TERRORIST USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION REVIEW AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED BY 14 TEXTS INTRODUCED IN FIRST COMMITTEE

30 October 2001
GA/DIS/3212

TERRORIST USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION REVIEW AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED BY 14 TEXTS INTRODUCED IN FIRST COMMITTEE

30/10/2001
Press Release
GA/DIS/3212


Fifty-sixth General Assembly

First Committee

17th Meeting (AM)


TERRORIST USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION REVIEW


AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED BY 14 TEXTS INTRODUCED IN FIRST COMMITTEE


The General Assembly, seized of the danger of the use of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, in terrorist acts and the urgent need for concerted global efforts to control and overcome it, would recognize that the time was now opportune for all the nuclear-weapon States to take effective disarmament measures with a view to the elimination of those weapons, according to a revised draft resolution on nuclear disarmament introduced this morning in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security). 


The Committee heard the introduction of 12 draft resolutions and two draft decisions as it concluded its second phase of work.  According to the text on nuclear disarmament, introduced by the representative of Myanmar, the Assembly would urge the nuclear-weapon States to stop immediately the qualitative improvement, development, production and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems, and, as an interim measure, to immediately de-alert and deactivate them.


By the terms of a draft decision on biological weapons, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to render the necessary assistance to the depositary Governments of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and On Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention) and provide the necessary services for the implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the Review Conferences and the 1994 Special Conference. 


Introducing that decision, the representative of Hungary said that it was procedural in nature in light of the upcoming Review Conference in December on the Biological Weapons Convention, which was the right framework for discussions to strengthen that instrument.


Under a revised draft resolution sponsored by the Russian Federation on information security, the Assembly, considering the need to prevent the illegal use of information resources or technologies or their use for criminal or terrorist purposes, would call upon Member States to further, at multilateral levels, consideration of existing and potential threats in the field, as well as possible measures to limit the emerging threats, consistent with the need to preserve the free flow of information.


      Concerned that military applications of scientific and technological

developments could contribute significantly to the upgrading of advances weapons systems and, in particular, weapons of mass destruction, the Assembly would urge Member States to undertake multilateral negotiations in order to establish universally acceptable, non-discriminatory guidelines for international transfers of dual-use goods and technologies and high technology with military purposes under the terms of a draft text introduced by the representative of India.


The Assembly would reaffirm the critical importance of, and the vital contribution that had been made by, effective verification measures in arms limitation and disarmament agreements, according to a draft text introduced by the representative of Canada.


The representative of South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement of countries, sponsored five draft resolutions.  By the terms of the texts, the Assembly would:


 -- urge the international community to devote part of the resources gained from disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development;


 -- call upon States to adopt measures to ensure the application of scientific and technological progress in the framework of international security, without detriment to the environment; or


 -- reiterate that its fourth special session devoted to disarmament could set the future course of action in the field of disarmament, and would decide, subject to the emergence of consensus on its objectives and agenda, to convene the session;


 -- reiterate that the participation of all permanent members of the Security Council and all maritime users of the Indian Ocean in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee would greatly help the advancement of peace, security, and stability in the Indian Ocean region;


 -- and reiterate that maintenance and revitalization of the three Regional Centres –- in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia and the Pacific -– could promote stability and security.


A draft decision introduced by the South African representative on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement would have the Assembly decide to include an item on reviewing the Declaration on Strengthening International Peace and Security in the provisional agenda of its fifty-eighth session.


According to a draft resolution submitted by the representative of Nepal on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, the Assembly would reaffirm its strong support for the Centre's forthcoming operation and further strengthening.


By the terms of a text on the consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures, introduced by Germany’s representative, the Assembly would


(page 1b follows)


stress the particular relevance of the guidelines on conventional arms

control/limitation and disarmament in the context of the present draft and encourage Member States, including the group of interested States, to support the Secretary-General in responding to requests by them to collect and destroy small arms and light weapons in post-conflict situations.


