Alongside Focus on Nuclear Threat, Eyes Must Be Pinned on Devastating Small Arms Scourge — Fuelling Armed Violence, Black Market Trade, First Committee Told
Alongside Focus on Nuclear Threat, Eyes Must Be Pinned on Devastating Small Arms Scourge — Fuelling Armed Violence, Black Market Trade, First Committee Told
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
5th Meeting (AM)
Alongside Focus on Nuclear Threat, Eyes Must Be Pinned on Devastating Small Arms
Scourge — Fuelling Armed Violence, Black Market Trade, First Committee Told
‘Habitual Indulgence’ of Some Middle Eastern States to Undertake Obligations
They Do Not Intend to Implement, Alleged; Ridding Region of Nuclear Weapons Urged
While deliberations continued on nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, sight must not be lost of the really immense problem of small arms and light weapons in parts of the world, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today, as it continued its annual general debate.
The representative of Kenya said that for her country and major parts of Africa, small arms were the weapons of mass destruction. Their proliferation was gravely troubling as the volume of weapons diverted from legal trade to a thriving black market grew at an alarming rate. Armed violence fuelled by the readily available small arms and light weapons had been disastrous, killing innocent civilians, or leaving them maimed, abducted and displaced from their homes. Governments were forced to spend considerable sums on equipping and training their security apparatus in an attempt to address the insecurity. That diverted their budgetary allocations from other much-needed public services, with negative implications for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The world was overarmed and underfed, asserted Nepal’s representative, noting that military spending had crossed the $1 trillion-a-year mark, while 1 billion people lived in poverty and hunger. The Horn of Africa, lamented Ethiopia’s speaker, was one of the most volatile and heavily affected areas bearing the multifarious negative effects resulting from illicit arms trade. With the majority of people in his region living in abject poverty, increases in military expenditure could not be justified on any grounds, he asserted.
In a similar vein, Senegal’s delegate said the absence of international norms for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms underpinned the grave global problems of insecurity and instability, which exacerbated the development challenges. He advocated conclusion of an arms trade treaty that covered all conventional arms and ammunition, and included a definition of transfers and respect for norms of international humanitarian rights.
Efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo to address the small arms and light weapons problem had resulted in the destruction of 106,629 weapons and 672 tons of munitions, that country’s speaker said. A national commission on those weapons had been set up and three electronic weapon-marking machines provided by the Government of the United States were in use.
Adding his voice to repeated calls today to conclude an arms trade treaty, the representative of Australia said that a strong, effective treaty would indeed help to address the devastating impact conventional arms had on people, development and the Millennium Development Goals. He felt that genuine progress had been made at the treaty preparatory committee meetings held in New York from 12 to 23 July, towards an effective agreement to establish an interim framework for legitimate arms trade and to eradicate illicit trafficking.
With Committee attention still focused on the nuclear weapon threat, largely in the context of regional arrangements, Israel’s representative expressed surprise that Egypt had called for Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) while it refrained from ratifying the Africa Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty) and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention).
The Middle East, asserted Israel’s speaker, had embodied and reflected many of the arms control and disarmament challenges faced by the international community. That stemmed from a myriad of reasons, mainly connected to the type and character of some of the regimes in the region. That had also been the result of what could be described as “habitual indulgence” of some Middle Eastern States in becoming party to international obligations that they did not intend to implement or that they even intended to blatantly breach. It was no coincidence that four out of the five gross violations of the NPT had occurred in the region; in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, in Libya, in Syria and in Iran. The fifth case had involved the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which had been deeply involved in nuclear proliferation to the Middle East.
In exercising his right of reply, Egypt’s representative said he found it surprising that Israel had called on Egypt to join the Pelindaba Treaty when Israel had not even signed the NPT. As the Egyptian delegation had stated yesterday, Israel’s persistence not to join the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State remained an obstacle for Egypt to move forward on the Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention (Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction). He renewed an invitation to Israel to take the necessary actions to support regional security. The continuation of an Israeli nuclear programme would sooner or later promote a nuclear arms race in the region.
“We firmly hold that the post-nuclear era must start now,” said Ukraine’s representative, reading out a declaration on behalf also of Chile and Mexico. When there was political will, stressed the three nations, actions could be taken to make the world a safer place. Those countries pledged to “spare no efforts to pursue this objective”. In his national capacity, he said key parts of the effort to reach the common goal of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones and security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
Similarly, China’s representative urged the other nuclear-weapon States to “unequivocally undertake” not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and to unconditionally not use or threaten to use them against non-nuclear weapon States and nuclear-weapon-free zones, in a legally binding instrument. He also called on the nuclear Powers to explicitly undertake not to seek permanent possession of nuclear weapons and to earnestly reduce those weapons’ role in security policies.
