First Committee Must Not ‘Close Shop and Wait for World Peace’ before Furthering Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, Delegations Told as Debate Opens

3 October 2011
GA/DIS/3429

First Committee Must Not ‘Close Shop and Wait for World Peace’ before Furthering Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, Delegations Told as Debate Opens

3 October 2011
General Assembly
GA/DIS/3429
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

First Committee

3rd Meeting (AM)


First Committee Must Not ‘Close Shop and Wait for World Peace’ before Furthering


Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, Delegations Told as Debate Opens


Committee, Which Did Not Halt Its Work ‘Even in Darkest Years of Cold War’,

Remains World’s Great ‘Assembly Line’ for Construction of Global Disarmament Norms


In terms of the work of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), it is clear that “we should not close up shop and wait for the dawning of world peace as a precondition for disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control to succeed”, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Sergio Duarte, told Member States, opening the Committee’s general debate for the session.


Some claim, Mr. Duarte said, that if there was no peace or stability, if armed conflicts continued, if regional disputes remained unresolved, and if risks of weapons proliferation or terrorism persisted — then there could be no disarmament.  “If this argument were true, one might conclude that this Committee would be well advised to adjourn today, because all our work would be held hostage to developments occurring outside the walls of this chamber.” 


To the contrary, the Committee’s efforts in disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control made their own vital and independent contributions in strengthening international peace and security, he said.  And as disarmament advanced, the world advanced.  The Committee did not halt its work even during the darkest years of the cold war, when nuclear arsenals were growing and threats of nuclear war were not uncommon and widely recognized as such — so much so, they became the subject of popular novels and films.


Indeed, he said, the First Committee had the capability to make its own independent contribution to advancing multilateral norms in disarmament and, thereby, to strengthening international peace and security.  It remained the world’s great “assembly line” for the construction and maintenance of global disarmament norms.  What was most needed now was the political will to translate those goals into action.  For that work to be undertaken on a global scale there was no substitute for the United Nations disarmament machinery. 


That “machinery” needed some new success stories “and the First Committee would be a good place to start,” he said.  The twin forces of democracy and the rule of law together could strengthen the growing political will needed to cut nuclear weapons arsenals, launch the disarmament agenda forward and pave the way to reducing the $1.6 trillion annual global military expenditure.


Indeed, he said, the democracy now sweeping the world, and not just the Middle East, was now coming to disarmament, pointing to, among others, the strong and growing interest in support of negotiating a nuclear weapons convention and recent consultations among the nuclear-armed States on ways to improve transparency of their nuclear arsenals and fissile material stocks, a longstanding goal of the world community.  It was apparent in the importance the entire world attaches to full compliance with disarmament and non-proliferation commitments. 


Similarly rousing delegations to a fruitful session, Committee Chair, Jarmo Viinanen ( Finland) urged the Committee to heed the growing calls for revitalizing the disarmament machinery and find common ground on as many resolutions as possible.  It was clear that there was increased frustration among Member States, he said, but there had also been some progress, including at the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  The Committee dealt with important international and national security concerns, and he hoped that delegates would achieve common ground on as many texts as possible.


In the search for common ground, the Non-Aligned Movement, said Indonesia’s representative, sought the start of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a phased programme for the time-bound elimination of nuclear weapons.  It remained concerned over the lack of progress by the nuclear-weapon States and the continued existence of a role for nuclear weapons in their security policies.  It called on those countries to implement their obligations under the NPT, as well as the 1995 resolution on the Middle East flowing from its Review Conferences.


Concerning the disarmament machinery, the Movement felt the main difficulty lay in the lack of true political will by some States to achieve real progress in nuclear disarmament and other areas, he said.  While it agreed that the machinery should be enhanced, it supported the nature, role and purpose of each of its parts.  What were needed were not new rules of procedure but a suitable political environment that took into account the security interests of all States. 


Associating with those remarks, Kenya’s representative went a bit farther when he expressed the urgent need to revitalize the work of the Conference on Disarmament and lamented that the Disarmament Commission had been “comatose for over a decade”, with its problems in consensus-building dating from the cold war-era.  “Surely, in today’s world we ought to be reading from a different page.”


Diminishing further the role and significance of nuclear weapons in all military and security doctrines was at the top of the “page” for the New Agenda Coalition — Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden and New Zealand. 

As long as some States believed nuclear weapons were part of their security strategy, other States and non-State actors would also seek those weapons, warned Brazil’s speaker, citing a renewed commitment to outdated doctrines, such as nuclear deterrence.


To advance the disarmament agenda, Japan had submitted a new resolution last year on united action for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which its speaker hoped would continue to serve as a “pace-setter” for nuclear disarmament when he submitted the draft text again this session.  Though prioritizing the total elimination of nuclear weapons, abolition would not be accomplished overnight.  The next logical step was a fissile material cut-off treaty.  Futile debates and false hopes must give way to practical measures that would lead to negotiations and that could be agreed to by responsible stakeholders, he stressed. 


Also dominating debate was the threat posed by conventional weapons.  Attention was drawn by the representative of Guyana, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), that that region had the world’s highest crime rate in the world, with small arms used in 70 per cent of the murders.  Several delegates echoed the call to press ahead on what Mexico’s speaker said he hoped would be a “bullet-proof” conventional arms treaty.  Such an instrument, urged Nigeria’s representative on behalf of the African Group, should be universal, balanced, fair and resistant to any political abuse and vigorously implemented.


The representatives of Kazakhstan and Viet Nam also delivered statements.


The right of reply was exercised by the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 4 October, to continue its general debate.


Background


The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to begin its general debate, scheduled through 11 October, on all disarmament and international security agenda items before the General Assembly.


Before the Committee will be the report of the Conference on Disarmament (document CD/1926) which contains a summary of proceedings from its 2011 substantive session.  The Conference met from 24 January to 1 April, from 16 May to 1 July and from 2 August to 16 September.  During its three parts, it held 45 formal plenary meetings, at which Member States (65) as well as non-Member States (41) invited to participate in the discussions outlined their views and recommendations on the issues before the Conference.


