TRANSPARENCY IN ARMS, PRESERVING ANTARCTICA, DISARMAMENT COMMISSION WORK PROGRAMME ADDRESSED IN FIRST COMMITTEE TEXTS, AS SESSION CONCLUDES

1 November 2005
GA/DIS/3314

TRANSPARENCY IN ARMS, PRESERVING ANTARCTICA, DISARMAMENT COMMISSION WORK PROGRAMME ADDRESSED IN FIRST COMMITTEE TEXTS, AS SESSION CONCLUDES

01/11/2005
General Assembly
GA/DIS/3314
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Committee

23rd Meeting (AM)

TRANSPARENCY IN ARMS, PRESERVING ANTARCTICA , DISARMAMENT COMMISSION WORK

PROGRAMME ADDRESSED IN FIRST COMMITTEE TEXTS, AS SESSION CONCLUDES

Committee Chair Says World Community Must Escape Trap of Narrow

Self- Interest to Avert Potential Catastrophe of Nuclear Proliferation

With the approval today of three draft resolutions, including a traditional biennial draft resolution on preserving Antarctica for peaceful purposes, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) concluded its work today.

Warning that the potential catastrophes of the twenty-first century, including environmental degradation and nuclear proliferation, could not be averted through the pure pursuit of national interests, Committee Chairman, Y.J. Choi ( Republic of Korea), said that narrow self-interest and parochial national concerns threatened our very existence and required collective action.  Escaping that trap was the “burning question” of the twenty-first century, along with how to rally the troops to overcome the self-defeating dynamics of our time, which had paralyzed the cause of disarmament and non-proliferation.

In five separate recorded votes today, the Committee recommended for adoption a traditional text on transparency in arms.  By approving the draft as a whole (122 in favour to none against, with 21 abstentions), the Assembly would reaffirm its determination to ensure the effective operation of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.  It would ask the Secretary-General, along with a group of governmental experts to be convened in 2006, to report on the Register’s continuing operation and further development.  (For voting details, see Annex V).

Prior to approving the text as a whole, separate recorded votes were taken on:  the final words of operative paragraph 2 (108 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 16 abstentions) (Annex I); operative paragraph 3 (115 in favour to none against, with 18 abstentions) (Annex II); operative paragraph 4(b) (118 in favour to none against, with 16 abstentions) (Annex III); and operative paragraph 6 (116 in favour to none against, with 19 abstentions) (Annex IV).

Explaining its position after the vote, on behalf of the Arab League, Egypt’s representative said that no one could doubt the Register’s value as a global means for strengthening early warning and confidence, but it had several problems.  More than half the nations of the world did not report to it.  Nor did it take into account the specific Middle East situation, where Israel possessed unsafeguarded nuclear weapons.  Moreover, the Register did not include data on nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  Failure to include those weapons was a failure of the Register, itself.  In fact, it had no reason to exist in its current form, as it did not strengthen confidence or provide early warning.

The United States representative said her country strongly supported the Register and urged all Member States to contribute to it.  However, the resolution would involve spending more than $1 million not currently funded in the Department for Disarmament Affairs’ budget.  Resolutions should carefully consider before convening groups of governmental experts -- sometimes “pet projects” of individual Member States –- on any issue, as those could become an “unnecessary and substantial drain” on the United Nation’s budget.  Moreover, a disturbing trend had emerged.  After a group of governmental experts concluded its session without agreement on a substantive report, the group’s sponsors immediately called for the creation of a new one.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved a revised draft resolution by Sierra Leone on the report of the Disarmament Commission.  It set the dates for the next session from 10 to 28 April, 2006, and welcomed the Commission’s efforts at its organizational meeting in July towards achieving its objectives.

Saying that the time for deliberative work on contemporary issues was long overdue, Canada’s representative said that some States were unwilling to see those issues deliberated.  The United Nations had had an opportunity to fix that problem by asking the Commission to consider specific issues during its 2006 substantive session.

Cuba’s representative said it was deplorable that the Commission had not managed to examine substantive items.  The constructive proposals by the Non-Aligned Movement had his support for the upcoming session.  Unfortunately, the text of the resolution did not, once again, include specific items in its operative portion.  No change in the working methods could cope with the clear lack of political will on the part of certain States.

