NEW NUCLEAR WEAPONS, IRRATIONAL DOCTRINES JUSTIFYING THEIR USE, NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY NON-COMPLIANCE BLOCK NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, IRAN TELLS FIRST COMMITTEE

13 October 2008
GA/DIS/3366

NEW NUCLEAR WEAPONS, IRRATIONAL DOCTRINES JUSTIFYING THEIR USE, NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY NON-COMPLIANCE BLOCK NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, IRAN TELLS FIRST COMMITTEE

13 October 2008
General Assembly
GA/DIS/3366
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-third General Assembly

First Committee

7th Meeting (PM)

NEW NUCLEAR WEAPONS, IRRATIONAL DOCTRINES JUSTIFYING THEIR USE, NON-PROLIFERATION

TREATY NON-COMPLIANCE BLOCK NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, IRAN TELLS FIRST COMMITTEE

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Says ‘Nuclear Power Politics’

Renders Disarmament Treaties Ineffective, Incites Worldwide Nuclear Arms Race

The development of new nuclear weapons, the “irrational doctrines” to justify their use and non-compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had emerged as stumbling blocks on the frustrating road towards total nuclear disarmament, Iran’s representative said today.

Addressing the Disarmament Committee during its general debate, he said that those who hypocritically preached to others to comply with the Treaty were themselves in non-compliance.  That had given rise to the pervasive concern that some nuclear-weapon States had no genuine will of accomplishing the disarmament part of the “NPT bargain”.  “This trend has led to the creation of a crisis of confidence, which, if remains unaddressed, may have far-reaching consequences.”

Non-compliance did not include using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he said, noting that pressure and threats had targeted the peaceful nuclear programme in Iran.  Iran was a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and remained determined to exercise its inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, a policy based on long-term planning to meet its energy needs.

However, certain nuclear-weapon States had not lived up to their obligations, he said.  “The United States that boasts to have the leadership in fighting against the threat of WMD, continues to stress the essential role of nuclear weapons as an effective tool for achieving security, as well as foreign policy options, and threatens to target non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

“The commitment of certain nuclear-weapon States to nuclear disarmament must go beyond rhetoric,” he said.  “Instead of playing figure games to cover their non-compliance and ambitions, they need to abandon their anti-nuclear disarmament policies and actions and truly honour their obligations.”

Moreover, he said, the United States was also engaged in destabilizing the international security environment by building a “missile shield” in Eastern Europe, based on declaratory assessments of hypothetical and artificial threats and in order to reach the impossible goal of “absolute security”.

The main target of that shield, itself having nuclear-weapon status, had repeatedly warned, including in the First Committee, that the deployment of the United States’ global missile defence bases in Eastern Europe would have a negative effect on disarmament, he added.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his country was “exposed to constant threats of the super-Power.  Our choice to possess a nuclear deterrent is due to the deep-rooted US hostile policy and nuclear threats, which continue for more than half a century.”

“Nuclear power politics” based on double standards was a major factor rendering the NPT and other disarmament treaties ineffective and “inciting a nuclear arms race worldwide”, he said.  Some countries were strengthening their own military capabilities for self-defence because treaties such as the NPT provided no shield for the security of non-nuclear-weapon States.

Non-nuclear-weapon States needed assurances against the threat of use or use of nuclear weapons, said Haiti’s representative, speaking on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM).  He called on the nuclear-weapon States to promote greater respect for the legal obligations emanating from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The Caribbean Community also supported nuclear-weapon-free zones, he said, drawing attention to its concerns about the transhipment of nuclear waste through Caribbean waters.  The Community called for an end to the practice, and urged those countries involved in the production and shipment of nuclear waste to adopt measures to strengthen international cooperation and compliance with security mechanisms on transportation of radioactive material.

Statements in the general debate were also made by the representatives of Nepal, Armenia, Papua New Guinea, Libya, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Eritrea, Oman, San Marino, Jordan, Morocco and Benin.

The representative of the Republic of Korean spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 14 October, to conclude its general debate and begin its thematic segment.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) continued its general debate this afternoon on all disarmament and international security agenda items before the General Assembly.  (For background information and a summary of reports before the Committee, see Press Release GA/DIS/3361 of 6 October 2008.)

Statements

MICHELET ALOUIDOR (Haiti) speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the Caribbean Community noted with concern the deteriorating situation faced by the international community in the field of disarmament and international security.  Although little progress had been made by the disarmament machinery in recent years, the Community remained faithful in its commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation.