The Jamaican representative introduced a draft resolution on the Disarmament Commission, by which the Assembly would recommend the adoption of items for consideration at its 2002 substantive session.


The representatives of Gabon, Netherlands, Yemen, and Indonesia made statements.


The representative of Sri Lanka introduced the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean.


The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. today to begin its third stage of work, namely action on all disarmament- and security-related draft texts.


Background


The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its second phase of work, namely thematic discussions on all disarmament and security items and the introduction and consideration of related draft resolutions and decisions.


Introductions of draft texts on the following topics were expected:  nuclear disarmament; consolidation of peace through disarmament; information and telecommunications security; verification; the Biological Weapons Convention; a fourth special session of the General Assembly on Disarmament; the relationship of disarmament and development; observance of environmental norms in disarmament; Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific; Regional Centres for peace and disarmament; the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace; declaration on strengthening international security; the role of science and technology in international security and disarmament; and the report of the Disarmament Commission.


In addition to the introduction of a text on the Indian Ocean, the Committee was expected to hear an introduction of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean.


A report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean (document A/56/29) recalls that the Committee held its session on 5 July at United Nations Headquarters.  The Chairman was requested to continue informal consultations with members of the Committee and to report through it to the General Assembly at its fifty-eighth session.


A draft resolution on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (document A/C.1/56/L.50) would have the Assembly reaffirm its strong support for the forthcoming operation and further strengthening of the Regional Centre.  It would underline the importance of the Kathmandu process as a powerful vehicle for the development of the practice of region-wide security and disarmament dialogue.


By a further provision, the Assembly would appeal to Member States, in particular those within the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions, the only resource of the Regional Centre, to strengthen its programme of activities.


The draft resolution is sponsored by Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Fiji, Japan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vanuatu.


A draft resolution, sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on the United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament (document A/C.1/56/L.18) would have the Assembly reiterate the importance of United Nations activities at the regional level to increase the stability and security of its Member States, which could be promoted in a substantive manner by the maintenance and revitalization of the three Regional Centres in Africa; Latin America and the Caribbean; and Asia and the Pacific.


The Assembly would reaffirm that it was useful for the three Centres to carry out dissemination and educational programmes that promoted regional peace and security aimed at changing basic attitudes with respect to peace and security and disarmament.  It would appeal to Member States, as well as to international and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to voluntarily contribute to the Centres in their respective regions.


By the terms of a draft text sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement on convening the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (document A/C.1/56/L.19), the Assembly, reiterating that such a session could set the future course of action in the field of disarmament, arms control and related matters of international security, would decide, subject to the emergence of consensus on its objectives and agenda, to convene the special session.


It would request the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States on the objectives, agenda and timing of the special session and to report to it at its next session.


Another draft resolution, sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the

Non-Aligned Movement, on the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/56/L.20) would have the Assembly urge the international community to devote part of the resources gained from disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development, with a view to reducing the ever-widening gap between developed and developing countries.


The Assembly would invite all Member States to communicate to the Secretary-General, by 15 April 2002, their views and proposals for the implementation of the Action Programme adopted at the International Conference on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development.  It would also request the Secretary-General to continue to take action, through appropriate organs and within available resources, for the implementation of the Action Programme.


By the terms of another draft text, sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on observance of environmental norms in disarmament and arms control agreements (document A/C.1/56/L.21), the Assembly would call upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures to contribute to ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress in the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres, without detriment to the environment or to its effective contribution to attaining sustainable development.


The Assembly would reaffirm that international disarmament forums should take fully into account the relevant environmental norms in negotiating disarmament and arms limitations treaties and agreements and that all States should fully contribute to ensuring compliance with those norms in the implementation of treaties to which they were parties.


According to a draft resolution on the Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/C.1/56/L.22), sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, the General Assembly would reiterate that the participation of all permanent members of the Security Council and all maritime users of the Indian Ocean in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee would greatly help the advancement of peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean region. The Secretary-General would be requested to render, within existing resources, all necessary assistance to the Ad Hoc Committee, including the provision of summary records.