At the second plenary meeting of the 2011 session on 26 January, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a message (document CD/PV.1199) in which he, inter alia, reflected on the accomplishments of the Conference as the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, its role and its function, and suggested options that could be explored to break the long-standing deadlock and to start substantive work, including through the adoption by consensus of a programme of work, early in the 2011 session.


Subjects on the Conference’s agenda, adopted for the 2011 session, were cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters; prevention of an arms race in outer space; effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons; new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons; radiological weapons; comprehensive programme of disarmament; transparency in armaments; and consideration and adoption of the annual report and any other report, as appropriate, to the General Assembly of the United Nations.


The following issues, notes the report, were addressed in plenary:  the question of expanding the Conference’s membership, review of the agenda and the improved and effective functioning of the Conference.


The report states that, with the growing importance of multilateral disarmament, and building on the focused efforts in the Conference on Disarmament to establish a programme of work for the 2011 session, and with a view to early commencement of substantive work during its 2012 session, the Conference requested the current President and the incoming President to conduct consultations during the intersessional period and, if possible, make recommendations taking into account all relevant proposals, past, present and future, including those submitted as documents of the Conference on Disarmament, views presented and discussions held, and to endeavour to keep the membership of the Conference informed, as appropriate, of their consultations.


The Conference decided that the dates for its 2012 session would be:  first part, 23 January to 30 March; second part, 14 May to 29 June; and third part, 30 July to 14 September.


The report of the Disarmament Commission for 2011 (document A/66/42) recalls the resolution from the General Assembly’s sixty-fifth session (document 65/86), which, among other things, reaffirms the Commission’s mandate as the specialized, deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery that allows for in-depth deliberations on specific disarmament issues, leading to the submission of concrete recommendations on those issues.  The report also reaffirms the importance of further enhancing the dialogue and cooperation among the First Committee, the Disarmament Commission and the Conference on Disarmament.


At its organizational session at United Nations Headquarters, the Commission considered questions relating to the substantive session in accordance with the adopted “Ways and Means to Enhance the Functioning of the Disarmament Commission” (document A/CN.10/137).  The Commission then met at United Nations Headquarters from 4 to 21 April, during which four meetings were allocated for the general exchange of views and eight plenary meetings were convened, concluding a three-year cycle of deliberations.  Working groups focused on the following agenda items:  recommendations for achieving the objective of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation; elements of a draft declaration of the 2010s as the fourth disarmament decade; and practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons.  The working groups were unable to reach consensus on the three agenda items.


On 21 April, the Commission adopted by consensus the reports of its subsidiary bodies and the conclusions and recommendations contained therein, as well as its report as a whole, agreeing to submit those to the General Assembly at its sixty-sixth session.  (For details on the closing meeting, see Press Release DC/3293 of 21 April).


Also before the Committee is the Secretary-General’s report on the work of the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (document A/66/125), which summarizes the Board’s activities in 2011 during its fifty-fifth and fifty-sixth sessions, held respectively in New York from 23 to 25 February and in Geneva, 29 June to 1 July.


The Board focused its deliberations during both sessions on the agenda item covering issues raised at the High-level Meeting on “Revitalizing the Work of the Conference on Disarmament and Taking Forward Multilateral Disarmament negotiations”, held on 24 September 2010.  It recommended that the Secretary-General continue to encourage the Conference on Disarmament to seek all efforts in achieving a breakthrough in the continuing impasse.  It also suggested the Secretary-General may wish to consider encouraging progress on a programme of work for the Conference that facilitates work on four core issues, as outlined in the Conference’s decision on 29 May 2009 (document CD/1864). 


Should a high-level panel of eminent persons be established, the Board recommended that the Secretary-General should ask the panel, as an urgent task, to make recommendations on the ways to revitalize the United Nations disarmament machinery as a whole, especially the Conference on Disarmament. 


The Board also recommended that the Secretary-General continue to raise public awareness and encourage civil society groups and non-governmental organizations to offer their input on ways to overcome the prolonged stalemate at the Conference and move towards the ultimate goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.


In the course of discussions, states the report, the Board stressed that a political solution was required to break the stalemate at the Conference.  The lack of political will, it says, rather than technical difficulties, was seen as the main problem facing the Conference; it was mentioned that what appeared to be procedural problems were in fact political ones.  Changing the Conference’s method of work was not seen as the ultimate solution to making the body more efficient. 


Also according to the report, some members stressed that the Conference was a consensus body.  Several stated that it would be difficult to make changes to the consensus rule and that the only way to develop treaties was through consensus.  Other members referred to the need for flexibility on consensus in specific cases.  It was also emphasized that the Conference should be maintained as a body since it was a valuable forum where States could articulate their positions.


Among other features of the discussions was the issue of a fissile material cut-off treaty, on which, the report finds, there was agreement that this is a priority.  The importance of the other core issues, including the peaceful uses of outer space and negative security assurances, were underlined by several members.  The need to “de-link” negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty from the current technical problems was also mentioned. 


While certain Board members, recalls the report, stated the need to consider alternative avenues for negotiations, for example, the General Assembly or a forum of like-minded States, others commented that any attempts to negotiate a fissile material cut-off treaty outside the Conference would have little chance of success if nuclear-weapon States were not to join in such efforts. 


Most members, the report says, expressed growing frustration over the continuing stalemate at the Conference, with some members stating that the heart of the problem lay with the security concerns of States.  A comment was made that the current impasse was nothing new, and it was recalled that it took many years before the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) could be negotiated even though it was generally agreed to be an issue that most urgently needed negotiation.  Several Board members supported the need for an incremental approach; in connection with the adoption of a fissile material treaty, one member proposed a similar approach to the six-party talks on the Korean peninsula. 


