Conventional Arms Control, Symmetry as Lynchpin to Regional, Subregional Stability Subject of One of 16 Draft Resolutions, Decisions Approved by First Committee

28 October 2010
GA/DIS/3424

Conventional Arms Control, Symmetry as Lynchpin to Regional, Subregional Stability Subject of One of 16 Draft Resolutions, Decisions Approved by First Committee

28 October 2010
General Assembly
GA/DIS/3424
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

First Committee

21st Meeting (PM)

Conventional Arms Control, Symmetry as Lynchpin to Regional, Subregional Stability

Subject of One of 16 Draft Resolutions, Decisions Approved by First Committee

Also Sent to General Assembly Were Texts on Regional Disarmament, Effects

Of Depleted Uranium Use, Consolidation of Peace through Practical Disarmament

Convinced that conventional arms control needed to be pursued primarily in the regional and subregional contexts, since most threats to peace and security in the post-cold-war era arose mainly among States in the same region or subregion, militarily significant States and those with larger military capabilities had a special responsibility in promoting such agreements for regional security, according to one of 16 draft texts approved today in the Disarmament Committee.

Sending the draft resolution, submitted by Pakistan, to the General Assembly, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) asked the world body to give urgent consideration to the issues involved in conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels. 

The text, approved by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 1 against ( India), with 2 abstentions ( Bhutan, Russian Federation), would also have the Assembly request the Conference on Disarmament to consider the formulation of principles that could serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control and look forward to a report of the Conference on this subject.

In a separate action, the Committee decided to retain that provision — operative paragraph 2 — requesting the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament, by a vote of 132 in favour to 1 against ( India), with 26 abstentions.

Explaining his opposition to the draft as a whole and to the second operative paragraph, India’s representative said the Conference on Disarmament was the single multilateral forum on disarmament matters and there was no need for it to formulate principles on the same subject dealt with by the Disarmament Commission.  The text was unacceptable to his delegation.

The representative of the Russian Federation said he had abstained on voting on that resolution because regional control measures should be appropriate to situations in each region.  Also, in preambular paragraph 6 of the text, reference was made to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.  That Treaty had become obsolete, he said, adding that nothing in the draft reflected efforts being made to restore the arms control regime in this region of the world.  Russia had proposed suggestions that would have reflected those new developments, but those proposals had not been taken on board.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution on regional disarmament, also introduced by Pakistan, by which the General Assembly would stress that sustained efforts were needed, within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament and under the umbrella of the United Nations, to make progress on an entire range of disarmament issues.

Further to the text, the Assembly, believing that the efforts of the international community to move towards the ideal of general and complete disarmament were guided by the inherent human desire for genuine peace and security, the elimination of the danger of war and the release of economic, intellectual and other resources for peaceful pursuits, would call on States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels. 

A draft on confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context, also approved without a vote, would urge States to comply strictly with all bilateral, regional and international agreements, including arms control and disarmament agreements, to which they were party.  It would emphasize that the objective of confidence-building measures should be to help to strengthen international peace and security and be consistent with the principle of undiminished security at the lowest level of armaments.

It would have the Assembly express its concern that the continuation of disputes among States, particularly in the absence of an effective mechanism to resolve them through peaceful means, might contribute to the arms race and endanger the maintenance of international peace and security and at efforts to promote arms control and disarmament.  It would call on Member States to refrain from the use or threat of use of force, in accordance with the Charter.

The Committee then approved, by a vote of 117 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, United Kingdom, United States), with 48 abstentions, a draft resolution on the promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. 

By its terms, the Assembly would stress that international cooperation, the peaceful settlement of disputes, dialogue and confidence-building measures would contribute to the creation of multilateral and bilateral friendly relations among peoples and nations, and reaffirm multiculturalism as the core principle in negotiations in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.

Also by that text, the Assembly would urge the participation of all interested States in multilateral negotiations on arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner, and call upon all Member States to renew and fulfil their individual and collective commitments to multilateral cooperation as an important means of pursuing and achieving their common disarmament and non-proliferation objectives.

The Assembly would request the States parties to the relevant instruments on weapons of mass destruction to consult and cooperate among themselves in resolving their concerns regarding cases of non-compliance and on implementation, as well as to refrain from resorting or threatening to resort to unilateral actions or directing unverified non-compliance accusations against each another to resolve their concerns.

A draft resolution on the effects of the use of armaments and ammunition containing depleted uranium was approved by a recorded vote of 136 in favour to 4 against (France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 28 abstentions.  By a vote of 166 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 2 abstentions ( Iran, Syria), the Committee approved a text on preventing and combating illicit brokering activities.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved draft resolutions on strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region; the relationship between disarmament and development; observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control; developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security; consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures; women, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control; United Nations Disarmament Information Programme; disarmament and non-proliferation education.

The Committee also approved, without a vote, draft decisions on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament; and on the maintenance of international security — good neighbourliness, stability and development in South-Eastern Europe.

Explanations of actions taken on draft texts yesterday under Cluster 4 (Conventional weapons) were made today by the representatives of Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Norway, Singapore, Morocco, India, Georgia, Mali, Libya and Pakistan.

