Fifty-seventh General Assembly
16th Meeting (AM)
IMPLEMENTATION OF DISARMAMENT AGREEMENTS, TERRORISM AND MASS DESTRUCTION WEAPONS
AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED IN 17 TEXTS INTRODUCED IN FIRST COMMITTEE
The General Assembly, stressing that any violation of arms limitation and disarmament non-proliferation agreements could create security risks, would urge all States parties to implement them and comply with their provisions entirely, according to one of 17 draft resolutions introduced in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), as it concluded its second phase of work.
Introducing the text, the United States representative said that States parties must hold each other accountable and take appropriate steps to deter violations. He urged the international community to use "all means at its disposal" to ensure, not just that the treaties were complied with, but that mass destruction weapons and their delivery means were kept out of the hands of terrorists and States that supported them.
According to a new draft resolution submitted by the Indian delegation entitled "Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction", the Assembly, deeply concerned by the evidence of growing risk of linkages between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and especially that terrorists might seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction, would call upon all Member States to support international efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring those weapons and their delivery means.
As he introduced a revised version of the text, the representative of India said that the profoundly tragic terrorist attacks, most recently in Indonesia, had dramatically affected the nature of disarmament and global security approaches. There was a growing realization of the grave potential of terrorists of non-States groups, spanning national boundaries, to create terror and devastation, thereby causing reverberations affecting the whole civilized world.
A text introducing Myanmar would have 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, recognize that the time was now opportune for all nuclear-weapon States to take effective disarmament measures with a view to achieving the elimination of those weapons.
By a draft resolution introduced by the representative of Iran, the Assembly, convinced of the need for a comprehensive approach towards missiles, would request the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a panel of
governmental experts, to further explore the issue in all its aspects and prepare a report for the Assembly's consideration at its fifty-ninth session.
Introducing a draft resolution on the effects of the use of depleted uranium in armaments, which sought a report of the Secretary-General on that question for the fifty-eighth session, the representative of Iraq cited findings of United Nations agencies and programmes on the toxic effects of the use of those radiological weapons on human life and the environment, for generations to come. The draft was a modest step towards assessing its effects, he said.
Another new draft resolution, concerning national legislation on the arms transfers, introduced today by the representative of the Netherlands, would have the Assembly invite Member States to enact or improve national legislation, regulations and procedures to exercise effective control over the transfer of arms, military equipment and dual use goods and technology, also taking into account commitments under international treaties.
According to a draft resolution sponsored by the Russian Federation on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, the Assembly would call upon Member States to promote further, at multilateral levels, the consideration of existing and potential threats in that field, as well as possible measures to limit them.
A series of draft texts were introduced by the representative of South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, by which the Assembly would: decide to establish an open-ended working group to consider the objectives and agenda for a fourth special session on disarmament; renew its previous call to all States to strictly observe the principles and objectives of the 1925 Geneva Protocol; reaffirm multilateralism as the core principle in disarmament and non-proliferation; negotiations in the appeal for strengthening the United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament; and call for measures to ensure application of scientific and technological progress in the framework of international security without detriment to the environment.
Under another Non-Aligned Movement text, the Assembly would also request the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a group of governmental experts to be established in 2003, to present a report at the fifty-ninth session on the relationship between disarmament and development.
A revised text introduced by The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia representative on security and relations in South-Eastern Europe, would have the Assembly reaffirm the urgency of consolidating South-Eastern Europe as a region of peace and call on all participants in the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, as well as all concerned international organizations, to continue to support the efforts of the States of that region towards stability and cooperation.
The Assembly would invite the group of interested States that was formed in New York in 1998 to continue to analyze lessons learned from previous disarmament and peace-building projects, as well as to promote new practical disarmament
(page 1b follows)
measures to consolidate peace, especially as undertaken or designed by affected States themselves, under a draft introduced by the representative of Germany.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Monday, 21 October, to begin taking action on all draft resolutions and decisions.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to conclude its second phase of work. Introductions of draft texts on the following topics were expected: information security; the fourth special session on disarmament; measures to uphold the Geneva Protocol; promotion of multilateralism in disarmament; the United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament; observance of environmental norms; and effects of depleted uranium.