Saying that multilateralism was the only viable option for maintaining international peace and security, he stressed that the multilateral disarmament machinery must be enhanced.  He called on the nuclear-weapon States to promote greater respect for the legal obligations emanating from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  Non-nuclear-weapon States needed assurances against the threat of use or use of nuclear weapons.

The Caribbean Community supported nuclear-weapon-free zones, he said, drawing attention to concerns about the transhipment of nuclear waste through Caribbean waters.  Thus, the Community called for an end to the practice, and urged those countries involved in the production and shipment of nuclear waste to adopt measures to strengthen international cooperation and compliance with security mechanisms on transportation of radioactive material.  The Caribbean countries were also concerned by the threat posed by non-State actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and they would seek to strengthen the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).

The proliferation of conventional weapons continued to pose a threat to international peace and security, and caused conflict and organized crime, in particular narcotics trafficking, he said.  The United Nations should further explore the scope, feasibility and parameters for the negotiation of a legally binding arms trade treaty.  The Community welcomed the results of the Third Biennial Meeting of States and encouraged cooperation on its recommendations.  It also noted the relationship between disarmament and development.

MADHU RAMAN ACHARYA ( Nepal), aligning with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the world continued to pay hefty bills on arms, but offered very little for development.  There was disappointment over the continued lack of progress in the disarmament agenda.  International peace and security was threatened by terrorism, with the existence of large stockpiles of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

He said that his country, as a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, supported nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, and stressed that the provision for safeguards and verification be rigorously applied to prevent proliferation of nuclear materials.  The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must continue to strengthen its safeguards mechanisms to make non-proliferation more effective.  More tangible progress should be made in the lead-up to the next NPT Review Conference in 2010.  The Conference on Disarmament should endeavour to commence negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.  He called for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and pending that, a universal moratorium on nuclear test explosions.   Nepal was also opposed to any encroachment of outer space for military purposes.

His country favoured stringent control of conventional weapons and therefore supported implementation of the 2001 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, he said.  The United Nations Register of Conventional Arms should be updated effectively to keep a tab on conventional weapons.  There was strong reason for an early conclusion of an arms trade treaty, and Nepal supported the creation of a working group for preparation of negotiations.  It also sought progress towards the convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly on disarmament at the earliest possible time.   Nepal also supported nuclear-weapon-free zones.

HRACHIA TASHCHIAN ( Armenia) said his country’s geographical location caused a confrontation with issues related to both conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction.  It was deeply interested in the unconditional implementation and further strengthening of the existing disarmament and non-proliferation agreements, as well as international verification mechanisms and institutions.  The Non-Proliferation Treaty played a central role in maintaining the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  He was concerned with the developments surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme, and hoped that negotiations under the auspices of IAEA, along with diplomatic efforts, would lead to a mutually acceptable solution.  He stressed the importance of the entry into force of the test-ban Treaty and adherence to all appropriate IAEA safeguards.

He said his country also attached great importance to conventional disarmament and was committed to the implementation of the small arms Programme of Action.  It also supported international efforts to eliminate anti-personnel mines and had consistently expressed its willingness to accede to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Mine Ban Convention), since its entry into force.  However, that was contingent on the willingness of other States in the region to do so.

There were still several unresolved conflicts in the region, he said, adding that there was also a lack of regional security arrangements in the South Caucasus.  The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, and unconditional and complete observance of its provisions, would play an important role in maintaining peace and stability in the South Caucasus.  Steps must be taken to restore the validity of the Treaty in the region.  There was an unprecedented arms race and growth in military budgets in the South Caucasus.  It was not accidental that a military confrontation had resulted.

SIN SON HO (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said the “long-cherished desire to build a peaceful and prosperous world is still confronted with serious challenges”.  In particular, the regional situation of North-East Asia surrounding the Korean peninsula remained strained and, regretfully, “grave situations are occurring one after another in this region”.  Behind the scenes of dialogue, “large-scale joint military exercises envisaging pre-emptive nuclear strikes at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are staged in a more undisguised manner in parallel with a move to integrate the US-Japan and US-South Korea bilateral military alliances”.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was “exposed to constant threats of the super-Power”, he said, adding: “Our choice to possess a nuclear deterrent is due to the deep-rooted US hostile policy and nuclear threats, which continue for more than half a century.”