Also speaking this morning were the representatives of San Marino, Belarus, Kuwait, Chile, United Republic of Tanzania, Bahrain and Morocco.
The representatives of the Syria and Iran also spoke in exercise of their right of reply.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 8 October, to continue its general debate.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its general debate on all disarmament and international security agenda items before the General Assembly. (For background on the Committee’s session and a summary of reports before it, see Press Release GA/DIS/3406.)
DANIELE BODINI ( San Marino) said his country shared the objective of a nuclear-weapon-free world. It believed that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was a fundamental instrument and he welcomed the adoption of the outcome document of its 2010 Review Conference. That text contained concrete actions under the Treaty’s three pillars. Everyone was aware of the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation and was greatly concerned about the interest of terrorists and non-State actors in acquiring those weapons. The NPT Review Conference had expressed deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of those weapons, which should strengthen the commitment of the international community towards their complete and irreversible elimination.
He commended the United States and the Russian Federation for their renewed efforts to reduce their nuclear arsenals. San Marino also praised the countries that had decided to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones. It encouraged the establishment of such zones in other parts of the world, in order to achieve the final goal of total nuclear disarmament.
VLADIMIR GERASIMOVICH, Director of the Department of International Security and Arms Control, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said the 2010 NPT Review Conference had underlined the importance of strengthening that instrument, which was the cornerstone of disarmament. Follow-up actions gave hope to the speedy implementation of the Treaty’s goals. Belarus had renounced is nuclear weapons, and believed complete and full nuclear disarmament was the true goal of the Treaty. He also welcomed the new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START), as a tangible step towards enhancing stability and security; it could lead to further reductions. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine’s new disarmament treaty also worked towards that goal.
Turning to other areas of concern, he said the 2010 Review Conference’s outcome document stipulated that all nuclear-weapon States should honour their commitments to grant security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Also, to move ahead, the Conference on Disarmament should adopt a decision to proceed with its work, upon the opening of its session in 2011. Information and communications technology was an increasingly tangible threat to international and national security. A draft report before the General Assembly outlined activities undertaken by States in that field. Belarus supported efforts in that area.
WANG QUN ( China) welcomed the positive progress that had been made in the international arms control and disarmament field since the beginning of 2010. To advance the international disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation process, joint and unremitting efforts were called for by the entire international community. Those included the full implementation of the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The international community should stick to the Treaty’s three main objectives of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It should also commit to the goal of complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.
He said that nuclear-weapon States should explicitly undertake not to seek permanent possession of nuclear weapons and earnestly reduce those weapons’ role in their national security policies. They should also unequivocally undertake not to be the first to use those weapons and to unconditionally not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States and nuclear-weapon-free zones, as well as conclude an international legal instrument in that regard, at an early date. The international community should also work to promote the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
He welcomed the recent signature of the new bilateral nuclear disarmament treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation and hoped for its ratification. Countries with the largest nuclear arsenals had special and primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament; the two countries should make drastic and substantive reductions in their arsenals so as to create the conditions for the ultimate realization of complete and thorough nuclear disarmament. When conditions were ripe, other nuclear-weapon States should join the multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament. For nuclear disarmament, the principle of global strategic stability of undiminished security for all was essential.
Earnestly strengthening nuclear security was crucial to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and non-proliferation, he went on. The Global Nuclear Security Summit in April had helped raise awareness of the international community about nuclear security. The consensus at that Summit had helped to guide the international community in the efforts to address nuclear security challenges and nuclear terrorism threats. His country had ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism on 28 August.
China believed that in order to conclude a fissile material cut-off treaty with the participation of all States concerned, the Conference on Disarmament was the only viable forum, he said. The early commencement of the treaty’s negotiation, on the basis of the Conference’s comprehensive and balanced programme of work, served the common interest of all parties. It was also imperative that the Conference reactivate its substantive work on such core issues as the prevention of an arms race in outer space, nuclear disarmament and security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States.
RUSLAN NYMCHYNSKIY, Director-General of the Directorate General for Armaments Control and Military-Technical Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said he would speak first in a national capacity, and then deliver a declaration on behalf of Chile, Mexico and Ukraine.
