Diplomatic Clash over Absence of Binding Promises Never to Use Nuclear Weapons against Non-Nuclear-Weapon States Resurfaces in First Committee during Debate

8 October 2010
GA/DIS/3410

Diplomatic Clash over Absence of Binding Promises Never to Use Nuclear Weapons against Non-Nuclear-Weapon States Resurfaces in First Committee during Debate

8 October 2010
General Assembly
GA/DIS/3410
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

First Committee

6th Meeting (AM)

Diplomatic Clash over Absence of Binding Promises Never to Use Nuclear Weapons

against Non-Nuclear-Weapon States Resurfaces in First Committee during Debate

Security Guarantees, Nuclear Weapons Convention Surest Ways to ‘Motivate

Marathon towards Global Zero’; Time of Essence in Middle East, Korean Peninsula

Against a backdrop of the widely-held view that more than 20,000 nuclear weapons still existed in the world today, legally binding negative security assurances, or promises that nuclear-weapon States would never use those weapons against those countries that did not have them, and a verifiable and irreversible nuclear weapons convention were sure ways to motivate the “marathon towards global zero”, the Disarmament Committee heard today in the course of its debate.

Deputy Commissioner of the Federal Government for Arms Control and Disarmament of Germany said that before a foundation for sustainable non-proliferation could be laid, States must reduce the role and significance of nuclear weapons.  That would recognize the need to adapt security strategies and military doctrines and bring them in line with the objective of a nuclear-weapon-free world. 

“We all know too well that reduction of nuclear armaments does not provide much comfort to the people, for even one nuclear weapon, by design or by accident, can wreak untold destruction,” warned Indonesia’s representative.  In fact, the 7,560 nuclear weapons currently ready for immediate use were vastly more powerful than those that sowed terror and death in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cautioned the Cuban representative.

Time was of the essence, amid the threats of nuclear war and tensions in the Korean peninsula and the Middle East, said Burkina Faso’s delegate, urging States in possession of nuclear weapons to take a leadership role in promoting confidence.  The representative of Malaysia agreed, suggesting that the United States should contribute to the current positive momentum, by ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), an action that would spur other “Annex II” countries to accede to that landmark instrument.

But until the oft-expressed desire in the disarmament community and beyond for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons went from rhetoric to reality, many non-nuclear-weapon State delegations forcefully pressed for guarantees, unequivocal and legally binding, that those weapons would never be used against them.  Uruguay’s representative suggested that an additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) should enshrine such security assurances and promote universal adherence to that foundational instrument.

Several delegations also pressed for the strengthening and addition of nuclear-weapon-free zones, a setting in which some believe negative security assurances had already taken hold.  Calls were heard today for the establishment of such a zone in South Asia and the Middle East, with several speakers lamenting that concerted efforts for such an endeavour were routinely blocked. 

The situation on the Korean peninsula also took centre stage today.  The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea referred to the tensions on the peninsula as “an arms race”, warning that the more the United States “pursues the hostile policy and escalates nuclear threats against the sovereignty and existence of our nation,” his country “will continue to increase its self-defensive deterrence”.

Also speaking were the representatives of Maldives, Myanmar, Lebanon, Qatar, Mongolia, Congo, Syria, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh and Iraq.

The representatives of Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea exercised the right of reply.

The Committee will meet again Monday, 11 October at 3 p.m. 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 before the General Assembly.  (For background on the Committee’s session and a summary of reports before it, see Press Release GA/DIS/3406.)

CLAUS WUNDERLICH, Deputy Commissioner of the Federal Government for Arms Control and Disarmament of Germany, said despite a good start for a new decade, there was a lesson to be learned from the short-lived success of the 2000 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference: the momentum must be maintained.  Last month, foreign ministers and representatives of 10 countries met in New York to promote a swift and thorough implementation of the action plan of the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), an initiative Germany had joined, with hopes that it would attract broad support.

He said that two elements of the action plan were particularly important:  quantitative nuclear arsenal reductions and a commitment to reduce the role and significance of nuclear weapons, in recognition of the need to adapt security strategies and military doctrines, and bring them in line with the objective of a nuclear-weapon-free world.  A consensus on those elements would be the “the foundation for a sustainable global non-proliferation regime and as motivation for running the marathon towards ‘global zero’”.

