|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-first General Assembly
2nd Meeting (AM)
WORLD NOT POWERLESS IN FACE OF NUCLEAR DANGER, ‘PRACTICAL, POSITIVE STEPS’
WITHIN REACH, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS DISARMAMENT COMMITTEE
Speakers Describe Setbacks, Achievements in Past Year as Debate Begins
Under-Secretary-General Nobuaki Tanaka told the Disarmament Committee this morning that the world was not powerless in the face of the dangers posed by weapons, nuclear and otherwise, and that “practical, positive steps are within our reach”.
Speaking as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) began its general debate, the Under-Secretary-General recounted various setbacks in the field of disarmament during the past year, including the silence of the World Summit’s Outcome Document on weapons of mass destruction, the disappointing climaxes to the 2005 NPT Review Conference and the Small Arms Review Conference, failures to comply with non-proliferation commitments, growing terrorist threats, and new dangers in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula.
Yet, he said, those events should not overshadow achievements made in the same period. He pointed to the Assembly’s adoption of a major convention on the suppression of nuclear terrorism and a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Those were positive steps that could be built on. It was not enough to simply anguish over who was to blame for persistent threat. The Committee must be more than a forum to rectify policy statements. Instead, “we must work together to build bridges and the divisions that remain.”
Committee Chairperson Mona Juul ( Norway) said the current session was taking place against a background of some urgency. While urging Members to find common ground on disarmament and non-proliferation issues, she stressed that consensus was not a goal in itself. Member States would not be able to agree on everything, but she called on them to achieve greater cooperation than in the past.
She said she hoped to see further improvements in the working methods of the Committee, which would help in achieving the ultimate goal of a positive outcome for civil society. “Wherever feasible, let our voice be collective”, she said.
The representative of China said that double standards and opportunism continued to threaten the international non-proliferation regime. He stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of proliferation, adding that resorting to sanctions would not solve such problems, but instead might lead to escalation.
He said China was committed to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, making the Peninsula free of nuclear weapons and promoting the six-party talks. China favoured a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations. The top priority was to advance the dialogue between Iran and the European Union 3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom).
The representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that conflict and threat prevention could never start too early. The root causes of instability must be addressed through diplomatic means, development assistance, and the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, among other measures. Coercive measures in accordance with the United Nations Charter should only be used as a last resort.
The NPT was as vital as ever and continued to be the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, he said, calling on those States who were not yet parties to join the Treaty. The Union also supported strengthening the role of the United Nations Security Council as final arbiter of international peace and security.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that one of the major threats to global stability was the possibility of the placement of weapons in outer space. His country had pledged not to be the first to place any weapons in outer space, and he called on all States that had the military space capability to follow suit. He added that it was time to review the entire range of confidence-building measures in outer space.
He said that efforts to maintain the strategic balance of forces in the world were being negatively affected by unprecedented military expenditures by individual countries, which exceeded the cold war’s highest levels, as well as by the modernization of arsenals and the use of information weapons.
The representative of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, said the mere existence of nuclear weapons and the possibility of their use not only posed a threat to international peace and security, but also destabilized an already volatile world that was witnessing profound, unpredictable changes. He urged the three States that were not party to the NPT to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States, and also called upon the State that had withdrawn from the Treaty to rescind its decision.
He also expressed concern about the risk of non-State actors gaining access to nuclear weapons, noting that, despite the international community’s efforts, vast amounts of nuclear material worldwide remained susceptible to theft and diversion. “There is only one guarantee that a nuclear weapon will never be used and that is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons”, he said.
Agreeing that the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against their use, the representative of Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, pending such elimination, instruments providing security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States that were universal, unconditional and legally binding should be concluded.
He reiterated support for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, adding that, until that time, Israel should accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. At the same time, developing countries also had an inalienable right to engage in research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination, and developed countries were responsible for helping them to do so.
Statements in the general debate were also made by the representatives of Norway, Bangladesh, Mexico, Argentina, Switzerland, Brazil, Japan and New Zealand.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 3 October, to continue its general debate.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to begin its general debate on all disarmament and international security agenda items. Reports of the Secretary-General before the Committee include:
The report on the Conference on Disarmament has not yet been issued. That body’s three-part session concluded on 15 September. During the 2006 session, the Conference held focused, structured debates with experts from capitals participating. The Conference requires consensus and remains unable to agree on a programme of work and to start substantive negotiations. With a view to commencing early substantive work during its 2007 session, the Conference requested the current President and the incoming President to conduct consultations during the intersessional period and make recommendations. The dates for the 2007 session will be: 22 January to 30 March; 14 May to 29 June; and 30 July to 14 September.
The Disarmament Commission’s report (document A/61/42) noted that the substantive session had been held from 10 to 28 April 2006, during which seven plenary meetings and four informal meetings had taken place. At its organizational session on 28 March, the Commission decided to establish both a committee of the whole and two working groups (to deal with two substantive issues on the agenda). During subsequent deliberations on measures for improving the effectiveness of its working methods, the Commission reaffirmed that General Assembly decision 52/492, adopted on 8 September 1998, pertaining to the efficient functioning of the Commission, remained valid. It also recommended that the Assembly adopt additional measures for improving the Commission’s working methods, including the election of Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons and subsidiary bodies at least three months before the beginning of the substantive session, adoption of the draft agenda of the substantive session of the Commission by Member States as early as possible at the Commission’s organizational meetings, and further efforts to strengthen dialogue with other bodies of the disarmament machinery of the United Nations.
The Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (document A/61/297), which held two sessions, in New York from 8 to 10 February, and in Geneva from 21 to 23 June, focused its deliberations on: reviewing the disarmament situation following last year’s World Summit; preventing the proliferation of weapons systems to non-State actors; building an international security system; and international norms on small arms and light weapons.
According to the report, the Board had the following recommendations following the outcome of the World Summit: building momentum on priority issues and early start of substantive work at the Conference on Disarmament, including negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty; building trust among States and establishing a new international security paradigm; pursuit of disarmament and non-proliferation in a mutually complementary manner; measures to strongly discourage withdrawal from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) by empowering the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to respond decisively to non-compliance; including new topics and challenges in the scope of the annual United Nations disarmament fellowship programme; and encouraging donors to increase their financial support for the efforts of non-governmental organizations in the fields of disarmament and arms control.
On preventing the proliferation of weapons systems to non-State actors, the Board recommended: strengthening all international initiatives, especially in the field of possible acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, their precursors, know-how and delivery systems; the continued study by the United Nations of the development of international norms governing transfers in conventional arms; the strict application of the mandatory provisions of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) regarding the elimination of the supply of weapons to terrorists; the involvement of the private sector, in particular the arms industry, in addressing the threats posed by terrorists; and tightening civilian frameworks and infrastructures to enhance tools in eliminating the supply of weapons to non-State actors and terrorists.
Concerning the issue of building an international security system, the Board recommended greater use of regional organizations for crisis resolution and further exploration of their relationship with the United Nations; adapting United Nations structures to be more responsive to new threats, such as terrorism; a need for the United Nations to recognize and better incorporate wider non-proliferation activity consistent with Security Council resolution 1540 (2004); and making disarmament issues more relevant to a younger generation.
With regard to further developing international norms on small arms and light weapons, the Board proposed the harmonization within regions of national laws to prevent arms dealers from arranging transfers; support for States that lack the resources for implementing national laws against small arms trafficking; recognition of the role of civil society in combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and putting the control of small arms and light weapons into regional cooperation mechanisms.
The Secretary-General, once again, combined the following topics into a single report (document A/61/127): “Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons”; reducing nuclear danger; and nuclear disarmament. In the report, he says that nuclear disarmament efforts appeared to have stalled since mid-2005, even though nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation remained priority issues for international peace and security. Dangers to the international community were still present, resulting from the development, acquisition, possession and possible use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons and radiological dispersal devices, or “dirty bombs”.
There had been increasing challenges in recent years to IAEA safeguards agreements, which served to undermine the effectiveness of the non-proliferation regime. Renewed unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral efforts were necessary, as were measures to reduce existing nuclear arsenals by the nuclear-weapons States. Also of concern was a shift in emphasis towards having fewer, but more powerful, weapons.
Despite the disappointing conclusion of the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in May 2005, that Treaty remained “the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament”. Failed negotiations on both the 2005 World Summit Outcome and the Review Conference of the Parties to NPT represented a missed opportunity in addressing important threats and challenges to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and sent an unfortunate signal regarding the current level of respect for the Treaty’s authority.
Furthermore, the discovery of clandestine markets for nuclear technology and the threat that such technology might fall into the hands of terrorists added to the challenges faced by disarmament efforts. The mandate of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), which aimed at stopping non-State actors from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, had been extended through Security Council resolution 1673 (2006), and the United Nations remained fully committed to assisting Member states in confronting those challenges.
In his combined report on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East and the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/61/140), the Secretary-General says that those issues remained important. State parties to the NPT, in the general debate and at the 2005 Review Conference, had reiterated their support for such a zone, reaffirmed the importance of the implementation of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference’s resolution on the Middle East, and recognized that the resolution remained valid until its goals and objectives were achieved. The Secretary-General expresses concern that recent developments in the region could adversely impact efforts to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free zone there. He says he hopes that conditions would soon give new impetus to the “Road Map”, and calls upon concerned parties within and outside the region to resume their dialogue. The report contains replies from Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Jamaica, Japan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritius, Syria and the United Arab Emirates.
The Committee will have before it a report on measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (document A/61/171) for the fourth year in a row. The report details measures taken by international organizations and Member States on issues relating to the linkage between the fight against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The report includes replies from Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Georgia, Latvia, Libya, Mauritius, Panama, Sudan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines and Syria, as well as 11 international organizations. These include the IAEA and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
In his report on Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status (document A/61/164), the Secretary-General notes that increased references to Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status at the bilateral, multilateral, and international level are evidence of growing international recognition of that status. The United Nations has continued to assist Mongolia in promoting its international security and its nuclear-weapon-free status, and will continue to offer assistance to help Mongolia deal with its economic and ecological vulnerabilities.
A report on the issue of missiles in all its aspects (document A/61/168), prepared by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, concludes that most States agree that the existing situation is unsatisfactory and that arms control and disarmament measures on missiles are presently unattainable. The report recommends that the United Nations address the substantive content and appropriateness of missile-specific confidence-building measures at the national, bilateral, regional and international levels. On the control of man-portable air defence systems, the report recommends consolidating efforts to control man-portable air defence systems under the aegis of the United Nations.
The Committee will also consider reports on: Regional confidence-building measures: activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (document A/61/365); strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean (document A/61/123); and Consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures; Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them; and the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects (document A/61/288).
In addition, Committee members have before them the following reports containing views of Member States: promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (document A/61/114), conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (document A/61/112); confidence-building measures on the regional and subregional context (document A/61/124); and on objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures (document A/61/133).
