Voting Machine ‘Locks’ in Familiar Pattern as Disarmament Committee Sends 17 Drafts to General Assembly for Adoption

26 October 2011
GA/DIS/3446

Voting Machine ‘Locks’ in Familiar Pattern as Disarmament Committee Sends 17 Drafts to General Assembly for Adoption

26 October 2011
General Assembly
GA/DIS/3446
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

First Committee

21st Meeting (PM)

VOting Machine ‘Locks’ in Familiar Pattern as Disarmament Committee Sends

17 Drafts to General Assembly for Adoption

 

Recorded Votes on Nuclear Disarmament, Reducing Nuclear Danger, Middle East

Proliferation Risk, Prevention of Outer Space Arms Race, Conventional Arms Control

Keeping biological, chemical and nuclear weapons from terrorists, bolstering regional and subregional arms control and speeding results from nuclear disarmament promises and processes were among the aims of the 17 draft texts approved today as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) began taking action on the 53 draft texts before it.

Expressing deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and convinced that every effort should be made to avoid nuclear war and nuclear terrorism, the General Assembly would call upon nuclear-weapon States to undertake further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed, including through unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures, according to a draft resolution, submitted by Japan and entitled “United action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons”.  It was approved by a recorded vote of 156 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 15 abstentions. 

Prior to voting on the draft, five separate recorded votes were taken.  The first was on preambular paragraph 9, which recalls the success of the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Conference and of fully implementing its action plan.  The Committee voted to retain that provision by a vote of 165 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions ( India, Israel, Pakistan).

It approved operative paragraph 2, calling for accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), by a recorded of 166 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel), with 2 abstentions (Bhutan, Pakistan).

Operative paragraph 8 of that text, which urges signature and ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), was approved by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions (India, Mauritius, Syria).

The Committee retained the ninth operative paragraph, by which the Assembly would reiterate its call for immediate negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and for all nuclear-weapon States and States not parties to the NPT to declare and maintain moratoriums on the production of fissile material for any nuclear weapons or other nuclear devices pending such a treaty’s entry into force, by a recorded vote of 161 in favour to 3 against (China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan), with 7 abstentions (Brazil, Ecuador, India, Israel, Russian Federation, South Africa, Venezuela).

It approved operative paragraph 15, which stresses the importance of universalizing the comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreements, by a recorded vote of 164 in favour, to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 5 abstentions (Argentina, Brazil, India, Israel, Pakistan).

A draft resolution on follow-up to obligations agreed to at the 1995, 2000 and 2010 NPT Review Conferences, tabled by Iran, was approved by a recorded vote of 105 in favour, to 52 against, with 10 abstentions (Armenia, Cameroon, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, India, Pakistan, Samoa, Tonga, Uganda).

Prior to voting on that draft text, the Committee voted to retain preambular paragraph 6, concerning the 1995 resolution on the Middle East, universal adherence to the NPT, and placement of nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Japan, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Panama, United States), with 47 abstentions.  

Preambular paragraph 9 of that text, which would have the Assembly welcome the adoption at the 2010 NPT Review Conference of a substantive Final Document, was retained by a recorded vote of 112 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Japan, Monaco, Panama, United Kingdom, United States), with 44 abstentions.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft text, tabled by Egypt, on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, by which the Assembly would urge the parties directly concerned seriously to consider taking the practical and urgent steps required to implement that proposal and, as a means of promoting that objective, invite those countries to adhere to the NPT. 

The draft resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, also tabled by Egypt, was approved by a recorded vote of 157 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 6 abstentions (Australia, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Panama), after separate recorded votes were taken on preambular paragraphs 5, 6 and 7. 

The Committee first voted to retain preambular paragraph 5, by which the Assembly would recall the decision on principles and objectives for nuclear and non-proliferation and disarmament adopted by the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, and called on all States not yet parties to the Treaty to accede to it at the earliest date, particularly those States that operate unsafeguarded nuclear facilities, by 155 in favour, 2 against (India, Israel), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Pakistan).

Preambular paragraph 6, which would call on States not party to the NPT to accede to it, was retained by a recorded vote of 160 in favour to 2 against (India, Israel), with 2 abstentions (Bhutan, Pakistan).

The seventh preambular paragraph 7, approved by a recorded vote of 163 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 2 abstentions (India, Pakistan), would have the Assembly call upon all States in the Middle East that had not yet done so, without exception, to accede to the NPT as soon as possible and to place all their nuclear facilities under full-scope IAEA safeguards. 

A draft resolution on reducing nuclear danger, introduced by India, was approved by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 48 against, with 12 abstentions.  It would have the Assembly call for a review of nuclear doctrines and, in that context, immediate and urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through the de-alerting and de-targeting of nuclear weapons.

The Committee approved a draft resolution on a convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons, also tabled by India, by a recorded vote of 113 in favour to 48 against, with 10 abstentions ( Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Japan, Marshall Islands, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan).

A nuclear weapons-related draft decision on missiles, tabled by Iran, was adopted without a vote.

Under the cluster on other weapons of mass destruction, the Committee approved, without a vote, draft resolutions on the Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction; Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxic Weapons and on Their Destruction, as orally revised; and measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

Under the outer space cluster, a draft resolution on transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities was approved without a vote.  The Committee then approved a draft resolution on prevention of an arms race in outer space by a recorded vote of 171 in favour, to none against, with 2 abstentions (Israel, United States).

