General Assembly to Ask Nuclear Powers to Meet Obligations to Forswear Nuclear Weapons, Reduce Significance in Security Concepts, by First Committee Text

26 October 2010
GA/DIS/3422

General Assembly to Ask Nuclear Powers to Meet Obligations to Forswear Nuclear Weapons, Reduce Significance in Security Concepts, by First Committee Text

26 October 2010
General Assembly
GA/DIS/3422
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

First Committee

19th Meeting (PM)

General Assembly to Ask Nuclear Powers to Meet Obligations to Forswear Nuclear

Weapons, Reduce Significance in Security Concepts, by First Committee Text

 

Committee Approves 13 Drafts, Including on Test-Ban Treaty, Fissile Material,

Missiles, Reducing Nuclear Danger, Risk of Nuclear Proliferation in Middle East

Halting the production of bomb-making material, holding to non-proliferation promises and forging a united effort to eliminate nuclear weapons were among the core challenges put to nuclear-weapon States today in the provisions of 12 draft resolutions and one decision approved by the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), as it began taking action on the 60 texts before it.

Expressing its conviction that every effort should be made to avoid nuclear war and nuclear terrorism, the Committee sent a draft resolution to the General Assembly entitled “United action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons”, which would have the world body call upon the nuclear-weapon States to fully respect and comply with obligations undertaken to forswear nuclear weapons. 

By a recorded vote of 154 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 13 abstentions, the Committee approved the text, submitted by Japan, by which the Assembly would also call on those States to promptly engage with a view to further diminishing the role and significance of nuclear weapons in all military and security concepts, doctrines and policies. 

A further provision would have the Assembly call on those States to undertake further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed, including through unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures. 

Prior to voting on that text, the Committee voted overwhelmingly in favour of retaining several operative paragraphs.  By the first, operative paragraph 2, the Assembly would reaffirm the vital importance of universality of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and call on all States not parties to the Treaty to accede as non-nuclear-weapon States promptly and without any conditions.  It was approved by a vote of 158 in favour to 4 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel, Pakistan), with 1 abstention (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).

By a vote of 155 in favour to 3 against (China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan), with 1 abstention (India), the Committee retained operative paragraph 9, by which the Assembly would call for the immediate commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and its early conclusion and call upon all nuclear-weapon States and States not party to the NPT to declare and maintain moratoriums on the fissile material production for any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices pending the entry into force of the treaty.

Urging States to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Assembly would stress the importance of maintaining existing moratoriums on nuclear-weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions pending the entry into force of the Treaty, by the text of operative paragraph 8, which was approved after the Committee voted 157 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 2 abstentions (India, Mauritius).

According to a draft on that Treaty, the Assembly would stress the vital importance and urgency of its signing and ratification and urge all States not to carry out nuclear-weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions, to maintain their moratoriums in that regard and to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the Treaty.  The Committee approved that text by a recorded vote of 161 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions ( India, Mauritius, Syria). 

Prior to voting on that text, the Committee decided to retain preambular paragraph 6 by a recorded vote of 159 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel, Pakistan).  By its terms, the Assembly would welcome the consensus adoption of the conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which, among other things, reaffirmed the vital importance of the entry into force of the CTBT a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime and included specific actions to be taken in support of its entry into force. 

By a text on reducing nuclear danger, approved by a vote of 103 in favour to 48 against, with 14 abstentions, the Assembly would call for a review of nuclear doctrines and, in that context, for immediate and urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through de-alerting and de-targeting of nuclear weapons.

Convinced that the use of nuclear weapons posed the most serious threat to the survival of mankind, the Committee voted 107 in favour to 48 against, with 11 abstentions, for a draft tabled by India on a convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons.  Stressing that such an international convention would be an important step in a phased programme towards the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified timeframe, the Assembly would, by the text, reiterate its request to the Conference on Disarmament to commence negotiations to reach an agreement on such a convention.

The Committee also approved a resolution urging the Conference to agree early in 2011 on a programme of work and the immediate commencement of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, by a text introduced by Canada.  The vote was 163 in favour to 1 ( Pakistan) against, with 2 abstentions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria).

By a vote of 158 in favour to 5 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel, France, United States), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, France, Seychelles, Tonga), the Committee approved a draft resolution on accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments, introduced by Ireland, on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition ( Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden).

By the text, the Assembly would call upon all States to comply fully with all commitments made regarding nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation and not to act in any way that might compromise either cause or that might lead to a new nuclear arms race. 

Prior to approval of that text, the Committee voted 151 in favour to 4 against (India, Israel, Pakistan, United States), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, France, Seychelles, Tonga) to retain operative paragraph 12, which would have the Assembly reiterate its call upon all States parties to the NPT to spare no effort to achieve the Treaty’s universality, and in that regard, urge India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States promptly and without conditions.

By a text on negative security assurances, the Assembly would recognize that the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of non-nuclear-weapon States needed to be safeguarded against the use or threat of use of force, including the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.  The draft would also have the Assembly appeal to all States, especially nuclear-weapon States, to work actively towards an early agreement on a common approach and, in particular, on a common formula that could be included in an international instrument of a legally binding character. That draft was approved by a vote of 106 in favour to none against, with 58 abstentions.

