JAPAN, REPUBLIC OF KOREA URGE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA TO REFRAIN FROM NUCLEAR WEAPON TEST, IN FIRST COMMITTEE DEBATE

4 October 2006
GA/DIS/3320

JAPAN, REPUBLIC OF KOREA URGE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA TO REFRAIN FROM NUCLEAR WEAPON TEST, IN FIRST COMMITTEE DEBATE

4 October 2006
General Assembly
GA/DIS/3320
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-first General Assembly

First Committee

4th Meeting (AM)

JAPAN, REPUBLIC OF KOREA URGE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA

 

TO REFRAIN FROM NUCLEAR WEAPON TEST, IN FIRST COMMITTEE DEBATE

Double Standards in Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime,

Right to Peaceful Nuclear Power, Small Arms Trade among Other Issues Raised

Concerns about a host of threats to the integrity and relevance of the international non-proliferation system, and specifically regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s declaration yesterday that it planned to test a nuclear weapon in the future, were highlighted by a number of speakers this morning, as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) continued its week-long general debate.

Japan’s representative said nuclear testing by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would be “totally unacceptable”, posing a great threat to international peace and security and constituting a serious challenge to the non-proliferation treaty regime.  He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to “exercise maximum restraint” and refrain from any such testing.

The representative of the Republic of Korea called the declaration a matter of “profound concern and regret” that was tantamount to an abrogation of the South-North Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  He strongly urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to refrain from any action that might aggravate tension, to return immediately to the six-party talks without precondition, and to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes.

The representative of Egypt also addressed what he called the “collapse of the non-proliferation treaty regime”, citing double standards that were based on political, ideological and, sometimes, religious considerations.  He said Egypt rejected Israel’s, Iran’s or any other Middle Eastern State’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. 

Several representatives stressed that efforts towards nuclear non-proliferation should not conflict with the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which was an inalienable right of all States.

South Africa’s representative said she did not support unwarranted restrictions on access to nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes by States that were fully compliant with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as those restrictions would only exacerbate existing inequalities already inherent in the Treaty.  It was imperative to guard against the subjective notion that sensitive material and technologies were safe in the hands of some, but posed a risk in the hands of others.  She added that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) played a central role in providing necessary assurances in that regard.

Several speakers also expressed their concern on conventional weapons proliferation.  The representative of Turkey, for example, said his Government believed there was a close relationship between the illicit trade in small arms and terrorism.  He said the international community should act decisively to improve stockpile security and strengthen export controls in countries that imported and manufactured Man-Portable Air Defence Systems, and support efforts for the effective implementation of the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel mines.

Venezuela’s representative cautioned that the main responsibility for adopting measures to eliminate the trade in small arms belonged to States, which had a sovereign right to produce, import and hold small arms that they considered necessary to meet their security needs.  He rejected the establishment of technological export control regimes as infringements on the sovereign right of nations to use technology for peaceful purposes.  Instead, authorities in the main manufacturing states should incorporate legislation to mark weapons and munitions before export, in order to facilitate tracing them and prevent their diversion to the black market.

Statements in the debate were also made by representatives of Kazakhstan, Cuba, Belarus, Viet Nam, Tunisia, Singapore, Qatar, Dominican Republic and Algeria.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Thursday, 5 October, to continue its general debate.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its general debate on all disarmament and international security agenda items.

Statements

YERZHAN KH. KAZYKHANOV ( Kazakhstan) said his country’s call for an enhanced nuclear-weapon non-proliferation regime was rooted in the sufferings of its people, who were still reeling from negative effects of nuclear explosions at the former Semipalatinsk nuclear testing ground.  That position was supported by Kazakhstan’s historic decision to renounce its own nuclear arsenal, once the fourth largest in the world.  That step should serve as a commendable example in light of the ongoing large-scale crisis of the global security system.  “We have to stop just discussing what issue is a matter of primary importance –- nuclear disarmament or nuclear proliferation”, he said.  “It is time to take coordinated efforts to overcome that crisis.”  Real progress was possible if Member States fulfilled their obligations regarding nuclear disarmament and the vertical and horizontal non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

That process had been given a good start with the signing of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia by five Central Asian States on 8 September in Semipalatinsk, he continued.  It was all the more surprising that the signing of that Treaty, one of the most important developments in non-proliferation in recent years, was not even mentioned in the opening remarks made before the Committee on behalf of the United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs.