The introduction of draft texts today on Cluster 5 (Regional disarmament and security) were made by the representatives of Pakistan and Algeria.

Explanations of vote were made today by the representatives of Mexico, Iran, India, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Russian Federation.

General statements on Cluster 6 (Other disarmament measures and international security) or introductions of draft texts were made by the representatives of Republic of Korea, Mexico, Cuba, United Republic of Tanzania, France and Trinidad and Tobago.

Explanations of vote were made by the representatives of Egypt, Belgium, Cuba, Iran, United States, Venezuela, Uzbekistan, Greece, Germany, New Zealand (on behalf of Canada, Australia, New Zealand), Netherlands, Cuba, United Kingdom (national capacity and on behalf of France), India, and France (national capacity and on behalf of United Kingdom and United States).

General statements on Cluster 7 (disarmament machinery) or introductions of draft texts were made by the representatives of Thailand, Austria, Nigeria, Indonesia (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement) and United Republic of Tanzania.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 29 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 continue taking action on all draft resolutions and decisions submitted under the disarmament and international security agenda items.

Explanation of Vote

Explaining his vote from yesterday on the draft resolution on implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Mine-Ban Convention) (document A/C.1/65/L.8), the representative of Kyrgyzstan said that his country welcomed the adoption of the draft resolution.  That draft was one more positive signal of the attitude of States regarding that Convention.  Even though his country was not yet party to it because of legal reasons, the new leadership of the country had considered changing its position and it had voted in favour of the draft resolution.  Kyrgyzstan intended to implement some of the provisions of the draft resolution.  The country did not import or produce landmines, and it supported the spirit of the Convention. 

Turning to the draft resolution on united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/65/L.43), he said that his country had voted in favour operative paragraph 9, but had not been included on the list of those who voted.  Also, the country would like to be included among the co-sponsors of draft resolutions L.29 and L.56.

The representative of Egypt, speaking on draft resolution L.8, noted the particular nature of that instrument which, he said, had been concluded outside the United Nations and without provisions for ensuring its potential universality or effectiveness.  Egypt had imposed a moratorium on its landmine production in the 1980s, but the Convention lacked balance between humanitarian protection and the use of landmines for security needs.  It also did not address the question of landmines laid in the territory of a State by other States.  His country still had landmines planted by the World War Powers.  The weaknesses in the Convention were complemented by a weak international system which did not require the States that laid the landmines to clear them, but instead, depended on their willingness to do so.  As a result of those weaknesses, the States most heavily affected by landmines were outside its regime.

The representative of Norway said that the country had joined the consensus on L.44, on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, but reiterated that the Convention should not spend time on issues that were already covered, such as the landmines ban and cluster munitions.  It should, instead, discuss those issues that added value to international humanitarian law.

The representative of Singapore voted in favour on L.8, on the Mine-Ban Convention, saying her country would support all initiatives on landmines.  Singapore had expanded its moratorium on landmines and extended it indefinitely.  At the same time, the right to self-defence should be respected.  Her country would continue to work with the international community in this field.

The representative of Morocco said his country had also supported L.8, reiterating its support for the humanitarian objectives of the Convention.  Morocco, in 2002, had ratified Protocol II, on landmines, of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons) and regularly submitted national reports on its implementation.  He highlighted the mine clearance efforts by the Royal Armed Forces, which had resulted in the destruction of thousands of mines.  Moroccan authorities also supported victims and took part in dialogues with non-governmental organizations.  Morocco’s accession to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons reflected his country’s position.

The representative of India said his country had abstained from voting on L.8.  India supported the vision of a world free of land mines, and it had observed a moratorium on their transfer.  The availability of an alternative cost-effective defensive measure would eliminate the need for landmines.  India had participated in the Mine-Ban Convention’s Review Conference as an observer, and it would continue to act as an observer in that regard.

The representative of Georgia said his country joined as a co-sponsor of L.31, on information on confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms.

The representative of Mali, speaking on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member States on the draft resolution on assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them (document A/C.1/65/L.11), said that the approval of that draft resolution without a vote had indicated that the issue of small arms and light weapons remained an important aspect of general and complete disarmament.  Far from being a subject of interest only to West Africa, it was an issue that continued to occupy an important place on the international community’s agenda.  That was why Mali, on behalf of the ECOWAS member countries, commended those that had co-sponsored the text.  It also commended all of the delegations that had joined in the consensus, as well as the Secretariat for its availability and assistance.

The representative of Libya, speaking on L.44, said his country was not committing to implementing all its provisions.  The draft did not cover explosive remnants of war, including mines placed by other countries during wars.  Nor did it include the issue of a country’s legitimate defence needs.  Libya was concerned about the harmful effects of conventional weapons, but addressing the issue required finding solutions to the legacy of explosive remnants of war left over from past wars.  A way had to be found to face the attack on small countries and to eliminate nuclear weapons, which were the true danger to humankind.