The Committee will consider a report on reducing nuclear danger, nuclear disarmament, and follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (document A/66/132).  In it, the Secretary-General finds, among other things, that some progress had been seen towards the achievement of a world free of nuclear weapons, noting that nuclear-weapon States continued to take steps related to reducing their overall stockpiles of deployed nuclear warheads, increasing transparency and accountability, and advancing the implementation of their nuclear disarmament commitments, including the entry into force of the United States and Russian Federation’s Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, and the United Kingdom’s release last October of its Strategic Defence and Security Review, in which it, inter alia, provided assurances that it will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and announced reductions in its stockpile of nuclear warheads.


Yet, the report finds, consensus agreements have continued to elude the forums for the development of new international law relating to the elimination of nuclear weapons, including in the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission, and the number of nuclear weapons in national arsenals remains in the many thousands, including thousands of warheads maintained on high-alert status and capable of launch within minutes of a decision to do so.  Several nuclear-weapon States remain committed to the doctrine of nuclear deterrence and nuclear-weapon States have continued to plan and implement major new programmes aimed at modernizing their nuclear arsenals, delivery systems and related research and development infrastructure.


Further to the report, the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty still lacks the necessary ratifications for its entry into force, although the recent ratification by one Member State is a welcome development.  Also, the Conference on Disarmament, at its 2011 session, has continued to be unable to start substantive work on the basis of an agreed programme of work.  This situation has given rise to increasing concern regarding the current status of the multilateral disarmament machinery and the relevance of the Conference on Disarmament, prompting some States to begin the consideration of alternative options.  And, the Disarmament Commission, convening in April for the third part of its three-year cycle, was unable to reach consensus on substantive matters pertaining to its three agenda items


The Committee will also consider the Secretary-General’s report on measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (document A/66/115), which was submitted in response to a request by the Assembly to provide information on measures taken by international organizations on issues relating to the linkage between the fight against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  The Secretary-General was asked to seek the views of Member States on additional relevant measures, including national measures, for tackling the global threat posed by the acquisition by terrorists of weapons of mass destruction.  The report contains replies from nine Member States:  Australia, Chile, El Salvador, Estonia, Guyana, Russian Federation, Thailand, Turkmenistan and Ukraine, as well as from 16 international organizations.


Also under consideration by the Committee will be the Secretary-General’s report on the promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (document A/66/111), which contains replies from seven Governments:  Australia, Lebanon, Mexico, Panama, Qatar, Spain and Turkmenistan, in response to a request sent to Member States to provide their views on the issue.  The report was submitted pursuant to requests contained in General Assembly resolution 65/54.  An addendum (document A/66/111/Add.1) contains responses from Cuba and Nicaragua.


Also to be taken up is the Secretary-General’s report on observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/66/97).  It contains replies from Member States gathered pursuant to General Assembly resolution 65/53.  Information on the subject was submitted by Cuba, Ecuador, Lebanon, Panama, Qatar and Ukraine, and includes detailed updates on recent drafting and implementation of these agreements.  An addendum (document A/66/97/Add.1) contains a response from Portugal.


The Committee will also take up the Secretary-General’s report on assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them (document A/66/177).  During the reporting period, from August 2010 to July 2011, particular emphasis was placed on strengthening the proper marking, record keeping and tracing capacities of States as vital steps to hold accountable those who engage in illicit transfers and the diversion of small arms.


The report finds that coordination of small arms-related activities within the United Nations has been further strengthened.  Moreover, with the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, which is now being broadly used for reporting small arms transfers, along with the strengthening of implementation of the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Firearms Protocol), and the possible adoption of an arms trade treaty and the forthcoming Review Conference on the Programme of Action, there is an opportunity for Member States to discuss further the relationship among these instruments in order to maximize their complementarity.


Also before the Committee is the Secretary-General’s report on the arms trade treaty (document A/66/166/Add.1), which was submitted in response to a request by the General Assembly that the Secretary-General seek the views of Member States on proposed treaty elements and other relevant issues relating to a United Nations conference on the arms trade treaty, due to take place in 2012.  A total of 13 States submitted their views.  The full text of the replies received are available on the website of the Office for Disarmament Affairs, at http://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/ATTPrepCom.  Additional replies received will be issued as addenda to the present report.


The Committee will also consider the report of the Secretary-General on United Nations Register of Conventional Arms (document A/66/127/Add.1), containing information received from Member States on the export and import of conventional arms covered by the Register, as well as additional background information on military holdings, procurement through national production and the international transfers of small arms and light weapons for the calendar year 2010.  It covers submissions received from 64 Governments. 


Also before the Committee will be the report of the Secretary-General on the Group of Governmental Experts on the Operation and Further Development of the United Nations Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures (document A/66/89/Add.1), which contains an examination of the reasons that may prevent countries from reporting military expenditures, and provides recommendations aimed at adapting the reporting template to new security and military realities and at providing States with additional incentives to participate in the Standardized Instrument.  The Group of Experts concluded that transparency in military expenditures remains an essential element for building trust and confidence among States. 


According to the report, the expert group agreed on a common understanding of military expenditures and on a number of modifications to the standardized and the simplified reporting forms, and developed a format for the “nil” report, in order to better accommodate the particularities of national accounting systems and to facilitate and enhance participation in the Standardized Instrument.  Three formats were joined under a suggested new title, “United Nations Report on Military Expenditures”.  States may choose the most appropriate reporting form.  The Group recommended that the General Assembly establish a process for periodic review of the report in order to ensure its continued relevance and operation, and suggested that the next review be scheduled in five years.


The Committee will also consider the Secretary-General’s note on objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures (document A/66/117), which contains information received from Member States on their military expenditures for the latest fiscal year for which data are available.  It details reports received from 49 Governments.


Before the Committee is also the Secretary-General’s report on conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (document A/66/154), which contains information gathered pursuant to General Assembly resolution 64/42.  Armenia, Colombia, Congo, El Salvador, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mexico, Montenegro, Norway, Portugal, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan and Ukraine submitted replies, outlining regional and subregional efforts on the subject.  An addendum contains a reply from Guyana (document A/66/154/Add.1).


