear- Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga), the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Bangkok) and the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba). Committee drafts are anticipated for the establishment of such zones in the Middle East, Central Europe and South Asia.

Discussions will also continue on the subject of landmines, in the context of the two instruments to ban or limit their use. The first was Protocol II of the Convention on the 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 Certain Conventional Weapons), a partial ban negotiated in the Conference on Disarmament. The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention), a total ban, was agreed to in Oslo as part of the so-called "Ottawa process" and entered into force on 1 March 1999.

(For detailed background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3139 issued 8 October.)

Statements

YAW ODEI OSEI (Ghana) said that, over the past few years, the United Nations had frequently been called upon to take up new tasks and confront new challenges, as a result of the growing threat of the spread of weapons of mass destruction and of conventional arms. The United Nations response had underscored humankind’s recognition of its common heritage and survival and the importance of achieving consensus on measures to reduce and perhaps eliminate such threats. The lack of commitment and political will of the nuclear-weapon States continued to impede the nuclear disarmament process.

He said his country was committed to the NPT and shared its universalization and adherence by all States parties and Member States that had nuclear weapons or were capable of producing them. There could be no security assurances without a total commitment and adherence by all countries to the articles and mechanisms of the NPT. The third preparatory session for the NPT 2000 Review Conference had been extremely disappointing. Reiterating the statement made by his Foreign Minister to the General Assembly last month, the parties and non-parties alike to the NPT would not indefinitely abide by the Treaty while the nuclear-weapon States ignored the calls of the international community to abide by it, as well as pursue negotiations on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament under strict and effective international control.

It was gratifying to note that the momentum built towards eliminating landmines had been sustained at the first meeting of the States parties to the Ottawa Convention, he said. The support of the international community towards achieving the objectives of that Convention was critical. Another area of grave concern was the proliferation of conventional weapons, notably small arms and light weapons, which were the tools for the evolution of conflicts in Africa. While he recognized the legitimate right of States to acquire such conventional weapons for national defence, their proliferation and illicit trafficking aimed at fomenting conflict must be deplored and consideration must be given to strengthening control measures and reducing the availability of those weapons.

In that context, he said he welcomed the decision by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to adopt a coordinated approach to the problems posed by the illicit trafficking, circulation and proliferation of those arms. His delegation had also called on all States to support efforts aimed at stemming the illicit trafficking in those arms by complying strictly with the Security Council imposed embargo on the sale or supply of arms and related material to non- governmental forces in West Africa.

SYLVESTER ROWE (Sierra Leone) registered disappointment over the lukewarm international response to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme in Sierra Leone. In accordance with article XIV of the Lomé Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Government of Sierra Leone requested the international community to assist with the provision of the necessary financial and technical resources needed for the adaptation and extension of the existing encampment, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme. Regrettably, he said, three months after Lomé, disarmament and demobilization, let alone integration, had been stalled, due primarily to the lack of resources.

He said that did not augur well for peace and security in the country and in the subregion as a whole. The cost of disarmament was far less than the cost, in human and material terms, of the eight-year conflict. It was also far less than the cost of any fighting that could flare up as a direct result of the lack of adequate international support for the disarmament programme. The need for disarmament in Sierra Leone today was analogous to national efforts to deal with the threat of the possible use of deadly weapons by terrorist groups against a civilian population.

One important article relating to disarmament in the Lomé agreement, he added, was that a Joint Monitoring Commission should receive information from the parties regarding the strength and locations of all combatants, as well as the positions and descriptions of all known unexploded bombs, mines, booby-traps and all other physical or military hazards. In that regard, Sierra Leone could benefit from the United Nations Trust Fund for the Consolidation of Peace through Practical Disarmament Measures. His country needed assistance in support of such activities as, for example, the storage and destruction of collected arms and ammunition under the disarmament programme.

He added that his country realized that the established priorities in disarmament were still nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. However, based on the bitter experience in Sierra Leone during the past eight years, it was his conviction that conventional arms, especially the proliferation and illicit transfer of small arms, light weapons and ammunition, could pose perhaps as much a threat to national stability and international peace and security as nuclear weapons.

RENATO R. MARTINO, Observer of the Holy See, said that it was with profound sorrow that the world must record that the war deaths in the twentieth century had been much greater in number than all the war deaths in previous centuries, from the first century A.D. More than 110 million people had been killed in the current century’s wars. The killing had not diminished in the last decade of the century -– the so-called post-cold-war period. East Timor, Kosovo, Serbia, Iraq, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Haiti, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Sri Lanka were just some of the affected areas from nearly all regions of the world whose hopes for growth and prosperity had been stifled by chronic conflict.

