|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
19th & 20th Meetings (AM & PM)
Persistent Divisions in First Committee Lock Voting Machine in Familiar Pattern
as 26 Drafts, 16 by Recorded Vote, Forwarded to General Assembly
Texts Address Nuclear Proliferation Risk in Middle East, Decreasing Operational
Readiness of Nuclear Weapons, Fissile Material Ban, Negative Security Assurances
A raft of traditional texts were approved today by the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), with complementary and, in part, competing, provisions aimed at neutralizing the nuclear-weapon threat and forging agreement in the Conference on Disarmament for that purpose and, pending the total elimination of those weapons, casting a wider net of nuclear-weapon-free zones and putting in place interim measures to protect non-nuclear-armed States.
In all, 26 texts were approved spanning clusters on outer space, regional disarmament, conventional weapons, nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction and other disarmament measures, with more than half requiring recorded votes, including 11 separate provisions. Resolutions were put forward to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, prevent an arms race in space, promote multilateralism for disarmament and non-proliferation purposes, and bolster arms control at the regional and subregional level, among other measures.
One text, submitted by Japan, on united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, required recorded votes on four of its operative paragraphs and was finally approved as a whole by 159 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 12 abstentions.
By that text, the General Assembly would express 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, would call on nuclear-weapon States to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed, including through unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures, emphasizing the importance of the principles of irreversibility, verifiability and transparency.
Prior to approving that text, a recorded vote was requested on operative paragraph 2, concerning universalization of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The Committee retained that provision by 165 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel), with 3 abstentions ( Bhutan, Mauritius, Pakistan).
By a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 4 abstentions ( India, Iran, Mauritius, Syria), the Committee retained operative paragraph 8, concerning ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and maintenance of nuclear test moratoriums.
Operative paragraph 9, on a fissile material ban, was retained by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 2 against (China, Pakistan), with 8 abstentions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, India, Iran, Israel, Mauritius, Russian Federation, Syria).
A further provision, operative paragraph 16, concerninguniversalization of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) comprehensive safeguards, was retained by a recorded vote of 161 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 8 abstentions (Argentina, Brazil, India, Iran, Israel, Mauritius, Pakistan, Zimbabwe).
Another, wide-ranging text on accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments to further the cause of a nuclear-free world [L.13], would have the Assembly reiterate grave concern at the danger posed to humanity by the possibility that nuclear weapons could be used, and express deep disappointment at the continued absence of progress towards multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament issues, particularly in the Conference on Disarmament.
It was approved by a recorded vote of 159 in favour to 7 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, France, India, Israel, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, China, Federated States of Micronesia, Pakistan).
That text would reiterate that each article of the NPT was binding at all times and in all circumstances, and States parties should be held fully accountable to comply with its obligations. By further terms, it would encourage nuclear-weapons States to ensure the irreversible removal of all fissile material no longer required for military purposes, urging them to initiate and accelerate the development of multilateral arrangements for placing such material under IAEA verification.
A recorded vote was requested on operative paragraph 11, by which the Assembly would continue to emphasize the fundamental role of the NPT in achieving nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and would call upon all States parties to spare no effort to achieve the universality of the Treaty, and in this regard urges India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States promptly and without conditions, and to place all their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.
The Committee retained that provision by a recorded vote of 154 in favour to 4 against (India, Israel, Pakistan, United States), with 6 abstentions (Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom).
Another text focused on banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, would have the Assembly urge the Conference on Disarmament to include the immediate commencement of negotiations on such a treaty in its 2013 programme of work. It was approved by a recorded vote of 148 in favour to 1 against ( Pakistan), with 20 abstentions.
It would request the Secretary-General to establish a group of governmental experts with a membership of 25 States chosen on the basis of equitable geographical representation to make recommendations on possible elements which could contribute to such a treaty. A recorded vote was requested on that operative paragraph, 3, which was retained by 143 in favour to 3 against ( Iran, Pakistan, Syria), with 22 abstentions.
The Committee also approved texts in its nuclear weapon cluster on: risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East; Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty; missiles; nuclear weapons convention; reducing nuclear danger; decreasing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons; preventing terrorist acquisition of radioactive sources; Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; negative security assurances; and African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty.