The following additional resolutions were approved by recorded votes:  the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East; the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia; on missiles; on a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas; and the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution on establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East, and on Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status.

The Committee also approved, without a vote, a draft decision on missiles.

General statements on Cluster 1 or introductions of draft texts were made by the representatives of Pakistan, United States, Ireland (on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition), Cuba, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, Japan, France (on behalf of Morocco), Nigeria, China and United Kingdom.

Explanations of vote were made by the representatives of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Italy, Israel, United States, Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), Iran, Indonesia, Norway, Canada, France (on behalf of the United Kingdom and the United States), India, South Africa, Pakistan, Switzerland, Slovenia and New Zealand.

Representatives of Jordan, Uzbekistan, China and Sudan spoke on procedural matters.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. Wednesday, 27 October, to continue taking action on all disarmament and security-related draft resolutions.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to take action on all draft resolutions and decisions submitted under the disarmament and international security agenda items, beginning with its first cluster on nuclear weapons-related draft texts.

General Statement on Nuclear Weapons Cluster

RAZA BASHIR TARAR (Pakistan) introduced a draft resolution on conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/65/L.5) saying that non-nuclear-weapon States had been demanding such assurance since 1960.  The guarantees that had been given by the nuclear-weapon States were not adequate.  At the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, it had been agreed that there should be an instrument providing legally binding assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.  The current assurances were seen as insufficient and partial by most non-nuclear-weapon States.

He said that the right for self-defence was not unfettered, and political declarations were not ironclad.  Even States of nuclear-weapon-free zones were not safe.  Only one nuclear-weapon State had given firm guarantees against non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States.  Security doctrines envisaging use or threat of use of nuclear weapons ran counter to Security Council resolutions.  Doctrines of nuclear wars against non-nuclear-weapon States were not tenable.  The development of tactical expansion of nuclear alliances had also increased the geographical scope for the use of nuclear weapons.  There was, therefore, need for great urgency to be given to the task of security assurances.

The sponsors of the draft resolution sought to see that urgency turned into concrete action through early agreement on assurances, he said.  The conclusion of those assurances would constitute a confidence-building measure and would contribute to easing the nuclear danger.  The sponsors urged the adoption of the draft resolution, with the highest possible majority.

LAURA KENNEDY ( United States) drew attention to developments, which, she said, could provide useful background.  Over the past year, her country had concluded its posture review, which envisaged a reduced role for nuclear weapons.  There had also been forward movement on nuclear-weapon-free zones.  The Administration was preparing to submit the protocols on two of those treaties to Congress, in preparation for ratification.  United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had also reiterated the United States’ readiness to consult with parties on the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone to allow it to sign its protocols.  Those developments were cause for optimism that further progress was possible.  The United States understood that more needed to be done, but it was useful to recall some good successes, including the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty reached between the United States and the Russian Federation.

ALISON KELLY ( Ireland) speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition ( Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden), said the specific focus of the group was nuclear disarmament.  The lack of satisfactory implementation of the 13 practical steps of the 2000 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference was a major disappointment.  Implementation of those commitments would be the true test of the value of that Review Conference outcome.  Indeed, early engagement and substantive progress in implementation of the steps agreed at the Review Conferences would be an important signal of the seriousness with which nuclear-weapon States viewed their undertakings and of their commitment to implement the 2010 action plan on nuclear disarmament.  Providing information on activities undertaken would increase confidence, and she encouraged all nuclear-weapon States to do so.

She said that the draft resolution entitled “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world:  accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments” (document A/C.1/65/L.25) reiterated the Coalition’s long-held views on issues, such as the importance of the NPT and its universalization, and fulfilment of past commitments.  After consulting with nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States, the Coalition had received a great many comments and observations, and had included some of those in the draft text.  However, given the Coalition’s focus on nuclear disarmament, not all proposals were included, as they would have represented a departure from the Coalition’s position.

YADIRA LEDESMA HERNÁNDEZ ( Cuba) speaking on the draft resolution on negative security assurances (document A/C.1/65/L.5), said that international legally-binding instruments needed to be put in place to provide security assurances from nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.  The Conference on Disarmament was the only multilateral forum for discussions of that matter.  She meanwhile urged States with reservations to any of the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties to abandon those reservations.  Cuba would support resolutions introduced on the topic, including the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.  The delegate reaffirmed the need for Israel to accede to the NPT and to submit its nuclear facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

VICTOR L. VASILIEV ( Russian Federation) introduced a draft resolution on bilateral reductions of strategic nuclear arms and the new framework for strategic relations(document A/C.1/65/L.28 rev.1), explaining that following the introduction of the original draft, the co-sponsors had conducted intensive consultations, including with the Non-aligned Movement.  They had subsequently made a number of amendments to operative paragraphs 7, 10, and 11.  They believed that those amendments should allow for broader support for the draft resolution and for its consensus approval.  The draft resolution remained open to the possibility of further sponsorship by other delegations.  He called on all to support the draft.