The representative of Pakistan, speaking on L.8, said that landmines continued to play significant role in the defence needs of many States.  His country was committed to pursuing the issue in a manner that took into account countries’ legitimate defence needs.  Landmines were an important part of the self-defence strategy of his country, and as such, it was not possible for it to go along with the text’s provisions.  The country was party to the amended Protocol 11 of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which regulated the use of landmines, and it continued to implement that protocol with earnestness.  It was participating in United Nations peacekeeping missions and was prepared to provide training facilities to assist mine-affected countries in clearing landmines.  Pakistan remained committed to ensuring that the landmines in its military inventory would never become the cause of humanitarian situations.

Cluster 5:  Regional Disarmament and Security

RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) introduced three draft resolutions.  Introducing the text entitled “Regional Disarmament” (document A/C.1/65/L.4), he said that promotion of security and disarmament on the regional level could have an effect on the international level.  Keeping in view the promise of the regional approach, the draft included elements that, among other things, called upon States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels. 

The draft resolution on conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (document A/C.1.65.L.6) aimed at promoting disarmament, he said.  That issue had not received due attention.  The preambular part of the draft highlighted, among other things, the threats in the post-cold war era.

On confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context (document A/C.1/65/L.7), he said the preambular paragraphs underlined the thrust of the text and welcomed the resolution of disputes by peaceful means.  Regions that had achieved confidence-building measures had improved the security situations.  The text also urged States to comply strictly with all bilateral, regional and international agreements, including arms control and disarmament agreements, to which they are party.

DJAMEL MOKTEFI ( Algeria ) introduced a draft resolution on strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/C.1/65/L.30), which noted efforts made by the States in the region, including dialogue, to maintain security in the region.  The text invited all States that had not yet done so to ratify non-proliferation instruments.

Action on Drafts

The representative of Mexico, speaking about the second operative paragraph of L.6, said his country believed that the paralysis in the Conference on Disarmament and that body’s working methods made it impossible for it to contribute to pending issues.  The Conference had shown its inefficiency in grappling with the tasks that had been assigned to it.  Giving it a new task, with regard to conventional weapons, would condemn that issue to the same stalemate to which other disarmament issues before the Conference had been doomed.  The Conference was not the appropriate body to be given that task.  Instead, the Disarmament Commission should be handed that task.  As a result, his country would ask for a separate vote on the draft resolution’s operative paragraph 2, from which it would abstain.

On L. 30, the representative of Iran said his country would not take part in the vote because, as result of the imposition of the blockade by the Zionist regime, the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip had become aggravated.  The draft resolution did not reflect that reality in the region.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution on regional disarmament (document A/C.1/65/L.4), introduced by Pakistan, which would have the General Assembly, recalling its past resolutions on the subject, stress that sustained efforts were needed, within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament and under the umbrella of the United Nations, to make progress on an entire range of disarmament issues and call upon States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels. 

The Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution on conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (document A/C.1.65.L.6), introduced by Pakistan, which would have the Assembly, believingthat militarily significant States and States with larger military capabilities have a special responsibility in promoting such agreements for regional security, request the Conference on Disarmament to consider the formulation of principles that can serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control and looks forward to a report of the Conference on this subject.

Aware that the preservation of a balance in the defence capabilities of States at the lowest level of armaments would contribute to peace and stability and should be a prime objective of conventional arms control, the Assembly would decide to give urgent consideration to the issues involved in conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels.

First, a separate recorded vote was taken on operative paragraph 2, by which the Assembly would request the Conference on Disarmament to consider the formulation of principles that can serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control and look forward to a report of the Conference on this subject.  The paragraph was approved by a vote of 132 in favour to 1 against ( India), with 26 abstentions.

The draft resolution was approved, as a whole, by a vote of 162 in favour to 1 against ( India), with 2 abstentions ( Bhutan, Russian Federation).

The Committee then took up a draft resolution on confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context (document A/C.1/65/L.7), also introduced by Pakistan, which would have the Assembly call upon Member States to refrain from the use or threat of use of force in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.  The draft would also have the Assembly urge States to comply strictly with all bilateral, regional and international agreements, including arms control and disarmament agreements, to which they are party.

The Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote.

Also acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft decision on the maintenance of international security — good neighbourliness, stability and development in South-Eastern Europe (document A/C.1/65/L.17), which would have the Assembly decide to include the item in its provisional agenda for its sixty-seventh session.

The Committee took up a draft resolution on strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/C.1/64/L.30), introduced by Algeria, which would have the Assembly, expressing its concern at the persistent tension and continuing military activities in parts of the Mediterranean that hinder efforts to strengthen security and cooperation in the region, reaffirm that security in the Mediterranean is closely linked to European security as well as to international peace and security and recognize that the elimination of the economic and social disparities in levels of development and other obstacles, as well as respect and greater understanding among cultures in the Mediterranean area, will contribute to enhancing peace, security and cooperation among Mediterranean countries through the existing forums.