Speaking in a national capacity, he said the United Nations had an essential role in world affairs, and its effectiveness must be enhanced. Sixteen years ago, Ukraine had renounced the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, and he welcomed the positive outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. He also underlined the importance of the CTBT’s entry into force, saying that it would tangibly help to realize the noble objective of a world free of nuclear weapons. Nuclear-weapon-free zones and the idea of negative security assurances were also part of reaching that common goal. Actions should also be strengthened to counter the uncontrolled spread of illicit small arms and light weapons. Ukraine was ready to intensify efforts with partners to ensure timely and proper implementation of its obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Mine-Ban Convention).
He said that the regrettable deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament on the nuclear-weapon-related fissile material production ban should be resolved, and in the meantime, Ukraine urged all nuclear-weapon States to declare and maintain a moratorium on producing that material for weapons purposes, as well as to declare it no longer required for military purposes and to place it under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. Further disarmament instruments should be strengthened or developed, such as the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons) and the initiative to elaborate the arms trade treaty.
Reading a joint declaration by the delegations of Chile, Mexico and Ukraine, all of which had voluntarily taken concrete steps to eliminate the use of highly enriched uranium for civilian purposes, he said that given the possibility of non-State actors acquiring nuclear materials, a robust international system should be consolidated and national legislative and regulatory frameworks should be strengthened to maintain security of all nuclear materials.
Renouncing the use of enriched uranium was a concrete step towards reducing the nuclear threat, he said. But to make the world safe, nuclear-weapon States should also take concrete steps towards the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals in a transparent, verifiable and irreversible manner.
Chile, Mexico and Ukraine called on all States that were not parties to the NPT to accede to it promptly as non-nuclear-weapon States, in order to achieve the Treaty’s universality. They called on nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their obligations under the NPT’s article VI. They also called on States that had not yet done so to conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement with IAEA and to consider signing and ratifying the Additional Protocol.
Chile, Mexico and Ukraine had demonstrated that, when there was political will, actions could be taken to make the world a safer place. “We will spare no efforts to pursue this objective,” he said. “We firmly hold that the post-nuclear era must start now.” The declaration would soon be distributed as an official document of the General Assembly and the Security Council, he said.
TAMAR RAHAMIMOFF-HONIG, Deputy Director, Arms Control Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, said that the resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, which was on the Committee’s agenda, ignored the region’s greatest proliferation dangers and its inherent instability. It also chose to disregard the extreme hostility of certain countries in the region who continued to reject any form of peaceful reconciliation and coexistence with Israel. In many ways, the tabling of that resolution constituted an annual declaration by its sponsors that they preferred to try and alienate Israel, rather than engage it and pursue ideas that might foster and encourage cooperative ventures for the good of regional stability. The First Committee should foster and encourage initiatives of a conciliatory nature that aimed at reduction of regional tensions rather than their aggravation.
She expressed surprise that Egypt had called for Israel to join the NPT while it refrained from ratifying the Africa Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty) and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention). The Middle East had embodied and reflected many of the arms control and disarmament challenges faced by the international community. That stemmed from a myriad of reasons, mainly connected to the type and character of some of the regimes in the region. That had also been the result of what could be described as habitual indulgence of some Middle Eastern States in becoming party to international obligations that they did not intend to implement or that they even intended to blatantly breach. It was no coincidence that four out of the five gross violations of the NPT had occurred in the region; in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, in Libya, in Syria and in Iran. The fifth case had involved the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which had been deeply involved in nuclear proliferation to the Middle East.
Israel, despite its inability to adequately address the particular challenges in the Middle East, had always valued the non-proliferation regime and acknowledged its importance, she stated. The country had consistently demonstrated a responsible policy in the nuclear domain and had joined, wherever possible, treaties and initiatives aimed at curbing and halting nuclear proliferation. As a signatory to the CTBT, it was an active member of the CTBT Organization (CTBTO). It maintained two CTBTO monitoring stations and had also contributed significantly to the build-up of its on-site inspection regime.
GYAN CHANDRA ACHARYA ( Nepal) said that as military spending had crossed the $1 trillion annual mark, 1 billion people were living in poverty and hunger. The Secretary-General’s annual report had aptly remarked that the world was overarmed and underfed. That needed to be corrected. Positive steps ahead, including the new START treaty and a forward-looking action plan emanating from the 2010 NPT Review Conference, had contributed towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
He said his country believed in general and complete disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction in a time-bound manner. He also supported the implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. Nepal was opposed to an outer space arms race, and supported early conclusion of a fissile material cut-off treaty. The Conference on Disarmament should be revitalized, he said.