In the conventional weapons cluster, one draft resolution was adopted without a vote on problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus.  Concerning regional disarmament and security, the Committee approved a draft resolution on implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace by a recorded vote of 124 in favour, 4 against (France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 45 abstentions.  In addition, it approved without a vote draft resolutions on regional disarmament and on confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context. 

On a draft resolution on conventional arms control at regional and subregional levels, the Committee voted to include operative paragraph 2, which concerns a request of the Conference to Disarmament to consider formulating principles that could serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control.  It took that action by a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 1 against ( India), with 31 abstentions.  It approved the draft text as a whole by a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 1 against ( India), with 31 abstentions.

General statements were made by the representatives of Cuba, Qatar, and Hungary.  Explanations of vote across the clusters were made by the representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Poland, Israel, Japan, Iran, United States, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Russian Federation, Brazil, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Mauritania, Cuba, and Mexico.

A point of order was made by the representative of Iran.

The representatives of Japan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Syria spoke in exercise of the right of reply. 

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 27 October, to continue taking action on remaining draft resolutions and decisions in all of its thematic clusters.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to begin taking action on the 53 draft resolutions and decisions before it.  (For background on the Committee’s session and a summary of reports before it, see Press Release GA/DIS/3429.)

General Statements on Nuclear Weapons Cluster

MOHAMMED SULTAN AL-KUWARI (Qatar), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, raised several points concerning the draft resolutions on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East (document A/C.1/66/L.1) and on follow-up to the nuclear disarmament obligations flowing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) reviews (document A/C.1/66/L.3).  Despite no tangible progress from the previous such review, the Arab Group continued to believe that the Treaty was the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime and of disarmament.

He said the Arab States had always been certain that issues of nuclear non-proliferation should be dealt with in a cooperative approach.  He reiterated that Israel was the only State in the Middle East that had yet to accede to the NPT and had shown no intention of doing so, just as it had failed to subject its facilities to the monitoring system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement.  The international community had recognized that reality, and had paid great attention to the Israeli nuclear issue.  The Security Council, in a resolution, had called on Israel to put a halt to its nuclear programme and to subject facilities to IAEA inspections.

The creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was a prerequisite to establish peace in the region in years to come, and the Arab Group demanded that the international community implement its commitment and adopt the 1995 NPT Review Conference resolution on the matter, he said.  Parties to that Treaty should shoulder their responsibilities.  There was a need to pressure Israel through all practical means to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon State, in an unconditional manner.  He called on all Member States to take part in a positive manner in the conference in 2012 on the creation of such a zone in the Middle East and to work to turn that meeting into a milestone on the path to freeing the region of all nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

MARIA CARIDAD BALAGUER LABRADA (Cuba) said that the resolutions on negative security assurances (document A/C.1/66/L.25), reducing nuclear danger (document A/C.1/66L.45), and the convention on nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/66/L.46) reiterated that security assurances received thus far had not been effective.  Since the aim was for complete nuclear disarmament, those assurances must be universal and unconditional, and negotiated only in the Conference on Disarmament.  The existence of a large number of nuclear weapons on high alert was a great threat to humanity.  Cuba supported the convening of a high-level conference to reach an agreement on a way to completely eliminate those weapons, and it favoured the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones as a way forward.

She would support draft texts tabled under the nuclear weapons cluster, including the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

Action on Drafts

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the draft resolution on united actions towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/66/L.41), tabled by Japan, included text regarding the abandonment of enrichment and reactor programmes.  He drew attention to three factors.  First, the Japanese delegate had no moral grounds to table that draft text.  Japan was under the United States “nuclear umbrella” and had made a secret nuclear deal in 1960, confirmed by the Japanese Foreign Minister last year.  Under that secret deal, Japan allowed warships carrying nuclear weapons to its country.  Japan had the delivery means.  Secondly, the preambular paragraph of the text referred to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and to two Security Council resolutions.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected those two resolutions because they did not refer to the nuclear weapons the United States brought into the Korean peninsula.  The Security Council was biased and undermined its own credibility and authority; the resolutions were in violation of the United Nations Charter, which respected States’ right to defend themselves. 

He added that Kim Jong Il had said in an interview that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was committed to a peaceful settlement and a continuation of the Six-Party Talks towards the settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.

The representative of Poland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, intended to vote in favour of the resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/66/L.2), owing in part to the Union’s support of convening a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  He regretted that the draft text was not sufficiently comprehensive in that it did not address all the nuclear proliferation challenges in the region. 

Additionally, he said, the draft text did not mention the serious proliferation risks related to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic programme.  By violating its safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency, among other things, Iran had raised serious doubts in the international community about the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  He noted with grave concern the recent developments of the Iranian nuclear programme as reflected in the latest IAEA report, and shared the increasing concerns of the Agency on the possible military dimension of the Iranian nuclear programme.  The European Union deeply regretted that Iran had failed to respond, over the past year, to concrete and practical proposals for initial confidence-building measures made by the European Union High Representative on 22 January. 

Regarding Syria, the European Union had noted with serious concern the conclusion of the IAEA Director General in his May report to the Board of Governors that “the destroyed building at the Dair Alzour site was very likely a nuclear reactor”, he said, quoting the report.  The European Union urged Syria, as required by the IAEA Board of Governors’ report, to urgently remedy that non-compliance.