He said his country would join as a co-sponsor of the draft on Mongolia ’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status(document A/C.1/65/L.41).  The co-sponsorship by the collective membership of the “nuclear five” was further proof of their commitment to respect the non-nuclear status of Mongolia.

DOVLETMYRAT BOZAGANOV ( Turkmenistan) said that, as focal point of the draft resolution on the nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia, it had a technical correction in the English text in the operative paragraph 3 of the draft resolution on Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia (document A/C.1/65/L.10).  The word “adoption” should be replaced by “submission”, and the word “agreement” should be replaced by “treaty” in the third line.

Next, GANKHUURAI BATTUNGALAG (Mongolia) tabled a draft resolution on Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon‑free status (document A/C.1/65/L.41), which would have the General Assembly, proceeding from the fact that nuclear-weapon-free status was one of the means of ensuring the national security of States, welcome the efforts made by Member States to cooperate with Mongolia in implementing resolution 63/56, as well as the progress made in consolidating Mongolia’s international security.

Also by that text, the Assembly, bearing in mind the joint statement of the five nuclear-weapon States on security assurances to Mongolia in connection with its nuclear-weapon-free status as a contribution to implementing resolution 53/77 D, as well as their commitment to Mongolia to cooperate in the implementation of the resolution, in accordance with the principles of the Charter, would also appeal to the Member States of the Asia and Pacific region to support Mongolia’s efforts to join the relevant regional security and economic arrangements.

Her country, she said, appreciated the Secretary-General’s report on the subject, and she hoped that the field of disarmament would see continued positive momentum towards a world without nuclear weapons.  The new operative paragraph 3 of the present text cited the 2010 NPT Review Conference and contained two updates, including information on the last summit of non-aligned countries in Sharm El-Shiekh.  She added that she valued the dialogue with delegations on the draft resolution and hoped that the Committee would approve it without a vote.

AKIO SUDA (Japan) introduced a draft resolution, co-sponsored by some 90 Member States, on united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/65/L.43), which would have the General Assembly  express deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.  The Assembly, reaffirming the need for all States, at all times, to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law, while convinced that every effort should be made to avoid nuclear war and nuclear terrorism, would call on nuclear-weapon States to undertake further efforts to reduce and, ultimately, eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed, including through unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures.

The draft would also have the Assembly urge all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) at the earliest opportunity with a view to its early entry into force and universalization.  The Assembly would also call for the immediate commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty at the 2011 session of the Conference on Disarmament and its early conclusion.  It would call upon all nuclear-weapon States and States not parties to the NPT to declare and maintain moratoriums on the production of fissile material for any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, pending the entry into force of the treaty. 

The new paragraphs in the draft, said the Japanese representative, reflected the final outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.  The text also emphasized the need for States to take practical steps towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons.  The content of the text had evolved every year, taking into the account evolving disarmament issues and views of Member States.  He hoped for strong support in the Committee.

ERIC DANON (France), also speaking on behalf of Morocco on the draft resolution on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty(document A/C.1/65/L.48), said that by participating in the Fifth Ministerial Meeting on that Treaty on 23 September, they had illustrated their commitment to its entry into force.  As coordinators, they, in concert with the CTBT Organization, had identified a plan of action and had launched several steps at the regional and international levels to promote the Treaty’s entry into force.

He said France had always given unswerving support to the CTBT, which it had signed at its conclusion in 1996.  It had been the first nuclear-weapon State, along with the United Kingdom, to have ratified it more than 12 years ago.  It had concretized its commitment to it with strong actions, when it began dismantling its testing centres in the Pacific.  It had also disposed of its installations, which had allowed it to conduct nuclear testing — the only State to have done that in an irreversible manner.

For its part, Morocco had been among the first States to ratify the CTBT and contribute to its network of monitoring stations.  That Treaty, which had now been signed by 182 States and ratified by 153, was picking up momentum, but it had still not entered into force at a time when its verification centres were almost ready.  The nine Annex II States should heed the call of the international community and join the Treaty to make nuclear testing verifiable and irreversible.  The 2010 NPT Review Conference had highlighted the vital importance of the CTBT’s entry into force.

LAWRENCE O. OLUTUNDE OBISAKIN ( Nigeria) introduced a draft resolution on the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty(document A/C.1/65/L.54) on behalf of the African Group.  He said that the text was part of the disarmament building blocks aimed at eventual total, comprehensive and irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons.  Zambia had deposited its instrument of ratification of that Treaty on 18 August, after having ratified it on 28 June.  That had brought to 30 the number of ratifications and deposits.  All African States had signed the Treaty.  There had only been technical amendments to the draft resolution this year.  Last year, it had been approved by consensus and it was the desire of the sponsors that it also passes by consensus this year.

The representative of China said he wished to join the co-sponsorship of resolution L.41.

The representative of the United Kingdom said her country asked the delegation of Mongolia to be added to the list of co-sponsors to L.41.

Action on Drafts

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking on L.25, on a nuclear-weapon-free world, said he had taken note of the main proposals of the resolution.  If the draft resolution had not mentioned his country, he would support the text.  Regarding the six-party talks mentioned in the draft, he noted the failure of the implementation of existing commitments and the United States sanctions against his country.  Mutual respect was needed for his country to return to the six-party talks.  His country could not help but possess nuclear weapons for self-defence.