Also: the relationship between disarmament and development; national legislation on arms transfers; assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms; strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean; missiles; nuclear disarmament; practical disarmament measures; good neighbourliness in Eastern Europe; terrorism and weapons of mass destruction; and compliance with arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements.
According to a draft resolution sponsored by the Russian Federation entitled “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” (document A/C.1/57/L.1), the General Assembly would call upon Member States to further promote at multilateral levels the consideration of existing and potential threats in the field of information security, as well as possible measures to limit the threats emerging in that field, consistent with the need to preserve the free flow of information.
A draft resolution, sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries on the fourth special session devoted to disarmament (document A/C.1/57/L.8), would have the Assembly decide to establish an open-ended working group to consider the objectives and agenda for that session. It would ask it to meet for an organizational session to set the date for its substantive sessions, and to submit a report on its work, including substantive recommendations, before the end of the current session.
Under another draft resolution sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement entitled “Measures to uphold the authority of the 1925 Geneva Protocol” (document A/C.1/57/L.9), the Assembly would renew its previous call to all States to strictly observe the principles and objectives of the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva in 1925. The Assembly would reaffirm the vital necessity of upholding the Protocol’s provisions and call upon those States that continued to maintain reservations to the Protocol to withdraw them.
Another draft resolution sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement entitled “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation” (document A/C.1/57/L.10), would have the Assembly reaffirm multilateralism as the core principle in negotiations in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.
It would urge the participation of all interested States in multilateral negotiations on arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament in a non-discriminatory manner. It would also call once again upon all Member States to renew and fulfil their individual and collective commitments to multilateral cooperation.
States Parties to the relevant instruments on weapons of mass destruction would be asked to consult and cooperate among themselves in resolving their concerns with regard to cases of non-compliance, as well as on their implementation, in accordance with the procedures defined in those instruments. They would also be requested to refrain from resorting or threatening to resort to unilateral actions or directing unverified non-compliance accusations against one another.
By a further text sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement on the United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament (document A/C.1/57/L.11), the Assembly would appeal to Member States in each region and those that were able to do so, as well as to international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to contribute to the regional centres in their respective regions to strengthen their activities and initiatives.
According to another draft sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement concerning the observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/C.1/57/L.12), the Assembly would call upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures so as 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.
A draft resolution sponsored by Iraq on the effects of the use of depleted uranium in armaments (document A/C.1/57/L.14), would have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to seek the views of States and relevant organizations on all aspects of the effects of the use of depleted uranium in armaments and report thereon to the Assembly at its fifty-eighth session.
Under a further draft resolution sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement on the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/57/L.17), the Assembly would request the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a group of governmental experts to be established in 2003, to present a report at the fifty-ninth session with recommendations for reappraising that relationship in the current international context, as well as the future role of the Organization in that connection. It would further ask him to continue to take action for the implementation of the action programme adopted at the International Conference on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development.
A draft resolution sponsored by the Netherlands concerning national legislation on transfer of arms, military equipment and dual use goods and technology (document A/C.1/57/L.18) would have the Assembly invite Member States to enact or improve national legislation, regulations and procedures to exercise effective control over the transfer of arms, military equipment and dual use goods and technology, also taking into account commitments under international treaties.
The Assembly would encourage Member States to provide that information to the Secretary-General, who would be requested to make that accessible for them. It would decide to include the item in the provisional agenda of its fifty-eighth session.
According to a draft resolution on assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and collecting them (document A/C.1/57/L.25), the Assembly would encourage the establishment in the countries of the Sahelo-Saharan subregion of national commissions to combat the illicit proliferation of small arms, and invite the international community to lend its support whenever possible to ensure the smooth functioning of those commissions.
The Assembly would welcome the Declaration of a Moratorium of the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa, which was adopted in 1998, and encourage the international community to support its implementation. It would call on the international community to provide technical and financial support to strengthen the capacity of civil organizations to take action to combat the illicit small arms trade.