The Assembly would call upon all States of the Mediterranean region that have not yet done so to adhere to all the multilaterally negotiated legal instruments related to the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, this created the necessary conditions for strengthening peace and cooperation in the region.  It would further encourage all States of the region to favour the necessary conditions for strengthening the confidence-building measures among them by promoting genuine openness and transparency on all military matters, by participating, inter alia, in the United Nations system for the standardized reporting of military expenditures and by providing accurate data and information to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.

The Assembly would also encourage the Mediterranean countries to strengthen further their cooperation in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the possible resort by terrorists to weapons of mass destruction.

The Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote.

Explaining his vote on the draft on conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels, L.6, the representative of India said the delegation had cast a negative vote.  The Conference on Disarmament was the single multilateral forum on disarmament matters.  There was no need for the Conference to formulate principles on the same subject dealt with by the Disarmament Commission. The text was unacceptable to his delegation.

The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo requested that his vote be recorded in favour of L.4, L.6, L.17 and L.30.

The representative of the Russian Federation abstained on voting on L.6.  It was his country’s position that regional control measures should be appropriate to situations in each region.  Also, in preambular paragraph 6 of the text, reference was made to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.  That Treaty had become obsolete.  Nothing was said in the draft about efforts to restore the arms control regime in this region of the world.  Russia had proposed suggestions that would have reflected those new developments, but those proposals had not been included in the draft resolution.

Cluster 6:  Other Disarmament Measures and International Security

KIM BONG-HYUN ( Republic of Korea) introduced draft resolution L.49/Rev.1, on preventing and combating illicit brokering activities, saying that it was a biennial resolution first presented by his country and Australia in 2008.  It had been tabled this time to raise awareness of the threat posed by illicit brokering and to highlight international efforts to address it.  The current draft reflected recent developments and included technical updates.  The sponsors had conducted consultations with Member States, and the concerns that had been raised had been reflected in the draft text.  Other elements of the draft were largely unchanged.

He said that draft had more than 70 co-sponsors, including 44 of the previous sponsors.  The text was well-balanced and had achieved near consensus in the past.  He appealed for its approval by consensus and thanked those that had contributed during the consultations.

The representative of Ecuador said that his country was a co-sponsor of draft resolution L.52.

DESRA PERCAYA (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, introduced four draft resolutions, L.13, L.14, L.15, and L.16.

Introducing L.13, on the relationship between disarmament and development, he noted that the money spent by countries on the development of nuclear weapons could be used to promote development and peace.  The Non-Aligned Movement stressed the need to follow up on the programme of action on the relationship between disarmament and development.  The group emphasized the vital significance of achieving internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.  It hoped that the savings generated by reducing spending on arms would be used to attain them.  It further stressed the central role of the United Nations in efforts to address the disarmament and development relationship.  The role of the United Nations and partners in helping countries attain their development targets was critical.

Turning to L. 14, on observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of disarmament and arms control agreements, he said that the issue was extremely important since the environment was shared by all, and no one was immune to the harmful effects caused to it.  Disarmament forums, therefore, should take into account environmental norms in negotiating agreements on disarmament and non-proliferation.  All States should contribute fully in achieving compliance with those norms.

On L.15, on promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation, he said that the Movement underlined that multilateralism and multilateral solutions were the only solution for addressing disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control issues.  States parties to instruments on weapons of mass destruction should consult and cooperate with each other in addressing issues of non-compliance, in line with provisions of relevant instruments, and should refrain from threats and accusations.  The Movement stressed the importance of preserving existing agreements on disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control and of adhering to the rules of multilateral negotiations in a non-discriminatory manner.

Turning to L.19, on the effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium, he said that the Movement hoped that delegations would support the draft resolution, which was on a subject that had great humanitarian dimensions.  The Movement was grateful to the non-governmental organizations that had taken up that issue, and it thanked them for their work to end the use of depleted uranium in weapons.  While there was evidence on the effects of depleted uranium on humans, further research was needed to know the precise long- and short-term measures necessary to tackle the danger.  It was necessary to facilitate studies and research in that area.  The Movement invited States that had used weapons with depleted uranium to provide as much detail as possible to the States affected by such weapons.  The Movement looked forward to overwhelming support for the four drafts.

PABLO ADRIÁN ARROCHA OLABUENAGA ( Mexico) put forth an oral amendment to operative paragraph 5 (c) of L.52, which he suggested should read:  “To encourage the use of the Programme as a means to provide information related to progress on the implementation of nuclear disarmament measures.”  He hoped the text would be approved by consensus.

CAMILO GARCIA LOPEZ-TRIGO ( Cuba) supported the Non-Aligned Movement’s introduction of L.13, L.14, L.15 and L.19, which addressed issues of high importance.  Disarmament and development were among the most important human challenges.  He proposed a fund managed by the United Nations that would refocus half of current military expenditures towards development.  Full account should be taken of environmental norms, as stipulated in L.14.  He said that L.15 was a major contribution to the debate on multilateral approaches to disarmament and non-proliferation, while L.19 addressed the need to continue research on the long-term effects on humans and the environment of depleted uranium.

The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania requested that his country become a co-sponsor of L.13, given that his country was a co-founder of the Peacebuilding Commission.