SIN SON HO (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said two decades after the end of the cold war, disarmament was still facing serious challenges, notably a seemingly recurring arms race, as proven by, among other things, the United States’ invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.  The current aggravated situation on the Korean peninsula was driven by the “strong-arm” policy of the United States.  In April, the United States had excluded the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from the list of negative security assurances in its new nuclear posture review.  The United States brought the nuclear issue to the peninsula by deploying its own nuclear weapons in South Korea in 1957, he said.

He said that taking into account the nuclear weapons the United States had deployed “around the Korean peninsula on the nearby like Japan”, it was not hard to perceive the dangerous nature of United States’ nuclear forces deployed in the region.  One could conclude that the United States, through its posture review, already “turned on a green light to its nuclear pre-emptive strike against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, he said, adding that United States and South Korean joint military exercises had only escalated tensions.  The current state of ceasefire meant that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States “are yet technically at [in a] state of war against each other”, he said.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had already proposed a peace treaty, which the United States defied, responding instead by conducting military exercises.  As long as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States were pointing guns at each other, distrust would never be removed. 

If the United States was truly concerned about peace on the peninsula, it should cease all military manoeuvres and accept the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s proposed peace treaty, he said.  “The more the United States pursues the hostile policy and escalates nuclear threats against the sovereignty and existence of our nation, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will continue to increase its self-defensive deterrence,” he concluded. 

ABDUL GHAFOOR MOHAMED ( Maldives) said that although great strides had been made this year, including in the successful conclusion of the NPT Review Conference, the Washington Nuclear Security Summit and the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, much more needed to be done to further reduce the threat of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. His country welcomed the recent efforts of the Russian Federation and the United States in signing the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in April as a fundamental step towards the reduction of strategic nuclear arms by both countries.

He said his country fully supported the current efforts to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones and zones of peace, with a view to strengthening stability and moving towards greater prosperity in a world free of the threat of nuclear annihilation.  Maldives underlined the importance of confidence-building measures, both at the regional and subregional levels, as fundamental to establishing such zones.

Since joining the United Nations, Maldives had tried to impress upon the international community the various vulnerabilities facing small States, he went on.  Those nations often did not have the means to defend themselves from emerging threats, including the many forms of international terrorism and organized crime.  The continued scourge of terrorism was particularly alarming when seen in the context of the spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  With collective efforts, the international community must ensure that such a frightening and very real possibility did not materialise.   Maldives believed that multilateralism should be the main conduit for international cooperation against the proliferation of those weapons. For small States, assistance in implementing arms control measures, treaty and information exchange mechanisms was an important cornerstone in their ability to comply with the global instruments.

U WUNNA MAUNG LWIN ( Myanmar) said that strengthening nuclear security and reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism were important steps for making the world a safer place.  In that regard, Myanmar took note of the commitments made at the Nuclear Security Summit in April.  It also appreciated the difficult compromises negotiated at the NPT Review Conference in May and welcomed the outcome document as a basis for future steps to advance nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East.  The unanimous adoption of action plan in May had advanced the NPT, and Myanmar would work with other States parties for its full implementation.  It urged all those remaining outside that Treaty to join it as soon as possible.

He said that in pursuance of commitments and actions by nuclear-weapon States for nuclear disarmament, multilateral efforts could add momentum.   Myanmar called for the establishment of an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament in the Conference on Disarmament for negotiating a phased programme of nuclear disarmament, leading to the total elimination of those weapons.  As an initial step, the Conference, at the beginning of its 2011 session, should establish such a subsidiary body.  The legitimate interest of the non-nuclear-weapon States in receiving unequivocal and legally binding security assurance from the nuclear-weapon States would strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  Such assurances were the legitimate right of non-nuclear-weapon States that had voluntarily renounced their nuclear options.  In the long run, delays in developing an internationally and legally binding instrument on negative security assurances would not serve the interest of the NPT.

A treaty to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons was crucial and would contribute towards a world free of nuclear weapons, he added.  That process was long overdue.  Nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation were inextricably linked.  A future fissile material cut-off treaty should cover both existing stockpiles and future production.

HAMIDON ALI ( Malaysia) said statistics showed there were still thousands of nuclear weapons on the ground, posing a serious threat to humanity.  Given the renewed interest in disarmament and non-proliferation, his country hoped that recommendations in the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference would be implemented in a timely manner.  He also hoped the Conference on Disarmament would find a way to overcome its impasse.  For its part, Malaysia would again submit a draft resolution on the follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.

