TRADITIONAL SECURITY CALCULATIONS SHATTERED BY TERRORIST THREATS, YET RESPONSE FURTHER AGGRAVATES SITUATION, FIRST COMMITTEE TOLD

4 October 2002
GA/DIS/3228

TRADITIONAL SECURITY CALCULATIONS SHATTERED BY TERRORIST THREATS, YET RESPONSE FURTHER AGGRAVATES SITUATION, FIRST COMMITTEE TOLD

04/10/02
Press ReleaseGA/DIS/3228

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Committee

6th Meeting (AM)

TRADITIONAL SECURITY CALCULATIONS SHATTERED BY TERRORIST THREATS,

YET RESPONSE FURTHER AGGRAVATES SITUATION, FIRST COMMITTEE TOLD

Terrorist threats had shattered traditional security perceptions and calculations, yet the response, which included the emergence of new doctrines of pre-emption and an unprecedented new nuclear posture, had further aggravated the situation, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) was told this morning, as it continued its general debate. 

The representative of Iran said that the prevailing international security paradigm had proven incapable of providing a comprehensive understanding of the new developments in international affairs.  Weapons of mass destruction, once envisaged to guarantee the security of their possessors, were today, more than ever, the sources of real concern and danger in the hands of irresponsible entities.  The nuclear-weapon States had a moral and legal duty to pursue the total elimination of their stockpiles, in order to open the way to a complete global ban. 

Power politics based on the absolute supremacy of nuclear weapons posed a major threat to world peace and security, the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea said.  Doctrines of nuclear supremacy and nuclear   pre-emptive strikes, and attempts to build national missile defence systems and deploy nuclear weapons in outer space, had rendered ineffective and invalid the disarmament treaty regime.  Fair debate in global relations had been silenced and fears were increasing that the arms race of the cold war might be revisted. 

Similarly, the representative of Indonesia warned of the dangerous and counter-productive consequences of failing to address the divergent strategic interests.  He called for the reduction of operational strategic systems, which posed the most imminent danger.  Early adoption of an international convention for the suppression of nuclear terrorism would be an important first step towards eliminating the use of nuclear weapons by non-State actors.

The barbaric acts of 11 September 2001 should lead the world to redouble its efforts and renew its commitment to the body of disarmament treaties, the representative of Kazakhstan urged.  The agreement reached on the text of a treaty to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia was an important event, not only for the countries of that region, but also for the United Nations, which had been involved in the process since 1997.  The establishment of such zones throughout the world was compatible with the integrity and sustainability of the

international non-proliferation regime. 

Statements were also made by the representatives of Uruguay, Haiti, Burkina Faso and Nepal.  Rights of reply were made by the representatives of Israel, Iraq, Syria, Republic of Korea, and Lebanon.

The First Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 7 October, to continue its general debate.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its general debate on a wide range of disarmament and arms control measures, as well as developments in international security.

A number of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agreements will be under consideration, among them the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  At the 2000 Review Conference, the nuclear-weapon States agreed to an "unequivocal undertaking" to accomplish the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and towards that goal, to 13 specific steps.

The United States has repudiated two of those steps –- support for the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty), which it withdrew from in June 2002, and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which it signed in 1996, but its Senate failed to ratify in 1999. 

On 24 May, the Presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation signed the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty, or the Moscow Treaty, by which both sides would reduce the number of their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,700 to 2,200 by 31 December 2012.  It is significant because it commits two former adversaries with the world's largest nuclear arsenals to reductions of deployed weapons.

The CTBT opened for signature in 1996 and awaits ratification by 13 of     44 States before it can enter into force.  Of those pending, two are nuclear-weapon States -- China and the United States.  The others are Algeria, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and Viet Nam.  (The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India and Pakistan still have not signed the Treaty).

Concerns about the accumulation and use of missiles in both their regional and global dimensions will be considered through the United Nations study on missiles, prepared by a panel of governmental experts from 23 countries.  It provides an overview of the current situation in the field of missiles and describes several areas of concern, including missile capability of delivering mass destruction weapons, in particular nuclear weapons.

The role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will also be discussed.  Among its tasks is verifying, through its inspection system, that States comply with their commitments under the NPT and other non-proliferation agreements to use nuclear material and facilities only for peaceful purposes.