Israel’s representative said every year L.2 was introduced, she questioned the motivation.  She could not help but wonder if the distance between New York and the Middle East had stretched so far that vision had been blurred.  Four of five widely reported cases of non-compliance were in the Middle East, and the fifth country was linked to the development of nuclear programmes in the Middle East.  She wondered if the current turmoil in the Middle East would shed light on proliferation issues in the region.  Iran and Syria were under ongoing investigation by the IAEA due to their clandestine activities.  At a minimum, Israel would expect a call from the international community for compliance, but L.2 did not recognize Security Council resolutions on those matters.  Adopting an unbalanced draft text that singled out Israel would not help with peace in the Middle East.  She called upon delegates not to support L.2.

The representative of Japan said his delegation would vote in favour of L.41, which his Government had presented together with as many as 97 co-sponsors.  In that regard, he said he would respond to the comments just made by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Interrupting on a point of order, the Chair gave the floor to the representative of Iran.

Speaking on a point of order, the representative of Iran said that explanation of vote could not be read out by a sponsor of a resolution.

The Chair said that, unfortunately, since his delegation was sponsoring the resolution, the representative of Japan could not give an explanation of vote.  He could exercise the right of reply at the appropriate time.

Speaking in explanation of vote, the representative of the United States said her delegation would vote “no” on draft resolution L.2, as that resolution again failed to meet the necessary fairness and balance, and confined itself to expressions of concerns about a single country.  Glaring omissions included the lack of references to Iran’s violations of IAEA safeguards and relevant Security Council resolutions, and its failure to cooperate fully and transparently with the IAEA.  Her delegation supported the noble goal of a Middle East free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  She said that was an achievable goal, and she highlighted the readiness of her delegation to work with others to build the necessary confidence to ensure the success of a conference in 2012 on the zone’s establishment.  But, the Conference must be conducted in a constructive and unbiased way.

Also speaking in explanation of vote, the representative of Canada said that resolution L.2 unfairly singled out Israel, while failing to address serious non-compliance of States in the region already party to the NPT.   Canada had taken that position in other forums and had consistently called for universal adherence to the Treaty.  The resolution was deficient as it ignored other realities, in particular, Syria’s and Iran’s non-cooperation with the IAEA.  Iran had chosen to ignore a variety of Security Council obligations and the efforts of the international community to arrive at an equitable solution.  In the case of Syria, that country had had ample opportunity to cooperate with the Agency, but had not done so.  For those reasons, Canada would vote “no” on that resolution.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East (document A/C.1/66/L.1), introduced by Egypt, which would have the General Assembly urge all parties directly concerned seriously to consider taking the practical and urgent steps required for the implementation of the proposal to establish such a zone in the region, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, and, as a means of promoting that objective, would invite the countries concerned to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The Assembly would also invite those countries, pending the establishment of the zone, not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or permit the stationing on their territories, or territories under their control, of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices. 

Recognizing the importance of credible regional security, including the establishment of such a mutually verifiable zone and emphasizing the essential role of the United Nations in its establishment, the Assembly would, by the draft, call upon all countries of the region that have not yet done so, pending the establishment of the zone, to agree to place all their nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards. 

In that connection, the Assembly would take note of the resolution adopted on 23 September by the IAEA’s General Conference concerning the application of Agency safeguards in the Middle East, and would note the importance of the ongoing bilateral Middle East peace negotiations and the activities of the multilateral Working Group on Arms Control and Regional Security in promoting mutual confidence and security in the region, including the establishment of the zone.

The Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote.

Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/66/L.2), introduced by Egypt, which would have the Assembly reaffirm the importance of Israel’s accession to the NPT and placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards, in realizing the goal of universal adherence to the Treaty in the Middle East.

Concerned about the threats posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons to the security and stability of the Middle East region, the Assembly would call upon that State to accede to the Treaty without further delay, not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and to place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope Agency safeguards as an important confidence-building measure among all States of the region and as a step towards enhancing peace and security.

Prior to voting on the text as a whole, the Committee voted on three preambular paragraphs.

It first took up preambular paragraph 5, which would have the Assembly recall the decision on principles and objectives for nuclear non‑proliferation and disarmament adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on 11 May 1995, in which the Conference urged universal adherence to the Treaty as an urgent priority and called upon all States not yet parties to the Treaty to accede to it at the earliest date, particularly those States that operate unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.

The Committee voted to retain the paragraph, as orally amended, by a recorded vote of 155 in favour to 2 against (India, Israel), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Kenya).

The Committee then took up preambular paragraph 6, which would have the Assembly recognize with satisfaction that, in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Conference undertook to make determined efforts towards the achievement of the goal of universality of the Treaty, called upon those remaining States not parties to the Treaty to accede to it, thereby accepting an international legally binding commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices and to accept Agency safeguards on all their nuclear activities, and underlined the necessity of universal adherence to the Treaty and of strict compliance by all parties with their obligations under the Treaty.

The Committee voted to include the paragraph, as orally amended, by a recorded vote of 159 in favour to 2 against (India, Israel), with 2 abstentions (Bhutan, Pakistan).

The Committee then took up preambular paragraph 7, by which the Assembly would recall the resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference on 11 May 1995, in which the Conference noted with concern the continued existence in the Middle East of unsafeguarded nuclear facilities, reaffirmed the importance of the early realization of universal adherence to the Treaty and called upon all States in the Middle East that had not yet done so, without exception, to accede to the Treaty as soon as possible and to place all their nuclear facilities under full-scope Agency safeguards.

That paragraph was retained, as orally amended, by a recorded vote of 163 in favour to 1 against ( Israel), with 2 abstentions ( India, Pakistan).