ERIC DANON ( France) said his country could not support the decision regarding L.13.  France recognized that disarmament in areas of armed conflict promoted the establishment of a stable and secure environment.  However, France stressed that the preambular paragraph 7 was simplistic by creating a “symbiotic” relationship between disarmament and development.  On the one hand, disarmament did not automatically lead to development, and on the other hand, other factors than development were necessary to reach disarmament.  Moreover, France highlighted the fact that defence investments contributed to the development of a country when they were well-oriented towards the promotion of security and stability, when they facilitated the contribution to peacekeeping operations, and when offered means to respond to natural disaster situations.

EDEN CHARLES ( Trinidad and Tobago) corrected an error in operative paragraph 3 of L.39/Rev.1, on women, disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation.  Describing it as an amendment, he said the words “sixty-sixth session” should read “sixty-seventh session”.

His country and other co-sponsors of the draft invited the Committee to join in the achievement of a historic and noble objective by embracing a more holistic and dynamic view of matters related to international peace and security.  The draft had travelled a long way, and he was pleased to note that this year’s text was more streamlined and focused than previous versions, benefiting from exhaustive consultations and the input of a broad cross-section of delegations.  He hoped it would be approved by consensus.

The representative of Egypt, speaking on L. 31, said that that draft resolution had been presented in the context of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security.  While his country supported that resolution, it believed that the subject was a human rights matter rather than a disarmament one.  Egypt had participated in it in the context of the Security Council and in the Third Committee (Human Rights), which were the competent bodies for those discussions.  It was concerned, therefore, about the relevance of the issue and the competence of the First Committee to deal with it.  It was an issue that neither related to the mandate or the agenda of the Committee.  It joined consensus on the draft, however, but felt that the Third Committee was the competent body to deal with the issue.

The representative of Belgium said that his country would vote in favour of draft resolution L.19.  On 20 June 2009, a law had entered into effect in Belgium banning those weapons.  The adoption of that law had been preceded by parliamentary hearings, during which scientific experts had aired their views on the dangers of the use of those weapons.  His country had become the first to have decreed such a prohibition.  Belgium was at the disposal of the United Nations to provide any clarifications with respect to the Belgian law; it was available and would provide its expertise where necessary to disseminate information on the question to States at their request, on the basis of its experience.  Belgium hoped that the draft resolution would contribute to better understanding about those munitions.

The representative of Cuba said her country would not oppose L.36, on consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures.  It was necessary to state for the record, that preambular paragraph 10 and operative paragraph 5 were not acceptable.

The representative of Iran, on the draft resolution on preventing and combating illicit brokering, L.49/Rev.1, said the 2001 Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons saw States make commitments to battle the illicit trade.  However, the illicit trade in weapons of mass destruction, as noted in this text, implied that there was a licit trade.  The trade and brokering of nuclear technology for weapons purposes was illegal.  The transfer of such material by nuclear-weapon States to non-nuclear-weapon States was prohibited under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

He said that, as far as preventing terrorists from accessing weapons of mass destruction, this Committee had addressed that concern in other resolutions.  It was not productive to mix small arms and light weapons with weapons of mass destruction.  The text also lacked a focused approach.  Its adoption, in its current format, could lead to misinterpretations.

Iran had proposed some amendments with hopes of joining the consensus on this text, but unfortunately, there were still substantive problems with the draft, he said.  Part of the text recognized non-transparent export regimes.  Iran would abstain from voting on this draft resolution.

The representative of the United States said her country would abstain in the vote on the draft resolution concerning the relationship between disarmament and development, L.13.  She said disarmament and development were two distinct issues.  Her country would also abstain from voting on L.14, on observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control, noting that the United States operated under the most stringent environmental impact standards.  She did not consider the matter germane to this Committee.

The representative of Venezuela, on L.36, said her country supported the United Nations Programme of Action.  Those issues were important, however, operative paragraph 5 of the draft did not represent a formal mandate from the General Assembly with regard to the Group of Interested States. 

The representative of Uzbekistan said his country would like to be a co-sponsor L.36.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution on the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/65/L.13), introduced by Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  Stressing the importance of the symbiotic relationship between disarmament and development and the important role of security in this connection, and concerned at increasing global military expenditure, which could otherwise be spent on development needs, the Assembly, by the text, would stress the central role of the United Nations in the disarmament-development relationship, and request the Secretary-General to further strengthen the role of the Organization in this field.

The draft would also have the Assembly urge the international community to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development, with a view to reducing the ever-widening gap between developed and developing countries.

The Committee approved the text without a vote.

The Committee took up a draft resolution on the observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/C.1/65/L.14), also introduced by Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  By its terms, the Assembly would, among other things, call upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures so as to contribute to ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress within the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres, without detriment to the environment or to its effective contribution to attaining sustainable development. 

The Committee approved the text without a vote.

By a recorded vote of 117 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, United Kingdom, United States) with 48 abstentions, the Committee approved a draft resolution on the promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (document A/C.1/65/L.15).  Introduced by Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, it would have the Assembly stress that international cooperation, the peaceful settlement of disputes, dialogue and confidence-building measures would contribute to the creation of multilateral and bilateral friendly relations among peoples and nations, and reaffirm multiculturalism as the core principle in negotiations in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.