A draft resolution on strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/C.1/57/L.31) would have the Assembly call upon all States of that region that had not yet done so to adhere to all the multilaterally negotiated legal instruments related to the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, thus creating the necessary conditions for strengthening peace and cooperation there.
It would encourage all States of the region to promote genuine openness and transparency on all military matters, by participating in, among other measures, the United Nations system for the standardized reporting of military expenditures and by providing accurate data and information to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.
By a draft resolution sponsored by Iran entitled "Missiles" (document A/C.1/57/L.32), the Assembly, convinced of the need for a comprehensive approach towards missiles, would welcome the report of the Secretary-General on the issue (document A/57/229) and ask him to seek the views of Member States on the issue and submit another report to the next session.
The Assembly would also ask him, with the assistance of a panel of governmental experts, to further explore the issue of missiles in all its aspects and prepare a report for consideration of the Assembly at its fifty-ninth session.
Under a draft resolution entitled "Nuclear disarmament" (document A/C.1/57/L.43), 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 nuclear-weapon States to take effective disarmament measures with a view to achieving the elimination of those weapons.
The Assembly would also recognize that there was a genuine need to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in strategic doctrines and security policies to minimize the risk that those weapons would ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination.
It would urge the nuclear-weapon States to: stop immediately the qualitative improvement, development, production and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems; 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; to commence plurilateral negotiations among themselves on further deep reductions of nuclear weapons as an effective measure of nuclear disarmament; and to carry out further reductions of non-strategic nuclear weapons, based on unilateral initiatives and as an integral part of the nuclear arms reduction and disarmament process.
A draft resolution on the consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (document A/C.1/57/L.45) would have the Assembly invite the group of interested States that was formed in New York in 1998 to continue to analyse lessons learned from previous disarmament and peace-building projects, as well as to promote new practical disarmament measures to consolidate peace, especially as undertaken or designed by affected States themselves.
It would also encourage Member States, including the group of interested States, to lend their support to the Secretary-General, as well as relevant international, regional, subregional and non-governmental organizations in responding to requests by Member States to collect and destroy small arms and light weapons in post-conflict situations.
Another draft resolution entitled “Maintenance of international security -– good neighbourliness, stability and development in South-Eastern Europe” (document A/C.1/57/L.47/Rev.1), would have the Assembly reaffirm the urgency of consolidating South-Eastern Europe as a region of peace. The Assembly would also call upon all participants in the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, as well as all concerned international organizations, to continue to support the efforts of the States of that region towards regional stability and cooperation.
According to a new draft resolution on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (document A/C.1/57/L.49/Rev.1), the Assembly, deeply concerned by the evidence of growing risk of linkages between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and especially that terrorists might seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction, would call upon all Member States to support international efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring those weapons and their delivery means.
The Assembly would urge all Member States to undertake and strengthen national measures, as appropriate, to prevent terrorists from acquiring mass destruction weapons, their delivery means, and related materials and technologies. It would invite them to inform, on a voluntary basis, the Secretary-General of the measures taken in that regard, and request him to convene a panel of governmental experts, to be established in 2003, to undertake a study on the related issues.
By a new draft resolution sponsored by the United States entitled "Compliance with arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements" (document A/C.1/57/L.54), the Assembly, stressing that any violation of such agreements and obligations could adversely affect the security of States parties and create security risks for other States, would urge all States parties to arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements to implement and comply with the entirety of all provisions.
The Assembly would call upon all Member States to give serious consideration to the implications that non-compliance by States parties with any provisions of those agreements had for international security and stability, as well as for prospects for progress in those fields.
It would also call upon Member States to support efforts aimed at the resolution of compliance questions by means consistent with such agreements and international law, with a view to encouraging strict observance by all States parties of the provisions of arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements and maintaining or restoring the integrity of such agreements.