The Agency's safeguards system comprises extensive technical measures for independently verifying the correctness and completeness of the declarations made by States about their nuclear material and activities.  Since 1992 -- in the aftermath of the discovery of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme -- the Board of Governors of the Agency has adopted or endorsed measures to strengthen the safeguards system.  Under a Model Additional Protocol adopted in 1997 that includes short-notice inspector access to any place on a nuclear site, the IAEA has continued to negotiate Additional Protocols with States to strengthen that system by verifying not only declared nuclear material and activities, but also undeclared material and activities.

Multilateral agreements banning the development of other weapons of mass destruction will also be stressed, such as:  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 the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention).

The creation and consolidation of nuclear-weapon-free zones will also be considered.  Existing zones include 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).

At the opening of the session on Monday, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala announced that the countries of the Central Asian region -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan  -- had just agreed on the text of a treaty to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia and that the signing should take place as soon as possible.  He also announced a decision by Cuba to accede to the NPT and to ratify the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

The programme of action adopted at the first-ever global Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, held in New York in July 2001, will also be discussed.

Landmines will be considered in the context of the two instruments to ban or limit their use:  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; and the Ottawa Convention, a total ban agreed to in Oslo as part of the so-called "Ottawa process", which entered into force on 1 March 1999.

(For detailed background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3222 issued

27 September.)

Statements

FELIPE PAOLILLO (Uruguay) said that because “dangerous unilateralist tendencies” were appearing in the world, it was more important than ever to strengthen multilateral structures.  The existing systems put in place to regulate arms control and disarmament were weak and insufficient.  He urged international compliance with the NPT, and welcomed Cuba’s accession to it, as well as the Tlatelolco Treaty.  He also called upon full implementation of the 13 measures of nuclear disarmament agreed upon by the NPT Conference in 2000.  With respect to the CTBT, he wanted to see its entry into force.

He criticized the Conference on Disarmament’s failure to renew negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.  He also expressed concern over the illicit traffic of small arms and light weapons.  He hoped that the international community would support United Nations efforts in curbing that trend.  He spoke out against the proliferation of ballistic missiles and called for the enhancement of the Chemical Weapons and Biological Weapons Conventions.  He also voiced his support for the United Nations Registry of Conventional Arms on its tenth anniversary.

JAVAD ZARIF (Iran) said that the prevailing international security paradigm had proven incapable of providing a comprehensive understanding of the new developments in international affairs.  The traditional zero-sum approach to security, which prescribes the enhancement of one State’s security at the expense of another’s, was becoming outdated.  He added that threats to international security by non-State actors required a new way of thinking about security.  Additionally, weapons of mass destruction, instead of guaranteeing security for those who possessed them, were in fact the sources of real concern and danger, especially when acquired by irresponsible entities.  The nuclear-weapon States, therefore, had a moral and legal duty to pursue the total elimination of their stockpiles, in order to open the way for a complete global ban.

He congratulated Cuba for its decision to accede to the NPT.  He also supported efforts towards a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia.  He expressed concern, however, over Israel’s rejection and violation of United Nations resolutions.  He also found it ironic that, in developing its weapons of mass destruction programme, Israel had received moral and material support from “the very State which has made leveling of baseless allegations about others a priority in its global policy.”

Before concluding, he expressed his satisfaction with the United Nations panel of governmental experts on missiles for producing a first-ever report on missiles.  While the report was general, it still provided a sound basis for further work and more detailed and action-oriented recommendations.  He also expressed hope that advances brought about by the Ottawa Convention would continue.

MADINA B. JARBUSSYNOVA (Kazakhstan) said that the barbaric acts of   11 September 2001 should lead the world to redouble its efforts and renew its adherence to the body of disarmament treaties.  The international nature of contemporary threats and challenges required multilateral efforts for their prevention.  The agreement reached on the text of a treaty to establish anuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia was an important event, not only for the countries of that region, but also for the United Nations, which had been involved in the process since 1997.  The establishment of such zones throughout the world was compatible with the integrity and sustainability of the internationalnon-proliferation regime.  That was why her country also supported the consolidation of the status of Mongolia as nuclear-weapon-free.

She expressed her appreciation for the work of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, which was an effective instrument in creating an atmosphere of cooperation and disarmament in the region.  The Centre had rendered its essential assistance to the five Central Asian States in their work on creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone.  This year, Kazakhstan ratified the CTBT and continued to make practical contributions to enhance the effectiveness of the Treaty's monitoring regime.  As one of the few States in the world that had voluntarily relinquished its nuclear heritage, her country believed that a prerequisite for trust in modern international relations was the early operation of the CTBT.