Also before the Committee is the Secretary-General’s report on information on confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms (document A/66/176), prepared pursuant to General Assembly resolution 65/63.  It contains statistical information on submissions by States concerning confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms, submitted to the Secretary-General by 36 States since 2005, and a review of the information contained therein.


The Committee will also consider the Secretary-General’s report on confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context (document A/66/112 and Add.1), which contains the views of Member States ( Bolivia, Estonia, Jordan, Portugal, Spain, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Armenia, Germany and Guyana).  The report was prepared consequent to a request to the Secretary-General contained in General Assembly resolution 65/47, in which the Assembly reaffirmed the ways and means regarding confidence- and security-building measures set out in the report of the Disarmament Commission at its 1993 session.  It called upon Member States to pursue those ways and means through sustained consultations and dialogue, while at the same time, avoiding actions that may hinder or impair such a dialogue.


Furthermore, the General Assembly urged Member States to comply strictly with all bilateral, regional and international agreements, including arms control and disarmament agreements to which they are a party.


The Assembly also emphasized that the objective of confidence-building measures should be to help strengthen international peace and security and be consistent with the principle of undiminished security at the lowest level of armaments, and encouraged the promotion of bilateral and regional confidence-building measures, with the consent and participation of the parties concerned, to avoid conflict and prevent the unintended and accidental outbreak of hostilities.


The report of the Secretary-General on regional confidence-building measures:  activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (document A/66/163) summarizes its activities, indicating that Committee continued its tradition of reviewing the geopolitical and security situation in Central Africa.  That led it to conclude that, despite the significant progress achieved in the consolidation of democratic processes and the normal functioning of institutions, there remain major concerns about the security, humanitarian and human rights situation in some Member States.


Also according to the report, the members of the Standing Advisory Committee signed the Central African Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and All Parts and Components That Can Be Used for Their Manufacture, Repair and Assembly, known as the Kinshasa Convention.  In that connection, the Member States committed themselves to taking the necessary measures to ratify the Convention and bring it into force as soon as possible.  The Committee members also formally adopted the Implementation Plan for the Convention, which describes the institutional, regulatory and operational measures to be taken by Member States at the national level and by the secretariat of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) at the subregional level.


Also before the Committee are reports on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East (document A/66/153 (Part I/ Add.1) and on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/66/153 (Part II)); a note of the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) covering the year 2009 (document A/66/165/Add.1); a note transmitting the annual report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) (document A/66/171); and a report on strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/66/122) and an addendum (document A/66/122.Add.1).


The Committee also will consider the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Africa (document A/66/159).  It contains an account of the activities undertaken by the Centre in accordance with its mandate during the two-year period from July 2009 to June 2011, including increasing its assistance to Member States and intergovernmental and civil society organizations in Africa to promote peace and security through disarmament and arms regulation. 


The Centre, states the report, focused its work on assisting Member States in the region and cooperated with regional and subregional organizations to address the threats posed to peace, security and socio-economic development by the proliferation in the region of small arms and light weapons.  It provided assistance to the African Union Commission in its efforts to adopt an African strategy to control these weapons and on reaching an African Union common position on the proposed arms trade treaty.  It provided significant support to the Central African States towards the conclusion of the Central African Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and all Parts and Components That Can Be Used for Their Manufacture, Repair and Assembly, and the adoption of its implementation plan.


The Committee will also consider the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (document A/66/140), which provides an overview of the activities of the Centre during the period from July 2010 to June 2011.  At the request of Member States, the Centre focused its activities on supporting Member States in addressing one of the gravest threats to public security facing the region:  the illicit trafficking and use of firearms, ammunition and explosives.  The Centre contributed to combating this scourge by providing support to countries in the region for the adoption of a harmonized regional approach to addressing this threat, including robust firearms control measures.


Also according to the report, the Centre implemented tailor-made assistance packages in both the Andean and Caribbean subregions offering an operative framework through which the Centre delivers its assistance in areas such as firearms stockpiles security, creation of national firearms commissions, and training of law enforcement officials.  The Centre also provided capacity-building, training and policy, technical and legal assistance on a wide range of issues, including various aspects of firearms control and armed violence reduction and prevention.


The report on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (document A/66/113) contains an account of the activities undertaken by the Centre during the period from July 2010 to June 2011.  During that period, the Regional Centre launched two new projects on armed violence reduction and prevention and on strengthening the media’s role and capacity in advocating and promoting disarmament and non-proliferation in the region. 


The Centre continued to organize annual conferences on disarmament and non-proliferation issues, which served as an important forum to assess progress achieved in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation, and to discuss the way forward.  It expanded its outreach and advocacy activities, and strengthened existing partnerships and interactions with stakeholders in the region and beyond.


In his report on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/66/152), the Secretary-General details the reports received from Governments in response to resolution 65/41, by which the General Assembly invited all Member States to continue to inform the Secretary-General of their views and assessments on the following:  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 mentioned in paragraph two of that resolution; and possible measures that could be taken by the international community to strengthen information security at the global level.  Replies were received from seven countries ( Australia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, Netherlands and United States).


Also before the Committee is a note from the Secretary-General on the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (document A/66/123/Corr.1), which transmits the Report of the Director of the Institute on its activities for the period from August 2010 to July 2011, and the proposed programme of work and budget for 2011-2012.


Statements


JARMO VIINANEN ( Finland), Chair of the First Committee, said the General Assembly had met in July to discuss how to revitalize the disarmament machinery and end the decade-long standstill in negotiations.  It was clear that there was increased frustration among Member States, but there had been some progress, including at the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  Yet, much still needed to be done, he said.


He urged the Committee to heed the growing calls for revitalizing the machinery and called on all Member States to work together in a spirit of cooperation, since there were a large number of draft resolutions ahead on a broad range of issues.  The Committee dealt with issues often pertaining to important national security concerns, and he hoped that delegates would achieve common ground on as many texts as possible.