Also approved were drafts on: measures to uphold the 1925 Geneva Protocol; the Mine-Ban Convention; Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons; effects of depleted uranium; environmental norms in disarmament agreements; disarmament and non-proliferation education; role of science and technology in disarmament and non-proliferation; regional disarmament; and regional and subregional confidence-building measures.
During action on Cluster 1, Nuclear Weapons, the following delegations made general statements: Canada; Mongolia; Australia; Israel; and Cuba.
The following representatives spoke in explanation of vote on that cluster: Cyprus; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Morocco; United States; Norway; China; Australia; Switzerland; India; Russian Federation; Brazil; Cuba; United Kingdom; United States; New Zealand; Canada; Ecuador; France; Israel; Spain; Pakistan; Egypt; United Arab Emirates; Japan; Iran; and Syria.
During action on Cluster 2, Other Weapons of Mass Destruction, the representatives of Iran and South Sudan made statements in explanation of vote.
During action on Cluster 3, Outer Space, the representative of Cuba delivered a general statement.
For Cluster 4, Conventional Weapons, the representative of Cambodia made a general statement. Speaking in explanation of vote on that cluster were the representatives of Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Cuba, Libya, Pakistan, India, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United Republic of Tanzania.
For Cluster 5, Other Disarmament Measures and International Security, Cuba’s representative delivered a general statement. Speaking in explanation of vote on that cluster were the representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
On Cluster 6, Regional Disarmament and Security, the representative of Pakistan delivered a general statement. The representatives of Russian Federation, India and Mexico spoke in explanation of vote.
The First Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. 6 November, to continue taking action on the drafts before it.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met today to continue taking action on the draft resolutions and decisions before it, with a focus on the texts in its Cluster 1 concerning nuclear weapons.
Cluster 1: Nuclear Weapons
GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI (Canada), introducing the draft resolution entitled treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (document A/C.1/67/L.41), said that the text was a result of fruitful consultations, demonstrating the positive commitment of advanced work towards the negotiating of such a treaty. Considerable effort had been made to respect the role of the Conference on Disarmament as the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. If possible, negotiations should take place therein, he said, noting that the group of governmental experts was intended to provide an avenue for substantive progress only in the context of the current deadlock. He asked Member States to vote in favour of the resolution.
GANKHUURAI BATTUNGALAG ( Mongolia), speaking on behalf of the co-sponsors of L.40, on the country’s security and nuclear-weapon-free status, made oral revisions to the text. In operative paragraph 3, the line before the word “non-proliferation” would add the words “nuclear disarmament and”.
PAUL WILSON (Australia), speaking on behalf of Australia, Mexico and New Zealand, introduced resolution L.43 on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). He urged all States not to carry out nuclear weapons test explosions or other nuclear explosions, and expressed the hope that the draft would enjoy strong support.
EYAL PROPPER (Israel), regarding the draft on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, L.2, said that he questioned the motivation of the draft authors, and the motivation of the States voting in favour of the resolution. He wondered if the distance between New York and the Middle East was so far that “vision was irreparably blurred”. There was no question regarding the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. There were widely acknowledged gross violations in the region that fundamentally challenged Israel’s security, also challenging a meaningful regional security process. The international community should look closely at the cases of Iran and Syria, he said, calling on distinguished delegates not to “play into the hands” of those wishing to distort the situation, and on States not to vote in favour of the draft.
YADIRA LEDESMA HERNÁNDEZ ( Cuba) said that her country had co-sponsored various draft resolutions in Cluster 1, including L.52, L.27, and L.25. She reiterated that security guarantees received so far were not effective, and called on for a binding mechanism that provided safeguards to non-nuclear-weapon States. Those weapons should be eliminated, and Cuba supported the convening of a conference on that aim. Cuba also supported the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones around the world as an important step towards achieving disarmament. Such a zone in the Middle East would be an important contribution to nuclear disarmament and a meaningful step in the peace process.