A draft decision sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement on reviewing the Declaration on Strengthening International Security (document A/C.1/56/L.23) would have the Assembly decide to include the item in the provisional agenda of its fifty-eighth session.


According to a draft text on verification, including the role of the United Nations in the field (document A/C.1/56/L.30), the Assembly would reaffirm the critical importance of, and the vital contribution that had been made by, effective verification measures in arms limitation and disarmament agreements and other similar obligations.


The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to it at its fifty-eighth session on further views received from Member States pursuant to prior resolutions.


The draft resolution is sponsored by Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.


By the terms of a draft text on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (document A/C.1/56/L.13) the Assembly, concerned that military applications of scientific and technological developments can contribute significantly to the upgrading of advanced weapons systems and, in particular, weapons of mass destruction, would urge Member States to undertake multilateral negotiations with the participation of all interested States in order to establish universally acceptable, non-discriminatory guidelines for international transfers of dual-use goods and technologies and high technology with military purposes.


At the same time, the Assembly would affirm that scientific and technological progress should be used for the benefit of all mankind to promote the sustainable economic and social development of all States and to safeguard international security, and that international cooperation in the use of science and technology through the transfer and exchange of technological know-how for peaceful purposes should be promoted.


In a related provision, it would invite Member States to undertake additional efforts to apply science and technology for disarmament-related purposes and to make disarmament-related technologies available to interested States.


The draft resolution is sponsored by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Fiji, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Viet Nam and Zambia.


According to a draft resolution entitled "Nuclear disarmament" (document A/C.1/56/L.44)/Rev.1), the Assembly, seized of the danger of the use of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, in terrorist acts and the urgent need for concerted international efforts to control and overcome it, would recognize that, in view of recent political developments, the time was now opportune for all the nuclear-weapon States to take effective disarmament measures with a view to the elimination of those weapons.


The Assembly would also recognize that there was a genuine need to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in security policies, to minimize the risk that those weapons would ever be used, and to facilitate the process of their total elimination.


Under related provisions, the Assembly would urge the nuclear-weapon States to stop immediately the qualitative improvement, development, production and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems, and, as an interim measure, to de-alert and deactivate immediately their nuclear weapons and to take other concrete measures to reduce further the operational status of their nuclear weapon systems.


The Assembly would also urge those States to commence plurilateral negotiations among themselves at an appropriate stage on further deep reductions of nuclear weapons as an effective measure of nuclear disarmament.  It would reiterate its call upon them to undertake the step-by-step reduction of the nuclear threat and to carry out effective nuclear disarmament measures with a view to the total elimination of those weapons.


The Assembly would further call upon the nuclear-weapon States, pending the achievement of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, to agree on an internationally and legally binding instrument on the joint undertaking not to be the first to use nuclear weapons.  It would call upon all States to conclude an internationally and legally binding instrument on security assurances of non-use and non-threat of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States.


It would call for the immediate commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.  It would urge the Conference to agree on a programme of work that included the immediate start of negotiations on such a treaty with a view to their conclusion within five years.


The draft resolution is sponsored by Algeria, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Panama, Philippines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Thailand, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Viet Nam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


By the terms of a draft resolution on the consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (document A/C.1/56/L.39), the Assembly would stress the particular relevance of the guidelines on conventional arms control/limitation and disarmament, with a particular emphasis on consolidation of peace in the context of General Assembly resolution 51/45 N adopted by the Disarmament Commission by consensus at its 1999 substantive session.


The Assembly would take note of the report of the Secretary-General (document A/52/289) on consolidation of peace through practical disarmament and encourage Member States, as well as regional arrangements and agencies, to lend their support to the implementation of the recommendations contained therein.


It would encourage Member States, including the group of interested States, to lend their support to the Secretary-General in responding to requests by them to collect and destroy small arms and light weapons in post-conflict situations.