SERGIO DUARTE, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said that, by any measure, the Committee had on its agenda some of the most difficult challenges for international peace and security.  Its deliberations would cover the world’s deadliest weapons of mass destruction, including the most indiscriminate of all, nuclear weapons.  It would address issues relating to the regulation and limitation of conventional arms.  And it would take up other subjects that had profound implications for our common future — including space weapons, the relationship between disarmament and development, disarmament education, regional cooperation, and issues relating to institutions in the United Nations disarmament machinery.


He said that everyone was familiar with the extent that progress in disarmament depends on its broader political climate.  Some had argued that the political climate alone determines both the rate of progress and its future prospects.  There was some truth in this, but opinions differed over which trends were producing which results, and many were not convinced that the environment determined disarmament outcomes, and not the other way around.  Some claimed, for example, that if there was no peace or stability, if armed conflicts continue, if regional disputes remained unresolved, and if risks of weapons proliferation or terrorism persisted — then under such circumstances, there could be no disarmament. 


If that argument were true, he said, one might conclude that the Committee “would be well advised to adjourn today, because all our work would be held hostage to developments occurring outside the walls of this chamber.  Our role would amount to little more than to echo those trends.”


Yet there was another view of Committee, which he said he believed had been more widely accepted over its 65 years, which held that the Committee had the capability to make its own independent contribution to advancing multilateral norms in disarmament and, thereby, to strengthening international peace and security.  “This Committee did not halt its work even during the darkest years of the Cold War, when nuclear arsenals were growing and threats of nuclear war were not uncommon and widely recognized as such — so much so, they became the subject of popular novels and films.”


Most of the multilateral treaties that currently exist were negotiated during a geopolitical era marked by arms races, regional wars, and an intense multidimensional rivalry between the world’s two great super-Powers, he recalled.  How could that have been possible if progress in disarmament had first to satisfy the preconditions of world peace and stability? he asked.


Today, deliberations were being conducted in a substantially improved political climate, he said.  The cold war had now been over for an entire generation.  While over 20,000 nuclear weapons remained — and their operational status was unclear — the size of those arsenals had fallen considerably since their estimated peak of over 70,000 around 1986.  More impressively, popular attitudes towards such weapons had also been changing in recent decades.  In particular, the humanitarian consequences of the use of those weapons had been receiving greater recognition — as reflected in the 1996 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, in statements and work of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and most recently, in language adopted by consensus in the 2010 NPT Review Conference.


Equally impressive, he noted, had been the increasing variety of actors who are working around the world for global nuclear disarmament, and that included an active role by the Secretary-General, who last year became the first Secretary-General to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Last March, he had been proud to have joined him in opening a new display at the United Nations Disarmament Exhibit showing twin stacks of a petition for a nuclear weapons convention — that petition had over a million signatures collected by Mayors for Peace, an organization representing over 5000 cities in 151 countries.  Another international petition, also in support of such a convention, had been presented by the Japanese group Gensuikyo at the NPT Review Conference — and it had more than 7 million signatures.


In addition to city mayors and grass-roots organizations, national parliamentarians had also been taking an increased interest in promoting progress in nuclear disarmament, he said.  In April 2009, the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union — representing 600 parliamentarians from over 100 countries — had adopted a resolution that also supported negotiation of a nuclear weapons convention, as originally proposed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 24 October 2008.  And, in September 2009, the United Nations Security Council — after decades of not addressing this issue — had held a summit meeting that produced resolution 1887, which called upon all States, not just NPT parties, to enter into good faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament.


It was thus possible to observe two reinforcing trends that could positively influence the work of this Committee, both this year and in the years ahead, he said.  The first was the trend associated with the democratic revolution now sweeping the world, not just the Middle East.  Evidence that democracy was coming to disarmament was indisputable in the actions he had just cited by the mayors, parliamentarians, and civil society groups throughout the world.  It was apparent in the persisting and growing expectations voiced in the General Assembly for new progress in disarmament — and as the world’s largest democratic body, the General Assembly offered a forum for each State, large or small, to participate in the process of developing multilateral disarmament norms.


And, he said, as democracy was coming to disarmament, so too was the rule of law.  That is apparent in the persisting efforts to gain universal membership in the key multilateral treaties dealing with weapons of mass destruction — the Biological Weapons Convention, Chemical Weapons Convention, and the NPT.  That was apparent in the strong and growing interest in support of negotiating a nuclear weapons convention, or at least for serious consideration of what types of legal obligations would be necessary to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.  It was apparent in recent meetings by the nuclear-weapon States to consult on ways to improve transparency of their nuclear arsenals and stocks of fissile materials, a longstanding goal of the world community.  It was apparent in the importance the entire world attaches to full compliance with disarmament and non-proliferation commitments. 


It was also apparent, he continued, in preparations to convene a conference next year to conclude an arms trade treaty, and in other efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space, to agree on norms governing missiles and missile defences, and to strengthen international legal obligations in the field of non-proliferation and against terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction.  And, it was apparent in efforts that have been under way since the 2010 NPT Review Conference to pursue the establishment of a weapon of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East; such efforts would hopefully produce progress quite soon.


He said that those twin forces of democracy and the rule of law also had the potential to help in achieving another longstanding goal, namely, a reduction in military spending, or in the words of Article 26 of the United Nations Charter, “the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources”.  At present, the world is reportedly spending over $1.6 trillion a year for military purposes, while progress in achieving many of the great Millennium Developments Goals has fallen short of expectations given the lack of resources. 


“In terms of the work of this Committee, it is therefore quite clear that we should not close up shop and wait for the dawning of world peace as a precondition for disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control to succeed.  To the contrary, our efforts in each of these fields make their own vital and independent contributions in strengthening international peace and security.  And as disarmament advances, the world advances,” he said. 


Its efforts offered prospects for reducing mistrust in the world, he stated.  Arms reductions could help, not only in reducing regional tensions, but in eliminating the likelihood of large-scale armed conflicts.  Far from affirming the legality or utility of nuclear weapons for national or collective self-defence, nuclear disarmament efforts satisfied both the law and the will of the people, while also enhancing security far more reliably than a precarious balance of nuclear terror.