He called on all States to fulfil their obligations by commencing multilateral negotiations leading to the conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention at the earliest possible date.  In addition, he called upon all States to work towards the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), hoping the United States would ratify the Treaty, which would spur other “Annex II” countries to accede to the instrument.

Regionally, Malaysia, as a signatory to the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, supported other such zones and hoped one would be established in the Middle East.  Towards that goal, he called on Israel to accede to the NPT.  Malaysia was also working on a law to govern strategic arms export control.  It supported the call for universal adherence to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention).  His country had also put in place laws, procedures and regulations for the effective control over the production of small arms and light weapons and other exports, imports, transits and re-transfers of those weapons.  Malaysia also supported efforts to ban anti-personnel mines and called on other States to follow suit.

WILLIAM HABIB ( Lebanon ), amid current initiatives, urged the international community to continue to move forward.  The shortest way to achieve peace and security would be to set up a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, an initiative blocked only by Israel’s refusal to join the NPT.  Israel also refused to place its nuclear facilities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  The 2012 conference to set up such a zone in the Middle East would, among other things, test the seriousness of stated intentions.

He said that the numerous calls to free the world of nuclear weapons, however should not stop States from accessing and developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, as that right was part and parcel of the three pillars of the NPT.  It was important that Member States’ commitments include setting up local safeguards for weapons, under Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).  Lebanon had been one of the first countries to join and ratify the NPT, and had also signed the test-ban Treaty, to accelerate its entry into force.

His country continued to pay a very high price owing to the tens of thousands of Israeli anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions in southern Lebanon, killing and injuring a great many individuals, he said.  Israel still refused to provide the maps for the locations of the cluster munitions.  To prevent that situation from occurring in other countries, it was in its interest to see other countries ratify the Cluster Munitions Convention.  The treaty’s entry into force last August had been historic, on the long path of the prohibition of the use of weapons that harmed civilians in horrible ways.   Lebanon urged States to come up with a legally binding agreement to tackle crises at their source, including those resulting from foreign occupation.

AHMAD AL SHEBANI ( Qatar) said that some nuclear-weapon States were not really serious about their undertakings with regard to nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation and did not fulfil their obligations.  That was why they were granting exceptions to non-parties of the NPT, such as Israel, even when they had no legal authority to do so.  Such action ran counter to the Treaty and to the decisions of the NPT Review Conferences.  The Middle East region was the only region that had not benefited from full international cooperation towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.  The international community, therefore, should not remain silent with regard to Israel’s stance on nuclear weapons and to its acquisition of those weapons; the international community had been silent on those policies for some time and that had encouraged an arms race in the region.

He added that small arms and light weapons were an enormous issue confronting the international community.  That was particularly so since the weapons producers were not held accountable for the damage those arms caused.   Qatar was particularly concerned about landmines and cluster munitions, which had been used by Israel.   Qatar was currently examining the Convention on Cluster Munitions.  The world should seek to achieve nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation without forgetting the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which was an inalienable right of States.  Some countries were developing nuclear energy for peaceful uses, and Qatar encouraged them to do so.  At the same time, it was important to bear in mind the specificity of the security and defence needs of different countries.

Noting that military expenditure continued to rise, he said that that trend was particularly alarming in regions that suffered no military threats, he said.  Qatar stressed the need for full commitment of all States to the 2001 United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.

LUVSANTSEREN ORGIL ( Mongolia) said that his country was proud of the contribution it had made towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation by way of promoting its long-standing nuclear weapon-free status.  To date, that status had enjoyed full international recognition, as attested to, among other instances, by the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which welcomed Mongolia’s declaration  and expressed support for its efforts to consolidate and strengthen that status.  The second conference of States parties and signatories to treaties that establish nuclear-weapon-free zones and Mongolia, held in April, had also extended its full support to that status. Mongolia strongly supported nuclear-weapon-free zones and welcomed the important contribution that they made to the goals of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation and to the advancement of regional and international peace and security.

Mongolia looked forward to an earnest solution to the impasse at the Conference on Disarmament and commended the Secretary-General’s efforts aimed at revitalizing its work, he said.  That Conference remained the best place for conducting multilateral negotiations on disarmament.   Mongolia was also of the view that, given the present situation, possible avenues for revitalizing that body should be explored.  Civil society’s role in discussions on disarmament-related issues could also provide a valuable perspective.

He said that although Mongolia was not yet a party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Mine-Ban Convention), it had been the Government’s policy to lay the groundwork for accession via a step-by-step approach that involved amending legislation to allow the “release” of the amount of stockpile, securing funding for stockpile destruction and starting stockpile destruction.  A few days ago, the Prime Minister had reaffirmed Mongolia’s commitment to accede to that Convention.

JACQUES OBINDZA, Director of the United Nations Organization in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Congo, said resources released by disarmament could be invested and used to combat poverty.  He called upon all States to commit in good faith to disarmament.  He applauded the 2012 conference to establish a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East, calling the effort a step forward.  Comprehensive and general disarmament was one of the surest ways to achieve lasting peace and security.  Strong political will was necessary for success.

He said that further aspects for action included the cooperation between the United Nations and the international community.  Regional peace and disarmament centres addressed those and other important issues.  The adoption this year in Kinshasa of regulations on arms control was part of the broader positive momentum.  He urged Member States to continue to back the work of the First Committee.  The present challenges were many and complex, requiring joint action supported by genuine political will by all players and stakeholders in society.

BASHAR JA’AFARI ( Syria) said alarming quantities of nuclear weapons needed urgent attention, particularly in light of the lack of political will, seen in the Conference on Disarmament’s current paralysis.  Some nuclear weapons were still operational, confirmed by remarks by some States calling this part of their national security policies.  They missed the fact that, in light of the United Nations Charter and other instruments, their position was indeed a double-standard.  Advanced nuclear technology had been provided to Israel for decades, in a manner that contravened NPT provisions and enabled Israel to pursue policies that threatened peace in the region.

He said the NPT had failed to draft a timetable for the elimination of nuclear arsenals, failing to recognize the meaning of the Treaty itself.  A nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East meant that Israel would accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon party and open its nuclear facilities to the IAEA.  The international community’s silence should be broken.  If not, the value and integrity of the NPT would be threatened.  The right of States to pursue peaceful nuclear energy programmes was a right of all States, he said.  He called for the establishment of negative security assurances, and prevention of an arms race in outer space.

PATRICK MUGOYA ( Uganda) said there had been significant achievements this year in the area of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the new START between the United States and the Russian federation. Uganda also welcomed the successful NPT Review Conference and felt that it was important to intensify concerted effort towards the implementation of the Secretary-General’s action plan.

He said that although conventional weapons did not have the same potency in the quest for destruction as nuclear weapons, the international community had seen, in many parts of the world, the suffering and destruction they caused.  Small arms in conflicts and in acts of piracy had a destabilizing effect on countries and regions, and on international peace and security.   Africa had had bitter experience resulting from conflicts perpetuated by illicit small arms and light weapons.  The countries of the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa had been implementing a strategy that reinforced and complemented national, regional and global efforts to preventing and combat the proliferation of illicit arms.  The United Nations and the wider international community, therefore, should support regional and subregional disarmament initiatives. More collective action was needed to combat the proliferation of those weapons.

He welcomed the renewed global attention to disarmament and a nuclear-weapon-free world, saying that the framework for disarmament and non-proliferation should be supported by a strong system of verification, compliance and full implementation of existing instruments.  Those required strong political will by the nuclear-weapon States to dismantle their arsenals and ensure full compliance.

RODOLFO BENITEZ VERSÓN ( Cuba) said that while millions of people suffered the effects of the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression, and four fifths of humankind lived in underdevelopment and poverty, world military expenditures continued to increase at an accelerated rate.  In the past 10 years, those expenditures had increased by 50 per cent, amounting to $1.5 billion.  That was many times higher than international development assistance.  It was unjustifiable and unacceptable that, in today’s world, ever more money was being spent to wage wars than to promote life and development. The recent General Assembly high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals had made it clear that most countries would not be able to achieve the most modest of those targets; they simply did not have the necessary resources.

He reiterated Cuba’s proposal for the world to allocate at least half of the current military expenditures to meet the need for economic and social development through a United Nations-managed fund.