The Committee then voted on the draft resolution as a whole, as orally amended, by a recorded vote of 157 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, United States), with 6 abstentions (Australia, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan).

The Committee then took up a draft resolution on follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed at the 1995, 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (document A/C.1/66/L.3), sponsored by Iran, which would have the General Assembly call for practical steps, as agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference, to be taken by all nuclear-weapon States, which would lead to nuclear disarmament in a way that promotes international stability. 

Based on the principle of undiminished security for all, the draft would have the Assembly call for further efforts by those States to reduce their nuclear weapons capabilities; the implementation of agreements pursuant to article VI of the NPT as voluntary confidence-building measures to support further progress in nuclear disarmament; further reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons, based on unilateral initiatives; and undertaking concrete agreed measures to reduce further the operational status of nuclear weapons systems and diminish the role for nuclear weapons in security policies.  It would also call for the engagement, as soon as appropriate, of all the nuclear-weapon States in the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons.

Noting that the 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences of the Parties to the NPT agreed that legally binding security assurances by the five nuclear-weapon States to the non-nuclear weapon States parties to the Treaty strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the draft text would have the Assembly urge the States parties to follow up on the implementation of the nuclear disarmament obligations under the Treaty agreed to at the 1995, 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences.

Prior to voting on that draft text as a whole, a recorded vote was requested on preambular paragraph 6, which would have the Assembly reaffirm the resolution on the Middle East adopted on 11 May 1995 by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty, in which the Conference reaffirmed the importance of the early realization of universal adherence to the Treaty and placement of nuclear facilities under full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

By a recorded vote, the Committee retained that provision, as orally amended, by 110 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, Israel, Marshall Islands, Panama, United States), with 47 abstentions.

A separate vote was also taken on preambular paragraph 9, which would have the Assembly welcome the adoption by the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of a substantive Final Document containing conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions relating to nuclear disarmament.

The Committee, by a recorded vote of 111 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Japan, Monaco, Panama, United States), with 44 abstentions, included that paragraph. 

The Committee then approved the draft resolution as a whole by a recorded vote of 105 in favour to 52 against, with 10 abstentions (Armenia, Cameroon, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, India, Pakistan, Samoa, Tonga, Uganda).

Speaking on a point of order, the representative of Albania asked for a correction to the vote, saying his delegation had intended to abstain on preambular paragraph 9.

The representative of Monaco said his delegation had also intended to abstain on preambular paragraph 9.

The representative of France said his delegation had meant to vote “no” on preambular paragraph 9.

The Chair noted that those requests would be reflected in the record.

The representative of Latvia said her delegation had intended to abstain on preambular paragraph 9.

The Committee took up a draft decision, introduced by Iran on behalf of Egypt and Indonesia, entitled “Missiles” (document A/C.1/66/L.10), which would have the General Assembly include in the provisional agenda of its sixty-seventh session an item by the same name.

The Committee approved the draft decision without a vote.

It next turned to a draft resolution on united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/66/L.41*), introduced by Japan.  Expressing deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and reaffirming the need for all States at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law, while convinced that every effort should be made to avoid nuclear war and nuclear terrorism, the Assembly, by the draft text, would call upon nuclear-weapon States to undertake further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed, including through unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures.

Prior to voting on that draft text as a whole, the Committee approved the inclusion of preambular paragraph 9 and operative paragraphs 2, 8, 9 and 15.

Preambular paragraph 9 was retained by a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions ( India, Israel, Pakistan).

That paragraph would have the Assembly recall the successful outcome of the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, held from 3 to 28 May 2010, in the year of the sixty-fifth anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, and reaffirm the necessity of fully implementing the action plan adopted at the Conference.

Next, the Committee approved the inclusion of operative paragraph 2 by a recorded vote of 166 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel), with 2 abstentions (Bhutan, Pakistan).

Operative paragraph 2 would have the Assembly reaffirm the vital importance of the universality of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and calls upon all States not parties to the Treaty to accede as non-nuclear-weapon States to the Treaty promptly and without any conditions and, pending their accession to the Treaty, to adhere to its terms and take practical steps in support of the Treaty.

The Committee then approved the inclusion of operative paragraph 8 by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions ( India, Mauritius, Syria).

Operative paragraph 8 would have the Assembly urge all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at the earliest opportunity, with a view to its early entry into force and universalization, stresses the importance of maintaining existing moratoriums on nuclear-weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions pending the entry into force of the Treaty, and reaffirms the importance of the continued development of the Treaty verification regime, which will be a significant contribution to providing assurance of compliance with the Treaty.

By a recorded vote of 163 in favour to 3 against ( China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan), with 7 abstentions ( Brazil, Ecuador, India, Israel, Russian Federation, South Africa, Venezuela), the Committee approved operative paragraph 9.

By its terms, the Assembly would reiterate its call for the immediate commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and its early conclusion, regrets that negotiations have not yet started, and calls upon all nuclear-weapon States and States not parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to declare and maintain moratoriums on the production of fissile material for any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices pending the entry into force of the Treaty.

The Committee then decided to retain operative paragraph 15 by a recorded vote of 164 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 5 abstentions (Argentina, Brazil, India, Israel, Pakistan).