For all those reasons, he said, disarmament remained a goal shared by all Member States.  What was most needed now is the political will to translate those goals into action.  For that work to be undertaken on a global scale, there was no substitute for the United Nations disarmament machinery as a venue for multilateral cooperation.  It remained the world’s great “assembly line” for the construction and maintenance of global disarmament norms.  As the forces of democracy continue to grow, so too would the legitimacy of international rules in that field — and, as the rule of law continued to come to disarmament, so too would the world welcome the additional stability, predictability, and basic fairness that would arise as a result.


In short, he concluded, democracy and the rule of law were two powerful forces in the global environment that together could help strengthen the political will needed to move the disarmament agenda forward.  For all those reasons, he extended to all delegations his best wishes for a very successful session.  “The [United Nations] disarmament machinery needs some new success stories — and the First Committee would be a good place to start,” he declared. 


HASAN KLEIB ( Indonesia), on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reaffirmed the Movement’s support for multilateralism in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as its priority of achieving a nuclear-free world.  States, he said, needed to pursue in good faith intensified negotiations, as agreed in the final document of the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, to achieve general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.  He reaffirmed the inalienable right of developing countries to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy, without discrimination and undue restrictions on material, equipment and technology.


The Movement, he said, remained concerned over the lack of progress by the nuclear-weapon States and the continued existence of a role for nuclear weapons in their security policies.  He called on them to implement their obligations under the NPT, including those affirmed by the 2010 Review Conference and the 1995 resolution on the Middle East.  The Movement underlined the need to start negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a phased programme for the time-bound elimination of nuclear weapons, for which the reductions contained in the new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) did not substitute.  He called, in that context, for the United States and the Russian Federation to apply the principles of verifiability and irreversibility to their cuts, and for all the nuclear-weapons States to eliminate the role of nuclear weapons in their security concepts and policies.


He called, in addition, for immediate measures towards convening a conference in 2012, to be attended by all States of the Middle East, on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in that region.  In that light, he expressed deep concern over the delay in implementation of measures regarding the 1995 resolution on the Middle East and he demanded that Israel accede to the NPT without delay, placing all its nuclear facilities under safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 


The main difficulty with the disarmament machinery lay in the lack of true political will by some States to achieve real progress in nuclear disarmament and other areas, he said.  While he agreed that the machinery should be enhanced, he fully supported the nature, role and purpose of each part of the existing structure. A suitable political environment was needed, taking into account the security interests of all States, rather than changing rules of procedure.  In that light, he reiterated the call on the Conference on Disarmament to establish an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament as its highest priority for the goal of a time-bound programme to eliminate nuclear weapons.  He called on the Conference to agree by consensus on a balanced and comprehensive programme of work without further delay and to consider appointing a special coordinator on expansion of membership.


He fully supported the work of the United Nations Disarmament Commission, while regretting that it had been unable to make progress recently, despite the Movement’s constructive role.  Again, greater political will was needed.  He reaffirmed the validity of the consensus final document of the first special session of the Assembly on disarmament and stressed the importance of achieving universal adherence to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).  He reiterated deep concern over the continued modernization of nuclear weapons, as well as the impasse in nuclear disarmament and the increasing global military expenditure.


He called for the comprehensive implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention as well as for negotiations on a non-discriminatory legally binding protocol, and he reiterated the importance of meeting the 2012 deadline for the total destruction of chemical weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention.  He also stressed the need for a non-discriminatory and comprehensive approach to controlling missiles, reaffirming that initiatives to address delivery systems for weapons should be conducted through inclusive, egalitarian negotiations.  The impact of explosive remnants of the Second World War must receive more international attention.  Also critical was implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and 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. 


BUKUN-OLU ONEMOLA (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group, affirmed that multilateral negotiations remained the appropriate and effective means to address disarmament and international peace and security, with the United Nations the appropriate forum.  He also reaffirmed the Group’s position on necessary nuclear disarmament, including its full support for the NPT as the cornerstone for both disarmament and non-proliferation.  In that context, he favoured the convening of a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction. 


Also supporting the role of the IAEA and the importance of early ratification of the CTBT, he restated the call for a legally binding instrument under which nuclear-weapon States would undertake not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States, as well as for verifiability in any nuclear disarmament process.  He reaffirmed the need to strengthen the existing disarmament machinery, and he called upon all Member States to demonstrate flexibility and adequate political will to create the atmosphere necessary for consensus outcomes, including a balanced and comprehensive programme of work for the Conference on Disarmament. 


He called upon nuclear-weapon States that had not done so to ratify the relevant annexes to the African Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty) and to ratify its protocols without further delay.  He also called on all States to take strict measures to prevent dumping dangerous wastes and for the implementation of relevant international instruments in that regard.  The latest programme of action on eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons should also be vigorously implemented.  In that area, a treaty was needed that was universal, balanced, fair and resistant to any political abuse.  He appreciated the support given to the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Togo, and called for its continuation.  He appealed to all delegations to demonstrate adequate flexibility and political will in the coming negotiations.


DELL HIGGIE (New Zealand), speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden and New Zealand), welcomed the renewed and growing interest in nuclear disarmament and the growing support for a world free of nuclear weapons.  The adoption of the final document at the NPTReview Conference had been a significant reflection of that support, but the future of the Treaty depended on States parties’ collective efforts to fully implement it.


To the Coalition, she said, that meant actions under the nuclear disarmament chapter of the final document’s action plan, which would set the scene for concrete steps for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  In addition, the action plan called for concrete steps for nuclear-weapon States to report in 2014 to the next review’s Preparatory Committee to allow for stocktaking by all non-NPT States parties at the subsequent 2015 Review Conference.


Pending the elimination of nuclear weapons, the Coalition emphasized the legitimate interest of non-nuclear-weapon States in receiving unequivocal and legally binding security assurances from nuclear-armed States, she said.  “As long as some States continue to possess nuclear weapons, citing security reasons for doing do, other States may seek them,” she said.  “We repeat our call to the nuclear-weapon States to diminish further the role and significance of nuclear weapons in all military and security concepts, doctrines and policies.”


Nuclear-weapon States must take concrete, transparent, verifiable and irreversible steps to eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, she said, underlining the Coalition’s repeated concern about the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and the need to end the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons.


She welcomed transparency efforts made by some nuclear-armed States, as well as the positive bilateral and regional developments.  However, until nuclear weapons were totally eliminated, the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones would enhance global and regional peace and security, she said, welcoming the agreement reached at the 2010 NPT review on the 1995 resolution on the Middle East.  She called upon the United Nations Secretary-General and co-sponsors of the 1995 resolution to urgently advance and finalize all necessary preparations for a 2012 conference to establish such a zone.


The international community must strengthen its efforts to achieve universal adherence to the NPT, and she called upon India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States and to place their facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards.  She also urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to fulfil the commitments under the six-party talks, to abandon completely and verifiably all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes and to return, at an early date, to the NPT and adhere with its IAEA safeguards agreement.


All States should work towards overcoming obstacles within the disarmament machinery, including the Conference on Disarmament, which were inhibiting efforts to advance the cause of nuclear disarmament in a multilateral context.  This year, the Coalition would again present a draft resolution looking ahead to the next NPT review cycle, and it welcomed discussions with any Member State on the draft text.  She hoped the positive evolution of the text would continue this year.


GEORGE TALBOT (Guyana), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said his region had the highest crime rate in the world and small arms were used in 70 per cent of murders committed.  The Community attached the highest importance to eradicating small arms and light weapons, and had adopted a commitment to combat the trade in those weapons and to ensure full compliance with theProgramme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade inSmallArms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.  Cross-border controls were critical to preventing diversions of those weapons, which caused grievous harm to the region — socially, developmentally and economically.


He said CARICOM was committed to the coming arms trade treaty conference and applauded preparatory meetings that had addressed some of the issues.  The proliferation of those weapons was a grave problem, and their use remained a contributing factor to organized crime and regional instability.  The Programme of Action was an important tool for combating the scourge, and he looked forward to seeking ways to achieve its full implementation in the future.


The continued existence of nuclear weapons was also a threat, to all people everywhere, he said.  The Conference on Disarmament was the only multilateral forum in the field of nuclear disarmament, yet no progress had been made; until the deadlock was ended, no solutions could be found.  He supported the Test-Ban Treaty and commended the recent convening of the seventh conference to facilitate its entry into force.  CARICOM urged those Annex II States whose ratification was required for the Treaty’s operation to sign and ratify the text as soon as possible, and he urged all States meanwhile to declare or uphold moratoriums on nuclear testing.  He also welcomed the new START, urging both the United States and the Russian Federation to implement it.


Nuclear safety and security were issues of global concern and, in that context, he drew attention to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station accident.  That tragedy had also highlighted IAEA’s critical role.  Meanwhile, CARICOM condemned the movement of nuclear waste through the region’s waters, calling for an immediate end to that practice.  On the NPT, it appealed to all nuclear-armed States to adhere to it, expressing concern as well about the threat of weapons of mass destruction falling into the wrong hands of non-State actors.  In that, the Community supported Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).  It commended the creation of nuclear-weapon-free treaties and sought the establishment of such an instrument in the region of the Middle East.


YANERIT MORGAN ( Mexico) supported the Secretary-General’s initiative to revitalize the international disarmament machinery.  She pledged her country’s support to any initiative that would accomplish that goal, including the consideration of alternative forums.  The Committee must not skirt its responsibilities in ensuring progress.


She called on all States to work constructively on a legally binding instrument for the best control of conventional weapons and to examine whether proposed instruments on small arms and light weapons would truly be effective.  A multi-dimensional focus that related human rights with security and development was needed in that area.  As a member of the Security Council, she called for concrete measures to fight proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Stressing that non-proliferation and disarmament were complementary, she reiterated the call for decisive headway towards the goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons through transparent, irreversible processes.  She exhorted India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the NPT and called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to meaningful negotiations and on Iran to show transparency.


There were complex challenges facing the Committee, but there was also an opportunity to make progress in reducing threats to international peace and security, she said.  In that effort, it was critical to strengthen effective tools and to modify those that were not working.  She agreed with the proposal to allow the participation of non-governmental organizations in the work of the Committee.


BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said that her country, through the unilateral closure of the second largest test site in the world in 1991, had become the epicentre of peace, encouraged by the visit of the United Nations Secretary-General last year.  Meanwhile, recent events, such as those in Japan, had underlined the need to better protect humankind from the effects of radiation.  She noted her President’s support for strengthening the NPT and the IAEA and his unequivocal support for a nuclear weapons convention.  Noting her country’s cooperation with the Preparatory Commission of the CTBT, she stressed the importance of that Treaty’s entry into force, as well as the revitalization of the Conference on Disarmament and progress on a fissile-material treaty, together with support for peaceful uses of outer space.


Noting the efforts of her country, together with the other members of the nuclear-weapon-free zone in her region, to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials, she reiterated the call by her President for the drafting of a legally binding instrument on security assurances by nuclear-armed States.  She fully endorsed a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and pledged her country’s cooperation in bringing about a 2012 conference on the issue.  She supported the establishment of an international nuclear fuel bank under IAEA auspices, adding that her country would consider locating it on its territory.  She also pledged her country’s support for efforts to control small arms and light weapons and for the development of a “bullet-proof” conventional arms treaty, advocating diversion of arms-sales funds to development.  Surveying other initiatives by her country, she expressed hope for strong multilateral support for progress in the Committee this year.


MARI AMANO (Japan) expressing appreciation for international support in the wake of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accidents in his country, noted that his country submitted a new resolution last year on united action for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which he hoped would serve as a “pace-setter” for nuclear disarmament and which he planned to table, with updates, once more during this session.  He also reported on efforts of Japan and nine other like-minded countries to build on the momentum generated out of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, through the group called the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), particularly through contributions to transparent reporting.