Acts of barbarism had sunk to new depravities, he went on. Extermination, genocide, mass killings, deportation, tortures in the extreme had scarred the memory of the current century. Distinctions between military combatants and civilians had disappeared. Human rights violations against women and children had occurred in unprecedented numbers. In the past decade, 2 million children had been killed in armed conflicts; 4 to 5 million more had been disabled and more than 12 million had been made homeless. Terror and violence, now so common, reflected a deliberate victimization.

Such brutality must be stopped by international legal authority, he said. The carnage occurring within States, as well as the conflict between States, must be addressed by competent legal authority operating under the mandate of the Security Council. It would not be possible to build a path to peace in the twenty-first century unless there was universal recognition and acceptance that the Security Council was the pre-eminent authority in enforcing peace and security. Further, the cruel wars and massacres had been fed by the availability of small arms.and light weapons. The Holy See had repeatedly urged that effective measures be taken to stem the trade of those arms. However, important international or regional measures would not be effective unless States established national controls on the sale and transfer of those weapons. Still further measures must be taken to halt the illicit sale and transfer of small arms and light weapons, which continued to find their way into the hands of irregular forces, guerrillas and terrorists. Those arms also played a nefarious role in drug cartels and organized crime syndicates.

The first meeting of States parties to the Ottawa Convention last Spring had shown what the determined will of States could achieve in the field of small arms, he said. Every effort must be made to universalize that treaty and fully implement its provisions. Anti-personnel landmines must be totally eliminated, in the name of humanity. The peaceful development of many societies would be hindered until the mine clearance process had been completed. Adequate funding must be assured for both the removal of landmines and their destruction.

Continuing, he said that while militarism of all kinds must be checked, the abolition of nuclear weapons was the prerequisite for peace in the next century. What had been promised for a long time by the NPT must be achieved. The preservation of the NPT had demanded an unequivocal commitment. That was a moral challenge, a legal challenge, and a political one. That multiple-based challenge must be met by the application of humanity. His country favoured a new set of principles and objectives for the NPT to be adopted at the 2000 Review Conference. The new principles and objectives should reinforce political accountability, which was critical to the vitality and viability of the NPT process.

He said that the international community should, immediately: eliminate non-strategic nuclear weapons; de-alert strategic weapons by removing warheads from delivery vehicles; establish a legally-binding negative security assurances regime; and secure a pledge from the nuclear-weapon States not to be the first to use nuclear weapons. At the same time, the Conference on Disarmament should help the NPT process by commencing substantive discussions on all nuclear disarmament issues. That could encourage and expand the START process, which should be joined by all nuclear-weapon States. At the 2000 Review Conference, the nuclear-weapon States should be called upon to provide proof of their determination to progress towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. Without progress in that field, it would be difficult to advance the implementation of the NPT and achieve its universality.

The world was blessed with the availability of the early warning detection of conflict, as well as the tools of preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-building, he said. Powerful new tools to prevent war included: confidence-building measures; transparency and information exchange; mutual constrains on force deployments; negotiated reductions in armed forces; and restrictions on the arms trade. All those approaches to peace needed to be integrated into a unified programme to prevent war. A comprehensive approach, reflecting new ways of thinking and new solutions to security, would strengthen existing peace-making and disarmament programmes. Sequenced steps towards building a permanent global security system, making war rare along the way, would save thousands of lives and huge sums of money. The length of time it would take to achieve the goal of a world without war should not deter the international community from starting now. Without such a programme, the killing would continue.

NICOLAS AMOUZOU (Togo) said the present session had provided an opportunity for States to raise the question of the political will and readiness to promote the necessary conditions for achieving disarmament, peace and security. Disarmament and international security were still at the heart of the priorities of the global community, despite efforts towards its promotion. Indeed, the picture of the fading century, in terms of peace, was hardly optimistic. More than in previous years, the world had witnessed numerous developments that had threatened international peace, through the development of nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, and small arms. It was greatly alarming that a peaceful world was not in the offing. He shared the concerns expressed by numerous governments about the setbacks in international action to combat the nuclear arms race, in particular efforts to end nuclear proliferation.

He said his country was greatly concerned about the illicit traffic of small arms and light weapons. The main reasons for their accumulation and transfer revolved around several factors: the refusal of State suppliers and receivers to limit the production and delivery of those weapons to quantities necessary for legitimate self-defence; and their inability to exercise effective control over the delivery of such arms to regions in conflict or for use in criminal activities, such as drug trafficking. The phenomenon had been exacerbated by the absence of internationally-recognized standards. The issue was a high priority for African States, which had been confronted with wars and crises of all types. His country had supported the arms moratorium in West Africa, as well as the programme for coordination and assistance. At the national level, his Government had set up a national committee to combat the illicit arms trade, but concerted international action was also required. In that connection, United Nations initiatives to thwart the problem were welcome. Hopefully, the international conference in 2001 would make it possible to find an effective solution to the problem.