Continuing, he urged those States that had not yet signed or ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to do so.  It was also necessary to strictly comply with the provisions of Security Council resolution 1540 and intensify efforts to enhance national export control mechanisms, in particular with regard to dual-use materials and technologies, as well as missiles and other means of delivery of weapons of mass destruction and man-portable air defence systems.  Having joined the club of world space powers, Kazakhstan reaffirmed its commitment to preventing the stationing of nuclear weapons in outer space.

He said the international community should work tirelessly to combat illegal trafficking in conventional arms and called on States to renew their commitments to implementing the Programme of Action.  Negotiations within the United Nations to draft legally binding international instruments to combat illicit trafficking in such weapons and to ensure effective compliance with United Nations arms embargoes should continue.  Regional security measures were also necessary.  The possibility of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists was a matter of grave concern.  In that context, Kazakhstan supported further universalization of anti-terrorist treaty mechanisms and was looking forward to an early completion of a comprehensive convention against international terrorism.

RODRIGO MALMIERCA DÍAZ ( Cuba) said that his Government aligned itself with the statement made by Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  That reflected the priorities adopted by the Heads of State at the Summit Conference in Havana.  At the Summit last September, 118 members of the Non-Aligned Movement agreed to promote those positions at international forums, and Cuba would do its utmost to fulfil that mandate.

The rise in military expenditures was of growing concern, he noted, as was the vertiginous growth of the superpower’s military budget, and the increasingly overt hegemony, unilateralism, interventionism, either direct or covered up.  Those only served to create insecurity for the weakest countries.

The United States annually spent what the rest of the world spent in the area of military expenditures, while United States companies were responsible for 60 per cent of the weapons sold worldwide, he said.  “What if this money was spent to close the gap between rich and poor?” he asked.  With the resources devoted to armaments, 852 million people could be fed for a year.  With just 10 per cent of current military expenditures, the Millennium Development Goals could be attained.  Cuba reiterated its proposal to devote at least one half of its military expenditures to meet the needs of economic and social development through a United Nations-managed Fund.

The cold war had ended but there were still 33,000 nuclear weapons worldwide and 13,000 were ready for immediate use, he said.  The only safe and effective way to avoid the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction would be through their total elimination.  Nuclear weapon States were legally bound to conclude negotiations in good faith aimed at achieving nuclear disarmament.  Cuba rejected selective implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  Issues pertaining to nuclear disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy could not be disregarded, while at the same time acting in favour of horizontal proliferation.  On conventional weapons, the Committee should take steps to ensure that those were not further developed, as they would only lead to more collateral damage –- a phrase used to cover the innocent loss of life.

The Conference on Disarmament had reached a standstill, he said.  Resolutions had been neither honoured nor implemented.  The 2005 United Nations World Summit had failed to make a statement on the question of disarmament and there were more failures, including the 2005 Small Arms Review Conference.  Cuba called for a fourth special session on disarmament.  The lack of concrete results was not due to inefficient working methods -- rather, that was a simplistic and distorted view.  The main obstacles were political, mainly a lack of political will, especially on the part of the military superpower. 

MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said the First Committee was meeting against a complex international backdrop marred by feelings of mistrust and uncertainty.  Some, on the basis of their military and economic power, believed that the rules of disarmament and international security were not formulated to apply to them or their allies, while the overwhelming majority believed that those rules applied to all without exception.  That continued discord affected all multilateral disarmament machinery.  There was a clear pattern of substantive imbalance, which raised the question of the causes behind that pattern and the objectives of some who seemed to want to deliberately frustrate the multilateral disarmament machinery.  The question was whether their objectives were to evade the clear obligations of that machinery and replace them with other, non-United Nations machinery to achieve the specific security objectives of some parties -- for example, through codes of conduct they were trying to impose through the Security Council and outside frameworks.

He said the gravest situation was the collapse of the non-proliferation treaty regime.  The peaceful use of nuclear energy was the inalienable right of all parties.  The treaty regime was facing real threats as a result of the intransigence and the evasion by nuclear States of their obligation to eliminate their weapons, in accordance with article 6 and the 13 steps.  That lack of commitment had led to attempts to impose new priorities through a bilateral framework and an outside multilateral framework.  The major powers had not honoured their commitments to allow the use of nuclear technology for peaceful ends and had portrayed the attempts of some in that direction as a first step towards obtaining nuclear weapons.  That was based on arbitrary assumptions and a lack of evidence. 