Operative paragraph 15 would have the Assembly stress the importance of the universalization of the comprehensive safeguards agreements of the International Atomic Energy Agency to include States that have not yet adopted and implemented such an agreement, while also strongly reaffirming the follow-on action of the 2010 Review Conference encouraging all States that have not done so to conclude and bring into force as soon as possible the Model Protocol Additional to the Agreement(s) between State(s) and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards approved by the Board of Governors of the Agency on 15 May 1997, and encouraging the full implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 1540 (2004) of 28 April 2004.

The Committee then approved L.41* as a whole by a recorded vote of 156 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 15 abstentions.

Taking up a draft resolution on reducing nuclear danger (document A/C.1/66/L.45), introduced by India, the Committee approved it by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 48 against, with 12 abstentions.

By the draft, the Assembly, considering that the hair-trigger alert of nuclear weapons carries unacceptable risks of unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons, which would have catastrophic consequences for all mankind, would call for a review of nuclear doctrines and, in this context, immediate and urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through de-alerting and de-targeting of nuclear weapons.

A draft resolution on the convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/66/L.46), also tabled by India, was approved by a vote of 113 in favour to 48 against, with 10 abstentions (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Japan, Marshall Islands, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan).

Determined to achieve an international convention prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons, leading to their ultimate destruction and noting with regret that the Conference on Disarmament, during its 2011 session, was unable to undertake negotiations on this subject as called for in General Assembly resolution 65/80 of 8 December 2010, the Assembly would, by the draft text, reiterates its request to the Conference on Disarmament to commence negotiations in order to reach agreement on an international convention prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

Speaking in explanation of vote, the representative of Israel said that the delegation had joined consensus on L.1, notwithstanding ongoing substantive reservations regarding certain elements contained in the resolution.  Her delegation had voted “no” on L.2.  As for L.1, her delegation had joined consensus because Israel remained committed to a Middle East developing eventually into a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, including ballistic missiles.  That quest could only be addressed within the regional context.  As was widely recognized by the international community, the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone could only emanate from within the region, and be freely arrived at through negotiations with States within the region.  The creation of a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone, which was unprecedented, should be created in a similar context.  The process should begin with modest confidence-building measures, and must not detract form security margins of States.  Confidence-building measures should be followed by the establishment of peaceful relations, and complemented by conventional and non-conventional arms control measures.  The process could, in due course, lead to more ambitious goals such as the establishment of a mutually verifiable nuclear-weapon-free zone.  There was currently an historic and significant transformation taking place in the Middle East.  While that transformation might lead to positive outcomes, developments remained to be seen if it would enable the region to embark on a regional security process.

The delegate said the essential preconditions for the establishment of the Middle East as a mutually verifiable zone free of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems was durable regional peace and full compliance of all regional States with their arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation obligations.  In the context of the Middle East, unlike other regions where nuclear-weapon-free zones existed, there were continuing threats against the very existence of one State, the State of Israel, which were exacerbated by the irresponsible activities of States in the region and beyond, concerning the export of weapons of mass destruction-related materials, technologies and know-how, and the very substantive discrepancies between States’ NPT commitments and their behaviour.  The international community should not overlook the fact that four out of five widely acknowledged cases where a gross non-compliance with the NPT had occurred referred to Middle Eastern States, whereas the fifth case, namely the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was deeply involved in nuclear proliferation to the Middle East.

She said she hoped that the future would yield a more secure and stable Middle East, and that the positive implication of the democratizing process budding in the region would lead to a better atmosphere for building confidence and trust among the regional parties.

The representative of Switzerland said his delegation had voted in favour once again of L.2, as that resolution promoted the NPT in the Middle Eastern region.  He fully subscribed to that goal, with regard to the creation in the Middle East of a nuclear-weapon-free zone and a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, and also supported the conference to be held on that matter in 2012.  He thanked Finland for accepting the function of hosting the event.  He also applauded the IAEA on its 21 and 22 November forum on experiences of interest with regard to the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

He noted that in its provisions, the text referred to one of the dimensions that related to the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.  By voting in favour, his delegation had intended to demonstrate the importance attached to the full and complete implementation of the NPT by all States in the region.  Full collaboration between those States and the IAEA and Security Council was primordial, as was the full application of the decisions and resolutions adopted by those bodies.  In order to implement the current recommendations and achieve the goal of preventing the risk of nuclear proliferation as much as possible, it was vital that States bore in mind the current context and all developments, which impacted the region’s countries as a whole.

The representative of Australia said his delegation was committed to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, and would continue to promote those objectives in all relevant international forums.  Australia had long been a supporter of a verifiable nuclear-weapon-free zone, freely arrived at by Member States, and had called for the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.  He supported the crucial steps endorsed by the 2010 NPT Review Conference towards a convening in 2012 of a conference on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  His delegation’s view had been consistent, in that that all States in the region should adhere to the NPT and subject their nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection.  However, a resolution that only referred to Israel was unbalanced, and his delegation had regrettably had to abstain.  As already indicated, he placed high importance of the consensus outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, including actions 7, 8 and 9 relating to security assurances.

The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation had abstained on L.41, operative paragraph 9, as it was its constant position that such negotiations should only be conducted at the Conference on Disarmament.

The representative of Brazil , explaining his delegation’s vote on L.41, L.45, and L.46, said his delegation had abstained on L.41.  He thanked the delegation of Japan, saying that he shared the ultimate goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  With regard to key challenges, his delegation still had concerns about specific language in the text.  In operative paragraph 9, the reference to the Conference on Disarmament was excluded, thereby allowing for negotiations of a fissile treaty to take place elsewhere.

With regard to operative paragraph 15, he said the language used would have benefited from the Final Document of the last NPT Review Conference, which noted that it was the sovereign decision of any State to include an additional protocol, and should be applied once the complete elimination of nuclear weapons was achieved.  He hoped the draft sponsors would work to clarify that point.

He said the Brazilian delegation had voted in favour of L.45 because it believed that nuclear doctrines must be revealed, as called for in operative paragraph 1, in order to reduce the risk of the accidental use of nuclear weapons.  However, his delegation believed that the most serious threat was derived primarily, not from the use of, but from the very existence of nuclear weapons.  De-alerting and de-targeting were relevant, but could not substitute for the complete elimination of those weapons.  His delegation voted in favour of L.46 in the spirit of Brazil’s well-known position to eliminate nuclear weapons and not merely to prohibit their use.

The representative of Poland, on behalf of the European Union, said Member States of the Union had voted against L.3 because of the non-compliance of its sponsor with non-proliferation obligations under the NPT.  Member States had abstained from voting on preambular paragraph 9.  Circumstances had changed since 2009, when the resolution was last adopted.  The European Union emphasized the greatest importance it attached to the steps taken towards the implementation of the 1995 NPT resolution, including the Final Document agreed to at the 2010 Review Conference.  And, the Union welcomed the convening of the 2012 conference on the establishment of a Middle East nuclear-weapon-free-zone to be attended by all States of the Middle East.  Through the change of the Union’s voting pattern, it wanted to send a signal to Iran, the sponsor, and certainly also to all other countries in the region, to fully and constructively engage in the process leading to the 2012 conference and at the conference itself, he said.

The representative of New Zealand said her delegation had voted “yes” on resolution L.2, consistent with its belief in the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.  In that regard, New Zealand was a strong and longstanding supporter of the universalization of the NPT.  Her delegation was committed to the realization of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, as mandated by the States parties to the NPT in 1995 and reaffirmed by the 2010 Review Conference.  Her delegation strongly supported the convening in 2012 of a conference on the establishment of the zone in the Middle East, and she welcomed the recent announcement of the facilitator and host country for that purpose.

She noted that the IAEA would have a crucial role to play in verifying such a zone, and New Zealand, therefore, urged all States that had not yet done so — including in the Middle East — to sign, ratify and implement an Additional Protocol to allow the Agency to undertake its important work.  New Zealand wished, however, to place on record its concern regarding the absence in that resolution of any reference to other States in the Middle East which presented significant nuclear proliferation concerns.  She hoped that that omission would be addressed in future years.

India’s representative, explaining her country’s abstention on L.2 and vote against the inclusion of preambular paragraph 6, said India’s position on the NPT was well known.  On L.41, her country was committed to nuclear disarmament.  She had stressed the need for a step-by-step process for achieving that in a non-discriminatory manner.  The text, however, did not address that adequately.  Nuclear weapons were part of India’s defence strategy, she said, affirming her abstention from the voting on operative paragraphs 9 and 15.  India had concluded a safeguards agreement with the IAEA, she added.

The representative of Iran explained his country’s position on L.1 and L.2.  Based on Iran’s initiative in 1974, the General Assembly had adopted resolutions to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  Pending the creation of such a zone, States should, among other things, refrain from developing or producing nuclear weapons, he said.  The “Zionist regime” had officially stated that it had nuclear weapons and it had enjoyed support from the United States and other Security Council countries.  The regime was not part of the NPT, he said, urging it to accede to the Treaty and place its facilities under IAEA supervision.

He said it was ironic that countries such as the United States and Canada had ignored the clandestine nuclear programme of the “Zionist regime”.

The United States representative said that while her country voted against L.3 as a whole and against preambular paragraphs 6 and 9, her country did support the conference in 2012 for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  The draft’s sponsor, Iran, should honour its own obligations, she said.

Pakistan’s delegate said his country had voted in favour of L.2 as a whole, as it supported the primary focus of the text.  He was disappointed, however, by the continuous requests that his country join the NPT and, thus, it had abstained in the votes on the preambular paragraphs.  His delegation had also abstained from voting on L.3 because Pakistan was a non-party to the NPT. 

On L.41, he said his country disagreed with several provisions, including the call to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear State without conditions, which Pakistan did not accept.  While his delegation supported the objective of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, it could not agree to certain provisions, such as the immediate commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.

The representative of Mauritania said he would have cast his vote in favour of L.2, including the separate votes on the three paragraphs.  He also supported L.3.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, addressing his comments to L.1 and L.2, said his country had voted “yes” for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  Establishing such a zone would greatly contribute to lasting peace and security in that region.  As far as Israel’s nuclear programme was concerned, it had been a major source of proliferation in the region.  Israel was pursuing the policy of neither confirming nor denying.  A nuclear weapons test had been detected by a certain country, he said.

Cuba’s representative said her country had abstained on L.41.  Measures should be taken that would lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons.  On operative paragraph 15, she said the Security Council resolutions did not help to solve any problems surrounding nuclear non-proliferation.  Multilateralism and dialogue were needed to move forward on those issues in the Korean peninsula, she said.

Venezuela’s representative said his country intended to vote in favour of L.41.

Mozambique’s representative said the delegation had intended to vote in favour of L.2 and L.3.