CHRIS SANDERS (Netherlands) introduced a draft resolution on national legislation on the transfer of arms, military equipment, and dual-use goods (document A/C.1/57/L.18). He was afraid that some delegates would read more into the resolution than was actually there. In that regard, he assured delegates that it was the sovereign right of every State to monitor what goods came in and out of its own territory. Additionally, he recognized that that right became even more important when goods related to security, such as military equipment and dual-use goods, were involved.
He said many States had already established regulations and legislation to control imports and exports. That was a positive development. He maintained that it was necessary to protect national security. However, it was also necessary to implement commitments made in international treaties.
He emphasized that the draft did not say anything about national policies governing transfers. While there were many ideas over whether various transfer policies were good or not, that was not the concern of the draft. All that the draft called for was for States to exercise controls over military transfers and, if they had already done so, to inform the United Nations. Although the First Committee was not a trading organization, the links between disarmament and international trade were too important to ignore. He hoped that the draft would receive widespread support.
SRGJAN KERIM (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) introduced the draft resolution on maintenance of international security -- good neighbourliness, stability and development in South-Eastern Europe (document A/C.1/57/L.47/Rev.1). The text followed up last year's resolution by addressing the complexity of issues of security, disarmament, stability and cooperation and reflected developments in the region over the past year. Its most important aim was to further contribute to the realization of the common determination to build peace, stability and progress in the countries of South-Eastern Europe, and to further pave the way for comprehensive cooperation in the region. Over the past two years, the situation had been improving and many positive changes had occurred, including that all countries in the region now had democratic governments.
Yet, he said, problems and challenges remained. In order to overcome them, cooperation should be deepened among the States of the region and with the wider international community. Recent developments in the region had shown that extremist and terrorist activities were closely connected with various forms of organized crime. That situation had rendered even more imperative the need to actively enhance regional cooperation and enlarge its scopes and objectives in areas such as crime prevention, combating terrorism and trafficking in human beings, organized crime, drug trafficking and money-laundering. Another threat to be urgently addressed was the issue of small arms and light weapons, which remained one of the most destabilizing factors.
NCUMISA NOTUTELA (South Africa) introduced six draft resolutions on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. The first concerned the convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (document A/C.1/57/L.8). She said that it built on its previous version, with the addition of a decision to establish an open-ended working group to consider the objectives and agenda, including the establishment of a preparatory committee, and to submit a report on its work before the end of the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly. She hoped it would be adopted without a vote.
The second draft resolution dealt with measures to uphold the Geneva Protocol (document A/C.1/57/L.9). The third, concerning the United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament (document A/C.1/57/L.11), requested States, as well as inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and foundations to make voluntary contributions to the Centres to make them more effective.
She then introduced a draft resolution on environmental norms with respect to agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/C.1/57/L.12). It called for the application of advances in science and technology to facilitating disarmament without harming the environment. She hoped it would be adopted with the widest possible support. A draft resolution on the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/57/L.17) was also presented. Among other things, it urged the international community to devote part of the resources made available through the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to socio-economic development. She hoped the draft would be adopted again without a vote. She concluded by introducing a new draft resolution on the promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament (document A/C.1/57/L.10).
U MYA THAN (Myanmar) introduced a draft resolution entitled "Nuclear disarmament" (document A/C.1/57/L.43), which was sponsored by all Association of South East Asian Nations countries and many countries of the Non-Aligned Movement. The draft was specific and substantive in setting out a phased programme and necessary steps for nuclear disarmament. It also sent a clear and powerful political signal to rid the world of those horrendous weapons in precise, uncompromising and unequivocal terms.
He noted that all delegations who had spoken in the Committee had sounded a clarion call in unison for further deep reductions in the nuclear arsenals of the nuclear-weapon States for the implementation of the 13 practical steps for nuclear disarmament, agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference, leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The text truly and fully reflected the urgency and importance of the question, and addressed the crucial issues of nuclear disarmament in a substantive manner. It had retained its traditional main thrust, framework and format, and, in addition, had reflected relevant recent developments. Hopefully, as in previous sessions, it would receive overwhelming support.