Welcoming implementation of the new START Treaty, he expressed hopes that the “P5” (five permanent Security Council members) countries continued to engage, in an open and transparent manner, with the non-nuclear weapons States in promoting the implementation of the NPT Action Plan.  While prioritizing the total elimination of nuclear weapons, he realized that such abolition would not be accomplished overnight and asserted that the next logical step for nuclear disarmament was a fissile-materials treaty.  Futile debates and false hopes must give way to the consideration of practical measures that will lead to negotiations and that could be agreed to by responsible stakeholders.


Turning to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he called upon all States to fully implement relevant resolutions, while urging the country to comply with its international obligations and to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.  Similarly, Iran must “wipe off all suspicions” regarding its nuclear programmes.  Japan would continue to act in concert with the international community for peace and diplomatic settlement of that issue and hoped that Syria would fully cooperate with the IAEA.


Noting the importance of education in making the public aware of the tragic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, he announced upcoming events in that vein sponsored by his country.  Welcoming progress in the treaty on conventional arms, he urged all States to redouble their efforts to create a robust treaty at the conference next June.  He called for support for the draft to be tabled by Japan and others on small arms and light weapons and pledged his country’s support to the upcoming review conference on the chemical weapons treaty.  Finally, he said it was impossible for the Committee to ignore those areas where progress was lacking, proposing that now was the moment to seriously consider a way out and pledging his country’s proactive contributions to deliberations towards that end.


MARIA LUIZA VIOTTI ( Brazil) said the Fukushima accident reminded the world of the importance of nuclear safety and security.  For its part, Brazil’s initiatives included stress tests and verification of its nuclear facilities.  Nuclear disarmament should remain the highest priority, especially in light of the fact that more than 20 years after the end of the cold war, reasons for possessing those weapons had vanished.  Yet thousands remained in arsenals, the weapons were being modernized, and there had been a renewed commitment to outdated doctrines such as nuclear deterrence.  As long as some States believed nuclear weapons were part of their security strategy, other States and non-State actors would also seek those weapons.


She said that the 2000 and 2010 NPT Review Conferences achieved some progress, but more was needed.  The New Agenda Coalition was again tabling a draft resolution for a nuclear-weapon-free world, and wide support for that text would send a strong message.


Transparency and mutual trust were critical, she said, noting that nuclear-weapon-free zones covered much of the world, with regions, such as Latin America, establishing many confidence-building measures.  Brazil was confident that the November forum convened by the IAEA would encourage the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East and she offered her country’s help in the way ahead on this issue.  She also sought advances in the area of chemical weapons. 


Progress was also crucial in conventional weapons, including in the context of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.  She supported discussions on an arms trade treaty, and she anticipated that the coming preparatory meeting could find consensus on a strong text.


Turning to the disarmament machinery, she said pointing fingers to identify the source of the impasse at the Conference on Disarmament was useless.  With that, she said several instruments were conducive to the goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons, including the Test-Ban Treaty.  Getting the Conference on Disarmament back to work should be based on identifying the root causes of the impasse.  No effort should be spared to overcome the current stalemate, she said.


BUI THE GIANG ( Viet Nam) said that despite recent positive developments in bilateral and multilateral disarmament plans, serious difficulties remained in reaching consensus on core issues.  His country supported and promoted comprehensive and complete disarmament; it was a party to all major international instruments.  The NPT was the cornerstone of the global regime, and its full implementation would safeguard the world from the potential devastation of nuclear weapons.  He urged nuclear-armed States to undertake the implementation of the concrete actions contained in the 2010 Review Conference outcome document.


The role of the IAEA included providing assistance to non-nuclear-weapon States in peaceful use of nuclear energy, he said, noting that that obligation under the NPT confirmed the legitimate right of States parties to access research and to produce and use that energy for peaceful purposes.  The CTBT, once brought into force, would significantly strengthen existing mechanisms towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Until it entered force, all States should maintain a moratorium on nuclear test explosions and refrain from acts that undermined the Treaty’s objectives.  Nuclear-weapon-free zones could also make significant contributions to achieving regional and international security and strengthening disarmament.  He encouraged nuclear-weapon States to accede to the Treaty on the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Bangkok Treaty) as soon as possible.


ANTHONY ANDANJE (Kenya), associating himself with the statements on behalf of the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that security, stability and sustainable peace would only be possible through targeted investment in the human person, rather than in sophisticated armaments, and by addressing the root causes of strife and despair.  Supporting multilateral negotiation machinery for disarmament, he affirmed his country’s commitment to a nuclear-weapon-free world, urging all States, particularly those with nuclear weapons, to work harder to meet their obligations under the NPT.


He stressed the importance of the earliest possible entry into force of the CTBT and pointed to the urgent need to revitalize the work of the Conference on Disarmament.  It was evident that the Disarmament Commission had been “comatose for over a decade”, with its problems in consensus-building dating from the cold war-era.  “Surely, in today’s world we ought to be reading from a different page,” he said.  He also underlined the importance of implementing the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, noting the work of the Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, and looking forward to progress on an arms trade treaty.  He urged all delegations to seize the opportunity to make substantial progress in all areas of disarmament, through re-energized dialogue and engagement on all fronts.


Right of Reply


Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, replying to a comment by Japan on his country’s nuclear activities, rejected them as totally misleading, directing him to an in-depth study of reality.  He added that Japan’s claims of its own activities were also misleading because that country was under the umbrella of a major nuclear Power and was conducting experiments with sophisticated weapons targeted at his country, as well as participating in studies of missile defense.  He spoke of a secret nuclear deal with the United States in 1960 to bring nuclear-weapons facilities into Japan, which, he said, underpinned today’s reality. 


The six-party talks, he added, had seen the significant participation of his country, which possessed nuclear weapons only because of the stress on the Korean peninsula created by the world’s largest nuclear-weapon State.  He looked forward to the unconditional resumption of those talks.


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