He said that some nuclear powers supported States that were not party to the Treaty and who had acquired, or were reported to have acquired, weapons in clear contravention of their commitments.  Double standards, particularly with regard to nuclear disarmament, were based on political, ideological and, sometimes, religious considerations.  Egypt rejected Israel’s, Iran’s or any other Middle Eastern State’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.  There was a need for unified standards on disarmament questions leading to the establishment of a nuclear-free- zone in the region, based on Israel’s adherence to the non-proliferation treaty as a non-nuclear State.  That zone should be based on the guarantee that no State in the region would seek such weapons, including Iran.

He said that the recent small arms conference failed, as a result of a conflict between large producers and small States that suffered tragic human consequences.  States must implement the Programme of Action, and the Security Council must help States, particularly developing countries, instead of suppressing the efforts of the international community.

IGOR FISSENKO ( Belarus) said it was hard to refrain from criticism when one spoke of the results achieved in multilateral disarmament bodies.  First, look at the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  Implementation of that treaty was of critical importance to Belarus as a country that had renounced its opportunity to continue possessing nuclear weapons, and had fully implemented its obligations.  Belarus had initiated the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in Central and Eastern Europe and welcomed the new nuclear-weapon-free zones in Central Asia.  Four of the five States in that zone were partners with Belarus in the collective Security Treaty Organization.  As one of the countries most affected by Chernobyl, Belarus said the use or threat of nuclear weapons to settle any disputes was unacceptable.

Belarus aligned itself with the Non-Aligned Movement’s statement, and believed that efforts at nuclear non-proliferation should not be in conflict with peaceful uses of energy.  Ten years after the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), it had not entered into force and his Government hoped that the ratification process would proceed.  Regarding the banning of fissile material production, it remained an important issue.  Belarus supported the package approach –- the Conference on Disarmament should begin negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, while beginning its substantive work on prevention of the arms race in outer space and negative security assurances.  The Conference on Disarmament had become more active last year, but he hoped the fact that the 2006 Conference approved only a procedure report would not have negative, insurmountable consequences for its future work.

On the growth of weapons of mass destruction, there was already a price to be paid -- economic resources had been diverted from development and lives lost, he continued.  Decades of effort needed to be spent to establish control and take preventive measures.  Belarus had sponsored the resolution “Prohibition of the Development and Manufacture of New Types of Weapons”, yet the fact that it was not adopted was an alarming signal.  It was imperative that it be supported, he said.

The only way to decrease the consequences of the misuse of conventional weapons would be to insure the most extensive, multilateral approach.  On the issue of the illicit trade of small weapons, there had been no outcome document produced at the review conference, but Belarus confirmed its commitment to full implementation of the Programme of Action.  On illicit transfers of small arms, future agreements should not limit the legal arms trade or the right to self defence.  Belarus also stood for the universalization of the Ottawa Convention on Anti-personnel Mines.

HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) said that, in light of the recent failures, the current state of disarmament could only be rectified if genuine political will prevailed and cooperative efforts to overcome existing difficulties and obstacles were both renewed and redoubled.  Weapons of mass destruction -- including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons -- posed the most serious threat to humankind today.

The NPT remained the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime, he said.  He was also convinced that, pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, efforts for the conclusion of a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument on security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States, should be pursued as a matter of high priority.  In the meantime, he fully recognized the important role played by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its safeguards.  He stressed that the NPT had confirmed the right of countries to have access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The adoption of the CTBT in 1996 had been one of the most significant achievements in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  Viet Nam had signed the CTBT in 1996 and, in March of this year, Viet Nam had deposited its ratification of the Treaty, and would work hard with all other countries to enable it to achieve universal adherence.

On nuclear-weapon-free zones, he said that they made a significant contribution to achieving regional and international security, while strengthening the NPT regime and total nuclear disarmament.  He expressed support for Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status, welcomed the new nuclear-weapon-free zones in Central Asia and encouraged the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  Viet Nam had acceded and committed itself to the South-East Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone, and was working closely with other Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member States to ensure a South-East Asia region free from nuclear weapons.  His Government also welcomed the announcement made by China of its readiness to accede to the Protocol annexed to the South-East Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone, and called upon other nuclear-weapon States to do so.