He said his country remained consistent in its position to resolve the nuclear issue of the Korean peninsula peacefully and through dialogue and negotiations.  Until recently, the country’s nuclear facilities were being disabled at the final stage, a nuclear declaration had been submitted and even those measures scheduled for the dismantlement phase had been implemented in advance.  There was also a clear expression of his country’s sincere will for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula; his country would continue to firmly adhere to the principle of “action for action”.  The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, in its essence, was “directly linked with the elimination of the US hostile policy and nuclear threat on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” and it required “the US to terminate its nuclear threat and hostile policy aimed at overthrowing our system”.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had put forward, on numerous occasions, a proposal to replace the current unstable armistice with a durable peace mechanism on the peninsula, with a view to liquidating “the remnantof the cold war, the last of its kind”, he said.  Replacing the armistice with a peaceful mechanism was essential for peace and reunification on the peninsula, as well as the peace and security of North-East Asia and beyond.  All nuclear weapons should be eliminated worldwide, in order to ensure world peace and security in a sustainable way.  As long as attempts remained to monopolize nuclear weapons and threaten other countries with them, no progress could be expected from deliberations on overall disarmament issues.

He said that the “nuclear power politics” based on double standards was a major factor rendering the NPT and other disarmament treaties ineffective and “inciting a nuclear arms race worldwide”.  Some countries were strengthening their own military capabilities for self-defence because treaties such as the NPT provided no shield for the security of non-nuclear-weapon States.  It was because of “independent politics, the Songun politics of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that we are now able to prevent a war danger and maintain peace on the peninsula and in the region”.

ROBERT GUBA AISI (Papua New Guinea), supporting the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country remained concerned about proliferation among States of nuclear, chemical, biological and other weapons of mass destruction.  There was no real justification for the retention and further development of those instruments of war.  He encouraged open dialogue and supported multilateral negotiations within the framework of international law, relevant multilateral conventions and the United Nations Charter to address those and other issues of peace and international security.

He said he was also concerned about the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons, which had become a critical matter of national security and development in Papua New Guinea.  He welcomed the adoption of the report of the Third Biennial Meeting of States on small arms, and supported the elaboration of a legally binding arms trade treaty.  He noted the recent launch of Oxfam International’s report entitled “Shooting Down the MDGs”, which illustrated how irresponsible arms transfers could negatively impact the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

GIADALLA ETTALHI ( Libya) was deeply convinced that implementation of the NPT was essential, and achieving progress in disarmament would have an impact on non-proliferation.  Nuclear-weapon States needed to comply with their obligations and fully eliminate their stockpiles, but progress in that area had been slow.  He called for the full non-selective implementation of the NPT, but stressed that the different disarmament obligations should not be confused with the right of States to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

He said that, despite setbacks at the World Summit in 2005 regarding disarmament and the failure to reach consensus on a programme of work at the Conference on Disarmament, it was of vital importance of to reach agreement on the elimination of nuclear weapons, and destroy existing stockpiles, within a specific timetable.  It was also necessary to conclude a legally binding instrument of assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States that the nuclear Powers would never use or threaten to use their nuclear weapons against them.  

Libya had demonstrated its own goodwill and strong commitment to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, he said.  In 2003, it had announced that all programmes that would lead to the production of such weapons would be concluded.  There was a genuine threat to peace and security in the Middle East, owing to Israel’s possession of modern military capacities.  It was also the only State in the region not party to the NPT or to IAEA safeguards.

Regarding conventional weapons, he said that not enough was being done to protect States affected by unexploded ordnance.  Anti-personnel mines had been dealt with in a truncated manner, under the Mine Ban Convention, but more could be done, such as de-mining problem areas.  Small arms and light weapons were the scourge of his continent.  Instruments to stem trafficking should be based on a United Nations framework.  The United Nations Member States must show a strong commitment to effective implementation of the 2001 Action Programme.  Multilateralism was the path to meeting today’s global challenges.

MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) emphasized that small arms and light weapons proliferation was a major concern in his region.  Those weapons had had major political, economic and social impacts, as evidenced by the thousands of victims, mostly civilians, the refugees and displaced populations, and child soldiers, not to mention the burgeoning crime and violence plaguing urban centres and border zones.  The flourishing of the illicit arms trade exacerbated an already dire situation, fuelling dangerous terrorist networks that threatened the Sahel-Sahara region.  Conflict in certain countries of the region, coupled with porous borders, had aggravated those threats.

In response, he recalled, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), at the level of Heads of State and Government, had signed the Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Production of Small Arms and Light Weapons in 1998, which had become a convention in 2006.  Yet, Burkina Faso lacked the means to battle that scourge alone, and he called upon the international community for support to prevent the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in his country and the subregion.  He commended the revitalization of the Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, based in Togo.  It was a model for other States.