The representative of Cyprus, on behalf of the member States of the European Union, said the Union intended to vote in favour of L.2, as it had always been committed to a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Welcoming the establishment of a conference to discuss that goal, the representative confirmed that a seminar was being held in Brussels on 5 and 6 November that would allow for an open exchange of views on all related aspects. All States in the region that had not yet done so should accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, and sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The representative expressed regret that the present draft resolution was not sufficiently comprehensive, in that it did not address in a resolute way all the nuclear proliferation challenges in the region. Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes, which violated IAEA Board of Governors resolutions, and Syria’s non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement and continued non-cooperation were of particular concern. The Union’s objective remained achievement of a comprehensive negotiated long-term settlement, and it urged Iran once again to engage seriously and to take the necessary steps to restore confidence. The Syrian authorities remained responsible for urgently remedying their non-compliance.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, explaining that he would make a consolidated statement on an item-by-item basis, turned first to L.2, on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, and said that he intended to vote in its favour. The country remained consistent in its position to support the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and it urged Israel to renounce its possession of those weapons. Although the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea supported the focus of the resolution, it was still uncomfortable with certain elements in the text, such as the call for adherence to the NPT and acceptance of IAEA safeguards.
Regarding draft resolution L.13, entitled “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments”, he said his country would vote against the text because operative paragraph 12 failed to meet standards of fairness and balance by stating that the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula depended on a unilateral undertaking by the “DPRK” to abandon its nuclear weapons. The Joint Statement of the six parties adopted in 2005 said each party had an equal share of obligations in that regard, and that text put particular emphasis on the commitment of all parties to respect each other’s sovereignty. The United States, however, refused to recognize the sovereignty of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and pursued a hostile policy towards it. His country had no nuclear ambitions, but had to deter an attack by the United States. His negative vote on the draft, however, should not be construed as sidetracking from its commitment to work with others to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.
He said his country associated with the Non-Aligned Movement’s principled position on disarmament, in that that remained the fundamental issue and the highest priority. Moreover, “the DPRK will continue to make consistent efforts to denuclearize the world, including the Korean peninsula, regardless of whether the six-party talks are resumed or not. It was ready to join in international nuclear disarmament efforts on an equal footing with other nuclear-weapon States. It would neither compete in an arms race nor overproduce nuclear weapons beyond its need for self-defence.
Regarding draft resolutions L.49, on united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and L.43, on the CTBT, he said his country would vote “no”, because paragraphs contained references to Security Council resolutions, which had followed the two nuclear tests of the “DPRK”. Those tests had been self-defensive measures, confronted with the ever increasing nuclear threats of the United States. The Security Council, however, had acted irresponsibly and unfairly, blaming his country for nuclear tests while turning a blind eye to the nuclear threats of the United States.
As far as the testing of nuclear weapons was concerned, the “P5” (permanent Security Council members) had conducted 99 per cent of all such tests so far, whereas the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had only conducted them twice. The draft resolutions were the product of high-handed arbitrariness and double standards. Moreover, L.49 expressed concern about his country’s uranium enrichment, light-water-reactor construction and launch of a space satellite, which are all for peaceful purposes. However, peaceful use of nuclear energy and access to outer space were inalienable rights. The text also said that his country could not have the status of a nuclear-weapon State under the NPT. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea did not feel any need to be “publicly recognized” as a nuclear-weapon State, as it was satisfied that it was capable of defending its sovereignty and security with its own nuclear weapons. Now that it was a full-fledged nuclear-weapon State, it was unthinkable that it would return to NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State.
As far as adherence to the CTBT was concerned, he said his country considered the matter carefully, taking into account the unique security circumstances on the Korean peninsula. The core objective of CTBT was non-proliferation. His delegation “has rather a different opinion — that nuclear disarmament should receive the highest priority, since nuclear proliferation itself stemmed from the threat of use of nuclear weapons”.
Lastly, regarding draft resolution L.41, on a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT), he said his country intended to abstain. He reiterated that the Conference on Disarmament was the only appropriate forum for the adoption of such a treaty, and any attempt to take those negotiations outside that context would undermine the body’s authority and confidence in it. Further efforts should be made for compromise and consensus. The main cause of the stalled negotiations was not the technical failing of the procedural rules, but the lack of political will to deal equally with all core issues.
The representative of Morocco said his delegation supported the negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty and remained convinced that the Conference on Disarmament was the appropriate forum for negotiating it. His delegation, therefore, would cast a positive vote on L.41. It had decided to support the draft resolution with the understanding that the group of governmental experts was not the most appropriate format for an inclusive process and for facilitating any future work of the Conference, which should agree and implement at the earliest a comprehensive and balanced programme of work that also included negotiating nuclear disarmament.