CHOI YOUNG-JIN ( Republic of Korea) said that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems posed an ever-increasing threat.  At the same time, the integrity and relevance of the international non-proliferation system was being undermined by the non-compliance of some States, while the unwillingness of nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their obligations under article VI of the NPT was deepening the rift between the nuclear haves and have-nots.  The impasse on the Korean Peninsula and the ongoing Iranian nuclear issue continued to overshadow the international non-proliferation and disarmament regime.

Despite all the challenges and setbacks, he said the NPT should continue to be the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime.  The Treaty should be made universal, as should the IAEA Additional Protocol.  Priority should be placed on the early entry into force of the CTBT and the immediate commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. 

He said that parallel efforts should be made to strengthen the disarmament and non-proliferation regimes for other classes of mass destruction weapons.  He urged those countries outside the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention) to work with the rest of the international community to eliminate chemical weapons stockpiles from the world.  Measures to enhance the effectiveness of controls on materials and technology related to weapons of mass destruction needed to be strengthened.  Conventional weapons were also a matter of increasing concern, and the Republic of Korea supported an initiative for an instrument on controlling international arms transfers. 

He said that his country strongly supported multilateral security cooperation in North-East Asia, which remained in transition with much fluidity and uncertainty.  Yesterday’s declaration by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of its intent to conduct a nuclear test in the future was a matter of “profound concern and regret”.  The declaration was tantamount to an abrogation of the South-North Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. 

He said his Government was engaged in in-depth consultations with concerned parties on resuming the six-party talks and implementing last year’s Joint Statements.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s declaration ran counter to efforts to seek a resolution through dialogue.

“My government strongly urges the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to show restraint and refrain from any action that might aggravate tension, to return immediately to the six-party talks without precondition, and to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes as the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1695 stipulates”, he said.

MOKHTAR CHAOUACHI ( Tunisia) said that “the arms race is carried on at the expense of most elementary needs of the civilian population”.  The last three decades had been marked by a lack of progress in nuclear disarmament.  He appealed to nuclear States to implement their commitments made at the 2000 NPT Review Conference to eliminate their arsenals.  While awaiting the elimination of those weapons, non-nuclear States were entitled to guarantees against the use, or threat of use, of such arms. 

He said the development of new types of weapons ran counter to the guarantees nuclear States made when the CTBT was concluded.  A fissile material treaty was a goal to be achieved, but it was still not being negotiated.  It was also time to convene a Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly on disarmament and to relaunch the multilateral disarmament process.  He hoped that the Open-Ended Working Group would see the light of day and make positive recommendations. 

The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of freely concluded agreements was an important means of promoting disarmament and non-proliferation at the regional and international level.  In that respect, the Middle East was most affected, because of the continued refusal of Israel to join the NPT and to place its nuclear installations under IAEA safeguards, despite the appeals of many States in the region.  He called on the international community, particularly the influential powers, to take urgent measures to create such a zone.

Regarding the convention on anti-personnel mines, he said that Tunisia had been quick to ratify the convention and had completed destruction of all anti-personnel mines in its territory.  He hoped that all States would participate in that process.  Tunisia contributed actively to the efforts of Mediterranean countries to provide a global coordinated response to the challenges facing them, with the aim of making the Mediterranean an area of dialogue, cooperation, and exchange.  Tunisia would continue to play its part in peace and disarmament.

FRANCISCO JAVIER ARIAS CÁRDENAS ( Venezuela) said the existence of nuclear weapons threatened human survival.  The only assurance against their use was total destruction.  The most effective way to create a nuclear-weapon-free world would be for all States to comply with multilateral agreements without exception.  Nuclear States should implement the 13 practical measures of the 2000 NPT Review Conference and provide effective assurances to non-nuclear States.  Establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones was one of the most effective ways to eliminate such weapons.  The inalienable rights to use nuclear energy for peaceful aims should be upheld, and any disregard for sovereignty and the legitimate right to develop energies necessary for sustainable development should be rejected.

He said that Venezuela did not have any chemical weapons, even though it had a sizable chemical industry.  Inspectors had concluded that it was strictly complying with the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Venezuela supported international efforts against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; however, the only way to make progress was in a multilateral, non-discriminatory forum.  Unilateral solutions and selective and discriminatory approaches, which undermined international cooperation, were sources of concern, as was the trend to transfer such issues to the Security Council, a forum in which Member States could not participate on an equal footing. 