Regional mechanisms could be “building blocks” to global disarmament efforts, he said, noting that Nepal was host to the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament. Nepal would table a resolution on the Centre at the current Committee session. Faith in multilateralism must be resurrected and strengthened to inject the required dynamism and effectiveness in the process.
JOSE IKONGO ISEKOTOKO BOYOO, Director of the Ministry of International and Security of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said the development of nuclear weapons contravened existing treaties. Control instruments, most importantly the NPT and the CTBT, were being implemented; however, an arms race persisted, in which States pursued weapons. He sought a return to a denuclearized world and urged a strengthening of export control regimes towards that goal. The Security Council should undertake collective and binding actions to achieve disarmament goals.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo had set up a national commission to meet the small arms and light weapons challenge. Regarding weapons destruction in its territory, his country had destroyed 106,629 weapons and 672 tons of munitions. The Democratic Republic of the Congo also was using three electronic weapon-marking machines, supplied by the United States Government, but it needed at least 15 machines, one per province. Thousands of anti-personnel mines had also been destroyed and victims had been assisted.
MOHAMMAD ALMUTAIRI ( Kuwait) said the possession of nuclear weapons did not achieve security for any country. Rather, their proliferation had a negative impact on international security and stability. Kuwait viewed nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as two basic elements of international security. Despite the difficulties confronting the disarmament process, there were still opportunities to achieve the goal of bringing about a world safe and free of weapons of mass destruction. Kuwait viewed with concern the evolving dangers from proliferation of weapons of mass destruction at the regional and global levels. There was also the danger of the acquisition of those weapons or some of their components by terrorist groups. In September 2005, Kuwait had signed the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. The country had also submitted its national report to the United Nations Secretariat clarifying the measures it had taken to implement Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), which deals with national measures by States to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining the components of weapons of mass destruction.
He said his country looked forward to seeing the Middle East become a region free of nuclear weapons. The region confronted security risks from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, despite the 1995 resolution of the NPT Review Conference requiring the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone there. Kuwait hoped that all NPT States parties would adhere, in a non-selective manner, to their all three categories of their commitments under the NPT. There was also the need for an effective supervision of radioactive waste across international borders, under IAEA guidelines.
The First Committee should demand that Israel, the only country in the Middle East that had not acceded to the NPT and the only one possessing nuclear weapons in defiance of international resolutions, accede immediately to that Treaty and subject its nuclear facilities to IAEA safeguards, he urged. The Israeli position with regard to the Treaty could provide excuses for other States to seek nuclear weapons. That could embroil the region in chaos, with dangerous implications.
JOSEPHINE OJIAMBO ( Kenya) said all the positive developments that had taken place in 2010 had been encouraging and commendable work which needed a concerted and robust follow-up. It was of utmost importance that the momentum thus far built up not be allowed to wane. Dialogue and engagement on all disarmament fronts should continue at full speed. Her country believed that multilateral negotiations and agreements were the only viable path to meaningful disarmament and security.
She said that as deliberations continued on nuclear disarmament and proliferation, attention should not be diverted from the really immense problem of small arms in Kenya’s part of the world. For her country and major parts of Africa, small arms were the “weapons of mass destruction”. The problem of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons remained a great source of worry as the volume of weapons diverted from legal trade to a thriving black market grew at an alarming rate. Those who carried out and benefited from that illicit trade did not have the slightest regard for the suffering and violence unleashed on the most vulnerable populations of Africa. In addressing that problem, it was important to look at the challenges, such as the absence of export and import controls, legal loopholes resulting in failure to enforce existing mechanisms, and the root causes of the demand for such weapons. States should implement the programme of action on small arms and light weapons both at the national and regional levels.
The cost of armed conflict and violence, including the concomitant human tragedy in Africa, was estimated at $18 billion annually, she said. Readily available small arms and light weapons fuelled armed violence with disastrous consequences. Innocent civilians had been killed, maimed, abducted and displaced from their homes. To address insecurity, Governments had been forced to spend considerable resources on equipping and training their security apparatus. That diverted their budgetary allocation from other much-needed public services, thus impeding achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) said one of the reasons the world faced grave problems of insecurity and instability that exacerbated development challenges was the absence of international norms for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms. An arms trade treaty would only be effective if it covered all conventional arms and ammunition and if its criteria included, among other things, a definition of transfers and respect for norms of international humanitarian rights. All States, particularly arms producers, should support and participate in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. The Fourth Biennial Meeting of States on the Programme of Action had underlined the need for, among other things, international cooperation and assistance, destroying surpluses and marking and tracing.