The mere existence of nuclear weapons and doctrines that prescribed their possession and use posed a grave danger to international peace and security, he warned. There were nearly 23,000 nuclear weapons in the world, 7,560 of which were ready for immediate use and were more powerful than those which sowed terror and death in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The prohibition against, and complete elimination of, nuclear weapons should remain the top priority in the disarmament field.  It was regrettable that the Conference on Disarmament remained deadlocked.  The solution, however, did now lie in disregarding it or minimizing its importance.  On the contrary, today, more than ever, it was the duty of all to preserve and strengthen that body.  He urged flexibility based on respect for the rules of procedure, to enable the Conference to adopt a comprehensive and balanced work programme as soon as possible, taking into account the real priorities.

Cuba supported and implemented the small arms and light weapons action programme, he said.  It also defended the legitimate right of States to manufacture, import and keep those weapons to respond to legitimate security and defence needs.

MURAD ASKAROV ( Uzbekistan) said that, as Afghanistan’s neighbour, numerous efforts had been made to address that country’s multiple problems.  The most important goal of the “6 + 3” contact group was to propose to the confronting parties the programme of secession of military operations in Afghanistan; to find compromise solutions on key problems and contradictions; to ensure security and to provide necessary guarantees.  Economic aid and social and humanitarian projects were among the list of urgent tasks.  Achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan would open great opportunities to build confidence in the region and subregion.

He said that Uzbekistan had been supplying electricity to Afghanistan and was currently constructing a railway, which would bolster trade.  However, without the well-thought out and organized negotiation process, which should involve all the major confronting forces of Afghanistan, it was impossible to radically improve the situation in that country, to eliminate the most serious security threats emanating from the Afghan conflict and to significantly strengthen security, stability and confidence in the region.

MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) said current developments had boosted confidence and should have created a dynamic landscape.  However, the roadblock in the Conference on Development was a pressing challenge.  Time was of the essence, amid the threats of nuclear war and tensions in the Korean peninsula and the Middle East.  The solution to those problems was to create a nuclear-weapon-free world.  The countries possessing those weapons should take on a leadership role in promoting confidence.

He said that chemical and biological weapons should be prohibited.  Conventional weapons were just as problematic, as those were a source and exacerbation of conflict, stemming development efforts and stymieing security efforts.  The scale and scope of the effects of those weapons were alarming.  He supported a future treaty on arms trafficking and other instruments to address that challenge.  In the subregion, legal instruments to combat those weapons were challenged, including because of porous borders.

A.K. ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh) said that, pending the ultimate goal of a nuclear weapon-free world, non-nuclear weapon States had the legitimate right to receive security assurances from nuclear-weapon States.  He stressed the need for the early commencement of an effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and other explosive devices.  His country also believed that outer space was the common heritage of mankind and, as such, supported all international efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space.

He said his country, which was constitutionally committed to general and complete disbarment, enjoyed an impeccable record in disarmament and non-proliferation in nuclear, as well as in conventional weapons.  It was party to almost all United Nations disarmament and non-proliferation instruments and made endeavours, within its limited resources, towards their full implementation.  As a country that had no nuclear weapons, it reiterated the demand for security assurance through the establishment of a universally binding legal instrument prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States.  While the country supported all non-discriminatory efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, it also recognized the inalienable right of NPT States parties to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination and in conformity with the NPT.

Bangladesh had consciously and unconditionally opted to remain nuclear-weapon-free, he said, noting that it was currently working on making good use of the NPT provision on peaceful uses of nuclear energy for improving the living standard of its people, under IAEA guidance.  It had concluded safeguard agreements with the IAEA, including the Additional Protocol, as part of her commitment to non-proliferation.  His country had long been an advocate for nuclear-weapon-free zones around the world, valuing their establishment as confidence-building measures against the threat of nuclear weapons.  While welcoming the entry into force of the Central Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone and the African nuclear-weapon-free zone, it continued to support the establishment of such regimes in South Asia, the Middle East and other parts of the world.

JWAN TAWFIQ ( Iraq) said there had been important changes in the disarmament and non-proliferation arena.  Those new positive directions included the successful NPT Review Conference, the new START, aimed at decreasing dependence on strategic weapons and the process at the United Nations towards reactivating the work of the Conference on Disarmament.  He emphasised his country’s firm position on the need to intensify efforts to reach agreement on a balanced work programme for the Conference on Disarmament.  Countries should show flexibility, in order to achieve goals of international peace and security.  The Conference’s work programme should have reasonable balance, so as to accommodate the needs of Member States.