The draft text would also have the Assembly urge the participation of all interested States in multilateral negotiations on arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner, and call upon all Member States to renew and fulfil their individual and collective commitments to multilateral cooperation as an important means of pursuing and achieving their common objectives in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.

The Assembly would also, by the draft, request the States parties to the relevant instruments on weapons of mass destruction to consult and cooperate among themselves in resolving their concerns regarding cases of non-compliance and on implementation, as well as to refrain from resorting or threatening to resort to unilateral actions or directing unverified non-compliance accusations against one another to resolve their concerns.

Another Non-Aligned Movement text, on the effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium (document A/C.1/65/L.19), would have the Assembly invite Member States and international organizations to, among other things, report to the Secretary-General their views on the subject, and those States that have used these weapons in armed conflicts to provide the relevant authorities of affected States, upon request, with information, as detailed as possible, about the location of the areas of use and the amounts used, with the objective of facilitating the assessment of such areas.

The Committee approved the text by a vote of 136 in favour to 4 against ( France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States) with 28 abstentions.

Acting without a vote, a draft resolution, as orally revised, was approved on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/C.1/65/L.37).  By its terms, the Assembly would call upon Member States to promote further, at multilateral levels, the consideration of existing and potential threats in the field of information security, as well as possible strategies to address the threats emerging in this field, consistent with the need to preserve the free flow of information.

The Assembly would invite all Member States to continue taking into account the assessments and recommendations of the Group of Governmental Experts’ report to inform the Secretary-General of their views and assessment of:  general appreciation of the issues of information security; efforts taken at the national level to strengthen information security and promote international cooperation in this field; the content of the concepts aimed at strengthening the security of global information and telecommunications systems; and possible measures that could be taken by the international community to strengthen information security at the global level.

The draft would also have the Assembly request the Secretary-General, with the assistance of the group of governmental experts to be established in 2012 on the basis of equitable geographical distribution, to continue in view of the assessments and recommendations of the mentioned report to study existing and potential threats in the sphere of information security and possible cooperative measures to address them, as well as the concepts mentioned above, and to submit a report on the results of this study to the Assembly at its sixty-eighth session.

The draft resolution on the consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (document A/C.1/65/L.36) would have the Assembly stress the particular relevance of the “Guidelines on conventional arms control/limitation and disarmament, with particular emphasis on consolidation of peace in the context of General Assembly”, resolution 51/45 N. 

Also according to the draft, the Assembly would welcome the activities undertaken by the Group of Interested States, and invites the Group to continue to promote, on the basis of lessons learned from previous disarmament and peacebuilding projects, new practical disarmament measures to consolidate peace, especially as undertaken or designed by affected States themselves, regional and subregional organizations as well as United Nations agencies.  It would also encourage, in this regard, the Group of Interested States to continue to function as an informal, open and transparent forum supporting the implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, and encourage the Group to facilitate the exchange of views on issues related to the United Nations small arms process as well as to facilitate the effective matching of needs and resources in accordance with the outcome of the fourth biennial meeting of States.

First, a separate recorded vote was taken on operative paragraph 6, by which the Assembly wouldrequest the Secretary-General to provide the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs with resources adequate for maintaining the Programme of Action Implementation Support System as from 2012, thus securing its important role in identifying and communicating information on needs and resources so as to enhance the implementation of the Programme of Action.

The paragraph was approved, as orally revised, by a vote of 166 in favour, to none against, with 1 abstention ( Iran).

The draft resolution as a whole was approved without a vote.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution on women, disarmament, non-proliferation and development (document A/C.1/65/L.39/Rev.1), which would have the Assembly urge member States, regional organizations, the United Nations and specialized agencies to ensure equitable representation of women at all decision-making levels, in particular, in the security sector, which may make or influence policy with regard to matters related to disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation.

Also by the draft, the Assembly would also call on all States to support and strengthen the involvement of women in organizations in the field of disarmament at the local, national and regional levels. 

Next, the Committee approved a draft decision on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (document A/C.1/65/L.40), also without a vote.  It would have the Assembly decide to include, in the provisional agenda of its sixty-sixth session, the item under this title.

The Committee next turned to the draft resolution on the preventing and combating illicit brokering activities (document A/C.1/65/L.49), introduced by the Republic of Korea.  By that text, the Assembly would underline the commitment of Member States to address the threat posed by illicit brokering activities and encourage Member States to fully implement relevant international treaties, instruments and resolutions to prevent and combat illicit brokering activities.  It would also take note of the recommendations contained in the report of the Group of Governmental Experts on illicit brokering.  It would also call upon Member States to establish appropriate national laws and/or measures to prevent and combat illicit brokering of conventional arms, materials, equipment, and technology that could contribute to the proliferation of mass destruction weapons and their delivery means, in a manner consistent with international law.