He said that the United States should reverse its hostile position against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  The NPT was discriminatory.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had acceded to the Treaty with an expectation that the United States’ nuclear threat would be removed.  That had not been met.  The United States, abusing the NPT, had gone so far as to impinge on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s rights.  His country would vote against the present draft resolution.

Turning to L.48, on the CTBT, he said the Security Council had double standards, with vertical and horizontal nuclear proliferation occurring.  The Security Council had already lost its credibility, he said.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea opposed the text and proposed to put the draft to a vote.

Regarding L.43, on united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, he said he had not asked Japan to recognize the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a nuclear-weapon State.  He proposed a vote for the draft resolution, which the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would vote against.

The representative of Italy, speaking on L.10, concerning the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia, recalled article VII of the NPT and the importance of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  He welcomed the decision of the States establishing such a zone in Central Asia.

The representative of Israel, explaining his vote on the draft resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East(document A/C.1/65/L.3), said a United Nations resolution should address current realities.  That resolution did not meet that criteria and did not reflect the reality in the Middle East.  None of the proliferation in that area had been by Israel, but it was Israel that was being challenged.  Cases like that of Syria were under investigation; there was also the cynical attitude of some of the States in the region.  Moreover, it was irresponsible of some States to continue to export weapons of mass destruction to the region.  The resolution should call for compliance by all States in the region with their obligations, but instead, it chose to focus entirely on Israel and to single it out.  It was ill-motivated and unbalanced, and would not contribute to the overall objective of advancing security in the Middle East.  He, therefore, called on the Member States to reject it.

The representative of the United States said that she would vote “no” on the draft resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East(document A/C.1/65/L.3) because that resolution, again, failed to meet the fundamental of balance by omitting reference to any other States in the region except Israel.  The violations of IAEA safeguards by some States had not been mentioned.  The United States was in support of adherence to the NPT and would support the conference on the Middle East planned for 2012, but it was necessary to have in place the atmosphere needed to conduct that Conference in an unbiased way.  Raising that conference in an unbalanced resolution would not help.  Her country was already working with others to carry forward that agenda.  

The representative of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Union would vote in favour of L. 3, on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.  He supported related Security Council resolutions, and the Union was ready to put forward concrete measures to further efforts towards that goal.  He called on all States to accede to the NPT, the CTBT and other relevant conventions.  The text, however, did not address all the nuclear proliferation challenges, including Iran’s nuclear and ballistic programme.  The country continued to fail to comply with Security Council resolutions.  The adoption on 9 June, of Security Council resolution 1910 (2010) was clear:  Iran needed to comply with that and other resolutions.

He said that the European Union also noted IAEA’s recent report on Syria.  Practical steps, such as the ratification of the CTBT and commencement of discussions on a fissile material cut-off treaty would be steps forward.

The representative of Iran, speaking on L.33, on a fissile material ban, said the Conference on Disarmament should, above all, discuss a nuclear weapons convention.  A treaty banning fissile material should not be a mere non-proliferation instrument.  The scope of such a treaty must cover past and future production of that material.  Iran would not participate in the vote on that text.

Turning to L.48, on the CTBT, he said Iran, as one of the signatory States of the CTBT, had voted in favour of the draft, but had abstained from voting on one of the paragraphs of the text.  The General Assembly must express its view independently, he said.

The representative of Indonesia, also speaking on L.48, said that the 1995 NPT Review Conference had highlighted the important role of the CTBT in the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  In order to contribute to global peace and security, Indonesia had decided to start the ratification process of the Treaty.  The Government would begin the consideration of a draft law on the ratification soon, he added.

The representative of Norway, speaking on L.3, said her county would vote in favour of the text, but shared the European Union’s opinion that the draft did not address all the region’s challenges in terms of nuclear proliferation.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution, on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East (document A/C.1/65/L.1), introduced by Egypt.  The text would have the General Assembly urge all parties directly concerned seriously to consider taking the practical and urgent steps required for the implementation of the proposal to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, and, as a means of promoting that objective, would invite the countries concerned to adhere to the NPT.

It would also have the Assembly call upon all countries of the region that had not yet done so, pending the establishment of the zone, to agree to place all their nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards.

The Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution, on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/65/L.3), which would have the Assembly, stressing the importance of taking confidence-building measures, in particular, the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, in order to enhance peace and security in the region and to consolidate the global non-proliferation regime, welcome the conclusions on the Middle East of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

The draft would have the Assembly reaffirm the importance of Israel’s accession to the NPT and placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards, in realizing the goal of universal adherence to the Treaty in the Middle East.  The Assembly would, by the text, call upon that State to accede to the NPT without further delay and not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, and to renounce possession of nuclear weapons, and to place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope Agency safeguards as an important confidence-building measure among all States of the region and as a step towards enhancing peace and security.