SAAD MAANDI (Algeria) expressed support for the draft resolution on nuclear disarmament (document A/C.1/57/L.43), introduced by the delegation of Myanmar. His Government had co-sponsored the draft since its first appearance. He said nuclear disarmament was the only healthy option for future generations. He also expressed the desire to see a world free from the specter of nuclear threats, one that could break away from anachronistic military doctrines.
He expressed concerned about the stagnation that had entered the nuclear disarmament process and the growing inflexibility of States’ positions. With the end of the cold war, there was no excuse for the rigid positions that were becoming common nowadays. He said that it was necessary to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in security policy. He also believed that the convening of an international conference on nuclear disarmament and binding legal instruments would help nuclear States to eliminate their arsenals. He called on all delegations to support the draft. He also voiced support for the draft resolution on the International Court of Justice (document A/C.1/57/L.53), presented earlier by the delegation of Malaysia.
VICTOR L. VASILIEV (Russian Federation) introduced the draft resolution on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/C.1/57/L.1). Recently, he had seen no lessening of the potential danger in the use of telecommunications advances for purposes incompatible with the goals of scientific progress, the maintenance of international peace and security, the principles of the non-use of force or threat of use of force, non-intervention in the internal affairs of States, and respect for rights and freedoms. That problem had become particularly serious in light of the major threat posed to mankind as it entered the twenty-first century -- international terrorism.
Noting that the subject of information security had been a United Nations' focus for several years, he said the adoption by consensus of the previous resolution on that question had reflected a recognition by the countries of the world of the existence of the problem and the importance of keeping it under consideration in a multilateral format. The start of work by the expert group should lead to a thorough study of the issue, as well as appropriate recommendations. The draft being tabled was the same one adopted without a vote at the fifty-sixth session, except for some technical changes. It indicated that among today's most serious challenges was the use of information technology and facilities in ways that would adversely affect the very infrastructure of States. The text had incorporated the wishes expressed by some colleagues on that point.
CHEICKNA KEITA (Mali), on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), introduced a draft resolution that dealt with assistance to States for curbing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (document A/C.1/57/L.25). Highlighting amendments to its version from the previous year, he stated that the term “African Union” has replaced references to the Organization of African Unity. Additionally, operative paragraph 4 made a call for implementation of the programme of action, and operative paragraph 8 made mention of the African Conference on the implementation of the programme of action, called “Needs and Partnerships” and held in Pretoria, in March 2002. Before concluding, he thanked the European Union and Canada for their help with the draft resolution and expressed hope that the Committee would adopt the draft by consensus.
SAAD MAANDI (Algeria) introduced the draft resolution on strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean (document A/C.1/57/L.31). The number of co-sponsors reflected the State of mind prevailing in most countries of the region and their desire to render it stable and peaceful. The aspirations for the Mediterranean "space" were particularly strong and derived from the many historical and geographical links. Aware of the common destiny of their peoples, those countries had undertaken a process of dialogue, which was ever deepening through the mobilization of efforts to restore to the Mediterranean as a lake of peace and prosperity. The 1995 Barcelona Conference had marked recognition of the specific nature of that region and the need to reduce misunderstandings and imbalances. It ultimately laid the basis for a fruitful, equitable partnership.
He said the draft was similar to the one adopted at the previous session and dealt with a large range of questions connected to security and cooperation in the Mediterranean. The only amendment to the text concerns a phrase in operative paragraph 3, whereby the Assembly would consider that the United Nations could contribute to the promotion of regional and international peace and security. The preambular portion of the draft recalled all initiatives undertaken by the Mediterranean countries to consolidate peace and security, and it reaffirmed the duty of all States to contribute to that aim.
JOSEPH S. MCGINNIS (United States) introduced the draft resolution on compliance with arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements (document A/C.1/57/L.54). The Committee last addressed compliance issues when his delegation offered a text on the subject in 1997. Since then, much had happened to emphasize, more urgently, the need for compliance with those agreements. As the United States Assistant Secretary had said during the general debate, now was a time of great danger, especially if terrorists gained access to mass destruction weapons. Thus, every country in the world should be a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Biological Weapons Convention, and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Every country that had signed and ratified those agreements should comply fully with them.