The traditional draft resolution on the question of Antarctica, approved without a vote, would have the Assembly reaffirm its conviction that, in the interest of all mankind, Antarctica should continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and that it should not become the scene or object of international discord.  The Assembly would welcome the practice whereby the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties regularly provided the Secretary-General with information on their consultative meetings and on their activities in Antarctica, and encourage its continuation.

In other business today, the Committee agreed on a programme of work and discussed the timetable for the general debate, as well as the rolling speakers list.  No decision was made on the latter two points.

Explanation of vote and statements in the discussion about the rationalization of the Committee’s work were also made by the representatives of Japan, China, Cuba, Syria, Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Chile, Argentina, Uganda, Armenia, Jordan, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Speakers for the Regional Groups thanked the Chairman, and the Bureau and Secretariat for conducting the meeting in a timely and efficient manner.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to complete its third and final phase of work, namely, action on all draft resolutions and decisions.

Expected to be acted on under cluster 6, which deals with other disarmament measures, was a draft on transparency in armaments.

Action is also expected on cluster 7, which concerns itself with disarmament machinery, on a draft entitled Report of the Disarmament Commission.

Draft Summaries

Cluster 6

According to a draft resolution entitled Transparency in armaments (document A/C.1/60/L.50/Rev 1), the Assembly would reaffirm its determination to ensure the effective operation of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.

The Assembly would call on Member States, with a view to achieving the Register’s universal participation, to provide the Secretary-General, by 31 May, annually, with the requested data and information for the Register, including nil reports if appropriate.

Pending the Register’s further development, the Assembly would invite Member States in a position to do so to provide additional information on procurement from national production and military holdings and to make use of the “Remarks” column in the standardized reporting form to provide additional information, such as types or models and to include transfers of small arms and light weapons, using definitions and reporting measures they deem appropriate, as part of their additional background information. 

The Assembly would request the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a group of governmental experts to be convened in 2006, to prepare a report on the Register’s continuing operation and its further development, taking into account the work of the Conference on Disarmament, the views expressed by Member States and the reports of the Secretary-General on the continuing operation of the Register, and its further development, with a view to taking a decision at its sixty-first session. 

The resolution is sponsored by Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Micronesia (Federated States of) Monaco, Mongolia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zambia.

Cluster 7

In a revised draft resolution by Sierra Leone on the report of the Disarmament Commission (document A/C.1/60/L.59), the Assembly would reaffirm the mandate of the Disarmament Commission as the specialized, deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery that allows for in-depth deliberations on specific disarmament issues, leading to the submission of concrete recommendations on those issues.

The Assembly would request the Commission to meet for a period not exceeding three weeks in 2006, from 10 to 28 April, and to submit a substantive report to the Assembly at its sixty-first session.

Further, the Assembly would welcome the Commission’s efforts at its organizational meeting in July towards achieving its objectives, and recommend that the Commission intensify consultations on those efforts, with a view to reaching definitive agreements before the start of its substantive session in 2006. 

In that connection, the Assembly would request the Commission to continue its work in accordance with its mandate as set forth in the final document of the Tenth Special Session of the General Assembly, and to that end, to make every effort to achieve specific recommendations on the items on its agenda, taking into account the adopted “ways and means to enhance the functioning of the Disarmament Commission”.

In a separate area of consideration, according to a draft resolution submitted by the Chairman on the question of Antarctica (document A/C.1/60/L.60), the Assembly would reaffirm its conviction that, in the interest of all mankind, Antarctica should continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and that it should not become the scene or object of international discord.

The Assembly would welcome the practice whereby the Antarctic Treaty consultative parties regularly provide the Secretary-General with information on their consultative meetings and on their activities in Antarctica, and encourages the parties to continue to provide the Secretary-General and interested States with information on developments in relation to Antarctica, and requests the Secretary-General to submit a report which shall consist of that information to the General Assembly at its sixty-third session.

Action on Texts

YOSHIKI MINE ( Japan) said that Japan was a co-sponsor of the draft resolution on transparency in armaments (A/C.1/60/L.50/Rev 1).  Japan became a co-sponsor because, for his country, transparency in armaments was a priority.  It was with deep regret that a public budgetary implications document relevant to the draft was circulated only a day before the voting.  The two documents could not be considered separately.  Japan would like to request that such a document be circulated.  He understood the amount in the statement indicated the maximum, and he believed it was desirable to hold negotiations between the Member States and the Department for Disarmament Affairs.  Japan strongly insisted that the amount be covered by scrapping existing expenditures or activities.