The draft resolution is sponsored by Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Chad, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland and Ireland.


Also, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Malta, Monaco, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Panama, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia and Zambia.


Under a draft resolution sponsored by the Russian Federation on information security (document A/C.1/56/L.3), the Assembly, considering the need to prevent the illegal use of information resources or technologies or their use for criminal or terrorist purposes, would call upon Member States to promote further, at multilateral levels, the consideration of existing and potential threats in the field, as well as possible measures to limit the threats emerging in the field, consistent with the need to preserve the free flow of information.


The Assembly would consider that the purpose of such measures could be served through the examination of relevant international concepts aimed at strengthening the security of global information and telecommunications systems.  It would invite all Member States to continue to inform the Secretary-General of their views on the following questions:  general appreciation of the issues; definition of basic notions related to information security; and the examination of relevant international concepts aimed at strengthening the security of global information and telecommunications systems.


The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to consider existing and potential threats in the sphere of information security and possible cooperative measures to address them, as well as to conduct a study on the concepts aimed at strengthening the security of global information and telecommunications systems, with a group of governmental experts, to be established in 2004, and to submit a report on its outcome to the Assembly at its sixtieth session.


With a view to considering and defining existing and potential threats in the sphere of information security and possible measures to limit them, the Secretary-General is requested to conduct relevant research, with the assistance of government experts appointed by him, and to submit the results of that research to the Assembly at its fifty-seventh session.


By the terms of a draft resolution on the Disarmament Commission (document A/C.1/56/L.4), the Assembly would recommend the adoption of the following items for consideration at its 2002 substantive session:  ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament; and practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms.  It would also request the Commission to make every effort to achieve specific recommendations on those items, and meet for a period not exceeding three weeks during 2002.


It would reaffirm the role of the Commission as the specialized, deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery that allowed for in-depth deliberations on specific disarmament issues, leading to the submission of concrete recommendations on those issues.


The draft resolution is sponsored by Argentina, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Egypt, Finland, Ghana, Jamaica, Myanmar, Nepal, South Africa, Sweden and Ukraine.


A draft decision sponsored by Hungary on the Biological Weapons Convention (document A/C.1/56/L.11) would have the Assembly decide to request the Secretary-General to continue to render the necessary assistance to the depositary governments of the Convention to provide such services as might be required for the implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the Review Conferences and the Special Conference of the States parties to the Convention, held from

19 to 30 September 1994, and to render the necessary assistance to provide such services as might be required for the Fifth Review Conference, to be held at Geneva from 19 November to 7 December 2001.


Statements


HIRA THAPA (Nepal), introduced a draft resolution on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (document A/C.1/56/L.50).  Through one of the draft’s preambular paragraphs, the General Assembly would express its satisfaction with the Centre for organizing an annual disarmament meeting at Kathmandu, a regional disarmament meeting in New Zealand, and a meeting on conference on disarmament issues in Japan.


In the operative paragraphs, the General Assembly would reiterate its support for the strengthening of the Centre and underscore the importance of the Kathmandu process as a vehicle for the development of regional security and disarmament dialogue, he said.  It would appeal to States, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to make voluntary contributions to the Centre.  In operative paragraph six, the Assembly would urge the Secretary-General to ensure that the Centre was operational in Kathmandu within six months of the date of the signature of the host country agreement, and to enable the Centre to function effectively.


JEAN PHILLIP DU PREEZ (South Africa), introduced on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement five draft resolutions and a draft decision.  The draft resolutions were:  United Nations Regional Centres for peace and disarmament (document A/C.1/56/L.18); the convening of a fourth special session of the General Assembly on disarmament (document A/C.1/56/L.19); the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/56/L.20); observance of environmental norms in disarmament and arms control (document A/C.1/56/L.21); and the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/C.1/56/L.22).  The draft decision concerned the inclusion in the provisional agenda of an item on a review of the Declaration on the Strengthening of International Peace and Security (document A/C.1/56/L.23).