He said that Venezuela had implemented a programme of action on illicit arms.  The state bore the main responsibility for adopting measures to eliminate trade in such weapons, and representative national institutions should be the ones to carry them out.  States had a sovereign right to produce, import and hold small arms that they considered necessary to meet security needs.  Venezuela rejected unilateral measures that violated that right.  Authorities in the main manufacturing States should incorporate legislation to mark weapons before export in order to facilitate tracing them and prevent their diversion to the black market.  Measures in that area would be incomplete if they did not also address the issue of munitions.

He said that disarmament advances must come without harming the environment or undermining sustainable development.  Technological progress with civilian applications should be put at the service of humanity in a manner that contributed to the economic and social development of people.  Venezuela rejected the establishment of technological export control regimes, which were discriminatory and infringed on the sovereign right of nations to use such technology for peaceful purposes.  States with space technology should refrain from putting defence systems in outer space, as well as provide information on their activities in that area.  Venezuela supported efforts to create a binding instrument to prevent an arms race in outer space.

LOKE SEOW LAY ( Singapore) said that there was often a sense of deep resignation within the First Committee.  Referring to several recent failures, including the 2005 NPT Review Conference and the 2006 Small Arms Review, she said speakers were correct to say that progress had indeed been slow.  She urged delegates, as the Under-Secretary had already done, not to succumb to pessimism.  She agreed with his statement that “we are not powerless”.

Disarmament and non-proliferation were serious issues with a myriad of national and global implications, she continued.  As such, discussion was often sensitive and contentious, but, on the flip side, ensured broad and serious engagement.  Those issues extended past national borders.  There were common areas of interest.  For one, all were faced with a different security environment than in the past.  Previously, there had been a focus exclusively on States, but today States were not the only actors.  Non-state actors were of concern to all.  Terrorist attacks were not geographically limited.  Everyone had suffered or been targeted at one point or another.  Thankfully, those attacks had been conventional.

“We all have a stake in preventing a possible terrorist attack with a weapon of mass destruction and global efforts were thus crucial”, she said.  Disarmament and non-proliferation went hand-in-hand; no progress on one could be made without the other.  Furthermore, both sides –- States with weapons of mass destruction and those without -- needed to build confidence and be pragmatic.  Multilateral initiatives that could be further built on included the NPT, Chemical Weapons Convention, Convention on the Prohibition of the Development and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention), and the CTBT.

Singapore welcomed the extension of Security Council 1540 Committee through resolution 1673 of this year.  It was also heartened by the General Assembly’s Adoption of the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.  As a small country with an open and trade dependent economy, Singapore believed that weapons of mass destruction were of great concern, and her Government had taken initiatives such as tightening its export control system, in response.  Singapore had also participated in the Proliferation Security Initiative, she added.

JAMAL NASSER AL-BADER (Qatar), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said there were challenges facing the world of non-proliferation and weapons of mass destruction at the highest levels, and that threatened international peace and security.  The international community had not achieved victory in that arena; in fact, the opposite had happened and there were a number of reasons for it.  For one, there was an absence of real political will to fulfil the moral commitments of various conventions.  Second, there had been no punitive measures or sanctions imposed on States when breaches occurred.  The prevalence of double standards had generated non-confidence in those agreements.  The failure of nuclear-weapon States to make progress on giving up weapons of mass destruction constituted some form of inequity.

The failure of the 2005 NPT Conference held in New York had diminished the results of the 1995 and 2000 Review Conference, he said.  Examples of where confidence had been successfully built included the nuclear-weapon-free zones in Africa, South America and Central Asia.  Yet, the Middle East was quite different, as it was “a volcanic crater that could explode at any moment because of a serious imbalance in the balance of power”.  The fact that the international community had ignored the Israeli nuclear arsenal had led to a lack of confidence in international conventions.  There was a flagrant lack of concern and no one had called for the renunciation of such weapons.  That resulted in a lack of credibility.  It was important to eradicate all forms of weapons of mass destruction and rules needed to apply to all, without exception.

He lamented the fact that the Small Arms Review Conference had not reached any valuable conclusions.  The small arms issue could not be belittled, and land mines were likewise a threat to international security.  Further, States needed confidence in their security to control the arms race.  Without that, States were forced to possess the most lethal weapons.  Resorting to dialogue and solving intractable political problems through diplomatic means would be the effective way of controlling the arms race.