Beginning action on transparency in disarmament (document A/C.1/60/L.50/Rev 1) the Committee then voted to retain the words “and the recommendations contained in paragraphs 112 to 114 of the 2003 report of the Secretary-General” in operative paragraph 2, by 108 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 16 abstentions (see Annex I).

The Committee then voted to retain operative paragraph 3 of the draft, which reads, “Invited Member States in a position to do so, pending further development of the Register, to provide additional information on procurement from national production and military holdings and to make use of the ‘Remarks’ column in the standardized reporting form to provide additional information, such as types or models, and to include transfers of small arms and light weapons, using definitions and reporting measures they deem appropriate, as part of their additional background information”, by a recorded vote of 115 in favour to none against, with 18 abstentions (see Annex II).

The Committee then voted to retain operative paragraph 4(b) of the text, which reads, “Requests the Secretary-General, with assistance of a group of governmental experts to be convened in 2006, within available resources, on the basis of equitable geographical representation, to prepare a report on the continuing operation of the Register and its further development, taking into account the work of the Conference on Disarmament, the views expressed by Member States and the reports of the Secretary-General on the continuing operation of the Register and its further development, with a view to taking a decision at its sixty-first session”, by a recorded vote of 118 in favour to none against, with 16 abstentions (see Annex III).

The Committee then voted to retain operative paragraph 6, which reads, “invites the Conference on Disarmament to consider continuing its work undertaken in the field of transparency and armaments” by a recorded vote of 116 in favour to none against, with 19 abstentions (see Annex IV).

The Committee then voted to approve the draft resolution as a whole, by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to none against, with 21 abstentions (see Annex V).

Speaking after the vote, the representative of United States said her country had consistently supported the series of resolutions, of which L. 50/Rev.1 was the most recent.  It strongly supported the Register of Conventional Arms and urged all Member States to contribute to it.  However, as Members knew, the Committee was now faced with a resolution that would involve spending more than $1 million not currently funded in the Department for Disarmament Affairs’ budget.  Resolutions should consider carefully the convening of groups of governmental experts on any issue.  The establishment of such groups was threatening to become an “unnecessary and substantial drain” on the United Nations’ budget.  Such groups should not be the “pet projects” of individual Member States. 

Moreover, she said, a disturbing trend had emerged.  After a group of governmental experts concluded its session without agreement on a substantive report, the sponsors of the group immediately called for the creation of a new one.  That was “wrong and wasteful”.  The Department should require a cooling off period to allow for the views of Member States, before convening a second group on the same subject.  In an era of limited budgets and competing priorities, that was a substantial and unnecessary waste of funds, and the United States would oppose convening such groups.  She had voted in favour of the draft resolution, however, and she hoped the delegates of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) would join her in helping prevent an increase in the United Nations’ budget. 

On behalf of the Arab League, Egypt’s representative, said that for a few years now, the League had expressed its commitment to the Register.  Its position had been clear and based on a general orientation towards global disarmament, which, in turn, was based on the specific situation in the Middle East.  The League supported transparency in armaments as a way of strengthening international peace and security.  It also believed that, in order for that type of instrument to succeed, it had to be based on fundamental principles, which were balanced, transparent and non-discriminatory, and which strengthened peace for all States.  The Register had been the first attempt by the international community, however late, to deal with the issue of transparency, globally.  No one could doubt the Register’s value as a global means for strengthening early warning and confidence, but it had several problems, including that more than half of the nations said they would not provide it with the necessary information.

It was also necessary to broaden the Register’s scope.  There had been several States in the group of governmental experts that had felt that the Register had not met their security needs, given its current limited scope.  Therefore, the question of the Register depended on the international community’s will to strengthen transparency and build confidence.  The Register’s scope should encompass data on all sophisticated weapons, and it should also encompass technology.  That expanded domain would lend a balanced, non-discriminatory nature to the Register and allow for greater involvement in it.  The Middle East was a special case, where the lack of qualitative balance in weapons was clear.  Transparency could not be guaranteed and confidence could not be built unless the parties followed a comprehensive path.  A seventh category of weapons for the Register, which included nuclear and other mass destruction weapons, would produce the desired results.