He said the draft text on United Nations Regional Centres (document A/C.1/56/L.18) underscored the importance of the three regional centres’ important work in educating and informing people to change attitudes toward international peace and security.  It called upon States, civil society and NGOs to contribute to the Centres, so that they might continue their work.  The draft text on the convening of a fourth special session of the General Assembly on disarmament (document A/C.1/56/L.19) stated that such a session would offer an opportunity for States to review the state of affairs in disarmament in the post-cold-war era.  It also outlines specific steps to be taken to expedite the convening of the conference.  The only change was that the draft now takes note of the Millennium Declaration, in which world leaders resolved to take steps towards eliminating weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons in particular.


A draft text on the relationship of disarmament and development (document A/C.1/56/L.20) underlined the importance of reallocating funds for military spending to development efforts, he said.  Such redistribution of funds could help to reduce the gap between rich and poor nations, who often spent the most on defense.  The stark contrast between the amounts of money spent on defense and the paucity of funds available for development aid needed to be addressed.  Next, he introduced the draft text on the observance of environmental norms in disarmament (document A/C.1/56/L.21), saying that the international community was well aware of the threats nuclear materials posed to the environment.  The dismantling of nuclear weapons would require techniques and methods that would sustain prevailing environmental standards.  The draft called on States to apply relevant technologies to ensure that disposal was done without damaging the environment.


The draft resolution on the implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/C.1/56/L.22) reiterated the importance of the participation of all the permanent members of the Security Council and the major maritime users in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean, he said.  Full participation would result in a mutually beneficial dialogue to promote peace, security and stability in the region.  Finally, he introduced a draft decision (document A/C.1/56/L.23) that called for the inclusion of the item “review of the implementation of the Declaration on the Strengthening of International Peace and Security” in the provisional agenda of the 56th session of the General Assembly.


CHRISTOPHER WESTDAL (Canada) introduced the draft resolution on verification (document A/C.1/56/L.30) and read out the following co-sponsors:  Australia; Austria; Belgium; Brazil; Bulgaria; Chile;  Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Finland; Germany; Greece; Haiti; Hungary; Italy; Japan; Kazakhstan; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Monaco; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Republic of Korea; Republic of Moldova; Russian Federation; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Ukraine and the United Kingdom.  He said the draft was identical to the 1999 text approved by the Committee and adopted by the Assembly.


He said his delegation had introduced the draft for 16 years, as that provided an opportunity to reaffirm the centrality of verification in disarmament and non-proliferation endeavours.  Effective verification measures provided the central assurance required by States that others would honour their obligations.  By building confidence, verification buttressed the integrity of those agreements by encouraging transparency, respect for obligations, and full implementation.  Verification also bolstered bilateral and multilateral agreements, enhancing regional, as well as global security.


The Convention banning the use of chemical weapons had recently demonstrated the feasibility of a stringent worldwide verification regime, including on-site reporting by international inspectors, he said.  The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) helped verify the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  Verification of that Treaty had also been achieved through the review process and reporting by all States on implementation of article VI, concerning nuclear disarmament, as agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference. 


Regrettably, he said, efforts to conclude a regime for the Biological Weapons Convention had not yet born fruit.  The 16 verification principles drawn up in 1988 by the Disarmament Commission, and further elaborated by a United Nations study on verification in 1995, had remained as valid today as when those were written, and perhaps more relevant than ever, given the daily reminder of the threat of weapons of mass destruction. 


RAKESH SOOD (India) introduced the draft resolution on the role of science and technology in international security and disarmament (document A/C.1/56/L.13).  He said the text addressed an issue of fundamental importance to the international community, particularly to the developing world.  Advances in the field had offered immense possibilities for development, but there was a need to recognize that several of those advances were of dual use, with both civilian and military applications.  Access to such advances was a priority for developing countries, in order for them to achieve economic growth and gain their place in global trade.  Nevertheless, several of those countries had had to pay a cost in terms of development owing to the persistence of discriminatory control regimes.