He said he wished to underscore the significant role played by the regional disarmament centres in Asia, Latin America and Africa. With respect to the Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, headquartered in Togo, the Secretary-General had noted the important role played by the Centre in creating a framework for elaborating regional confidence-building measures and strengthening the socio- political stability and security of African States. The views of the Secretary-General had been reaffirmed by the OAU at its thirty-fifth summit in Algiers, specifically on the need to forge close cooperation between the Centre and the OAU for preventing, managing and resolving conflicts. Since the Centre’s revitalization, there had been numerous regional activities, including a workshop on the illicit trafficking in small arms.

ISA BABAA (Libya) said the United Nations had been established to rid humanity of destruction and the scourge of war and build a new world based on justice and international law. The General Assembly, since its inception, had confirmed the central role of disarmament in achieving peace and security. Events today however, had run counter to the founder’s objectives. At the end of the century, the world had witnessed an escalation of the arms race and an eruption of age-old, bloody conflicts. Instead of achieving peace, prosperity and development, the world had experienced unprecedented conflicts, resulting from a ferocious rivalry to satisfy the interests and hegemony of States. The new role of the arms mafia and the transnationals had only one aim, namely to sow the seeds of instability, wage war and nourish their own interests.

He said the Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala, had described a “globalization of the military industries”, which had made it difficult for governments to control the flow of weapons. The interest of arms producers had run counter to the interest of Member States seeking international peace and security. The arms race was escalating at both the regional and international levels; military expenditures were doubling, as sales had risen to more than $21 billion globally. The developing countries had bought some 70 per cent of those arms throughout the decade, at the expense of development. The resulting emergence of civil wars had also impeded development. The super-Powers had accounted for 80 per cent of the arms sales. Those countries, which had possessed great arsenals of lethal nuclear and conventional weapons, had not reduced those stockpiles or provided security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States. At the same time, the sale of weapons by those countries to smaller countries had fueled the arms race and caused further economic and social deterioration.

He said there was a super-Power that had called on other States to accede to the NPT and to cease nuclear testing. That country had not ratified the CTBT, however, and it had overlooked what had taken place in another State that possessed those lethal weapons. To attain global security, selectivity must be avoided in the arms field. Despite the end of the cold war, the risk of sudden, nuclear wars had persisted. There were between 30,000 to 40,000 nuclear bombs, with one-sixth of them in rockets ready for launching, despite agreements among States to avoid such risks. The recent raid by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) against Kosovo was proof that such horrific events could take place. An outer space arms race had increased the risk of nuclear weapons. Thirteen years had elapsed since the Chernobyl disaster, and its repetition had recently taken place in the Far East. The use of nuclear weapons did not allow for error. The unsolved problem of nuclear waste -- dumped in seas or deserts – was also disturbing.

Finding a permanent and just peace internationally was the only way to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, he said. The solution lay in nuclear disarmament and the elimination of those weapons, within a specified time frame. Efforts to establish nuclear- weapon-free zones deserved support, as those were an important step towards implementing the NPT and promoting peace and security. His country had signed the Pelindaba Treaty, aimed at turning Africa into a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Together, the other treaties had freed the southern hemisphere of nuclear weapons. The international community must make further strides towards turning the Arab region, among others, into -- nuclear-weapon-free zone.

He said the Arab region was under the threat of the nuclear weapons possessed by Tel Aviv, which possessed from 300 to 500 kilogrammes of plutonium for military purposes -- an amount capable of producing more than 250 nuclear weapons. The Middle East region was suffering from a serious disequilibrium. All of the Arab States had acceded to the NPT, while Tel Aviv had not. Indeed, it had also rejected the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over its nuclear installations, as well as a quarter-century of efforts to turn the area into a nuclear-weapon-free zone. It still dumped nuclear waste in occupied Arab territories and had persisted in developing all sorts of weapons of mass destruction, both biological and chemical weapons, because of the world’s inaction. The lethal weapons of Tel Aviv posed a permanent global and regional threat. Unless those weapons were destroyed, the efforts of the international community aimed at non-proliferation would be a dismal failure.

CARLOS BIVERO (Venezuela) said he observed with great concern that the disarmament processes seemed to have entered a crisis based on inertia. For the third consecutive year the Conference on Disarmament had been unable to reach agreement on a programme of work. That was a matter of great concern. He was convinced that only through cooperation and dialogue could a consensus be found that would revitalize multilateral diplomacy.