He said Israel possessed the most destructive types of weapons and it was the only State in the region not party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  Israel was insisting on ignoring calls by the international community, launched on several occasions, to join the NPT and submit its nuclear facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s comprehensive safeguards system.  That had prompted the NPT States to insist, during Review Conferences, on the need for Israel to take those measures.  The League deeply regretted that, given the failure of the group of experts to broaden the Register’s domain, holdings in national warehouses and nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction were not covered. 

Failure to include those weapons was a failure of the Register itself, he added.  In fact, it had no reason to exist in its current form; it did not strengthen confidence, nor was it a means of early warning.  In that light, the League had a reservation regarding the methodology of the draft resolution on the proposal to create a group of experts.  If was necessary to treat those considerations and concerns of States in the region, in order to guarantee universal involvement in the Register.

China abstained in the vote on draft L.50/Rev 1 as a whole.  He had always had a positive attitude towards the Register and had reported to it since its inception in 1993.  However, since 1996, a certain country registered arms sales to Taiwan in the form of a footnote to the Register.  That constituted interference in China’s affairs and violated the reporting of sovereign States, thereby damaging the Register’s authority.  That had been unacceptable to China, which had suspended its reporting since 1998.  He, once again, called on that country to immediately rectify its mistakes and create the necessary conditions for China to resume its participation in the Register.  He was waiting to continue that effort.  New elements had been added to this year’s draft resolution, which should not prejudge the work of the group of governmental experts.

Bangladesh said that, had he been present for the voting, he would have voted in favour of operative paragraph 2.

Cuba’s representative said he had again abstained in the voting on that text.  It contained a few controversial aspects, about which his delegation had some reservations.  The first, concerned operative paragraphs 2 and 3, because of the references those contained to the recommendations in the 2003 report of the Secretary-General on the subject.  Despite the fact that his delegation had also abstained in the voting on the text during the fifty-eighth session, it had nonetheless reported to the Register for the last two years, in response to the appeal made by Member States in the relevant resolution.

On operative paragraph 6 today, he had also abstained in the vote, because the Conference on Disarmament had already carried out and completed its work on transparency.  The decision of whether or not to resume consideration of that topic in the Conference was its prerogative entirely.  Thus, Cuba reserved the right to take a definitive position on the issue at the Conference, bearing in mind the need for it to adopt a balanced work programme, which duly took into account the disarmament priorities.

He said that transparency in armaments was an important factor in creating a climate of trust.  The Register was a concrete measure, which could contribute to that goal.  It must be balanced, comprehensive and non-discriminatory, and it should promote national, regional and global security for the benefit of all Member States.  Also, every State had a legitimate right to self-defence, and, therefore, the right to procure weapons, including from external sources.  The Register was a confidence-building measure.  Including in it information on sophisticated weaponry, particularly weapons of mass destruction and related material and technology –- the destructive and destabilizing power of which were far greater than that of conventional weapons –- would transform the Register into a more balanced and comprehensive instrument and promote its universality.  Cuba wished to participate in the expert group in 2006.

Expressing his full support for the Arab League’s position, Syria’s representative said he fully supported the global desire to rid the world of the use and threat of the use of force.  He was prepared to participate in any global effort to achieve that goal.  The draft resolution, however, had not taken into consideration the special situation of the Middle East, where the Arab-Israeli conflict was still raging, and where Israel continued to occupy Arab territories, refusing to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions.  It also acquired the most sophisticated and lethal weaponry, in addition to its ability to manufacture nuclear weapons.  The transparency alleged by Israel in the field of armaments was just a mere part of its lethal arsenals.

The representative of Zambia said his delegation was absent when resolution L.50/Rev 1 was voted on.  Zambia would have voted in favour of operative paragraph 2, operative paragraph 3, operative paragraph 4(b), operative paragraph 6 and Zambia would have also voted in favour of the resolution as a whole.

The representative of Yemen said he would like to make a correction. His delegation voted to abstain on operative paragraph 4(b).

The representative of the Sudan said his delegation wasn’t in the room when voting was underway on L.50/Rev 1.  He wanted to add the Sudan’s voice to the Arab position and his delegation would have abstained on the whole resolution.  The resolution did not take into consideration the full sensitivity of the situation in the Middle East with regard to complete transparency in armaments.