The recent standstill in disarmament was bracketed by tensions of nuclear activities and the looming risk of the militarization of outer space as warning signs that efforts should be redoubled to ensure general and complete disarmament.  States should ratify international conventions and treaties.  Burkina Faso had ratified the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba), and he encouraged other countries to follow suit.  At the same time, he underscored the inalienable right of States to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

MARIO CASTELLÓN DUARTE ( Nicaragua) said the 1987 Conference on Disarmament and Development had adopted an innovative approach to the issue, strengthening the key role of the United Nations in that regard.  Every year, military expenditures grew, and had been at $1.3 trillion in 2007.  Meanwhile, 120 million people around the globe lived in extreme poverty, 854 million adults were illiterate, 40 million people were infected by HIV/AIDS, 2 million were dying of tuberculosis and 1 million died each year of malaria.  Developed countries should fulfil their obligation to provide 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to official development assistance (ODA) to help tip that balance.

He said that multilateral measures on disarmament were the only way forward.  Non-proliferation must be pursued, with the aim of ridding the Earth completely of nuclear weapons.  At the same time, all States had the right to opt for nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, yet it was important to keep in mind the risk of accidents and threat of terrorist attacks, with the presence of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons globally.  To address proliferation, nuclear-weapon States should adhere to the NPT, and the upcoming Treaty review in 2010 might accelerate progress.  He also encouraged all regions to pursue the establishment of nuclear-weapon–free zones.

Regarding conventional weapons, Nicaragua shared the international community’s concern about the effects of cluster munitions on civilian populations.  His country had participated in the Dublin conference, as well as in the Central American project in support of small arms control, which, together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), was promoting peace and contributing to lower levels of crime in his region.  The project’s key goal of eliminating the illicit arms trade had been pursued with a combination of political will of the Governments involved and the international community, among other interested parties.  Nicaragua had begun its own efforts to regulate arms, including the passage of laws and measures, which, among other things, planned the destruction of nearly 13,000 confiscated illegal weapons.

ELSA HAILE ( Eritrea), associating herself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said security in any region required the establishment of just and parallel international and regional mechanisms in the areas of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation.  The first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament had identified the goal of nuclear disarmament as the main priority of the international disarmament agenda, and the Non-Proliferation Treaty was critical to that goal.  Concerned about other weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological and toxin weapons, she noted the growing consensus that the international community could find solutions to traditional and new threats to international peace and security through multilateralism.

She said that the inalienable right of States to the peaceful use of nuclear energy should be fully guaranteed and respected without compromising the NPT’s goals and objectives.  She fully supported the small arms Action Programme.

YOUSUF SAID AL-AMRI ( Oman) said the stagnation and lack of commitment related to disarmament issues needed an injection of political will to move forward in a positive manner and without any double standards.  He noted failures in the Disarmament Commission and the lack of sufficient ratifications of the test-ban Treaty for it to enter force.  He hoped for a successful outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.  Lamenting the fact that States still remained outside the Treaty, he urged them to accede to it, and pending that, to adhere to international rules and IAEA safeguards.  Like previous speakers, he upheld the right to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

He reiterated his country’s call to rid the Middle East of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, certain that that would bring about a climate of trust in the region.  That, in turn, would have a positive impact on international peace and security.  The establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East deserved international attention.  He called upon Israel to accede to the NPT and put all its nuclear facilities under the IAEA safeguards regime, noting that there had been no progress to implement the package of decisions on the Middle East agreed at the 1995 NPT review.

Regarding the nuclear issue in Iran, he hoped the negotiations process would permit that country to use nuclear energy for peaceful aims, he said.  Recent developments to resolve the nuclear crisis in the Korean peninsula were welcome, and he hoped for progress in that region.  He called upon all United Nations Member States to meet their obligations under the relevant treaties.

DANIELE BODINI ( San Marino) said developing countries were going through major changes that could cause international calamity when mixed with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.  The international community must work towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons and show a strong commitment to the NPT.  The promotion of peace was a key element in San Marino.  He reconfirmed its commitment to disarmament, and commended the Cluster Munitions Convention, which was a sign that multilateral approaches worked.  States, large and small, could work together to produce lasting results for peace and security for all.