A separate recorded vote was taken on preambular paragraph 5, which would have the Assembly recall the decision on principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament adopted by the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, in which the Conference urged universal adherence to the treaty as an urgent priority and called on all States not yet parties to accede to it at the earliest date, particularly those States that operated unsafeguarded nuclear facilities. 

The paragraph was approved by a vote of 155 in favour to 3 against ( Bhutan, India, Israel), with 5 abstentions ( Bhutan, Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan).

Then, a separate recorded vote was taken on preambular paragraph 6, by which the Assembly would recognize with satisfaction that, in the final document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, the Conference had undertaken to make determined efforts towards the achievement of the goal of universality of the NPT, and called on those remaining outside the Treaty to accede to it, thereby accepting an international legally binding commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons and to accept IAEA safeguards on all their nuclear activities.  The Conference had also underlined the necessity of universal adherence to the Treaty and of strict compliance by all parties with their obligations under it.

The paragraph was approved by a vote of 156 in favour to 2 against ( India, Israel), with 3 abstentions ( Bhutan, Mauritius, Pakistan).

The draft resolution as a whole was approved by a vote of 155 in favour to 5 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 8 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, India, Panama).

Next, the Committee took up a draft resolution, on the conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/65/L.5), which would have the Assembly, among other things, recognize that the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of non-nuclear-weapon States needed to be safeguarded against the use or threat of use of force, including the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.  The draft would also have the Assembly appeal to all States, especially nuclear-weapon States, to work actively towards an early agreement on a common approach and, in particular, on a common formula that could be included in an international instrument of a legally binding character.

The draft resolution was approved by a recorded vote of 106 in favour, to none against, with 58 abstentions.

The Committee took up a draft resolution, on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia (document A/C.1/65/L.10), which would have the Assembly emphasize the role of the agreement on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia in promoting cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and in the environmental rehabilitation of territories affected by radioactive contamination, and the importance of stepping up efforts to ensure the safe and reliable storage of radioactive waste in the Central Asian States.

The draft would also have the Assembly welcome the adoption at the 2010 NPT Review Conference of two working papers on the agreement on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia and on the environmental consequences of uranium mining.

The draft resolution was approved by a recorded vote of 131 in favour to 3 against ( France, United Kingdom, United States), with 33 abstentions.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft decision on missiles (document A/C.1/65/L.18), submitted by Iran.  It would have the General Assembly, recalling its resolutions 54/54 F, 55/33 A, 56/24 B, 57/71, 58/37, 59/67, 61/59, and 63/55, and its decisions 60/515 and 62/514, decide to include in its provisional agenda for its sixty-sixth session the item entitled “Missiles”.

The Committee took up a draft resolution, on nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas (document A/C.1/64/L.24), submitted by Brazil, which would have the Assembly welcome the continued contribution that the Antarctic Treaty and the Treaties of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Bangkok and Pelindaba were making towards freeing the southern hemisphere and adjacent areas covered by those treaties from nuclear weapons. It would note, with satisfaction, that all nuclear-weapon-free zones in the southern hemisphere and adjacent areas were now in force.

By further terms of the draft text, the Assembly would call upon all concerned States to work together to facilitate adherence to the protocols to nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties by all relevant States that had not yet adhered to them and, in that regard, note the positive announcement of the United States to conduct consultations with the parties to the nuclear-weapon-free zones in Central and Southeast Asia, in an effort to sign and ratify relevant protocols.

The Assembly would welcome the progress made on increased collaboration within and between zones at the Second Conference of States Parties and Signatories to Treaties that Establish Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia, held in New York on 30 April, at which States had noted their intention to foster cooperation among the nuclear-weapon-free zones to fully implement the principles and objectives of the treaties and exchange relevant ideas and best practices in areas of mutual interest.

First, a separate recorded vote was taken on operative paragraph 5, which would have the Assembly welcome “the steps taken to conclude further nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned, and calls upon all States to consider all relevant proposals, including those reflected in its resolutions on the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in the Middle East and South Asia”.

The paragraph was approved for inclusion in the resolution by a vote of 155 in favour to 1 against ( India), with 7 abstentions ( Bhutan, France, Israel, Pakistan, Tonga, United Kingdom, United States).

The draft resolution was approved as a whole by a vote of 156 in favour to 3 against ( France, United Kingdom, United States), with 4 abstentions ( India, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Pakistan).

The representative of Jordan requested that his vote be recorded, as it did not register on the voting board.

The representative of Uzbekistan similarly requested that his vote be recorded, as it was not on the voting board.

The Committee took up the draft resolution, towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (document A/C.a/64/L.25), introduced by Ireland, on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, which would have the Assembly welcome the adoption by the 2010 NPT Review Conference of a substantive final document containing conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions relating to disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the Middle East, particularly implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East. 

The Assembly would also welcome the call by the Review Conference for nuclear-weapon States to further enhance transparency, so as to increase mutual confidence, and would acknowledge recent positive steps in that regard and call upon all nuclear weapon States to undertake activities in that regard at an early date.   The Assembly would stress the importance of the commitment made by the nuclear-weapon States at the Review Conference to accelerate concrete progress on the steps leading to nuclear disarmament, contained in the final document of the 2000 Review Conference, and of their prompt engagement with a view to ensuring substantial progress in advance of the 2014 session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference.