First, a separate recorded vote was taken on preambular paragraph 12, by which the Assembly would encouragecooperation among Member States to prevent and combat illicit trafficking in nuclear materials “and recognizing, in this regard, existing efforts at all levels”, consistent with international law.  The vote was for retaining those words in quotation marks.

The Committee decided to retain that provision by a vote of 166 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 2 abstentions ( Iran, Syria).

The draft resolution as a whole was approved by a vote of 171 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 1 abstention ( Iran).

The Committee than took up a draft resolution on the review and implementation of the Concluding Document of the Twelfth Special Session of the General Assembly:  United Nations Disarmament Information Programme (UNIDIR) (document A/C.1/65/L.52).  It would have the Assembly stress the importance of UNIDIR as a significant instrument in enabling all Member States to participate fully in the deliberations and negotiations on disarmament in the various United Nations bodies, in assisting them in complying with treaties, as required, and in contributing to agreed mechanisms for transparency.

By the text, the Assembly would also recommend that the Programme continue to inform, educate and generate public understanding of the importance of multilateral action and support for it, including action by the United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament, in the field of arms control and disarmament, in a factual, balanced and objective manner, and that it focus its efforts on publishing, in all official languages, the United Nations Disarmament Yearbook, the flagship publication of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs; maintaining the disarmament website in as many official languages as feasible; encouraging nuclear-weapon States to use the Programme as a means to provide information to all Member States related to their progress on the implementation of disarmament measures; intensifying United Nations interaction with the public to help further an informed debate on topical issues of arms limitation, disarmament and security; and organizing discussions on topics of interest in the field of arms limitation and disarmament, with a view to facilitating exchanges among Member States and civil society.

An oral amendment to paragraph 5(c), by the representative of Mexico, would have that paragraph read: “To encourage the use of the Programme as a means to provide information related to progress on the implementation of nuclear disarmament measures.” 

Also acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution on the United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education (document A/C.1/65/L.53).  It would have the Assembly, conscious of the need to combat the negative effects of cultures of violence and complacency in the face of current dangers in this field through long-term programmes of education and training, request the Secretary-General to prepare a report reviewing the results of the implementation of the recommendations and possible new opportunities for promoting disarmament and non-proliferation education, and to submit it to the General Assembly at its sixty-seventh session.

On L.15, the representative of Greece said she would like her vote to be recorded as an abstention instead of a “yes”.

The representative of Germany said he had voted in favour of L.19.  Germany understood that operative paragraph 6 of the text did not set a precedent for similar cases.

The representative of New Zealand, speaking on L.15 on behalf of Australia, Canada and her country, expressed disappointment that, once again, they were unable to support the draft resolution.  They could not agree that multilateralism constituted the sole principle in negotiations on disarmament and non-proliferation, as implied in its operative paragraphs 1 and 2.  Effective progress on global disarmament and non-proliferation objectives required a combination of multilateral, plurilateral, regional, bilateral and unilateral measures working to reinforce each other in order to achieve results.

The delegate said that preambular paragraph 8 specifically recognized the complementarity of such measures, and in the future, the countries hoped that the operative paragraphs would reflect that understanding.  The assertion that multilateralism provided the only sustainable method of addressing non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament issues disregarded the potential of alternative measures, such as bilateral and regional measures, to address global security issues.  The matters at stake were simply too vital.  Those were the reasons that the three countries could not support the draft resolution and had, instead, abstained.

The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on draft resolution L.19, said that his country had voted in its favour.  It was not against ongoing research on the subject, but felt that the basis for such research could have been formulated in a more neutral way.  The reference to harmful effects could not be supported by conclusive scientific evidence.  Netherlands would closely monitor future research and take any results into consideration in its actions.

The representative of Cuba, speaking on draft resolution L.49, said that his country accepted the preambular paragraph 12 and operative paragraph 2 on the understanding that the provisions only applied to States which were party to the instruments.  That action should, in no way, be construed as granting legitimacy to instruments that were not consistent with the United Nations Charter.  Its support for the draft resolution was on the understanding that it would bolster, and not weaken, total elimination as the only effective means of tackling the possible acquisition of those weapons by terrorists.  The language of the draft resolution was far from being perfect and could be improved.  She appealed to the co-sponsors to continue working to improve it, with a view to achieving consensus in future.

Turning to L.37, she said that Cuba shared the concern expressed in the draft resolution.  It had been compelled to endure the television and radio aggression of the United States, which flouted international law.  That aggression was creating a situation of danger, as military aircraft were being sent to transmit the broadcasts.  The broadcasts provided support to organizations that had well-known terrorist links.  They were also in contravention of radio regulations.  Cuba would continue to combat that illegal aggression.

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on draft resolution L.13, said that his country had joined the consensus on that draft.  It welcomed the mainstreaming of disarmament into development, but did not believe that there was an automatic link between the two.  It was a rather a complex relationship.  The draft resolution did not fully express that link.  While it was desirable to share information on resources saved by reducing spending on arms, in practice it was not possible.

Then speaking on draft resolution L.14 on behalf of France and his country, which joined the consensus, the United Kingdom’s representative said that the two countries operated under stringent environmental conditions.  There was no direct connection between general environmental standards and arms control.