He said that those regimes were, in effect, exclusive groupings of countries that limited such technological exchanges among themselves while denying access by others.  The regimes were often non-economic barriers to normal trade and went against generally accepted principles of global economic relations.  There were questions about whether such limited arrangements had been truly effective in achieving their stated purpose of strengthening the international non-proliferation regime, especially with respect to applications of science and technology connected with advanced weapons and weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means.


He said the Chemical Weapons Convention -- the first multilateral disarmament agreement of a universal character eliminating a complete class of weapons of mass destruction -- had shown the potential of a non-discriminatory legal mechanism that could address proliferation concerns, while promoting the economic development of States parties.  The Convention had obligated States parties to review existing trade regulations in order to render them consistent with the objective and purpose of the Convention.  But, the persistence of certain ad hoc control regimes creating a dual category of States parties -– demonstrated the need for early implementation of all of the Convention's provisions.


He said that the recent setback to negotiations for an effective protocol to strengthen the effectiveness of the Biological Weapons Convention, had, unfortunately, deprived States parties of the chance to put in place a system to regulate the transfer of agents, toxins and technologies relevant to the Convention, while avoiding measures that hampered the economic development of States parties.  The lack of a genuinely non-discriminatory universal agreement on nuclear weapons had also reduced the effectiveness of nuclear non-proliferation efforts.  Nuclear non-proliferation could not be divorced from the need for nuclear disarmament and the progressive elimination of those weapons.


HLA MYANT (Myanmar) introduced the revised draft resolution on nuclear disarmament (document A/C.1/56/L.44/Rev.1) and read out the co-sponsors.  He had tabled the traditional text since 1995, which had resulted from the Declaration of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Cartegena, Colombia in that year.  In fact, many of the Non-Aligned Movement members had co-sponsored the draft resolution and since 1999 all Association of South-East Asian Nations countries had co-sponsored it.  In its operative paragraphs, the text recognized the genuine need to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in security policies, to minimize the risk that they would ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination.


Also, he said, the text had reiterated its call upon the nuclear-weapon States to undertake a step-by-step reduction of the nuclear threat and carry out nuclear disarmament measures, with a view to the total elimination of those weapons.  The main thrust of the draft was the proposal for a phased programme of nuclear disarmament, leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and a nuclear-weapon-free world.


VOLKER HEINSBURG (Germany) introduced a draft resolution on the consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (document A/C.1/56/L.39).  He said that the availability of cheap and ready-to-use weapons, illicitly traded or manufactured, added to the intensity and duration of conflicts and made future violence more likely.  Existing arms control measures did not cover cases where light weapons were the primary means of combat, a gap that practical disarmament measures sought to fill.


The programme of action from the United Nations Conference on small arms was a cornerstone in disarmament efforts in areas similar to those in which practical disarmament measures would be applied, he said.  Practical disarmament measures had been included in the mandate of several peacekeeping operations. 


Changes had been made in the text of the resolution, including the addition of the second and third preambular paragraphs, he said. The seventh preambular paragraph now linked the draft resolution to the programme of action adopted at the United Nations small arms Conference.  Reference was made in the second and fourth preambular paragraphs to the importance of including practical disarmament measures in peacekeeping and peace-building.  Operative paragraph 5 requested the Secretary-General to present a report on the implementation of the draft resolution on practical disarmament measures to the General Assembly at its 57th session.


The group of interested States, which now numbered 60, was established in 1998 and had met 16 times so far, he continued.  The group had become a forum and focal point for delegations wishing to initiate projects in disarmament.  All of the projects had to be practical, have well-defined scope, and have a solid cost-benefit relationship.  So far, the projects had included fact-finding missions, workshops and arms collection projects. 


ALFRED MOUNGARA-MOUSSOTSI (Gabon) commented on the draft text on assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms (document A/C.1/56/L.51/Rev.1).  He said that the destabilizing phenomenon of the excessive circulation of small arms figured in the debates on security in the United Nations and in those of regional organizations.  Many States had taken steps to combat the problem, with a view toward eliminating the illicit trade in small arms.