The representative of the United States said that L.2, once again this year, failed to meet the test of fairness. It was confined to concern about the activities of a single country, omitting concerns about the region. There was a lack of reference to Iran’s failure to cooperate fully with the IAEA. Notwithstanding the United States’ “no” vote, the representative reiterated her country’s longstanding position in support of the goal to create a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. The representative highlighted the United States’ readiness to work with others to build the confidence necessary for a conference to discuss such a goal, which would require States to work together to create the conditions necessary to create a conference in an unbiased way. Unfortunately, the unbalanced resolution year after year undercut prospects for such an outcome.
The representative of Norway said the delegation would vote “yes” on L.2, although it shared the concerns raised by the European Union.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution, sponsored by Egypt on behalf of the League of Arab States members of the United Nations on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/67/L.2), by whose terms the General Assembly, concerned about the threats posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons to the security and stability in the Middle East, would call on Israel to accede to the NPT without further delay, not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, renounce possession of those weapons, and place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope Agency safeguards.
The Assembly would welcome the conclusions on the Middle East of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
A recorded vote was requested on preambular paragraph 5, which would have the Assembly recall the decision on principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the NPT 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.
That paragraph was retained by a recorded vote of 159 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Israel, India), with 2 abstentions ( Bhutan, Pakistan).
A recorded vote was also requested on preambular paragraph 6, which would have the Assembly recognize with satisfaction that, in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT, the Conference undertook to make determined efforts towards the achievement of the goal of universality of the Treaty, and called upon those remaining States not party to accede to it, thereby accepting an international legally binding commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices and to accept IAEA 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 contained therein.
That paragraph was retained by a recorded vote of 159 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel), with 2 abstentions ( Bhutan, Pakistan)
That draft as a whole was then approved by a recorded vote of 158 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 5 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, India, Panama).
The Committee next approved a draft resolution on the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia (document A/C.1/67/L.4/Rev. 1) by a recorded vote of 131 in favour to 3 against (France, United Kingdom, United States), with 35 abstentions.
Sponsored by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the Assembly, convinced that the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones contributed to the achievement of general and complete disarmament, would welcome the treaty’s entry into force in 2009, and the three consultative meetings of State parties, most recently in June 2012, which identified joint activities by the Central Asian States to ensure fulfilment of the obligations set out in the Treaty.
Next, the Committee approved a draft decision sponsored by Egypt, Indonesia and Iran entitled “Missiles” (document A/C.1/67/L.7), without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly, recalling a handful of its resolutions from 2000 to 2011, would decide to include the item of the same name in the provisional agenda of its sixty-eighth session.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution, sponsored by Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden, entitled towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (document A/C.1/67/L.13).
According to the wide-ranging text, the Assembly, reiterating grave concern at the danger posed to humanity by the possibility that nuclear weapons could be used, would express deep disappointment at the continued absence of progress towards multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament issues, in particular, in the Conference on Disarmament, despite efforts during 2012 to agree on a programme of work.
It would reiterate that each article of the NPT was binding on the States parties at all times and in all circumstances, and that all States parties should be held fully accountable with respect to strict compliance with their treaty obligations. It would call upon them all to comply fully with all decisions, resolutions and commitments made at the 1995, 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences.
By further terms, the Assembly would recall the commitment by the 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. It would also encourage further steps by them to ensure the irreversible removal of all fissile material which they designated as no longer required for military purposes. It would urge them to initiate and accelerate the development of multilateral arrangements for placing such material under verification by the IAEA and call upon all States to support, within the context of the IAEA, the development of appropriate nuclear disarmament verification capabilities.
Additionally, it would call upon all States parties to the NPT to work towards the full implementation of the resolution the Middle East adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, including the convening of a Conference in 2012 to be attended by all States of the region on the establishment of a zone in the region free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction.
A further provision would have the Assembly urge the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to fulfil its commitments under the six-party talks to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes and to return, at an early date, to the NPT and to its adherence to its IAEA safeguards agreement.
A recorded vote was requested on operative paragraph 11, which would emphasize the fundamental role of the NPT and call on all States parties to spare no effort to achieve its universality, and in that regard, urge India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to it as non-nuclear-weapon States promptly and without conditions and to place all their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.
The Committee retained that provision by a recorded vote of 154 in favour to 4 against (India, Israel, Pakistan, United States), with 7 abstentions (Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, France, