|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
24th Meeting (AM)
First Committee, Concluding Work for Session, Sends 52 Draft Texts to General
Assembly Covering Broad Spectrum of Disarmament, Security Concerns
Sponsors Decide Not to Put to Vote Text to Establish Geneva-based Working Groups
On Core Issues if Conference on Disarmament Cannot Begin Substantive Negotiations
In a late diplomatic development today in the Disarmament Committee, a key sponsor of a draft resolution that would have had the General Assembly call upon the Conference on Disarmament to set a programme of work during its 2012 session to enable the immediate start of negotiations, did not press that text to a vote, in order, he said, to “preserve the integrity and strength” of the proposal.
As the final meeting of the sixty-sixth session of First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) drew to a close, no action was taken on the text — tabled by Austria, together with Mexico and Norway — which would have had the Assembly, absent agreement on the work programme, resolve to consider at its next session alternative ways of taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations. Those would have included the establishment of Geneva-based open-ended working groups on priority issues of nuclear disarmament, on security assurances for non-nuclear-armed States, and a fissile material ban.
Austria’s delegate said that the ongoing paralysis of the Conference on Disarmament had led to various proposals, includingresolution L.21/Rev.1, on taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations. However, what mattered most, he said, were the security interests of the overwhelming majority of United Nations Member States. He hoped the Conference would move from procedure to substance, and he called on all delegations to move towards that goal.
He went on to say that the concrete proposal in L.21 was about substance, and not procedure, and he was pleased to have triggered ongoing debate. Indeed, consultations on how best to take forward disarmament negotiations must continue. The persisting stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament was not an option.
Finishing its work for the session, the Committee approved the final three drafts up for consideration, bringing to 52 the total number of texts it forwarded to the General Assembly. Topics spanned a broad spectrum of themes on nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, disarmament aspects of outer space, conventional weapons, regional disarmament and security, other disarmament measures, and disarmament machinery. A total of 32 draft texts were approved without a vote and 20 draft texts were approved by recorded vote — in addition to separate votes on certain key provisions — on a broad range of security issues.
Approving its final draft in its cluster on regional disarmament and security, the Committee, acting without a vote on the orally revised text, asked the Assembly to urge States members and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to support the activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa effectively through voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund.
Proceeding to the remaining drafts, two drafts in its cluster 7, on disarmament machinery, the Committee approved them without a vote. By the first text, recognizing that the Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean had an important role in the promotion and development of regional and subregional initiatives in various disarmament-related fields, the Assembly would appeal to stakeholders to increase their voluntary contributions.
A related text, on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, would have the Assembly underline the importance of the Kathmandu process and reaffirm its strong support for the role of the Centre in the promotion of United Nations activities to strengthen peace, stability and security among its Member States, and similarly ask for increased voluntary contributions.
The Committee then adopted its 2012 programme of work (document A/C.1/66/CRP.4) before concluding its meeting. The representatives of Lebanon and the Republic of Korea explained their votes on the draft resolution concerning the Mine-Ban Treaty (L.4). The representative of Congo delivered a general statement on the regional disarmament.
Delivering the closing statement, the Committee’s Chair, Jarmo Viinanen (Finland), expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to have chaired the session, and thanked delegations for their constructive spirit, cooperation and support in handling the difficult task at hand.
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