ERASMO LARA-PENA ( Dominican Republic) said it was important to use all possible United Nations resources to establish measures to stem the trade in small arms, which was one of the main causes of a lack of security among his country’s citizens.  Threats across the globe required a global response.  The United Nations was the only organ that could provide such a response; therefore, the failure of the Small Arms Review Conference to agree on an outcome document was a disappointment.  It was important that a follow-up to the Programme of Action be rapidly defined.

He said that the world had lived through the cold war and survived it, but other dangers lay in wait.  Terrorism, which was a threat to all, was fuelled by hunger and extreme poverty.  Once such longstanding difficulties were resolved, then it would be possible to make progress on peace and security.  The Tlatelolco Treaty, which created a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Latin America, was exemplary.  He expressed the fervent wish for similar commitments in areas where countries had not yet shouldered such agreements and congratulated Central Asia for establishing such a zone.  Nuclear energy for purely peaceful ends was an inalienable right.  Any other use or threat of use, including disregard for the authority of the IAEA, must be firmly rejected.  

He said the Caribbean Sea was a fragile, complex marine space that was shared by 40 countries and territories in different stages of economic development, all of which depended on the sea to various degrees for sustainable tourism, mineral resources and maritime transport, and all of which were seeking to declare the Caribbean a special area in the context of sustainable development.  The Caribbean, including its resources and adjacent coasts, would be a closed sea whose quality was paramount.  He called on the international community to exercise due vigilance regarding transport of radioactive waste and to adopt rules that complemented those goals.

He said the Caribbean States were submitting a draft resolution declaring the Caribbean Sea a special area for sustainable development.  That was not a mere intellectual or academic exercise, but should be seen in the context of a strategy of economic security for all Governments.  He encouraged delegations working with the Second Committee to support the resolution.  The Dominican Republic was particularly interested in matters relating to pollution of the marine environment, the communication of contingency plans in cases of mishaps, recovering material in dumping cases, decontamination of affected zones and the establishment of effective mechanisms for liability in cases of damage.

GLAUDINE MTSHALI ( South Africa) said that South Africa aligned itself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the New Agenda Coalition and the African Group.  The Committee was meeting against a backdrop of a number of recent failures in the disarmament and non-proliferation regime, for example at the NPT Review Conference and last year’s World Summit.  Further, in recent years there had been a trend to focus almost exclusively on the non-proliferation provisions of international instruments.  While committed to those instruments, her Government believed that real progress in securing the world from weapons of mass destruction could only be made through concomitant progress in the area of disarmament.

South Africa remained fully committed to its objectives as set out in article 2 of the IAEA Statute, with a view to further the development and applications of nuclear technology towards, peace, health and prosperity.  As a country that had forgone the nuclear weapon option, South Africa believed that nuclear weapons had no role in today’s world security order.  All Parties to the NPT were urged to fulfil and implement all obligations therein.  In order that efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons proliferation be sustainable, equal efforts were necessary to eliminate nuclear weapons themselves.

She said that the three pillars of the NPT -- indispensable to the maintenance of the equilibrium of the global security regime -- were nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  Without each of these, the treaty would not exist.  She did not support unwarranted restrictions on the guaranteed access of the NPT to nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes by States that were fully compliant with all their obligations under the Treaty.  That would only exacerbate existing inequalities already inherent in the Treaty.

She also expressed concern over proposals made which could infringe on the inalienable rights of all countries to the peaceful uses of such technologies.  It was imperative to guard against the subjective notion that sensitive material and technologies were safe in the hands of some, but posed a risk when others had them.  The IAEA played a central role in providing the necessary assurances in that regard.

On the Conference on Disarmament, the deadlock had existed for far too long, she said.  South Africa was honoured to assume the presidency in 2007 and would exert all possible efforts and examine all options to achieve progress.  This year, her Government had the responsibility, with Columbia and Japan, to introduce the First Committee omnibus small arms resolution.  The Programme of Action needed to be reaffirmed at the national, regional and global levels.

On the Biological Weapons Convention, she hoped that the Sixth Review Conference would seize the opportunity to strengthen that very important disarmament instrument.  On the Chemical Weapons Convention, South Africa would be hosting a seminar for South African States on national implementation measures.  She urged States in possession of chemical weapons stockpiles to ensure that they had been destroyed.

Disarmament and non-proliferation efforts had been less than sterling and surely much more could be done to ensure a safe world, she said.  The international community needed to show flexibility, compromise and political will to achieve success in the disarmament and non-proliferation arena.