Also: developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/61/161); observance of environmental norms in drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/61/113); the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (document A/61/137); the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (document A/61/163); the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (document A/61/157); the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/61/98); transparency in armaments: United Nations Register of Conventional Arms (document A/61/159); problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (document A/61/118); and continuing operation of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and its further development (document A/61/261).
In addition, the Committee will be considering reports on efforts of States that have ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) towards its universalization and possibilities for providing assistance on ratification procedures to States that so request it (document A/61/134). It includes activities that have been completed and aimed at promoting entry into force of the Treaty.
Also before the Committee are reports on: disarmament and non-proliferation education (document A/61/169); United Nations disarmament fellowship, training and advisory services (document A/61/130); the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) (document A/61/180); and the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme (document A/61/215).
The Committee also has before it notes of the Secretary-General transmitting reports on measures to uphold the authority of the 1925 Geneva Protocol (document A/61/116); cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (A/61/184); and the annual report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) (document A/61/185).
MONA JUUL ( Norway), Committee Chairperson, said that the sixty-first session was taking place against a background of some urgency. While global and regional security challenges persisted, not much had been achieved in multilateral arms-control diplomacy. Once again, the Committee had a window of opportunity to address important disarmament and non-proliferation issues. She urged Members to find common ground on those issues, yet stressed that consensus was not a goal in itself. Although Member States would not be able to agree on everything, she called for more cooperation than had been achieved in the past. Members were encouraged to understand the security concerns of all stakeholders.
She said that the issues at hand were serious and included nuclear disarmament, production of fissile-material for weapons purposes, nuclear-weapon-free zones, security assurances, a possible militarization of outer space, compliance and verification, proliferation threats, biological and chemical weapons, and illicit trading in small arms and light weapons. As Chairperson, she would act only as a facilitator to the Committee’s important work. It would be up to the Member States to achieve substantive progress.
After the organizational meeting last week, she hoped to see further improvements in the working methods of the Committee. That would help in achieving the ultimate goal –- the achievement of something that would positively affect civil society. So, the Committee would listen to civil society and she encouraged all to participate in the upcoming dialogue.
“Wherever feasible, let our voice be collective”, she noted. She called on Members to heed the late Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of peace and non-violence.
NOBUAKI TANAKA, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, said that, over the last two weeks, speaker after speaker in the plenary of the General Assembly offered a gloomy prognosis for international peace and security, while almost half of the statements hardly addressed the issue of disarmament at all. Those who spoke on the subject related various setbacks in the past year, including the silence of the World Summit Outcome document on weapons of mass destruction, the disappointing climaxes to the 2005 NPT Review Conference and the review conference on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, failures to comply with non-proliferation commitments, growing terrorist threats, new dangers in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula, and the persistence of unilateral approaches to security.
He said those events should not overshadow achievements made in the same period, such as the Assembly’s adoption of a major convention on the suppression of nuclear terrorism and a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The Conference on Disarmament had concluded its 2006 session, which was characterized by a productive structured debate on key issues, but regrettably the Conference could only adopt a report to the Assembly that was merely procedural. He urged members of the Conference to commence early substantive work during the 2007 session.
“It is important”, he said, “to all bodies of our disarmament machinery to remind the world not only of the dangers that threaten us, but also that we are not powerless in the face of them; that practical, positive steps were within our reach.” The international community should build upon those positive steps one by one, small as they may be, in spite of the uphill battle of the path towards disarmament. It was not enough to simply anguish over the future, or to make accusations over who was to blame for persisting threats. The First Committee must be more than a forum for reciting policy statements. Instead, “we must work together to build bridges over the divisions that remain.”
He said that tens of thousands of nuclear weapons still existed, while there were new or emerging threats from such weapons in the Middle East, South Asia, and North-East Asia. The old problem of “vertical proliferation” -– the improvement of existing nuclear arsenals -- was no longer confined to the five NPT nuclear-weapon States, while dangers of geographical or “horizontal proliferation” persisted. Anxiety about the future of the NPT regime was further fuelled by the impasse on the Korean Peninsula and by concerns about Iran’s nuclear intentions. The world would welcome a further commitment by the Russian Federation and the United States, who had, by far, the largest nuclear stockpiles, to reduce substantially their strategic and non-strategic weapons under a new treaty. The world would also welcome greater transparency with respect to both the number of weapons and amount of fissile material held by all States that possessed such weapons.
He said he hoped the Committee would also voice its strong support for the timely conclusion of a fissile material cut-off treaty, while underscoring the urgent need for progress on issues such as the weaponization of outer space. Treaties covering biological and chemical weapons must be brought closer to universal membership, implemented and complied with.
He said dangers posed by a wide range of conventional arms, including small arms and light weapons, landmines, submunitions, artillery rockets and other weaponry were a concern of all States. Those weapons were difficult to control since many had legitimate defence uses, and there were powerful economic interests that promoted continued production and export. The gap between the ground reality and the rule of law might change in the years ahead if the arms trade treaty proposal moved forward. Last year’s agreement on an instrument for marking and tracing such weapons marked a significant political step forward. The next step was to tackle the issue of illicit brokering. The United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and its standardized instrument for reporting military expenditures had made solid progress. Next month, parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons would mark the entry into force of Protocol dealing with explosive remnants of war. The final success of their vital endeavour was now in the hands of States parties. He said the Department for Disarmament Affairs would continue to assist Member States in their work, as best as its limited resources would allow. Finally, he paid tribute to the many dedicated individuals and groups from civil society doing the hard work on behalf of disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation.