He said that in order to move ahead on the heels of recent positive developments in disarmament and non-proliferation, several areas needed the most attention: States should support the main goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons; the NPT’s authority should be enhanced and universality should be achieved; the CTBT must enter into force and a fissile material cut-off treaty must be established; the nuclear-weapon States must enter into far-reaching reduction programmes; greater accession to existing nuclear-weapon-free zones were needed, as was the creation of such a zone in the Middle East; and lastly, the right of countries to the peaceful use of nuclear energy should be reaffirmed, and it must be ensured that States complied with IAEA safeguards.
The challenges to peace and security were not insurmountable, and a safe world was possible, he said, adding that success depended on the political will devoted to it.
GRUM ABAY ( Ethiopia) said multilateral engagements and negotiations were vital instruments to curb the proliferation of weapons. His region, the Horn of Africa, was one of the most volatile and heavily affected areas bearing the multifarious negative effects resulting from illicit arms trade. Ethiopia had pledged to keep its defence budget under 1 per cent of its gross national product (GNP). “Whereas the majority of the people in our part of the world are living in abject poverty, increases in military expenditure cannot be justified on any ground, especially where such spending has an impact on the fight against poverty and economic development,” he said.
Additionally, Ethiopia was addressing the scourge of landmines, with 7 million square metres of land already cleared. Negotiating an arms trade treaty was important, and he urged that all arms transfers of conventional weapons be subjected to the highest standards. He called on States to reconfirm their commitment to the NPT, and recognized the essential role of the CTBT within the disarmament and non-proliferation regime.
OCTAVIO ERRAZURIZ ( Chile) said the favourable climate referred to one year ago in this same forum had since seen a successful conclusion to the 2010 NPT Review Conference and the signing of the new START. As part of a nuclear-weapon-free zone, Chile reaffirmed the existence of such zones and hope they would be extended to other regions. The NPT was the cornerstone of disarmament and non-proliferation, and there should be close follow-up to the latest Review Conference. States must work together to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons.
He said that Chile and other Latin American countries had strongly condemned the atomic tests in the South Pacific in the 1980s and 1990s and it currently had seven stations to monitor the Test-Ban Treaty. International safeguards should be strengthened, keeping in mind that access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy was a right for all States. The Conference on Disarmament should overcome its deadlock and again become the undisputed multilateral body for disarmament.
Chile was committed to multilateral efforts in support of disarmament and non-proliferation, and prohibition of the use of weapons of mass destruction, he said, stressing the need for universal accession to the relevant conventions banning those weapons. He pointed to the Convention on Cluster Munitions as an example of instruments regulating conventional arms, and he applauded steps being taken towards an arms trade treaty. In general, strong political will was needed to create a climate of mutual trust in order to advance disarmament.
OMBENI Y. SEFUE (United Republic of Tanzania) said the Millennium Development Goals could not be reached by countries embroiled in conflict. Conflicts in some African States were being sustained by a continuous supply of small arms and light weapons, especially to non-State actors. Disarmament efforts should be undertaken in tandem with curtailing the supply of ammunition to non-State actors, war mongers and organized criminal gangs. Development could be a good incentive to end conflicts and disarm.
He said that landmines continued to jeopardize safety in many countries, and effective solutions were needed. For years, the Belgian non-governmental organization “APOPO” had worked with the Sokoine University of Agriculture to train rats to detect mines. He invited the United Nations, the international community and Member States to take advantage of that technology. Turning to Somalia, he said the world should be gravely concerned, as small arms and light weapons supplies were fuelling conflict there.
The NPT Review Conference had resulted in a major achievement, he said. He urged “annex II” States that had not yet signed or ratified the CTBT to do so promptly to allow the Treaty to enter into force as early as possible.
GARY QUINLAN ( Australia) said the mood for action on arms control issues was tangible and strong. He applauded positive developments, and urged all nuclear-armed States to follow the lead of the Russian Federation and United States on their new START, and he also called on all States that had not yet ratified the CTBT to do so immediately. A strong, effective arms trade treaty would help to address the devastating humanitarian impact of conventional arms, as well as its hindrance to development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Genuine progress had been made at the arms trade treaty preparatory committee meetings in New York in July on an effective instrument to establish an interim framework for the legitimate arms trade and to eradicate illicit trafficking.