Recent events showed not only the importance of promoting nuclear  non-proliferation, but also the need to prevent a destabilizing build-up of conventional arms, she said.  Transparency and the reduction of conventional weapons provided a good basis for preventing an excessive concentration of weapons in any country.  She supported the Register of Conventional Arms as the most important component of such control and welcomed the broadest participation of States in its functioning.  She also supported the standardized instrument for the reporting on military expenditures.  The 2001 Programme of Action on small arms had not fully met expectations.  She reiterated her country's readiness to undertake all bilateral, regional and global cooperation actions to ensure its implementation.

NUGROHO WISNUMURTI (Indonesia) said he welcomed the signing of the Moscow Treaty as a new foundation for strategic relations between the United States and the Russian Federation.  He expected them to continue their efforts towards the elimination of their nuclear arsenals.  Also gratifying was the fact that many developing countries had curtailed their military expenditures in favour of funding socio-economic development.  Despite such gains, however, the effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons was hardly encouraging.  There was growing concern about the slow pace of progress and the situation had been further compounded by the updating of strategic doctrines, which set out new rationales for the permanent retention of those weapons and the creation of a new generation of them. 

Also troubling, he said, had been the abrogation of the ABM Treaty, plans for national missile defence and the prospects of an outer space arms race.  Those negative developments had led to a new, more disturbing strategic context.  Underlying those crises was the lack of serious implementation of the commitments undertaken to achieve the disarmament objectives.  Indeed, the world had also witnessed the growing trend to undermine multilateralism and multilateral legal commitments.  Divergent strategic interests had led to that grave setback, including the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament.  The consequences of failing to address those issues in their broader and deeper dimensions would be dangerous and counter-productive.

The ability to maintain current arms control regimes would suffer gravely and prospects for future credible disarmament agreements would be drastically diminished, he said.  In particular, the unequivocal undertaking of the 2000 NPT Review Conference should be demonstrated without delay through an accelerated negotiation process and the full implementation of the 13 "practical steps" towards nuclear disarmament.  The reduction of operational strategic systems, which posed the most imminent danger, would provide hope in reducing, if not eliminating, nuclear dangers.  Early adoption of an international convention for the suppression of nuclear terrorism would be an important first step towards eliminating the use of nuclear weapons by non-State actors. 

BERTRAND FILS-AIMÉ (Haiti) said that true peace and security would remain only a dream until real disarmament took place.  He was concerned that many signed agreements related to disarmament had not been ratified.  In the area of nuclear disarmament, however, he praised the United States and the Russian Federation for signing the Moscow Treaty.  Further, he welcomed Cuba’s accession to the NPT, saying it demonstrated its commitment to multilateralism.  He also praised the idea of nuclear-weapon-free zones throughout the world and was pleased by the efforts of the Central Asian States to form their own such zone.

Even though Haiti did not make use of fissile material, he still called for the ratification of treaties that governed its use.  He welcomed the signing of the CTBT by 94 States, thus far, and supported monitoring systems to detect nuclear tests.  He reiterated Haiti’s commitment to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction.  He insisted that progress in the area of biotechnology and genetics were signs of scientific advancement that also could bring about more lethal biological and chemical weapons.  Also, small arms and light weapons were especially dangerous because of the ease in transporting and using them and he encouraged regional and subregional efforts to curb their traffic.  It was unfortunate that large portions of national budgets were still devoted to military expenditures.  Over-arming did not foster development or promote security, he said.

MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso) said that a unilateral approach to security had led to an increased striking force of nuclear weapons.  The "club" that possessed nuclear weapons had seemed to "grow" them.  The hope that had arisen from the ABM Treaty had vanished since the withdrawal of one of the parties.  The signing of the Moscow Treaty on 24 May, however, was heartening, but unfortunately the START process and the entry into force of the CTBT were "stuck".  The overall situation was not very encouraging and, thus, the United Nations must redouble its efforts.  His country had supported the goals of general and complete disarmament under international control.  But, it was crystal clear that those initiatives could not be successful without a calm and trusting international climate and respectful of obligations.

[The START process refers to bilateral treaty negotiations between the United States and the Russian Federation -- START I and START II -- to reduce and limit strategic offensive arms.]

On small arms and light weapons, he said that, despite the adoption of national measures, there had been a recurrence of that phenomenon, particularly in Africa, which threatened the stability of States.  There was an absolute need to strengthen the United Nations Regional Centres on Peace and Disarmament, particularly in Togo, which covered the West African region.  The usefulness of those Centres was widely recognized.  Still, they continued to face difficulties, owing to a lack of resources.  For its part, his Government had adopted measures to harmonize national legislation with those Treaties to which it was a party.  Only true transparency and the collective effort of the world community would lead to general and complete disarmament.