Rights of Reply

The representative of Japan, exercising his right of reply, said all of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s allegations made earlier were groundless.  He pointed out that L.41, including operative paragraph 15, was adopted by an overwhelming majority.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, exercising his right of reply, totally rejected the Japanese delegate’s comments.  Japan was under the United States’ “nuclear umbrella”, and Japan hosted 10 United States military bases, among other things, which showed that Japan was bent on becoming a nuclear Power.

General Statements on Other Weapons of Mass Destruction Cluster

SZABOLCS NAGY (Hungary) introduced a draft resolution on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxic Weapons and on Their Destruction (document A/C.1/66/L.32).

By its terms, the General Assembly would note with satisfaction that there are 165 States parties to the Convention and reaffirm the call upon all signatory States that have not yet ratified it to do so without delay.  It would call upon those States that have not signed the Convention to become parties at the earliest possible date, thus contributing to the achievement of universal adherence to the Convention.

The Assembly would note the success of the Preparatory Committee Meeting of the Seventh Review Conference in Geneva in April, and welcome the convening in December of the Review Conference.  In that connection, it would recall that the upcoming Review Conference is mandated to consider issues identified in the review of the operation of the Convention as provided for in article XII thereof and any possible consensus follow-up action.

Action on Drafts

The Committee took up a draft resolution on the Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (document A/C.1/66/L.19), sponsored by Poland, which would have the Assembly emphasize that 11 years after the Convention’s entry into force, it remains a unique multilateral agreement banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction, and stress the importance of the Organization on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in verifying compliance with its provisions as well as in promoting the timely and efficient accomplishment of all objectives.

Determined to achieve the effective prohibition of these weapons and their destruction, the draft would also have the Assembly urge all States parties to meet in full and on time their obligations.

The Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution submitted by Hungary on the Biological Weapons Convention (document A/C.1/66/L.32), approving it, as orally revised, without a vote.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution on measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (document A/C.1/66/L.48), introduced by India, which gave expression to the concerns of the international community and was a clear reaffirmation of Member States to take measures in that area.  The draft underlined that the international response to the threat needed to be national as well as multilateral and global.

The Committee approved the draft text without a vote.

Iran’s delegate, explaining his country’s position on L.19 and L.48, said it had joined the consensus on L.19 as a country that had been a victim of chemical weapons.  The total destruction of those weapons was the aim of the Convention, and ensuring full compliance, including meeting the 29 April 2012 deadline, was of vital importance.  Should the major possessor States, including the United States, fail to meet the final deadline, the raison d'être of the Convention would be challenged.  The draft text lacked firmness on that issue.

On L.48, his country had always supported measures to confront terrorism, and had supported that resolution.  However, this year’s draft text referred to a nuclear security summit.  In a review of the documents of that gathering, he noted there was not a single word about disarmament.  A nuclear-weapon State that had hosted the event had gone outside the United Nations, which was not productive. 

Pakistan’s delegate explained his country’s vote on L.48, saying the language could have better reflected reality.  The possible use of weapons of mass destruction and materials by non-State actors should be studied.  Clearly, the acquisition and use of those weapons by terrorists needed the international community’s attention.  Denial of means to terrorists to acquire and possess weapons occurred when States firmed up export controls.  Interim measures, such as the adoption of United Nations Security Council resolutions, should be taken up more seriously.  The implementation of existing conventions, such as the Chemical Weapons Convention, would help.  Control of biological weapons should be a greater concern.  In that, the Biological Weapons Convention should be strengthened. 

He urged that a comprehensive strategy be evolved to prevent terrorists from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction by a number of measures, such as augmenting State capacities to implement existing conventions and examining the root causes of terrorism.

General Statements on the Outer Space Cluster

MARIA CARIDAD BALAGUER LABRADA ( Cuba ) said that her delegation had co-sponsored the draft resolution on prevention of an arms race in outer space (document A/C.1/66/L.14), as that issue could lead to serious danger to international peace and security.  She believed it was necessary to continue to develop international measures that were transparent and promoted confidence with regard to outer space.  That would contribute to putting a halt to a possible arms race in outer space.  The Conference on Disarmament must still play the key role in negotiating an agreement on preventing an outer space arms race.  She hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted, as it had been done in previous years.

Action on Drafts

The Committee had before it a draft decision, entitled Transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities (document A/C.1/66/L.11), submitted by China and the Russian Federation, which would have the General Assembly recall its resolution 65/68 of 8 December 2010 and previous resolutions on this matter, and decide to include the item in the provisional agenda of its sixty-eighth session.

The Committee approved the draft decision without a vote.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution on preventing an arms race in outer space (document A/C.1/66/L.14), submitted by Sri Lanka, by which the Assembly, recognizing that prevention of an arms race in outer space would avert a grave danger for international peace and security, would reaffirm the urgency of preventing an outer space arms race and the readiness of all States to contribute to that common objective.

The Assembly would also reaffirm its recognition that the legal regime applicable to outer space does not in and of itself guarantee the prevention of an arms race in that environment.  With that, the Assembly would reaffirm the need to consolidate and reinforce that regime and enhance its effectiveness and the importance of complying strictly with existing agreements, both bilateral and multilateral. 

In a related provision, the Assembly would emphasize the necessity of further measures with appropriate and effective provisions for verification to prevent an arms race in outer space.

It would call upon all States, in particular those with major space capabilities, to contribute actively to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space and of the prevention of an arms race in outer space and to refrain from actions contrary to that objective and to the relevant existing treaties in the interest of maintaining international peace and security and promoting international cooperation.