Further to that text, the Assembly would encourage those States to regularly report on the implementation of their commitments under the action plan on nuclear disarmament, adopted by the 2010 Review Conference.  The Assembly would encourage further steps by all nuclear-weapon States, in accordance with the action plan, to ensure the irreversible removal of all fissile material designated by each of them as no longer required for military purposes, and to support the development of appropriate verification capabilities related to nuclear disarmament.

The Assembly would also call on all NPT States parties to work towards the full implementation of the resolution on the Middle East adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.  It would further call on the Secretary-General and the co-sponsors of that resolution, as well as on other relevant States and organizations, to undertake necessary preparations to implement the practical steps agreed at the 2010 Review Conference in that regard.  The draft text would also have the Assembly call upon all States to comply with all commitments made regarding nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation and not to act in any way that might compromise either cause or that might lead to a new arms race.

The text would also have the Assembly urge the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to fulfil the commitments under the six-party talks, including those in the September 2005 joint statement, to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes, and to return, at an early date, to the Treaty and to its adherence with IAEA safeguards agreement, with a view to achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner.

A separate vote was taken on operative paragraph 12, which would have the Assembly reiterate its call upon all States parties to spare no effort to achieve the universality of the NPT and, in that regard, urge India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to that Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States, promptly and without conditions.

The paragraph was approved for inclusion in the resolution by a vote of 151 in favour to 4 against ( India, Israel, Pakistan, United States), with 4 abstentions ( Bhutan, France, Seychelles, Tonga).

The draft resolution as a whole was approved by a vote of 158 in favour to 5 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel, France, United States), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, France, Seychelles, Tonga).

By a recorded vote of 107 in favour to 48 against, with 11 abstentions, the Committee approved a draft resolution, on a convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/64/L.26), introduced by India.  By its terms, the General Assembly, convinced that the use of nuclear weapons posed the most serious threat to the survival of mankind and stressing that an international convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons would be an important step in a phased programme towards the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified time frame, would reiterate its request to the Conference on Disarmament to commence negotiations to reach an agreement on such a convention.

The Committee took up a draft resolution, on reducing nuclear danger (document A/C.1/64/L.27), which would have the Assembly call for a review of nuclear doctrines and, in that context, immediate and urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through de-alerting and de-targeting of nuclear weapons.  By the draft, the Assembly would also call upon Member States to take the necessary measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects and to promote nuclear disarmament, with the objective of eliminating nuclear weapons.

The draft resolution was approved by a recorded vote of 103 in favour to 48 against, with 14 abstentions.

By a vote of 163 in favour to 1 against (Pakistan), with 2 abstentions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria), the Committee approved the draft resolution, on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (document A/C.1/65/L.33), introduced by Canada, which would have the General Assembly urge the Conference on Disarmament to agree early in 2011 on a programme of work that included the immediate commencement on negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution on Mongolia ’s international security and nuclear-weapon‑free status (document A/C.1/65/L.41).  It would have the Assembly, proceeding from the fact that nuclear-weapon-free status is one of the means of ensuring the national security of States, welcome the efforts made by Member States to cooperate with Mongolia in implementing resolution 63/56, as well as the progress made in consolidating Mongolia’s international security.

The Assembly, bearing in mind the joint statement of the five nuclear-weapon States on security assurances to Mongolia in connection with its nuclear-weapon-free status as a contribution to implementing resolution 53/77 D, as well as their commitment to Mongolia to cooperate in the implementation of the resolution, in accordance with the principles of the Charter, would appeal to the Member States of the Asia and Pacific region to support Mongolia’s efforts to join the relevant regional security and economic arrangements.

The Committee took up a draft resolution on united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/65/L.43).  By its terms, the Assembly, expressing deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and reaffirming the need for all States at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law, while convinced that every effort should be made to avoid nuclear war and nuclear terrorism, would call upon nuclear-weapon States to undertake further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed, including through unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures.

The draft would also have the Assembly urge all States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the CTBT at the earliest opportunity, with a view to its early entry into force and universalization.  The Assembly would also call for the immediate commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty at the 2011 session of the Conference on Disarmament and its early conclusion, and call upon all nuclear-weapon States and States not parties to the NPT to declare and maintain moratoriums on the production of fissile material for any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices pending the entry into force of the treaty. 

A separate vote was taken on operative paragraph 2, which would have the Assembly reaffirm the vital importance of universality of the NPT and call on all States not parties to the Treaty to accede as non-nuclear-weapon States promptly and without any conditions and, pending their accession to the Treaty, to adhere to its terms as well as to take practical steps in its support.

The paragraph was approved by a recorded vote of 158 in favour to 4 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel, Pakistan), with 1 abstention (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).

A separate recorded vote was taken on operative paragraph 9, which would have the Assembly call for the immediate commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty at the 2010 session of the Conference on Disarmament and its early conclusion, and call upon all nuclear-weapon States and States not party to the NPT to declare and maintain moratoriums on the production of fissile material for any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, pending the entry into force of the treaty.