KJETIL SKOGRAND, State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, said that the Committee’s task was not an easy one. The session was taking place against a grim and frustrating background, as not much had been achieved in recent years. Three notable failures had been the following: the failure to agree on a substantive review of the NPT in May of last year, the failure to agree on disarmament and non-proliferation at the United Nations Summit, and the failure to agree on follow-up of the United Nations Action Programme on small arms and light weapons a few months prior. In short, the present international security environment was not conducive to multilateral cooperation in arms control. That would have to change, he said.
Supporting arms control measures was not pure idealism, he said. It was rather about self-interest, as all countries would be well served by peace, security and stability. Regrettably, a lack of mutual trust among Member States had slowed progress in recent years. Yet, surrendering to passivity was not an option. Norway had initiated cooperation among 7 States to pave the way for a global consensus on steps to strengthen arms control and non-proliferation.
The current session created new opportunities, he added. Though none were legally binding, it was imperative that the Committee send clear messages to reverse the recent negative trends. He provided several examples, such as creating new optimism by agreeing on a way to proceed in preparations for the next NPT Review Conference. Secondly, the Committee could contribute to efforts in beginning negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear purposes. Third, with the new and crucial Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention, the Committee could send a strong signal that progress in ridding the world of those should be sought. Fourth, as small arms were responsible for an overwhelming number of lives lost, the Committee could achieve consensus-based progress and thereby rectify the failure of the Review Conference of the United Nations Action Programme a few months ago. He added that the prevention of an arms race in outer space was also an important theme.
Thanking the Chairperson for her ambition in improving working methods, he asked that efforts to avoid unnecessary duplication be avoided. “There can be too much of a good thing”, he said referring to the prevalence of competing resolutions in earlier sessions. He hoped that the Committee would be inspired to be both pragmatic and constructive.
REAZ RAHMAN, Adviser of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh, said that his delegation aligned itself with the statement made by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, yet wished to add several points. The session was taking place under a backdrop of heightened concern over the expansion of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons. He highlighted recent failures, including the 2006 review conference of the Programme of Action to control illicit trade in small arms, the 2005 NPT Review Conference, and the 2005 World Summit. Despite recurring diplomatic failures, however, there was broad agreement that the security of the international community was challenged by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, and the risk that non-State actors could gain access to those weapons.
The greatest threat to humanity came from the continued existence of nuclear weapons and their possible use, he said. He expressed grave concern over nuclear-weapon States acquiring more precision capability for already-existing stockpiles and developing new types of weaponry, as well. Those developments would only make those weapons more attractive to terrorists and could thereby “bring havoc for all of us”. The total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only solution. Until that happened, reaffirmation of the negative security assurances provided by nuclear-weapon States was necessary.
The NPT and the CTBT remained the cornerstones of the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, he continued. Full universality of the NPT, CTBT and other international instruments would have to be ensured, without exception. Signed almost by all countries in the world, the NPT guaranteed that non-nuclear nations would forgo building nuclear weapons. Yet, the lack of political will had cast a shadow over the prospect of making the world a safer place, and it was thus imperative to consider practical steps to ensure the Treaty’s relevance and strength. He strongly supported the early entry into force of the CTBT, while continuing to believe that the fissile material cut-off treaty was ripe for negotiation. He called for convening an international conference that would arrive at an agreement on a phased programme providing for the elimination of all nuclear weapons, prohibition of their development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use, and their destruction.
In regard to disarmament and non-proliferation, Bangladesh’s record was impeccable and his Government was party to almost all disarmament treaties including the NPT, CTBT, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention), the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Mine-Ban Treaty and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention). He reiterated that the article 4 of the NPT guarantees the inalienable rights of all parties to develop, research and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and he expressed disappointment at the extraneous reasons being used as an excuse to deny the rights of non-nuclear-weapon States to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Worried about the huge number of civilians, particularly, women and children, falling victim to anti-personnel landmines in conflict and post-conflict situations, he called upon States to become parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Land Mines. He said it was appalling that $1 trillion had been spent on global military expenditures in 2005, and that number was rising in response to a “frantic arms race”. Major military Powers, in particular, were urged to divert part of that spending to helping with poverty alleviation in developing countries, which would then advance the achievement of reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
SAMEH SHOUKRY (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden, New Zealand), said there was no doubt that international disarmament efforts had not lived up to collective aspirations and shared commitments. The international community was witnessing a chain of unprecedented security challenges. The mere existence of nuclear weapons and the possibility of their use not only posed a threat to international peace and security, but also destabilized an already volatile world that was witnessing profound, unpredictable changes. The NPT remained the cornerstone of the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime. There was a pressing need for prompt action by nuclear-weapon States to implement their nuclear disarmament commitments made under article 6 of the Treaty, including the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. The New Agenda Coalition intended to submit to the First Committee its yearly resolution for the acceleration of the implementation of those commitments.
He said achieving the universality of the NPT was essential in promoting international peace and security, and urged the three States that were not party to the Treaty to accede to it as non-nuclear-weapon States. He also called upon the State that had withdrawn from the Treaty to rescind its decision. He called upon all States parties to the NPT to comply faithfully with their obligations in conformity with article 3 and 4. There had been a clear tendency in contemporary disarmament discourse to treat nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation as if they were two separate, disconnected issues. Attempts to secure advances on non-proliferation, while retreating from nuclear disarmament commitments, were counterproductive. They were mutually reinforcing processes and should be dealt with as such. It was important to fully implement the commitments made at the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences.