The moratorium on the import, export and manufacture of those weapons by the States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and East African States, had played its part in eradicating the problem of small arms circulation, he said.  Security Council resolutions had also been important in those efforts.  Today, more concrete and pragmatic efforts were needed, not simple declarations and rhetoric.


Section III of the programme of action adopted at the United Nations Conference on small arms outlined a number of concrete steps to be taken, he continued.  Those actions included development of relevant legislation and the destruction of some small arms.  Paragraph three also called for financial and technical assistance to be given to States to better combat the menace of small arms.  He hoped all of those words would be translated into action.  The United Nations and civil society should strive to ensure that the battle against the traffic in small arms and light weapons was sufficiently financed.


ANATOLI ANTONOV (Russian Federation) introduced the revised draft resolution on information security (document A/C.1/56/L.3/Rev.1).  It was important to reflect on how to prevent peaceful technology, including information and computer technology, from being used to wage information wars and conduct illegal activities, especially terrorist acts.  The recent tragic events in the United States had highlighted the need for solving that problem and elaborating relevant preventive measures.  With Russia's direct involvement, the issue of information security had, for a number of years, been a focus of United Nations attention. 


He said that the consensus adoption by the Assembly of the relevant resolutions had implied not only individual countries' recognition of the existence of the problem, but also a call for its further consideration in a mutlilateral forum.  That was the underlying reason for the initiative taken by his delegation this year. The present text was in line with previous ones.  It was non-confrontational and took into account the views of many Member States, who had seen the need to further develop the idea and expand the agenda and geography of its discussion, leading to further resolutions aimed at serving the common interests of security and stability. 


The draft on information security, he continued, did not seek to impose any particular vision on the problem.  Neither did it have plans to control information and telecommunication systems and restrict the free flow of information, or inhibit access to it.  On the contrary, the draft had implied respect for all existing democratic standards applicable to that sphere.  At the same time, the concerns expressed by some of his colleagues had been incorporated in order to make the text's provisions more specific.  Also new was the request for the Secretary-General to conduct a study on the subject.


CHRIS SANDERS (Netherlands) commented on the general subject of the transfer of arms and sensitive materials.  He said that the draft text on the matter would be tabled next year, because of the sensitive climate that prevailed at the moment.  He had been working on the draft text of a resolution on those issues, taking into account a number of areas where consensus had been reached, but only with great difficulty.  The fragile and sensitive debate could not be pushed at the current meeting of the First Committee, or gains made could be lost.


He said legislation controlling the transfer of arms was important for the entire international community, as those issues could spill over into such issues as disarmament and anti-terrorism.  States with such legislation should share their knowledge, and his country was ready to share its expertise.  Any inappropriate linkage of the issues of the transfer of arms and sensitive materials to other sensitive issues should be avoided.  He would continue to work on a resolution that would have a good chance of achieving consensus at the 57th Session of the General Assembly. 


ABDUL-MALIK ALERYANI (Yemen) commented on the draft resolutions on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/56/L.25) and a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East (document A/C.1/56/L.50.  He said that Israel was the only country in the region that had not committed to eliminating nuclear weapons.  He shared the international community’s concerns about stockpiles of nuclear weapons.  States should honor their commitments to reduce their stockpiles, and security assurances must be given to States that had no nuclear weapons.


TIBOR TOTH (Hungary) introduced the draft decision on the Biological Weapons Convention (document A/C.1/56/L.11).  As a departure from the earlier practice, the text did not address substantial questions, but rather set the stage procedurally for the upcoming Review Conference in December.  Although the draft decision, owing to its procedural nature, had not highlighted the global challenges of recent developments, those were indeed serious.  The forthcoming Fifth Review Conference of the Convention would provide the right setting, time, structure and expert framework to discuss them meaningfully and identify the path of the international community in the prevailing situation. 