He said that the initiative put forward by the new agenda coalition was of great importance, and his country fully supported it. The elimination of nuclear weapons was an unavoidable task of the times. His country shared the conviction that the international community should join efforts on the prohibition of fissile material for weapons purposes, as an important element of the non-proliferation strategy. Members should work together to attain that objective.

He added that he supported the efforts to create nuclear-weapon- free zones as a valuable contribution to international peace strategies, and praised the actions taken by the States of Central Asia in that regard. He also emphasized his country’s concern over the problems of small arms trafficking, and reiterated its support of the international conference to be held on that issue in the year 2001, at the latest. Significant agreements had already been made at the regional level on that problem, and the work of the group of experts in that field had been extremely important. His nation also supported the initiative of Peru to strengthen the Lima-based Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

ELENA MOLAN RONI (San Marino) said the international community could no longer tolerate States complaining about the high costs of converting arm industries. It had been proven that the funds dedicated to military budgets could solve many problems if used for social and economic development. The relations between development and disarmament were crystal clear. It was time to act.

The situation regarding the world stock of small arms was clearly alarming, she added. Her country supported the resolution to convene an international conference on the illicit arms trade in all its aspects no later than 2001, to strengthen international efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate that important problem. She also hoped that the process of demining would soon receive the funds and attention it urgently deserved. Her country supported the work of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, as well as the work of the United Nations regional peace centres, and appealed to all States to support the activities of the centres. Attention on the regional level was extremely important, as small areas were easier to manage, monitor and organize. San Marino also called upon all States of the Mediterranean region to adhere to all multilaterally-negotiated legal instruments related to the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.

In addition, she said her country was deeply committed to total and complete nuclear disarmament. With regard to the CTBT, she supported the proposal made by the Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs, for establishing a group that would meet to facilitate an exchange of information between members, stimulate discussion, and provide for coordination. She praised nuclear weapon free zones as the “healthiest part of our planet” and said they should be viewed as the “meter” by which to measure the power of a nation. Her country, she added, was still very concerned with the respect for environmental norms in the drafting and application of disarmament agreements. She asserted that governments should introduce or extend programs for monitoring and cleaning up the areas affected by radioactive or chemical wastes and for the rehabilitation of former military test sites.

JARGALSAIKHANY ENKHSAIKHAN (Mongolia) said that despite some positive developments, disturbing incidents had overshadowed the disarmament agenda. Among those were measures to develop ballistic missile defence that could undermine strategic balance and stability, as well as the growth in the number of States that were developing or testing missiles. In the face of such developments, the international community should redouble its efforts aimed at realistically addressing those challenges.

His country was strongly committed to disarmament and nuclear non- proliferation, he said. It still believed that the ABM Treaty, though bilateral, nevertheless had far-reaching global strategic implications. State parties to the ABM Treaty should comply fully with its provisions. His country was also among the first to sign and ratify the CTBT, and was providing three monitoring stations for the International Monitoring System. Further delay of the Treaty’s entry into force would only increase the risk of nuclear testing and the horizontal or vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons. It would also affect the 2000 NPT Review Conference and its outcome.

He added that his country supported the convening of an international conference on the illicit arms trade in all its aspects in the year 2001 and also attached great importance to regional efforts aimed at disarmament and strengthening regional security. The past decade had demonstrated that the regional centre was playing an important role in promoting dialogue on disarmament and security-related issues, and their activities should be supported. The question of establishing a permanent office in Katmandu should be expedited and, meanwhile, the centre should continue to operate from New York.

AMRAIYA NAIDU (Fiji) said disarmament programmes must include nuclear disarmament, the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, a ban on anti-personnel land mines and more effective oversight on the production, sale and distribution of conventional weapons. The international community must take appropriate steps to institute regional security arrangements and to prevent, rather than just respond, to armed conflicts.

If the international community is to make any significant progress towards nuclear disarmament, he said, nuclear-weapon States must themselves demonstrate an obligation and commitment to the full implementation of the provisions of the NPT. The NPT review process must, therefore, be qualitatively different and much more forward- looking. His country also called upon regional States to support initiatives for the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones, where they do not already exist. The ultimate goal for nuclear disarmament must be the total elimination of all nuclear weapons from our planet and the negotiation and conclusion of a treaty for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

A ban on the production, sale or transfer of fissile material, he said, should proceed with the greatest urgency. In the meantime, every effort should be made to establish a fissile material inventory and negotiate a fissile material cut-off treaty. In addition, both the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as the Biological Weapons Convention lack universality in order for them to be effective instruments. He called for the early conclusion of the verification protocols and for the full commitment to those Conventions. Urgent attention must also be accorded to the promulgation of strategies to limit the proliferation and sale of small arms and light weapons, to stem the flow to adversaries involved in armed conflict.

GADIS3143

For information media. Not an official record.