He said the Coalition remained concerned about plans to research the development of new types and uses of nuclear weapons and the modification of existing ones. Reports that some States were in the process of developing new types of nuclear weapons or contemplating lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons were particularly disturbing. Further reductions in nuclear arsenals were needed, as were disarmament measures that incorporated the essential elements of irreversibility, verification and transparency. He also expressed concern about the risk of non-State actors gaining access to nuclear weapons. That issue deserved serious consideration. Despite efforts by the international community and others, vast amounts of nuclear material worldwide remained susceptible to theft and diversion.
“There is only one guarantee that a nuclear weapon will never be used and that is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons”, he said. As the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission recently reported, so long as any State had nuclear weapons, others would want them; so long as any such weapon remained, there was a risk that they would one day be used, by design or accident, and any such use would be catastrophe. “Nuclear bombs can kill, intimidate and terrorize”, he added, in closing. “They cannot bridge differences, promote dialogue, nor ensure sustainable development.”
REZLAN ISHAR JENIE (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the inability of last year’s World Summit to address the issue of disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as the failure of the 2005 NPT Review Conference, had further worsened collective efforts to promote greater world peace and security. Similarly, the failure of the 2006 Small Arms conference to agree on a final document was an impediment to efforts to deal with that issue. It was essential to reconvene at an early date, preferably in 2007, the open-ended working group on the fourth General Assembly Special Session on Disarmament.
He said that nuclear disarmament remained the Non-Aligned Movement’s highest priority and that it stressed the necessity that non-proliferation efforts be carried out in parallel with efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament. He called on the Conference on Disarmament to agree on a balanced and comprehensive programme of work. Regarding the United Nations Disarmament Commission, he called on Member States to achieve agreement on recommendations based on its two agenda items during the current cycle.
He said it was most unfortunate that large stocks of nuclear weapons continued to exist, and some nuclear-weapon States were keen to develop even more sophisticated arsenals. The most effective way to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction was through the total elimination of such weapons. Achieving universal adherence to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), including by all nuclear-weapon States, should contribute to the process of nuclear disarmament.
He said the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of such weapons. Pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, he called for the conclusion of a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument on security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones was a positive step towards the objective of global disarmament, and he reiterated support for the establishment in the Middle East of such a zone. Pending that outcome, Israel should accede to the NPT without delay and place promptly all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. Developing countries also had an inalienable right to engage in research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination, and developed countries were responsible for helping them to do so.
KARI KAHILUOTO ( Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he remained convinced that security and prosperity were increasingly dependent on an effective multilateral system. The European Union wished to contribute to the development of a stronger international community, well-functioning international institutions, and a rule-based international order.
The European security strategy was built on a broad and comprehensive concept of security, he continued. The document from the 2005 World Summit recognized that development, peace, security, and human rights were interlinked and mutually reinforcing. Conflict and threat prevention could never start too early and the root causes of instability must be addressed. Diplomatic means, development assistance, the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, poverty reduction –- all could be used as efforts to solve political conflicts. Other important mechanisms included: multilateral treaties; national and internationally coordinated export controls; political and economic levers, including trade and assistance agreements; interdiction of illegal procurement activities; and, as a last resort, coercive measures in accordance with the United Nations Charter.
The Peacebuilding Commission had been a much-needed contribution to peace and security. That new body would have to have a strong and dynamic role in United Nations system. The Union continued to stress the importance of structurally integrating disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration measures into the Commission’s work.
Events of the past year had shown that terrorism continued to be a threat to international security, he said. The Union welcomed the agreement on a global counter-terrorism strategy as an important instrument and expression of international solidarity in the fight against terrorism. He urged all Member States to build on that achievement and reach consensus on the United Nations comprehensive anti-terrorism convention. As terrorist groups had shown that they would not refrain from using the most lethal means, it was vital that terrorists be prevented from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction or sensitive materials.
Missile technology added a further element of concern, he continued. The Union remained convinced that a multilateral approach to non-proliferation was the best means for countering the threat of weapons of mass destruction proliferation to international security. The Union supported the universal ratification of the NPT, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, and The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, as well as the early entry into force of the CTBT. He said that those key instruments formed the basis for the international community’s efforts in disarmament and non-proliferation, and contributed to international confidence and peace, including in the fight against terrorism.
The NPT continued to be the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, he said. The treaty was as vital as ever. Standing by its common position related to the NPT Review Conference in 2005, the Union called on those States not yet party to join the Treaty. It was the fiftieth anniversary of the IAEA statute’s approval this year and the Union reaffirmed its full support for that indispensable organization. The Union also supported strengthening the role of the United Nations Security Council as final arbiter of international peace and security. The Union looked forward to the next NPT Review Conference in 2007, which could produce tangible results built on the three pillars of the NPT, thereby reinforcing that regime.
The regime was under pressure from the challenges posed by the question of the Iran nuclear programme and by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s self-declared possession of nuclear weapons, he added. The Union welcomed the adoption of Security Council resolution 1696, calling upon Iran to suspend its enrichment activities. The Union urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon and dismantle any nuclear weapons related programme in a prompt and transparent manner, while condemning the provocative missile test-launches in July 2006. Also, the Union placed utmost importance on the earliest possible entry into force of the CTBT, while attaching a clear priority to the negotiations of a treaty banning the production of fissile material or other nuclear explosive devices. Both the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention played an essential role in countering the threat of biological and chemical weapons, respectively, and, as such, needed to be strengthened further.