In 1991, he went on, the Third Review Conference had launched a process to first consider possible verification measures and draft proposals to strengthen the Convention.  Decisions undertaken in the ad hoc group for that purpose had come to an abrupt halt in August.  The upcoming review would consider the work undertaken in the last decade and chart a future course of action that went beyond a vision for the next five years.  The potential ramifications of current events could transcend even further into the future.  Recent incidences of anthrax use -- and the nature of that challenge was independent of whether those were of domestic or international origin -- was forcing the world to live with the notion that the use of those weapons was now a "de facto" part of everyday life.  That was slowly eroding all prohibition layers, as contained in the consensus final declarations of all previous Review Conferences, and in the Convention itself. 


Moreover, he continued, at no recent time in history had there been such a clear realization of the violation of the non-use legal norms, which dated back at least three quarters of a century.  Lack of action would shape the future of the biological weapons regime much beyond the Fifth Review Conference.  The importance the international community attached to the integrity of each and every prohibition norm must be reconfirmed at the Conference.  The disarmament community must not accept the slow erosion of the decades-old norm. 


MARIE QUARLESS (Jamaica), as Chairperson of the Disarmament Commission, introduced the Commission’s Report (document A/C.1/56/L.4).  She said changes had been made in the text, specifically in paragraphs pertaining to the rationalization of work.  The Commission continued to be seized with two issues:  ways and means to achieve disarmament; and practical measures to be taken in the field of conventional arms.


In decision 55/35 C it was decided that the Commission could meet for  three weeks maximum, and it did so in 2001 (it did not in 2000).  Reporting on the organization of work, she said that 12 working groups had been held.  The chairpersons of the working groups had revised the texts for discussion, based on the contribution of delegations.  It had not been an easy task to maintain balance among views, but they had risen admirably to the challenge.  The 2001 session of the Disarmament Commission had strengthened the foundation for building further consensus.  She hoped that the Commission’s report would be adopted by consensus, as it had been in previous years.


JOHN DE SARAM (Sri Lanka) introduced the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/56/29).  He recalled that the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace had been adopted by the General Assembly in 1971.  The Committee last reported to the Assembly in 1999.  At that time, it had reported that the Ad Hoc Committee had not found it possible to reach consensus on the manner of implementing the Declaration.  There remained a "number of difficulties" blocking its implementation.  Yet, however difficult the 1971 objectives might be, they should be preserved by the General Assembly as an ideal towards which all should strive.  He hoped the Committee would recommend that the Assembly retain the item on its agenda.


S. SASTRADIREDJA (Indonesia) said that, since 1995, his delegation had co-sponsored the draft resolution on nuclear disarmament submitted today by the representative of Myanmar.  That had been comprehensive in addressing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, thereby reflecting the view of his country, as well as that of the others of the Non-Aligned Movement.  He favoured a phased reduction of nuclear arsenals, leading to their elimination.  The text had identified a number of measures that, once implemented, would significantly contribute to lessening the nuclear nightmare and the dangers arising therein.  He was firmly convinced that convening an international conference on that subject at an early date had become imperative.


He also expressed his delegation's full support for the five draft resolutions and one draft decision introduced today by the South African delegation on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  He was also concerned about nuclear dangers.  Those dangers could emanate from a vast array of sources, including spent fuel and nuclear reactors.  Mechanical malfunction and political and military decisions, and the consequences deriving from nuclear terrorism, could not remain indefinitely in the realm of speculation.  For that reason, he endorsed the Mexican draft calling for a conference on the subject (document A/C.1/56/L.16).


JOHN DE SARAM (Sri Lanka) said that since consultations were continuing on the draft resolution concerning the prevention of an arms race in outer space (document A/C.1/56/L.7), he asked that no action be taken on the text this afternoon.


The Acting Chairman of the Committee, MILOS ALCALAY (Venezuela), agreed to defer action on the text.


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For information media. Not an official record.