The representative of Antigua and Barbuda was absent during the vote on operative paragraph 2, but would have voted in favour.

The representative of Mali said his country would have voted in favour of resolution L.50/Rev 1 as a whole, had he been present during the voting.

The representative of Pakistan said he wanted to request a correction of voting on L.50/Rev.1.  His delegation abstained on operative paragraph 2, operative paragraph 3, operative paragraph 4(b), and on the resolution as a whole.

The representative of Venezuela said in the Spanish version of the draft L.50/Rev 1, operative paragraph 4(b) was missing the words “within available resources”.

The representative of Uganda was not present for voting on L.50/Rev 1.  But, he would have voted in favour of operative paragraph 2, 3, 4(b), 6 and the resolution as a whole.

The representative of Colombia said a correction was needed.   Colombia voted in favour of operative paragraph 2 in draft resolution L.50/Rev 1.

The representative of the United States said his delegation would not participate in the vote on the report of the Disarmament Commission.

The Committee then adopted the draft resolution entitled Report of the Disarmament Commission (document A/C.1/60/L.59/Rev.1) without a vote.

The representative Canada said she was aware of the state of the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery.  The inability of 2005 session to agree on a substantive programme of work figured into Canada’s disappointment. The Disarmament Commission was a deliberative body and it had done good work in the past, including the 16 verification principles and principles and guidelines for the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  But, the time for deliberative work on contemporary issues was long overdue.  Yet, some States were unwilling to see those issues deliberated.  The United Nations had an opportunity to fix that problem by asking the Commission to consider specific issues during its 2006 substantive session.  It was not too late to salvage prospects for a productive 2006 session.  Canada called upon all Member States to seize the remaining opportunity to work together and thus ensure a Commission session next April that started addressing substance, rather than process.

The representative of Cuba said with regard to draft resolution L.59/Rev 1, that it was deplorable that the Commission had not managed to examine substantive items.  The Cuban delegation participated actively in the informal consultations and organizational meeting in July.  In order to try and achieve a consensus for the upcoming session, Cuba actively supported the constructive proposals presented by the Non-Aligned Movement on various topics.  Unfortunately, the text of L.59/ Rev 1 did not, once again, include specific items in operative paragraph 5.  At the organizational meeting, an agreement was reached.  Later, objections were raised by only one delegation.   Cuba felt the Commission should protect itself, because of its specialized purpose.  No change in the working methods of that Commission could cope with the clear lack of political will on the part of certain States.

Mexico wanted to fully associate himself with the contents of statement made by Canada and Cuba.   Mexico considered it fundamental that the Commission in its forthcoming session be able to engage in substantive activities.  The proposed text referred to a definitive agreement or agreements, to be achieved before the substantive session started.  He wanted to place on record, his delegation’s resolve that the Commission adopt a decision right at the outset of the session.  It was not correct to reopen the decisions.  That agreement must be adopted on the first day of the session, if necessary on the basis of a vote.

The representative of Egypt, in an explanation of vote on L.59/Rev 1, said the agreement reached by that draft by the Organizational session in 2005 was neither preserved, nor finalized.  It made States more determined to work towards honouring previous commitments and obligations, which was viewed as the only way to preserve collective efforts in the fields of disarmament and non-proliferation. At the same time, Egypt shared the views expressed by Mexico, Cuba and Canada.

The Chairman then introduced a draft resolution on the question of Antarctica (A/C.1/60/L.60).

The representative of Malaysia said the draft resolution provided a useful account concerning the activities and developments in relation to Antarctica undertaken by the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties, the Antarctic Treaty System and various international bodies, since that item was last discussed.  There continued to be greater transparency on the part of the Consultative Parties.  Malaysia continued to recognize the particular significance of Antarctica and the conservation of its pristine environment. There was now a greater degree of interest and awareness and the international community had recognized the global importance of that last frontier, due to its intrinsic link and interaction with the world’s oceans and atmosphere, which affected the entire global environmental system.  The world must collectively endeavour to ensure that the Antarctic environment was protected and preserved forever.