SAJA MAJALI ( Jordan), associating herself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that political will and flexibility was needed to overcome the deadlock facing the international disarmament agenda.  It was vital for the Conference on Disarmament to agree on a balanced and comprehensive programme of work so that it could begin its serious substantive work as soon as possible.  The inability of the Commission on Disarmament to reach an agreement on recommendations on its two agenda items during its last three-year cycle should not constrain the First Committee in its preparation of a new cycle or agreement on a 2009 Commission agenda.

She supported the convening of a fourth special session of the General Assembly on disarmament, and she hoped that consensus would be reached on its objectives and agenda, and that a preparatory committee would be established.  She called for the entry into force of the test-ban Treaty along with the conclusion of legally binding security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States.  She welcomed the agreements and results of the first and second Preparatory Committee meetings for the 2010 NPT review and hoped that the third meeting would build on those results.  The 2010 review should recommend proposals on the implementation of the resolution on the Middle East adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.

Extending the mandate of the Security Council’s “1540” was welcome, as were the results of the second review of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the progress on its implementation.  She called for full implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention).  States that had not yet done so should ratify those treaties.  They should also implement the small arms Programme of Action.   Jordan hoped it would be able to satisfy all its obligations under the Mine Ban Convention by May 2009.

ESHAGH AL HABIB ( Iran) said international peace, security and stability had been eroded by a range of serious and complex challenges, including the continued existence of thousands of nuclear weapons, disregard for nuclear disarmament obligations, the tendency to gain global dominance through military hardware, expansionism founded on the pre-emptive doctrine and misuse of the international bodies and terrorism.  Fuelled by the re-emergent arms race, those challenges had deepened distrust and insecurity among States, and weakened the credibility and effectiveness of multilateral mechanisms.

He called for a real change to close that chapter of history and bring a new phase, based on the principle of undiminished security for all and the right to development.  “All peace-loving nations are hopeful that future developments would serve as a driver for such a breakthrough,” he said.  Iran strongly believed that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing and efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament and the universality of the NPT should be paralleled by simultaneous efforts aimed at addressing non-proliferation.  Strengthening efforts in both areas would secure a world that was free from weapons of mass destruction.  Iran, as the last victim of the use of weapons of mass destruction in recent history, was highly motivated to pursue the lofty goal of a world free from such inhumane weapons, had adhered to major instruments, including the NPT and the conventions banning biological and chemical weapons, and had put forward the idea of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

The lack of progress towards the realization of nuclear disarmament was frustrating, exacerbated by the development of new nuclear weapons and the “irrational doctrines” to justify the use of those weapons as a means of terrorizing nations, he said.  “Those who hypocritically preach the others to comply have themselves committed a series of serious non-compliance in the context of articles I, II, IV and VI of the NPT” and the agreements of the 2000 NPT Review Conference that had given rise to the pervasive concern that some nuclear-weapon States had no genuine will of accomplishing the disarmament part of the NPT bargain.  “This trend has led to the creation of a crisis of confidence, which, if remains unaddressed, may have far-reaching consequences,” he said.  Cases of non-compliance with obligations included developing new nuclear weapons systems and modernizing existing nuclear weapons systems.

“The United States that boasts to have the leadership in fighting against the threat of WMD, continues to stress the essential role of nuclear weapons as an effective tool for achieving security as well as foreign policy options, and threatens to target non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty,” he said.  Concluding agreements with non-parties to the NPT, the 2000 agreement with the Zionist regime had put in jeopardy the entire non-proliferation regime and did a disservice to the universality of the NPT.

Moreover, the United States was also engaged in destabilizing the international security environment by building a “missile shield” in Eastern Europe, based on declaratory assessments of hypothetical and artificial threats and in order to reach the impossible goal of “absolute security”, he said.  The main target of that shield, itself having nuclear-weapon status, had repeatedly warned, including in the First Committee, that the deployment of United States’ global missile defence bases in Eastern Europe would have a negative effect on disarmament.  “The commitment of certain nuclear-weapon States to nuclear disarmament must go beyond rhetoric,” he said.  “Instead of playing figure games to cover their non-compliance and ambitions, they need to abandon their anti-nuclear disarmament policies and actions and truly honour their obligations.”

He said that current prejudicial attempts to restrict the right to peaceful use of nuclear technology seriously challenged non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT.  In recent years, pressure and threats had targeted the peaceful nuclear programme in Iran, a party to the NPT.  His country was determined to exercise its inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, a policy based on long-term planning to meet Iran’s energy needs.  Iran had presented various offers, including its Proposed Package for Constructive Negotiations to the 5 + 1 Group, demonstrating the country’s determination to negotiate without preconditions to resolve issues arising from “the unjust and prejudicial approach of certain powers”.  A solution based on realities, common concerns and obligations should be pursued as a viable option.