On small arms and light weapons, the Union expressed disappointment that parties had been unable to agree on an outcome document, yet reaffirmed its commitment to that Convention, as well as to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines. The Union also welcomed growing support for the international arms trade treaty, because binding standards, consistent with the existing responsibilities of States under relevant international law, would be critical in tackling conventional arms proliferation.
PABLO MACEDO ( Mexico) said the current situation was characterized by an imbalance between actions to meet disarmament goals, on the one hand, and the fight against terrorism and non-proliferation, on the other. The fight against terrorism particularly tended to encourage horizontal proliferation. After failures in 2005, the situation had failed to improve in 2006. The Conference on Disarmament was unable to move forward, and the Small Arms Review Conference was also unable to achieve results, due to the opposition of one delegation.
He expressed concern about the lack of regulation on the possession of civilian arms and munitions, as well as transfers to non-State actors. An unacceptable paralysis in the Conference on Disarmament had prompted a search for alternatives. Such ideas were not always welcomed by those who did not wish to see progress, or who had impeded progress in other forums. Those parties had offered objections, but not proposals. Due to its universal composition and methodology, the General Assembly could take on the responsibilities that others were unable to fulfil, due to a lack of resolve and abuse of the consensus rule, which had been turned into the veritable power of veto.
He said Mexico was ready to start work on a fissile material cut-off treaty, using the mandate from last summer’s conference as a starting point. He hoped 2007 would be a year of real progress. If the current situation persisted, the Conference would lose credibility. The NPT review cycle was a fundamental instrument in international security. Mexico supported Austria’s proposals to hold the first sessions of that review in Vienna during the first quarter of 2007. That process must focus on the rights, duties and compliance contained in the Treaty, such as the inalienable right to peaceful energy.
He said a lack of respect for basic principles had eroded the non-proliferation regime that has been painstakingly built over the last four decades. Without effective disarmament, efforts toward non-proliferation were seriously undermined. At the end of the 2000 NPT review, nuclear States had committed to destroying their stockpiles. It was of great concern that they had failed to meet that commitment. He also called upon those States that had not ratified the CTBT, including those whose signatures were necessary for it to come into force, to do so without delay.
CÉSAR MAYORAL ( Argentina) noted that, having a woman chair leading this important committee would contribute and strengthen the debate by providing a new gender perspective. Brazil would be making a statement on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and Argentina was in full support of that, he added.
He said that adopting and redefining the United Nations structure required effective multilateral dialogue. Regarding disarmament and international security, the paralysis of the disarmament machinery had left the international community with a situation that was untenable. In response to that, delegates would need to engage in frank dialogue and take a pragmatic approach. On weapons of mass destruction, his Government promoted the universality and strengthening of legally binding instruments. That would simultaneously be flanked by access to technology for States that complied with their international obligations. The excessive stockpiling of conventional weapons and small arms were both causes for persistent conflict and ultimately led to high crime rates and the loss of innocent civilians.
While offering congratulations on the results achieved by the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, he expressed frustration on the lack of results during the review conference on the Programme of Action to combat and eradicate the illicit trafficking of small and light weapons. He hoped that more would be achieved regarding those efforts.
Argentina had taken the initiative of introducing the draft resolution on “Information in Confidence-Building Measures in the Field of Conventional Arms” during the fifty-ninth session. Following the adoption of resolutions 59/92 and 60/82 without a vote and with a number of co-sponsors, his Government believed it could contribute to the efficiency of the first Committee’s work to bi-annualize the resolution. He invited all delegations to support the initiative.
CHENG JINGYE ( China) said that regional non-proliferation issues had been very prominent since the beginning of the year. Double standards and opportunism remained unabated, and the international non-proliferation regime was in danger of being further weakened. It was important for the international community to strike a balance between non-proliferation, on the one hand, and maintenance of regional peace and stability, the legitimate security concerns of countries involved and the rights to peaceful uses, on the other hand.
He said a comprehensive approach should be adopted to address both the symptoms and root causes of proliferation problems. Parties concerned should commit themselves to the normalization of their relationship through consultation and dialogue. Resorting to sanctions or exerting pressure would not solve root problems, but instead might lead to escalation. The impartiality and non-discriminatory nature of the international non-proliferation effort should be ensured and effective measures taken to safeguard the international non-proliferation regime.
He said China was committed to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, making the Peninsula free of nuclear weapons and promoting the six-party talks. He hoped the parties concerned would meet each other halfway in a cool-headed manner and with greater flexibility, with a view to the early resumption of the six-party talks and gradual implementation of the Joint Statement.
On Iran, China supported efforts to safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, opposed proliferation and stood for the maintenance of peace and stability in the Middle East and a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations. The top priority was to advance the dialogue between Iran and the European Union 3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom).
He said the role of nuclear weapons in national security should be reduced and the nuclear disarmament process promoted. An international legal instrument on security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States should be negotiated and concluded at an early date. Measures should be taken to prevent the weaponization of, and an arms race in, outer space. The international community should be committed to preserving and strengthening international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, and traditional multilateral arms control and disarmament institutions should be revitalized. Effective measures should be taken to move the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission out of quagmires and reinvigorate them, so they could play their due roles. At the same time, it was important to stick to the principle of consensus.