KERIM URAS ( Turkey) said that his Government aligned itself with the statement made by Finland on behalf of the European Union.  As party to all international non-proliferation instruments and export control regimes, his Government wished to see the universalization and effective implementation of those instruments. 

The NPT remained a unique and irreplaceable multilateral instrument, the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime, and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.  Every effort needed to be taken to protect its integrity and credibility.  The critical and indispensable role of the IAEA also needed to be underlined.  The verification authority of the Agency should be strengthened and the Model Additional Protocol should be adopted as the universal norm for verifying compliance with the NPT.

On the issue on nuclear-weapon-free zones, Turkey expressed support for the establishment of one in the Middle East, while welcoming the zone already established by the five Central Asian states.  Turkey supported the extension of the mandate of the 1540 Committee and regarded the Proliferation Security Initiative as an important cooperative action complementing existing mechanisms.  He likewise voiced support for the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Chemical Weapons Convention and the Hague Code of Conduct against ballistic missile proliferation.

He said conventional weapon proliferation was also a cause for concern, and his Government believed there was a close relationship between the illicit trade in small arms and terrorism.  Though there had been a failure to achieve tangible results last year, Turkey was committed to the effective implementation and further strengthening of the Programme of Action on small arms this year.

The international community should act decisively to improve stockpile security and strengthen export controls in countries that import and manufacture Man-Portable Air Defence Systems, he noted.  Furthermore, Turkey fully supported efforts for the effective implementation of the Ottawa Convention and a world free from anti-personnel mines.  He added that Turkey had become a State Party to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and supported the United Nations Register on Conventional Arms.

YOUCEF YOUSFI ( Algeria) said it was regrettable to note that the disturbing international situation was fraught with consequences for international peace and security.  The international disarmament process was increasingly uncertain and there were signs of it being “out of breath”.  The words “failure” and “deadlock” had been heard in many of the statements before the Committee, a sign of the frustration and disenchantment faced by many countries that were committed to disarming.  Apart from the lethargy of the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission, there were the lamentable failures of the review conferences on the NPT and on small arms.  That last pitfall was especially significant, since that area had previously benefited from multilateral consensus.

He said that multilateralism and the promotion of the rule of law no longer seemed to enjoy universal support.  Negative developments had compromised the hopes that had arisen after the end of the cold war and after important decisions of the NPT review conferences in 1995 and 2000.  None of the 13 measures agreed upon at the 2000 Review Conference had been carried out.  In the face of such uncertainty, non-nuclear States were entitled to credible security guarantees that were not open to interpretation.

He said that complete elimination of nuclear weapons was the only healthy option for future generations.  It was important to rehabilitate the multilateral framework.  Consolidation of peace and security through honouring nuclear commitments involved a global balance and non-selective treatment of the terms of the NPT.  It required technological cooperation and scientific exchanges to ensure that States could use nuclear energy for peaceful means, and to show them that they had made the right choice when they voted for the unlimited renewal of the NPT in 1995.

He said nuclear-weapon-free zones were likely to reinforce international peace and security and contribute to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  Because of geographical similarities and close links with the Middle East, Algeria was concerned about the absence of such a zone in that region.  More than ever, it was necessary to send a strong signal calling on Israel to comply with international law and remove the main, or perhaps only, obstacle to achieving that goal.  Algeria was committed to promoting international peace and security, especially in the Maghreb and elsewhere in Africa.  In that context, it was trying to prevent the transfer of small weapons, particularly on the African continent.  Algeria had also completed destruction of all anti-personnel mines in 2005, six months earlier than required by the Convention on such mines.

YOSHIKI MINE ( Japan) expressed his Government’s deep concern over the statement made by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea yesterday regarding the intention to conduct nuclear testing.  Should a test be conducted, this would be a great threat to the peace and security of Japan, of the region and beyond. It would likewise constitute a serious challenge to the NPT regime.  Nuclear testing by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would be “totally unacceptable”, and he urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from conducting any tests.

His Government strongly urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to implement United Nations Security Council resolution 1695 (2006), in particular by returning immediately and without preconditions to the six party talks; and implementing fully the Joint Statements of the six party talks of 9 September 2005, in which the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea committed itself to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes, and returning to the NPT and IAEA safeguards.

He requested all States to closely monitor the development of the matter and “to promptly respond to this serious challenge to international peace and security”.

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