PAK GIL YON (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said that theories of nuclear supremacy and nuclear preemptive strikes, attempts to build national missile defence systems and deploy nuclear weapons in outer space had rendered ineffective and invalid the bilateral and multilateral disarmament agreements.  Given the qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and the development of other sophisticated weapons, existing commitments for their abolition had served no purpose at all.  Indeed, fears were increasing that the arms race of the cold war might be revisted.  Fairness in international relations had been silenced.  Debates had not been impartial or substantive and had not addressed the real threats and challenges to world peace and security.

He said that the major threat to world peace and security today was the strengthening of "power politics" based on absolute supremacy of nuclear weapons.  The core issue of disarmament was nuclear disarmament, and the disarmament process could proceed only when nuclear disarmament was achieved.  Pending the conclusion of an agreement clearly obligating both nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States to the prohibition of the development, testing, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of nuclear weapons, priority should be given to implementing assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States on the non-use of nuclear weapons.  Also, the nuclear weapons of nuclear-weapon States must be withdrawn from Territories outside their own.  Real disarmament could never be achieved in a hostile environment that called for "pre-emptive” strikes against "evil" Member States.

The historic "inter-Korean" summit that took place in Pyongyang in June, the first of its kind in the history of national division, and the adoption of the North-South Joint Declaration was a turning point in the reunification efforts, he said.  Although implementation of that Declaration had been temporarily impeded, owing to external interference and the lack of a national independent spirit, North-South relations had taken big steps forward.  If peace and reunification were to be achieved on the Korean peninsula, the North and South of Korea should reject foreign interference and maintain the spirit of national independence.  He urged South Korea to abandon its reliance on foreign forces and adhere to the spirit of national independence, and to the United States to end its hostile policy towards his country.

He added that, in order to do away with the dependence on foreign forces, their withdrawal should be called for.  South Korea protected the stationing of foreign forces, which had targeted fellow countrymen, and did not exercise any jurisdiction over the crimes committed by them.  In a recent case, they had killed two South Korean female students.

MURARI RAJ SHARMA (Nepal) said that disarmament was an important means for promoting international peace and security and nuclear disarmament, in particular, was a top priority of his Government.  He called on all declared and undeclared nuclear Powers to rid themselves of their nuclear arsenals.  He also entreated nuclear Powers to avoid using double standards.  They had no justification for asking others to forgo nuclear programmes while clinging to such weapons themselves.  It was unfortunate that the implementation of confidence-building measures and efforts to curb nuclear proliferation were either non-existent or “disappointingly slow”.  He also expressed concern over the failure of the CTBT to enter into force, and the lack of progress on the proposed fissile material    cut-off treaty.

Speaking about disarmament efforts in the international community, he congratulated Cuba on its decision to accede to the NPT and the Treaty of Tlatelolco and welcomed the efforts of the Central Asian States to form a  nuclear-weapon-free zone.  Although he found the scrapping of the ABM Treaty disturbing, he praised the United States and the Russian Federation for signing the Moscow Treaty.  He called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with IAEA safeguards and on the “South Asian rivals” not to “rattle their nuclear sabres”.  He also urged Iraq to comply with United Nations resolutions and allow for the return of weapons inspectors.

Before concluding, he said that as a victim of Maoist terrorism, his Government was committed to keeping small arms and light weapons out of the hands of non-State actors.  He also reminded delegates that Nepal was the site of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament for Asia and the Pacific.  He said his Government would contribute to the operational costs of the Centre, but hoped that additional material support would continue to flow in from the international community.

Rights of Reply

The representative of Israel thanked Syria and Iran, who with their baseless allegations and toxic rhetoric, had given him the opportunity to set the record straight.  Hearing such allegations against his country from countries that were notorious for their repression and totalitarianism, and lacking even the most basic respect for human rights and rule of law, was "offensive in the extreme". 

Only yesterday, Iran had revealed the true objective of its missile programme aimed at Israel, he continued.  That was probably its manifestation of a “culture of peace”.  The Syrian representative, in his statement, had revealed his overriding motive to try and legitimize terrorism by making a distinction that might justify violence against civilians.  That was no surprise, in light of the fact that Syria was listed as a State sponsor of terrorism.  That was made more disturbing by the fact that it was also a member of the Security Council and had even served as its president.  In order to succeed in the campaign to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism, States must stop all moral and logistical support for such acts.  That would be an act of moral and legal principle, which he did not expect from those States. 