The paragraph was approved by a recorded vote of 155 in favour to 3 against ( China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan), with 1 abstention ( India).

A separate recorded vote was also taken on operative paragraph 8, which would have the Assembly urge all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the test-ban Treaty at the earliest opportunity, with a view to its early entry into force and universalization.  It would stress the importance of maintaining existing moratoriums on nuclear-weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions, pending the Treaty’s entry into force, and reaffirm the importance of the continued development of the Treaty’s verification regime, a significant contribution to providing assurance of compliance with the Treaty.

The Committee decided to retain that paragraph by a recorded vote of 157 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 2 abstentions ( India, Mauritius).

The draft resolution as a whole was approved by a recorded vote of 154 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 13 abstentions.

The Committee took up a draft resolution on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (document A/C.1/65/L.48), which would have the Assembly stress the vital importance and urgency of signature and ratification, without delay and without conditions, to achieve the Treaty’s earliest entry into force.  It would urge all States not to carry out nuclear-weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions, to maintain their moratoriums in that regard and to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the Treaty, while stressing that those measures did not have the same permanent and legally binding effect as the entry into force of the Treaty.  The Assembly would further urge all States that had signed, but not yet ratified, the Treaty, in particular those whose ratification was needed for its entry into force, to accelerate their ratification processes with a view to ensuring their earliest successful conclusion.

A separate recorded vote was taken on preambular paragraph 6, by which the Assembly would welcome the consensus adoption of the conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which, among other things, reaffirmed the vital importance of the entry into force of the CTBT, a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, and included specific actions to be taken in support of its entry into force.

The paragraph was approved by a vote of 159 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel, Pakistan).

The representative of China requested clarification on what was being voted upon next.

The Chairman said it was a vote on the resolution as a whole.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution as a whole by a recorded vote of 161 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions ( India, Mauritius, Syria).

The representative of Canada, speaking L. 3, on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, noted that the 2010 NPT Review Conference called for the 2012 conference on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East freely arrived at by the States of the region.  Singling out that one country put that conference at risk.  If the goal was to support that objective, then the text should not only call on all States to accede to the NPT, but to also to comply fully with all their obligations.  It should have identified the country that posed the most threat in the region:  Iran, which had failed to comply with Security Council resolutions.  Canada was gravely concerned about Iran’s recent decision to bar IAEA inspectors.  Canada also remained concerned about possible undeclared nuclear facilities in Syria.  For those reasons, it had chosen to abstain from the vote.

The representative of France, also speaking on behalf of the United Kingdom and the United States, said that with regard to L. 10, on the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, they had been in contact with the countries of the five Central Asian States in an effort to resolve problems, which had prevented their ratification of the protocol to that Treaty.  They had been encouraged by the expression of readiness of those States to consult with them on outstanding issues.  They remained convinced that nuclear-weapon-free zones could contribute towards strengthening the NPT and building regional stability, while also providing meaningful and valuable negative security assurances to the members of the zone.

At this point, he said, several outstanding issues remained, whose resolution in a mutually acceptable manner would be necessary to make further progress towards accession by France, the United Stares and the United Kingdom to that Treaty’s Protocol.  The primary reservation of the three countries to the Treaty remained the article XII, which indicated that existing treaty obligations of the States parties would not be affected by the Central Asian Treaty.  Nevertheless, the three supported the objective of a nuclear-weapon-free Central Asia.

Turning to the draft resolution L. 24, on the nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas, he emphasized the importance the three countries attached to the development of internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free zones, which could be an important contribution to regional and global security, provided they were established as set out in the 1999 United Nations Disarmament Commission guidelines, calling for them to be supported by all States of the region concerned and by the nuclear-weapon States.  Such zones also had to be subjected to appropriate treaties and to comprehensive safeguards provided by IAEA, as well as be satisfactorily concluded in consultation with nuclear-weapon States.

The three States, therefore, believed that it was contradictory to propose, simultaneously, the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone that would be composed largely of the high seas, and yet, say that it would be fully consistent with applicable principles and rules of international law relating to freedom of the high seas and the right of passage through maritime space, including those of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he said.  The countries continued to question whether the real goal of the draft resolution was, in fact, the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone covering the high seas.  They did not believe that that ambiguity had been sufficiently clarified and, for that reason, they had voted against it.

The representative of India, spoke in explanation of his votes on draft resolutions L. 3, on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East; L. 24, on nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas; L. 25, on nuclear-weapon-free world:  accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmamentcommitments; and L. 43, on united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

His country had abstained on L. 3 as a whole and had voted against its preambular paragraph six because it should have been limited to the region it aimed to address.  States should be bound by treaties based on consent.  The call to States outside the NPT to accede to it was at variance with that principle.

India had also voted against operative paragraph five and abstained on the whole on the draft resolution a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere, L.24, because it contravened well-established principles that nuclear-weapon-free zones should be based on agreements freely arrived at by the States of the region concerned.