He said Antarctica continued to be used for peaceful purposes and it should not become the scene of international discord.  Management and use of Antarctica should be conducted in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.  The entry into force on 14 January, 1998 of the Madrid Protocol on Environmental Protection of the Antarctic Treaty, had regulated human activities in Antarctica, further protecting and preserving the environment.  Although the Protocol had no enforcement mechanism of its own and needed to be further strengthened, it was considered an important milestone.  The Protocol’s 50-year moratorium on prospecting and mining in Antarctica should constitute the first important step towards a permanent ban on mining on the continent.   Malaysia welcomed the increased active participation of the Consultative Parties, but it was concerned that the Parties had yet to achieve full implementation on the question of liability for environmental damage in Antarctica.

Malaysia, he said, was pleased with the successful breakthrough in negotiations and adoption of Annex VI to the Madrid Protocol, but the provisions contained therein should be further strengthened and its scope widened in order to ensure that the question of liability would be addressed in a comprehensive manner.  The establishment of a strict, legally binding regime would ensure compliance and ensure accountability by ensuring the means of assigning responsibility for any environmental damage that might occur.  The role of the tourism industry was recognized in promoting Antarctica as the world’s natural reserve, but Malaysia was concerned over the impact generated by land-based tourism activities which were on the increase.  Those activities threatened the fragile environment of the continent.

Antarctica was no longer an unknown territory, but a frontier rich in biological treasures and a vast laboratory for new scientific discoveries, among others, he said.  Biological prospecting was an emerging issue and should be strengthened.  The Antarctic Secretariat was in a position to monitor and regulate all relevant activities in that regard and assistance and cooperation from the United Nations and its relevant agencies could greatly contribute more effectively towards the efforts in that regard.   Malaysia then proposed adding and deleting words to several of the operative paragraphs in the resolution.

The representative of Sweden said the success and ongoing development of the Antarctic Treaty was largely attributable to the work performed by the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings.  The rapid increase and diversification of Antarctic tourism in recent years posed a challenge for the Antarctic Treaty Parties.  It had given rise to a growing concern for the environment, as did the trend towards larger passenger vessels.  Tourism and its consequences were being closely monitored by the Treaty Parties.  Environmental protection had always been a central theme of the cooperation among the Antarctic Treaties Parties.  The Antarctic continent was the largest nature preserve devoted to peace and science.  The world was now on the eve of a commemorative initiative that would both acknowledge the 50 years since the International Geophysical Year, and also see further huge investments made in scientific cooperation in the polar regions.  The International Polar Year would be observed in 2007.   Sweden considered the International Polar Year was timely and relevant.  The Antarctic Treaty system was a constantly evolving process.  The Treaty and its Environmental Protocol were open to accession by all Members of the United Nations.

The Committee then adopted the draft resolution on the question of Antarctica(document A/C.1/60/L.60), as orally amended, by consensus.

The Committee then took a decision on item 116 concerning the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.

The representatives of Mexico, Cuba, Canada, Sri Lanka, Chile, Argentina, Uganda, Mexico, Armenia, Egypt, Jordan engaged in discussions on the timetable that should be given for general debate within the Committee.

The representatives of Mexico, United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Egypt spoke further on the point of the rolling speakers list and keeping the general debate during the first week.

The Committee then adopted the programme of work for its next session.

Closing Statements

On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Indonesia’s representative said that the impasse in multilateral machineries had made it obvious that both the role and outcome of the First Committee had now attained greater importance.  The Movement had been dissatisfied with the omission of a section on disarmament and non-proliferation in the World Summit’s Outcome and the failure of the last NPT Review to agree on substantive recommendations.  Given that backdrop, he underscored the importance of the Committee and other multilateral disarmament machinery, particularly the Disarmament Commission and the Conference on Disarmament, in dealing with questions of disarmament and other related global security issues.  He also underlined the need to strengthen the disarmament machinery, as forums for deliberations and negotiations in a balanced, constructive and comprehensive manner, in accord with the principles of the United Nations Charter and multilateral negotiated treaties, agreements and conventions. 

On behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries, the representatives of the Bahamas expressed her deep appreciation for the efforts of the Chairman and the Bureau in guiding the deliberations, in an exemplary manner, to their successful and timely conclusion.  She also thanked the Committee Secretary, Cheryl Stoute, and her staff.