She said that Iraq, in principle, supported the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones and believed that they were a first step towards nuclear disarmament. T he Middle East was not free of nuclear weapons because of the impossibility of verifying nuclear facilities in Israel.  While all other States in the region were under IAEA safeguards, Israel was not.  Iraq, therefore, called for the implementation of the various resolutions requiring Israel to put its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.   Iraq supported the Arab position, which called for achieving the objective of establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in Middle East.

She appealed for international assistance to Iraq to in cleaning up its war-ravaged environment. The Ministry of Environment was developing radiation monitoring, with an early warning project established nationwide. The monitoring system had been deployed, especially at the borders.

She stressed the need to give negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States as that would promote nuclear non-proliferation.  It was the right of the non-nuclear-weapon States to ask for such guarantees in exchange for having relinquished their right to nuclear weapons.  Although the guarantees in Security Council resolutions and in unilateral declarations by some nuclear-weapon States were good, they did not rise to the full aspirations of the non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT.  The Conference on Disarmament, therefore, should reconstitute a committee to conclude an instrument to ensure those States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

Iraq had taken urgent steps to allow it to return to the international community, and felt that the constraints imposed on it while it was under the previous regime should be removed, she said.  It had adopted the approach of abolishing all practices of the previous regime and would implement all its commitments concerning the use of biological and chemical weapons.

JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA ( Uruguay) said his country had never sought nuclear weapons.  In that light, he underscored the achievements of the recent 2010 NPT Review Conference.  However, the time was now to see the CTBT enter into force.  The Conference on Disarmament should also move forward on the issue of a ban on fissile material production for nuclear weapons.  A legally binding unconditional agreement should also be created to ensure the non-use of those deadly weapons.  Further, an additional protocol to the NPT should enshrine negative security assurances, which would provide incentive for some countries to accede to that instrument.  The Secretary-General’s five-point plan to advance disarmament and non-proliferation should be widely publicized.

He urged the nuclear-weapon States to join and ratify treaties on establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones.  Uruguay advocated for the early entry into force the Conventionon the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction(Chemical Weapons Convention), urging all States to comply with its provisions and destroy stores of those weapons.

A legally binding convention on conventional weapons should move forward, as should efforts to create an arms trade treaty, he said.  The Conference on Disarmament was a true forum to negotiate disarmament, however, the recent high-level meeting on revitalizing the Conference showed that many States believed that body had reached an impasse.  One way to revitalize the Conference’s work would be to expand its membership.  If the Conference was not capable of breaking the deadlock, the General Assembly should follow its mandate and consider the general principles of cooperation, including the principles governing disarmament and, among other things, make recommendations to Member States and the Security Council.  Baby steps were important, but the world must not stop walking.  The only path was that of multilateralism and the institutions provided by the United Nations.

FEBRIAN A. RUDDYARD, Director for International Security and Disarmament in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, said that despite positive developments, his country was deeply concerned about the threats posed by the continued existence and abundance of nuclear weapons.  He urged nuclear-weapon States to undertake concrete disarmament efforts to reduce and eliminate all types of their nuclear weapons, in an internationally verifiable manner. 

“We must take concrete steps towards an early agreement on a nuclear weapons convention with a specific timeline to attain complete disarmament,” he implored.  “We all know too well that reduction of nuclear armaments does not provide much comfort to the people, for even one nuclear weapon, by design or by accident, can wreak untold destruction,” he warned.  It was, therefore, very important that until all nuclear weapons were eliminated that non-nuclear-weapon States must receive unequivocal and legally binding assurances from the nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of those weapons.

Further, a non-discriminatory and effectively verifiable treaty should urgently be created, covering future production and existing stockpiles of fissile material for nuclear weapons, he urged.  Substantive work should also commence in the Conference on Disarmament on the prevention of an outer space arms race.  The disarmament machinery should be optimally utilized to attain the collective goals of related treaties and conventions.  The CTBT should also enter into force.  Indonesia had decided to start its ratification process, and he urged other countries to follow its lead.

Rights of reply

The representative of Japan, speaking in exercise of the right of reply to a statement made by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said his country had a very strict policy based on principles of non-production, non-deployment and non-proliferation.  He said the statement of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s delegate was totally groundless.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, also exercising his right of reply, said that, in the 1960s, the Government of Japan and the United States Administration had signed a document that, in case of emergencies, Japan could “close its eyes” to the nuclear cooperation with the United States.

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