CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT TO OPEN 2005 SESSION ON 24 JANUARY

20 January 2005
DCF/445

CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT TO OPEN 2005 SESSION ON 24 JANUARY

20/01/2005
Press ReleaseDCF/445

Background Release

CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT TO OPEN 2005 SESSION ON 24 JANUARY

(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 20 January (UN Information Service) -- The Conference on Disarmament, the world's sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations, will open its 2005 session on Monday, 24 January, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.  The first public plenary will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 27 January.

The session will open under the presidency of Ambassador Chris Sanders of the Netherlands.   The presidency of the Conference rotates amongst its member States according to the English alphabetical order; each President holds office for four working weeks.  During 2005, the presidency of the Conference will also be held by New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan and Peru.  The Conference's annual session is divided into three parts.  The first part of the session will conclude on 1 April; the second part will be held from 30 May to 15 July; and the third part from 8 August to 23 September. 

In accordance with its rules of procedure, the Conference "shall adopt its agenda for the year at the beginning of the session.  In doing so, the Conference shall take into account the recommendations made to it by the UN General Assembly, the proposals by its Members, and decisions of the Conference".

The Conference at its first plenary will hear from Sergei Ordzhonikidze, the Secretary-General of the Conference and the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, who will deliver a statement on behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

In 2004, the Conference was not able to reach agreement on a programme of work -- the sixth consecutive year during which it was unable to do so -- and so was unable to start work on substantive issues.  While there was agreement on most of the elements of a programme, the main differences remained on the matters of prevention of an arms race in outer space and nuclear disarmament.

The provisional agenda of the Conference for 2005 includes the following items:  cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters; prevention of an arms race in outer space; effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons; new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons (radiological weapons); a comprehensive programme of disarmament; transparency in armaments; and consideration and adoption of the annual report and any other report, as appropriate, to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The Conference's public plenaries, usually held on Thursday mornings, also generally feature statements by member countries on their priority issues on the Conference’s agenda and on the ways and means of breaking the negotiating impasse in the Conference.

Member States of Conference

The 65 members of the Conference are Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.