Moreover, he continued, States parties must hold each other accountable and take appropriate steps to deter violations. The international community must use "all means at its disposal" to ensure, not just that the treaties were complied with, but that mass destruction weapons and their delivery means were kept out of the hands of terrorists and States that supported them. The key means to that end was through the framework of such treaties, and ensuring full compliance with their terms. The draft sought to reinforce that crucial fact. While the language was based on a previous version of the text, it had been updated to reflect the new international security imperatives.
He reiterated that, while compliance with all agreements must be reinforced, special emphasis must be placed on non-compliance with weapons of mass destruction agreements. Everyone would suffer grievously if terrorists got their hands on those weapons. The sole purpose of presenting the text was to focus the attention of Member States on the continuing need, now more urgent than ever, to comply with those agreements. As in previous years, the objective was to address compliance, "pure and simple". No other draft did that and it was vital to consider the draft in that light. The text had been tabled last week with the United States as the only sponsor. Since then, it had been open to ways to improve the text. It now sought widespread co-sponsorship of the draft.
VOLKER HEINSBURG (Germany) introduced a draft resolution on the consolidation of peace through practical disarmament (document A/C.1/57/L.45). He said that current arms control measures were not doing enough to stem the proliferation of violent conflicts throughout the world. He cited the President of the Security Council as having stated, in September of 2001, that the preventive aspects of practical disarmament were necessary for peace. He mentioned the important findings of the group of experts on disarmament and non-proliferation education. Such education was necessary to consolidate the results of previous disarmament measures.
In deviating from last year’s practice of requesting a report from the Secretary-General on the implementation of the draft, he requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of practical disarmament measures in general. That would widen the scope of the report and reduce the Secretariat’s workload. He applauded the work of the group of interested States, under German leadership, in promoting practical disarmament measures. He also expressed hope that the draft in question would be adopted without a vote.
ERLING HARILD NIELSEN (Denmark), on behalf of the European Union, voiced its support for the draft resolution on the illicit small arms trade (document A/C.1/57/L.33). The Union stressed the need for prompt implementation of the 2001 Programme of Action to combat that illicit trade. It had hoped for a stronger action plan on certain points and remained committed to an effective, ambitious and continuous follow-up. Taking stock must be a dynamic process in which there was room for proposals to strengthen and develop measures in the action programme. Legally binding commitments on marking, tracing and brokering could be pursued further.
He said that the problem of small arms and light weapons was multidimensional and should be addressed accordingly. Only by addressing the issue at different levels -- globally, regionally and nationally -- would it be possible to make progress. Globally, he reiterated the importance of establishing an international instrument to better identify and trace those weapons. It was well known that the majority of the illicit flow was fed by items that had been manufactured legally, but which were diverted to parallel illicit markets. Improving tracing and the exchange of information among States would constitute a concrete step to fight that problem. The Union welcomed the convening of a group of governmental experts to examine the feasibility of developing such an international instrument.
HAMID BAEIDI NEJAD (Iran) introduced a draft resolution on missiles (document A/C.1/57/L.32). Recognizing the progress that had been made since the adoption of the General Assembly resolution on missiles in 1999, he, nevertheless, reminded delegates that there was still no multilaterally negotiated treaty specifically dealing with the topic. However, the amount of bilateral, plurilateral, and international initiatives relating to missiles showed the high importance that States attached to the issue.
He said that the draft had been prepared in the same spirit as the previous resolutions dealing with missiles. He added that it was necessary for the Secretary-General’s report on the issue to be further elaborated upon, and that efforts were needed to define practical measures that Member States could consider. In order to provide more time for States to study and reflect upon the report, he suggested that the panel of governmental experts, designated to assist the Secretary-General in considering missiles, not be established until 2004.
ERLING HARILD NIELSEN (Denmark), on behalf of the European Union, recalled its position on the draft recently introduced on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) (document A/C.1/57/ L.4/Rev.1). On the first day of the general debate, the President of the European Union had stressed the importance and urgency of continuing the signing and ratification process of that Treaty, in order to enable its early entry into force. The Union would spare no efforts in promoting its earliest operation and universal access, and fully supported the rapid establishment and operation of the verification regime. To ensure that the international community's resolve did not weaken, the Union called on all States that had not yet done so, particularly those whose ratification was required for the Treaty's entry into force, to sign and ratify the CTBT, without delay and without conditions.