Further to the text, the Assembly would reiterate that the Conference on Disarmament, as the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, has the primary role in the negotiation of a multilateral agreement or agreements, as appropriate, on the prevention of an arms race in outer space in all its aspects. 

The Committee approved the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 171 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Israel, United States).

Turning to the cluster on conventional weapons, the Committee approved the draft resolution on problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (document A/C.1/66/L.36), without a vote.

By that text, the Assembly would encourage all interested States to assess, on a voluntary basis, whether, in conformity with their legitimate security needs, parts of their stockpiles of conventional ammunition should be considered to be in surplus, and recognizes that the security of such stockpiles must be taken into consideration and that appropriate controls with regard to the security and safety of stockpiles of conventional ammunition are indispensible at the national level in order to eliminate the risk of explosion, pollution or diversion.

In a related provision, the Assembly would appeal to all interested States to determine the size and nature of their surplus stockpiles of conventional ammunition, whether they represent a security risk, their means of destruction, if appropriate, and whether external assistance is needed to eliminate this risk.  It would encourage Member States to examine the possibility of developing and implementing, within a national, regional or subregional framework, measures to address accordingly the illicit trafficking related to the accumulation of such stockpiles. 

Turning to the cluster on Regional Disarmament and Security, the Committee had before it a draft resolution, on the implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/C.1/66/L.5), submitted by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, by which the Assembly would reiterate its conviction that the participation of all permanent members of the Security Council and the major maritime users of the Indian Ocean in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean is important and would greatly facilitate the development of a mutually beneficial dialogue to advance peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean region.

The Assembly would request the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee to continue his informal consultations with the members of the Committee and to report through it to the Assembly at its sixty-eighth session.  It would also request the Secretary-General to continue to render, within existing resources, all necessary assistance to the Ad Hoc Committee.

The Committee approved the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 4 against ( France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 45 abstentions.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution on regional disarmament (A/C.1/66/L.26), submitted by Pakistan.  By its terms, the General Assembly, convinced that endeavours by countries to promote regional disarmament, taking into account the specific characteristics of each region and in accordance with the principle of undiminished security at the lowest level of armaments, would enhance the security of all States and reduce the risk of regional conflicts, would call upon States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels.

The Assembly would affirm that global and regional approaches to disarmament complement each other and should therefore by pursued simultaneously to promote regional and international peace and security.  It would support and encourage efforts aimed at promoting confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels to ease regional tensions and to further disarmament, and 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 the entire range of disarmament issues.

The Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote.

Also introduced by Pakistan was a draft resolution on conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (document A/C.1/66/L.27).

Under it, the General Assembly, believing that an important objective of conventional arms control in regions of tension should be to prevent the possibility of military attack launched by surprise and to avoid aggression, would decide to give urgent consideration to the issues involved in conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels and request the Conference on Disarmament to consider the formulation of principles that can serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control.

Prior to voting on the text as a whole, the Committee took a recorded vote on operative paragraph 2, which would have the Assembly 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.

The Committee retained that paragraph by a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 1 against (India), with 31 abstentions.

The Committee approved the draft resolution as a whole by a recorded vote of 163 in favour to 1 against (India), with 3 abstentions (Bhutan, Poland, Russian Federation).

The Committee had before it a draft resolution on confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context (document A/C.1/66/L.28), also submitted by Pakistan, which would have the General Assembly emphasize that the objective of those measures should be to strengthen international peace and security and to be consistent with the principle of undiminished security at the lowest level of armaments.

The Assembly would urge States to comply strictly with all bilateral, regional and international agreements, including arms control and disarmament agreements, to which they are party, and call on them 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.  It would encourage 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 Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote.

The representative of Mexico said the delegation had abstained in voting on operative paragraph 2 of L.27 because forming principles on the control of conventional weapons was beyond the scope of the Conference on Disarmament.  That topic should be considered by the Disarmament Commission.

The representative of the Russian Federation said his country had abstained from voting on L.27.  While, the country was in favour of developing conventional arms controls at regional and subregional levels, as that strengthened regional peace and security, Russia proposed holding a discussion process that would bolster regional security.

India’s delegate said his country had voted against L.27 because the text requested the Conference on Disarmament to address arms control issues.  In 1993, the United Nations Disarmament Commission had adopted guidelines for regional disarmament, so there was no need for the Conference to address conventional arms at a time when it had other issues before it.

Poland’s representative requested that his vote in favour of L.27 be reflected, and an abstention on the vote on operative paragraph 2.

Right of Reply

The representative of Syria, exercising his right of reply, said Israel, a nuclear-weapon State, had not acceded to the NPT or placed its facilities under the IAEA safeguards.

Israel’s delegate had made insulting comments this evening, he said.  People who lived in glass houses should not throw stones.  Israel had refused to sign up to the NPT.  To those closing their eyes to that fact, the 2010 NPT Review Conference mentioned only the name of Israel as possessing nuclear weapons in the Middle East region.  The fact that the delegate called into question Syria regarding the IAEA was ludicrous, he said.

The Polish delegate was also in no position to criticize, he said.  Syria had adhered to the NPT before many European Union States, had hosted IAEA inspectors and exercised cooperation.  Canada’s statement confirmed Syria’s concerns, as it lacked any calls for Israel to accede to the NPT.  That proved that Canada “approves of nuclear proliferation”.  Canada had participated financially and through technology in the Manhattan Project, which had created the first nuclear bombs.  The state of lies and allegations on the question of nuclear weapons did not foster progress in the field.

* *** *

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