He said China had always taken concrete measures to promote the cause of international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. As a nuclear-weapon State, China had never evaded its due responsibilities and obligations in nuclear disarmament. It had always stood for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, and refrained from any nuclear arms race, while making contributions to international nuclear disarmament. It earnestly implemented its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention. It firmly opposed the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and actively participated in international non-proliferation efforts, through comprehensive non-proliferation export control and the constant strengthening of its law enforcement. China firmly pursued a road of peaceful development. Proceeding from that basic national policy, China would continue to extensively participate in, and promote, international arms control.
JÜRG STREULI ( Switzerland) said that the First Committee was the main forum for debate on arms control and, as such, it welcomed the measures adopted in 2004 to improve working methods. Regarding negotiation on arms control, international forums remained blocked. Those blockages were from a lack of will to enter into negotiations by States, and divergent priorities and interests among them. Nevertheless, thanks to the initiatives of the six Presidents, the Conference on Disarmament was back on track.
At the heart of his Government’s concerns were non-proliferation, disarmament and cooperation in the nuclear field, he continued. On the Iran nuclear dossier, Switzerland remained convinced that contentious aspects could be resolved by diplomacy. On the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula, there were new concerns following rumours about the possibility of a nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. His Government called on those involved in the six-party talks to display a spirit of consensus which would enable the said process to be re-launched, and it called for the Democratic People’s Republic to again adhere to the NPT.
Regarding nuclear cooperation between India and the United States, he noted that the draft initiative raised fundamental questions about the nuclear non-proliferation system based on the NPT. His Government stood by the view that the right to cooperation and to access to sensitive technologies remained dependent on adherence to the NPT and on the strict application of all Treaty provisions.
He also said the United Nations Action Programme to Prevent, Combat, and Eliminate the Illicit Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons was of fundamental importance. It was unique in its being the only United Nations document containing a complete catalogue of measures and the only one to have been accepted by all Member States.
On the Biological Weapons Convention, he said that biotechnology was advancing rapidly in the military and civil areas, which led to an increased risk of abuse. He appealed for all States to find common ground in the autumn’s upcoming meeting in Geneva. Regarding chemical weapons, his Government was pleased with the progress made and was confident the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons would continue its work unimpeded. Residual chemical weapons were a danger to the environment and to people and also served as a source of supply, notably for terrorist groups.
On the Arms Trade Treaty, he said that Switzerland actively supported the effective control of international trade in conventional weapons by means of an international binding legal instrument, such as that proposed by the United Kingdom and others. Furthermore, the United Nations provided the perfect framework for such work.
RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG ( Brazil) said the need for effective collective measures in order to re-establish confidence and settle international disputes was ever more pressing at a time when regional tensions continued to escalate, conflicts continued to be a daily reality, and civilian populations continued to suffer mounting casualties. It was worrisome to observe a continuous erosion of multilateralism and an increasing tendency towards unilaterally imposed measures. Another disquieting trend was Security Council encroachment on General Assembly competences in issues related to international peace and security. Measures under Chapter VII of the Charter should not be used indiscriminately.
He said the threat of terrorism only added to the urgency of nuclear disarmament, which must remain the highest priority in the fields of weapons of mass destruction. The only real guarantee against the proliferation of such weapons was their total elimination. Nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT should realize that the impasse at last year’s Review Conference was due, to a large extent, to the perception that there had not been any sign of real resolve to eliminate existing nuclear arsenals. Horizontal proliferation was a real, serious concern, and the threat posed by enduring nuclear arsenals was perceived by a large majority of NPT members to be at least as important as the risks of further proliferation. Non-proliferation efforts must, however, respect the basic and inalienable right of all States to develop, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
He said that Brazil was committed to negotiating balanced and non-discriminatory multilateral regulations on the international arms trade, including a possible future treaty to regulate trade in conventional arms. One of the core objectives of such a treaty must be the prevention of conventional weapons being diverted to illicit purposes, such as organized crime and terrorism, without prejudice of the right of States to produce, acquire and maintain such weapons for self-defence purposes. It was also important that discussion on a possible future arms trade treaty not focus solely on criteria for authorizations of arms transfers, but also on practical measures aimed at preventing diversion.
He said that the concept of development was closely related to that of disarmament. Arms expenditures diverted substantive financial, material and human resources that could be otherwise invested in social programmes. In negotiating a future arms trade treaty, due consideration should be given to the taxation of the arms trade as an example of an innovative financing mechanism.
YOSHIKI MINE ( Japan) said that the First Committee had convened amidst difficult times, as there were serious challenges in the fields of security, disarmament, and non-proliferation. There had been a series of failures, including the World Summit last year, where no substantive consensus document had been achieved on disarmament and non-proliferation. Despite those, it was no time to lament, as two review conferences on certain conventional weapons and biological weapons -– were still to come. Furthermore, the Conference on Disarmament was expected to move ahead next year and the new NPT review process for the 2010 Review Conference would be next year.
With that as a backdrop, the Committee would have to confront the challenges and hold deep deliberations on how those problems could be resolved in an efficient and effective manner. Powerful, action-oriented resolutions would have to be adopted. Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Committee’s work was crucial, as well. He said the Committee should aim for full implementation of resolution 59/95 and always be aware of budgetary implications when deliberating on resolutions. Greater involvement of civil society was also important.
His Government called upon Member States to refer to their follow-up actions in their general debate statements. As an example, for texts on the universalization of the NPT and the early entry into force of the CTBT, Japan had held talks with India, Pakistan and Israel from May to June this year and had urged all three countries to join the NPT and ratify the CTBT. That year also marked the tenth anniversary of the CTBT, he noted. The treaty enjoyed near-universal support. With 176 countries having signed, and 135 having ratified, only 10 more were needed for its entry into force.