Chairman’s Statement

Committee Chairman, Y. J. CHOI (Republic of Korea), said that chairing the Committee at a time when all other disarmament machinery was at a standstill had given him a chance to reflect on the substance of disarmament and non-proliferation.  He wished to present those reflections.  Humankind had been very successful at producing ever deadlier weapons.  It had done so well in that enterprise that it now possessed a stockpile of arms that could obliterate all humanity several times over.  The growing spectre of nuclear proliferation had made it clear that the world was at a critical juncture; it was at a crossroads, with one path leading to disarmament and non-proliferation, and another leading to a never-ending arms race.  In the present century, one of the most critical choices for humankind would be between those two paths.  By reason alone, the choice should be clear and simple, yet progress was so difficult.

The question ultimately was one of an evolutionary dimension, he said.  Human beings had been endowed with uniquely powerful intellectual capacities.  It had a tendency to give unbounded praise to that characteristic, yet, more and more, it was coming to realize that its distinctive mental ability cut both ways.  That had given humankind unprecedented power over its environment, but it had also given it the potential to drive themselves to extinction.  Environmental degradation and nuclear proliferation were cases in point.  If the world proved incapable of resolving those problems that its people, themselves, had created, then the species might never fulfil the potential with which evolution had endowed it.  It might instead bring about its own extinction, along with that of countless other species, with whom humankind share the planet. 

He said it was critical that a collective decision be made about disarmament and non-proliferation.  Unfortunately, however, history had shown that humankind did not make such momentous decisions by reason alone.  Time and again, it had been catastrophe and tragedy that had motivated people to forego their parochial interests and make fundamental decisions for the common good.  Indeed, it was the disaster of World War I and World War II that motivated the creation of the United Nations.  “But there’s the rub.”  Humankind had used its extraordinary mental capacities to overcome many catastrophes.  But, it also seemed to have lost the sense of tragedy, which would enable it to make the historic decisions now required.  Without that sense of tragedy, narrow self-interest and parochial national concerns had become the governing dynamics of the day.  They took precedence over the much needed enlightened self-interest and leadership. 

The potential catastrophes of the twenty-first century, including environmental degradation and nuclear proliferation, could not be averted through the pure pursuit of national interests.  Those threatened humankind’s very existence and required collective action.  How to escape our own trap was the burning question of the twenty-first century, along with how to rally the troops to overcome the self-defeating dynamics of our time, which had paralyzed the cause of disarmament and non-proliferation.  The answer remained elusive.  The best hope was to use that which made human beings unique -- their reason and intelligence -- to establish enlightened self-interest and leadership by example as the governing dynamics of international relations. 

ANNEX I

Vote on Operative Paragraph 2/Transparency

Operative paragraph 2 of the draft resolution on transparency in armaments (document A/C.1/60/L.50/Rev 1) was approved by a recorded vote of 108 in favour to 1 against, with 16 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen.

Against:  United States.

Abstain:  Algeria, Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

ANNEX II

Vote on Operative Paragraph 3/Transparency

Operative paragraph 3 of the draft resolution on transparency in armaments (document A/C.1/60/L.50/Rev 1) was approved by a recorded vote of 115 in favour to none against, with 18 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Against:  None.

Abstain:  Algeria, Bahrain, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Bahamas, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Lesotho, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

ANNEX III

Vote on Operative Paragraph 4(b)/Transparency

Operative paragraph 4(b) of the draft resolution on transparency in armaments (document A/C.1/60/L.50/Rev 1) was approved by a recorded vote of 118 in favour to none against, with 16 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen.

Against:  None.

Abstain:  Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Bahamas, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Lesotho, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

ANNEX IV

Vote on Operative Paragraph 6/Transparency

Operative paragraph 6 of the draft resolution on transparency in armaments (document A/C.1/60/L.50/Rev 1) was approved by a recorded vote of 116 in favour to none against, with 19 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Against:  None.

Abstain:  Algeria, Bahrain, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Bahamas, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Lesotho, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

ANNEX V

Vote on Transparency in Armaments

The draft resolution on transparency in armaments (document A/C.1/60/L.50/Rev 1) was approved by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to none against, with 21 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Against:  None.

Abstain:  Algeria, Bahrain, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Bahamas, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Lesotho, Lithuania, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Namibia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Zambia.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.