On L. 25, on nuclear-weapon-free world, he said that India remained committed to the goal of complete elimination of nuclear weapons and was concerned about the threat they posed to humanity.  It shared the view that disarmament and non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing.  There should be credible, time-bound and verifiable nuclear disarmament.  His country had voted against that draft resolution because it could not agree to the call to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State.  That call negated customary international law on the free consent principle.  There was no question of India joining the Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon State.

On L. 43, on united action towards elimination of nuclear weapons, he said that Indiaremained committed to the goal of global nuclear disarmament in a time-bound framework.  The draft resolution fell short of that objective.  His delegation had voted against operative paragraph two because it could not accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State.  Nuclear weapons were an integral part of India’s security strategy pending non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.  His country had abstained on operative paragraph 9.

The representative of Sudan said that he was not in room during the votes and would have voted in favour of all of them, including the ones pertaining to the Middle East.

The representative South Africa said that L. 43, in its operative paragraph 12, made reference to security assurances.  That issue was of great importance to his country.  Genuine security could not be achieved by just abandoning nuclear weapons.  The only guarantee against the use or threat of use of those weapons was their total elimination.  Security assurances were a pragmatic interim measure aimed at ensuring a nuclear-weapon-free world.  The security assurance granted under Security Council resolutions was not adequate, nor was the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  Pending a legally binding treaty on the elimination of nuclear weapons, security assurances should be pursued as a matter of priority.

He said that South Africa insisted on the provision of security assurances for States that had forgone nuclear weapons.  That principle and objective for non-proliferation and disarmament had been adopted at the 1995 NPT Review Conference to assure against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in the form of legally binding instruments.  That action reflected the agreement of the States parties to the NPT that such assurances would strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  The draft resolution did not take that agreement into account, but only focused narrowly on the Security Council resolution.  That was why South Africa had abstained from the vote.

The representative of Pakistan, speaking on L.24, said his country had consistently supported the central message of the resolution, however, the unrealistic expectation of his country to join the NPT was problematic.  Regarding a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere, the call in operative paragraph 5 for the establishment of such a zone in South Asia was not supportable, in light of the nuclearization of the area in 1998.  Pakistan was thus obliged to conduct its tests, and his delegation had abstained from voting on that paragraph.

Regarding operative paragraph 12 in L.25, calling on Pakistan to accede to the NPT, he said that owing to the known position of his country, he had voted against that paragraph.

On L.33, he disagreed with the resolution on a treaty banning fissile material.  Pakistan could not be a party to that text.

On L.43, he said Pakistan did not agree with several provisions, including the lopsided emphasis on non-proliferation instead of disarmament.  He could not accede to the NPT.  Pakistan could not agree with provisions in L.43, including requests for immediate commencement of a fissile material cut-off treaty.

On L.48, he said Pakistan had voted in favour of the draft in the past and this year as well.  The CTBT’s entry into force would be facilitated by firm commitments.  Pakistan was not bound to any commitments at NPT Review Conferences, and had abstained from voting on the preambular paragraph.

The representative of Switzerland spoke on L.3, L.26, and L.27.  Switzerland voted for L.3, fully endorsing the goal of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.  However, the operative paragraphs did not mention all elements of nuclear proliferation in the region.  The full implementation of the resolutions and decisions should be supported.

Switzerland voted against L.26, owing to the absence of any reference in the text to the international non-proliferation regime, he said, adding that a reference should at least be included, he said.  On L.27, he supported the broad objective to advance nuclear disarmament.  Switzerland was an advocate for reducing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons, but the current scope of the text did not reflect realities.  The text called on the nuclear-weapon States only, but reducing danger could only happen if all States were involved.  The text was also devoid of any mention of relevant treaties, such as the NPT and the CTBT.

The representative of Slovenia said his country had abstained from voting on L.10 because, while those zones were part of efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons, joining those zones should be voluntary.

The representative of New Zealand, speaking on L.27, said her country had a deep and abiding commitment to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Work with the New Agenda Coalition and in a number of other contexts, reflected the belief in a need to take immediate practical steps towards achieving that goal.  While L.27 contained several practical measures with which she strongly agreed, New Zealand was unable to support the text, given that it failed to acknowledge the importance of the universalization of the NPT as a step towards a nuclear-weapon-free world, or the responsibility of all States that possessed nuclear weapons to reduce nuclear danger.

Speaking on L.3, she said her country had voted for the resolution.  Consistent with New Zealand’s belief in the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world, she was committed to the realization of a zone free of those and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.  IAEA would have a crucial role to play in verifying such a zone, and she urged all States that had not yet done so, including in the Middle East, to sign, ratify and implement an Additional Protocol to allow the Agency to undertake its important work.  She said that New Zealand was concerned about the absence in the text of any reference to other States in the Middle East that presented significant nuclear proliferation concerns.  She hoped that that lack of balance would be addressed in future years.

Speaking on L.43, she said the text sought to reinforce the May 2010 NPT Review Conference outcome, which provided a clear outline for work in the short-term to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Regarding the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems, New Zealand would have liked to have seen the retention of language from previous years, which called upon the nuclear-weapon States to consider further reducing the operational status of their systems.  Likewise, the text on negative security assurances could have more closely reflected the relevant language in the NPT Review Conference’s outcome document.

* *** *

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