He said that the United Nations should render logistical assistance and pay close attention to outcomes, so that future meetings would succeed. Particularly important were the Conference on Disarmament and the new NPT review process. On the Conference on Disarmament, the initiative by the six Presidents had created a more productive environment and the only missing element was the commencement of negotiations. He noted that current and incoming presidents should cooperate, so that the Conference on Disarmament could finally start negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty. Regarding the important commencement of the NPT, parties should cooperate to make the upcoming 2007 Preparatory Committee a constructive beginning, so that the 2010 Review Conference could achieve a successful outcome, he added.
DON MacKAY ( New Zealand) expressed disappointment that there had been no agreement on an outcome document of the 2001 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade of Small arms and Light Weapons, but highlighted that further global action was warranted and needed to be taken. His Government supported further work on the arms trade treaty, transfer principles, and brokering, over the course of the next year.
He noted that the 2006 Conference on Disarmament seemed, at times, like it could break its decade-long stalemate. Parties must guard against convincing themselves that discussions constituted an adequate substitute for substantive work. Delegates needed to capitalize on momentum generated this year and reach substantive negotiations. The fissile material cut-off treaty deserved priority on a number of fronts, including minimizing stockpile build-up. The key imperative at the current stage should be the launching of negotiations without prejudicing their outcome. His Government was prepared to approach negotiations without pre-conditions. Any instrument which contributed to a norm against the production of nuclear weapons helped provide momentum for the disarmament debate, he added.
Creating a world safe from nuclear weapons remained one of the international community’s most pressing priorities. Expressing full support for the statement made by the New Agenda Coalition, he said that one of the most important responsibilities of the Committee was to ensure a smooth start to the next review process so that progress could be achieved. He commended the IAEA and Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in verifying that nuclear energy programmes had peaceful uses. He urged all States to conclude additional protocols with the Agency without delay. He also called on Iran to put in place full transparency and cooperation with the Agency, to respect all of its commitments, and to continue negotiations on long-term arrangements.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s decision to pursue nuclear weapons also posed a serious challenge to the non-proliferation regime and to security in Asia-Pacific region. Committed dialogue was the best possibility in finding resolution, and he urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to the six-party talk process.
On the CTBT, it was imperative that it enter into force. His Government remained fully committed to encouraging universalization of the Treaty and encouraged all States to ratify the Treaty. On the Chemical Weapons Convention, he said that stockpiles would have to be destroyed by 2012, the deadline in the Convention.
Through the Group of Eight (G-8) Global Partnership, his Government was contributing funds to a project to shut down the Russian Federation’s last plutonium reactor, he noted. That and other examples demonstrated New Zealand’s commitment to disarmament and nuclear safety. It remained committed to playing an active role in the upcoming Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Review Conference and looked forward to seeing progress made in international humanitarian law to mitigate the humanitarian impact of conflict. On the Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference, he said that with the rapid advancements of biotechnology and the possible acquisition by terrorist for malicious purposes, parties would have to find new ways to make the treaty’s implementation relevant and effective.
ANATOLY ANTONOV ( Russian Federation) said that counteracting such a major threat as international terrorism had overshadowed the topical issues of disarmament in recent years. Yet, it was too early to speak of the end of the world’s arms race. As the Russian Federation’s President had recently pointed out, the arms race had entered a new spiral, driven by new technology. The halt in disarmament efforts naturally had a negative effect on the process of containing weapons of mass destructions and on the cause of preventing terrorists from gaining access to them. Unprecedented military expenditures by individual countries, which exceeded the cold war’s highest levels, as well as the modernization of weapons, the danger of the placement of weapons in outer space and the use of information weapons, all negatively affected efforts to maintain the strategic balance of forces in the world.
He said that Russian-United States relations were undoubtedly of key importance for preventing a new arms race and for maintaining strategic stability. Issues of weapons of mass destruction non-proliferation, including their anti-terrorist aspect, remained the focus of Russia’s policy during its G-8 presidency. The initiative of the Russian Federation’s President to establish international centres to provide services in the field of the nuclear fuel cycle was aimed at resolving the objectives of nuclear non-proliferation and provided an alternative to the development of sensitive elements of the nuclear fuel cycle, such as enrichment and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.
He said one of the major threats to global stability was the possibility of the placement of weapons in outer space. The task of preventing such a scenario was within reach. Recent debates at the Conference on Disarmament revealed great interest by States in ensuring that outer space was not turned into the arena of confrontation. His Government favoured the earliest re-establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Conference on Disarmament on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space. Russia had pledged not to be the first to place any weapons in outer space, and he called on all States that had military space capability to follow suit. It was time to review the entire range of confidence-building measures in outer space and update proposals on that issue that were elaborated in the United Nations at the beginning of the 1990s. His delegation planned to submit a new draft resolution on that topic. His Government also intended to introduce an updated draft resolution on the possibility of the use of information and communication technology for hostile purposes, which presented a serious threat to international security.
He said the NPT was the foundation of international security and stability. New challenges and threats to that regime should be resolved on the basis of the Treaty. In that context, the settlement of the problems related to the nuclear programme of Iran remained relevant. Russia favoured a political and diplomatic solution that would allow Iran to develop nuclear energy under IAEA safeguards and assure the exclusively peaceful character of Tehran’s nuclear programme.
He further welcomed the signing of the Treaty on the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia as an important step in fostering the non-proliferation regime. That Treaty would make a substantial contribution to security in Central Asia and ensure that weapons did not find their way into the wrong hands.
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