Speaking in exercise of his right of reply, the representative of Iraq responded to the statement made by the representative of Nepal concerning Iraq's compliance with Security Council resolutions.  That delegation did not have a full picture of the situation, because Iraq was complying with all Council resolutions.  It had invited the inspectors to come to its territory, in order to see what it was doing with weapons of mass destruction.  Iraq's position was quite clear in that regard, but the United States had opposed the return of inspectors to Iraq.

The representative of Syria, responding to the representative of Israel, said that that speaker had tried to divert the Committee's attention with a statement that had nothing to do with the preservation of international peace and security.  Syria, yesterday, had simply made a statement of fact.  Syria, like other Arab and Islamic countries, had called for the establishment of a zone free from all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.  It called upon Israel to accede to the NPT and to submit its nuclear facilities to the safeguards regime of the IAEA.

That was not part of a propaganda campaign, he said.  It was based on the premise that Syria, in particular, and Arab countries, in general, aspired to peace in the region, while “Israel killed the peace process right from the start” with its tanks, its fighter jets and its heavy and light weaponry.  Israel was the only country in the world that practiced systematic State terrorism against a people struggling strenuously for its liberation, independence and self-determination.

The audacity of the Syrian representative knew no bounds, the representative of Israel replied.  Despite its protestations, the true nature of Syria's record was no secret.  It had transferred small arms and light weapons, and provided other means of support to Hezbollah terrorists, which continued to destabilize northern Israel.  Also, Syria was one of only seven States listed as sponsors of terrorism, and one of the most deadly Palestinian terrorist organizations -- Hamas -- maintained offices in Damascus and enjoyed basing privileges in Lebanon, under Syrian control. 

He said that Syria's contempt for the sanctity of human life had not stopped at its borders, but had used the most brutal tactics to silence opposition even at home.  A country with as shameful a record as Syria had no right to accuse others.  A country so completely at odds with the international campaign against terrorism should have hesitated to speak in that manner.  The Syrian representative should heed the warning that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

The representative of the Republic of Korea responded to the statement made by the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in which he said that the recent accident of two young females killed by American soldiers was linked to the Korean Government's dependence on foreign forces.  The United States forces stationed in Korea were in accordance with its mutual security treaty with the United States because of the constant threat of military conflict on the peninsula. 

He reiterated that the killings of two young girls by American soldiers in Korea was "an unfortunate accident", which had nothing to do with the overall security situation or his Government's security policies.  The incident was being fully investigated by his Government and United States forces in Korea, which would lead to appropriate compensation and punishment.  He added that since the historic summit between the two leaders, impressive progress in inter-Korean relations was being made.  Hopefully, that trend would lessen the tension there.

The representative of Syria said, once again, the representative of Israel was out of order when he raised issues that had nothing to do with the Committee's work.  Israel was an occupying Power, while it claimed to be democratic.  Israel destroyed the Palestinians and killed them in the occupied Territories.  It still occupied the Syrian Golan and had not yet completely withdrawn its forces from Lebanon.  What was truly astonishing was that that State, which claimed to be democratic, had denied the Palestinians their right to live inside an internationally recognized and secure State.  Israel should be the last to have the right to talk about democracy. 

In his first intervention, that representative had noted that Syria was a member of the Security Council and had presided over it.  Syria was known throughout the United Nations as committing to and implementing the resolutions of international legitimacy.  The representative of Israel had no right to evaluate Syria's work in the United Nations. 

The representative of Lebanon replied to the reference to his country made by the representative of Israel in his second intervention.  Israel had discussed threats from his neighbours, as if trying to justify the fact that it was ignoring the resolutions of the Committee, which had urged it to eliminate nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  The conclusion of the Beruit Summit had been part of the Arab peace initiative and had given Israel the right to exist, in exchange for complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories.

It was not true, as that representative had stated, that the Arabs were threatening Israel, he said.  It was the occupying Power that posed the threat.  Also, those States had assured Israel that it would not abolish relations with it. 

The representative of Israel had also described Lebanese resistance as terrorism, he said.  Quite simply, those people who were resisting in order to free their lands were being called terrorists.  Charles de Gaulle would have been called a terrorist, because he sought to free his land from occupation.  There was a major difference between resistance and terrorism, he said. 

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For information media. Not an official record.