CHUKA UDEDIBA (Nigeria) spoke in support of the draft resolution concerning the illicit traffic in small arms (document A/C.1/57/L.33). He said that while weapons of mass destruction constituted a serious concern for the international community, small arms and light weapons were actually responsible for more actual deaths. In sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, small arms were a major source of insecurity and contributed to socio-economic stagnation in the region.
In that regard, his Government had put in place practical measures to tackle the problem. For example, it had established a national committee on small arms and light weapons. At the subregional level, Nigeria had joined other Member States of ECOWAS to declare a three-year moratorium on the importation, exportation, and manufacturing of such weapons.
RAKESH SOOD (India) introduced a revised draft resolution entitled "Measures to Prevent Terrorists From Acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction" (document A/C.1/57/L.49/Rev.l). (A copy of the revision was distributed in the room.) Introducing the new draft, he said that the profoundly tragic events of 11 September 2001 and subsequent attacks, most recently in Indonesia, had dramatically affected the nature of disarmament and international security approaches. There was a growing realization of the grave potential of terrorists of non-States groups, spanning national boundaries, to create terror and devastation, with reverberations affecting the whole civilized world. Those individuals or non-State actors needed a mass destruction weapon.
Thus, he stressed the urgent need to deal with that threat in a meaningful and collective manner. It could not be ruled out that terrorists and non-State actors, in networks that spanned the globe, might have access to technologies and know-know relating to weapons of mass destruction. Since that problem was not specific to a particular country or region, and had global implications, it should be addressed in the United Nations framework. A truly multilateral approach would have the best chance of being widely accepted and supported and, as such, be eminently more effective. Recognizing the determination of the international community to combat terrorism, India had introduced the draft resolution, which he urged all delegations to support.
MICHAEL OYUGI (Kenya) said that the disarmament regime was in a crisis and needed to be given a new lease on life. Multilateralism was necessary for the success of disarmament efforts. In that context, he welcomed South Africa’s preparation and introduction of the draft resolution on the promotion of multilateralism in disarmament (document A/C.1/57/L.10).
He also expressed support for the draft resolution on nuclear disarmament (document A/C.1/57/L.43), which had been introduced this morning by Myanmar. As a State party of the NPT, Kenya had consistently supported and was concerned about the lack of nuclear disarmament. He hoped the draft would receive widespread support.
MOHAMMED KARIM MAHMOUD (Iraq) introduced the draft resolution on the effects of the use of depleted uranium in armaments (document A/C.1/57/L.14). Many motives had compelled him to reintroduce the draft this year. Among recent decisions and findings, the Arab League adopted a decision on human rights and weapons of mass destruction, including depleted uranium. Internationally, the matter received much attention by the non-governmental organizations active in the human rights and disarmament fields. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Development Programme had also rendered decisions on the effects of the use of depleted uranium.
He noted that the results reached by the United Nations Development Programme’s group this year on assessing the effects of its use in Serbia and Montenegro had led to a discussion by participants of the polluting effects on the air three years after its use. The report had also referred to possible water pollution, as a result of the toxic effects of that material. Further, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the use of depleted uranium in Bosnia and Kosovo, which recognized increasing concern over the effects of exposure. A further report had stated that depleted uranium could cause death, disease, and birth defects, as that substance remained in the dust, water and air for many generations to come.
Depleted uranium was a generation of radiological weapons that destroyed life and the environment in the area of its use for generations, he emphasized. In addition to its chemical and toxic effects, the use of 800 tons of that weapon in Iraq in 1991 had contributed to a huge increase in cases of cancer and birth defects. The impulse of certain countries that manufactured that weapon to use it excessively, and their clear intention to reuse it in the future, was a major cause of concern for the international community. The draft was a modest step towards assessing the effect of the use of that weapon.
* *** *