The representative of Venezuela joined consensus on L.37, however, due to the recent evolution of the subject, he wanted to highlight the need for efforts to prevent advances in telecommunications for purposes contrary to international security.  One example of that was seen in that of the aggression of one State, applying hostile policies, could use telecommunications, for instance, television or radio programming, to disrupt the constitutional order of another State.

The representative of Iran, on L.36, said that some operative paragraphs provided the grounds to follow-up the Programme of Action and establish a unit outside the United Nations, but that would only increase financial burdens.  Those measures were not helpful in the implementation of the Programme of Action, but would lead to a further bureaucratization of the process.  That was why his country had abstained from voting on operative paragraph 6.

The representative of India, on L.39/Rev.1, said that the greater involvement of women should be supported and strengthened, and his country had voted for the draft.

The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the United Kingdom and the United States, said the delegation had opposed L.19.  He recalled that all the relevant studies on long-term health effects and environmental effects were not conclusive.  On operative paragraph 6 of the text, which requested Member States who had used depleted uranium in armed conflict to provide information about that use, he expressed serious doubts about the relevance of such a request, according to international humanitarian law, because it was up to each Member State to provide that data at such a time and in such a manner as it deemed appropriate.

Cluster 7:  Disarmament Machinery

SIRIPORN CHAIMONGKOL (Thailand), speaking on L.34/Rev.1, on behalf of the Informal Group of Observer States to the Conference on Disarmament, noted that the Group had expressed the anticipation that the high-level meeting on the revitalization of the Conference, in September, would enable the actual revitalization of that body’s work.  For that reason, the Group supported Austria’s initiative on the draft resolution.  It hoped that it would mobilize the much-needed political will, in order to move the Conference forward.  The Group saw the General Assembly as having strong potential to support the work of the Conference.  The proposal to include the item on the provisional agenda for the sixty-sixth session was a concrete step forward.

At the same time, she said, any General Assembly follow-up action should aim at strengthening the Conference on Disarmament and maintaining its integrity as the single multilateral disbarment negotiating forum.  The Group reiterated the call for discussion on the issue of membership of the Conference.  It expressed appreciation to the Secretary-General for reflecting the call for the serious consideration of that issue in his summary of the high-level meeting.  The Group hoped that when the Conference resumed its work in 2011, it would appoint a special coordinator on the expansion, as requested in the Chairman’s summary.  That would provide a starting point for serious consideration of the issue.

Turning to draft resolution L.57, she said that the Informal Group had been formed this year to engage with the Conference.  It was a shared aspiration of the Group that transparency and inclusiveness be strongly promoted within the Conference.  The Group had appreciated the engagement that the Conference President had extended to it over the past year.  It was also pleased that its letter to the President had been reflected as an official Conference document.  Although it was disappointed that its activities during the past year had not been reflected more clearly, it considered it best to support the Conference’s report as it stood, in the spirit of cooperation.

The Group welcomed the repeated calls on the Conference during the high-level meeting to seriously consider the issue of expansion and regretted that that call was not reflected in the draft resolution, she said.  Nevertheless, in the spirit of cooperation, it would, once again, join the consensus on that draft.

JONATHAN CONLON ( Austria) introduced L.34/Rev.1, on the Conference on Disarmament, noting that his country had introduced the original L.34 on 18 October, but following extensive consultations, the sponsors had decided to produce a revised text.  The new text changed operative paragraphs 3 and 4 to address questions raised with the authors.  The new operative paragraph 3 recognized the suggestions that had been made both by Member States and by the Secretary-General at the High-Level Meeting.  In operative paragraph 4, the sponsors took account of views conveyed to them that the agenda item at the sixty-sixth session should focus on the substance of the matters in question and not on a single meeting.  He appealed for the draft to be approved by consensus

LAWRENCE O. OLUTUNDE OBISAKIN ( Nigeria) introduced draft resolution L.55, saying that the fellowship, which had started years ago, was introduced by his country and that more Member States were welcome to become co-sponsors.  In the interest of gender mainstreaming, the fellowship had sponsored 22 female participants.  He appealed for the adoption of the draft by consensus.

JOSE IKONGO ISEKOTOKO BOYOO ( Democratic Republic of the Congo), introduced draft resolution L.58, on regional confidence-building measures:  activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, said that that draft had been defended by his country and appealed that it be approved by consensus and not put to a vote.

DESRA PERCAYA (Indonesia), on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, introduced draft resolution L.16, on United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament.  He said the Movement encouraged activities at the regional level to increase the security of Member States.  Maintaining the regional centres had a very important bearing in that regard.  To achieve their objectives, the centres should carry out the dissemination of disarmament programmes.  Their persistent and effective work could contribute to sensitizing and mobilizing public opinion and could create a conducive environment for countries, especially the nuclear-weapon States, to implement their disarmament and non-proliferation obligations.  The Movement was hopeful that the draft text would get support from all Member States.

The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania requested that his delegation become a co-sponsor of L.55.

* *** *

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