He said his country supported the actions of the Security Council to address the proliferation and security challenges posed by Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He, meanwhile, was deeply dismayed at the lack of progress in the Conference on Disarmament. Australia would prefer to see fissile material cut-off treaty negotiations take place within the Conference, but that body did not have a monopoly on such negotiations and other treaties had been successfully negotiated “outside” of it. The Conference was “on notice — the clock is ticking”, he said.
JAMAL ALROWAIEI ( Bahrain) was pleased with new developments in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, including the new START. At the same time, the international community had fully realized the importance of the NPT as the cornerstone of non-proliferation and disarmament. Bahrain supported the outcomes of the last Treaty Review, particularly the quest to render the Middle East a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. He called on Israel to subject its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection. The creation of such a zone would also reinforce peace and security globally.
He said that the international community should accord high priority to the nuclear security and safety in the application of IAEA safeguards, which would ensure that the issue of peaceful nuclear programmes was problem free. He welcomed Iran’s commitment to total transparency and to meeting its NPT and IAEA requirements.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said the latest successful NPT Review Conference and its plan of action was further proof of a favourable climate of bilateral and multilateral cooperation and commitment. Dialogue and conciliation had permitted the achievement of some of the NPT goals. Opening the process of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was a big step forward, but revitalizing disarmament mechanisms was needed, including unblocking progress at the Conference on Disarmament.
He said that initiatives submitted in the First Committee could strengthen discussions in the next NPT Review Conference. He reminded delegates that despite broad support, the CTBT had yet to enter into force. He hoped negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty would move forward.
The thorny issue of conventional weapons was among the biggest global challenges, he said. Those weapons of mass destruction had devastating effects on many countries, including in Africa. Preventing, combating and eradicating the small arms and light weapons trade was essential. Morocco, thus, supported the conclusion of an arms trade treaty
Right of Reply
The representative of Egypt, exercising his right of reply, commented on the statement made by the delegation of Israel. Tabling the draft resolution on reducing the nuclear threat was said to be excluding Israel. Egypt’s representative said the resolution was not a declaration, but an invitation that had been on the table for many years and one that continued to be ignored by Israel. He still invited Israel to take the initiative. Egypt found it surprising that Israel had called on Egypt to join the Pelindaba Treaty when Israel had not even signed the NPT.
Egypt’s representative read part of his delegation’s statement from yesterday’s meeting, noting that Israel’s persistence not to join the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State remained an obstacle for Egypt to move forward on the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions (respectively, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction; and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction).
Regarding Israel’s statements on action steps adopted at the 2010 NPT Review Conference on the 1995 resolution on the Middle East, Egypt’s representative said that negotiations would start in 2012 on establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. He declared Egypt’s full will, to all parties involved, that the 2012 conference was successful, paving the way for transforming the regional security setting. Many of the concerns reflected in Israel’s statement would be addressed, including Egypt’s accession to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. He renewed an invitation to Israel to take the necessary actions to support regional security. The continuation of an Israeli nuclear programme would sooner or later promote a nuclear arms race in the region. He, thus, invited Israel to move forward.
The representative of Syria, also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the representative of Israel’s statement had included falsehoods and confusion. The Israeli delegate had referred to the fact that four of the most serious NPT violations had taken place in the Middle East. That nonsense sought to distract delegates from the dangers of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and from the fact that Israel did not subject its installations to IAEA.
Syria’s representative said that Security Council and General Assembly resolutions had been adopted with wide support from Member States. The Israeli delegate had tried to distract the Committee from the fact that Israel had not adhered to NPT provisions, or acceded to that Treaty. It was no secret that Israel persisted in pursuing an aggressive nuclear arsenal, which exceeded in size both the British and French arsenals. That was “a nuclear ambiguity policy”, he said. It was ironic that Israel would launch false claims when it was not subjecting its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspections.
Also exercising his right of reply, the representative of Iran said that allegations by the “Zionist regime” had been made against his country. “This regime” continued to uphold a blockade of the Gaza Strip, and its clandestine nuclear facilities continued to threaten peace in the region.
No amount of slander could cloud the regime’s “dark history”, Iran’s speaker said. The 2010 NPT Review Conference outcome, adopted by consensus, recalled the reaffirmation by the 2000 Review Conference that that regime should place its facilities under IAEA safeguards and join the NPT promptly as a non-nuclear-weapon party.
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