For nearly three decades, the General Assembly and IAEA resolutions had emphasized that a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East would enhance international peace and security, yet “the Zionist regime, which has rejected and violated every single resolution of the Security Council and the General Assembly and flouted all international regimes on weapons of mass destruction, continues to be the only impediment in realizing such a zone”, he said, “due to its non-adherence to the NPT, as well as its nuclear arsenals and continued clandestine operation of the unsafeguarded nuclear facilities”.  Countries in the region and worldwide should unite in curbing threats posed by the Israeli regime’s weapons of mass destruction and in pursuing the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, as soon as possible.

He commended the United Nations third panel on missiles for its constructive session.  He was also satisfied that the second review of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons ad On Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention) had ended in agreement, but cautioned that, in order for the Convention to maintain credibility, all possessor States parties needed to take every necessary measure to meet the final deadline and to destroy all their chemical weapons by 2012.

The Disarmament Commission’s failure to reach a substantive conclusion, owing to the attempts of some Member States to undermine the existing agreements, principles and norms on nuclear disarmament and to set preconditions for the implementation of their already made unequivocal undertakings for the total elimination of nuclear weapons had been disappointing.  In particular, “NATO’s three nuclear-weapon States bear the responsibility for that failure”, he said.

He reiterated that Iran, a victim of weapons of mass destruction, joined with other peace-loving nations in sparing no effort in realizing a world free from those inhuman and horrible weapons.

HAMID CHABAR (Morocco), associating himself with the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, noted with regret that progress on the disarmament agenda was suffering from deadlock.  States’ inability to demonstrate compromise had contributed to the failures to reach agreements.  Significant obstacles stood in the way of the General Assembly’s fourth special session on disarmament.  All States in the First Committee should shoulder the responsibility of overcoming the obstacles to its success.  The NPT had great potential to tackle nuclear non-proliferation.  He supported the inalienable right of States to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and reaffirmed Morocco’s commitment to universalize the NPT.  He was expecting a lot from the 2010 Review Conference.

Pointing to the risk of wilful or accidental use of nuclear warheads, given the 27,000 in existence, he said his country had been working hard to combat nuclear terrorism and attached great importance to Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).   Morocco also attached great importance to the test-ban Treaty and to all other international instruments banning weapons of mass destruction.

Conventional weapons, particularly small arms and light weapons, were genuine weapons of mass destruction by another name, he said, noting the great problems they were causing in Africa.  He welcomed the results of the Third Biennial Meeting of States.  The international community must tackle the issue in order to address development.  Disarmament required strengthening the legal mechanisms of the United Nations in that area.  The international community needed to cooperate to deal with international security issues.

JEAN-MARIE EHOUZOU ( Benin), endorsing the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said there were genuine challenges to international security and it was incomprehensible that staggering sums of money were still being directed to military budgets.  Military expenditures across the globe had increased by 45 per cent in the last 10 years.  The international community needed to find ways to reverse that trend.  The Secretary General, in his report on disarmament and development, said he has no mandate to examine the relationship between military budgets and development, but the subject begged an investigation.  The thematic debates should dwell on whether that question should be tackled by the group of governmental experts or other groups.  He urged the Committee to pay more attention to Article 26 of the United Nations Charter.

Noting that general and complete disarmament was a major goal of the NPT, he said that States should take a more constructive attitude in order to give the Treaty more prominence.  The proliferation of nuclear weapons should be settled by peaceful means, and multilateral negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty should be promoted.  The entry into force of the CTBT was also of particular importance.

Concerned about the excessive accumulation of small arms and light weapons, he suggested that arms transfers should be handled in a more moral fashion.  The establishment of a legally binding arms transfer treaty was important, and the Committee should also seek the most effective Treaty to block the transfer of those weapons to non-State actors.  Those weapons had caused a lot of suffering and violence. He supported the small arms Programme of Action and the conclusions of the Third Biennial Meeting of States.  The risk that terrorists might have access to mass destruction weapons was not insignificant.  All States should respect human life and promote the welfare of humankind through cooperation.

Right of Reply

The representative of the Republic of Korea, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, welcomed the commitment expressed by the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to pursue peaceful negotiations.  But he wanted to point out that the “military exercises” referred to by that representative was not accurate.  The Republic of Korea had made known any military activities to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since 1982.

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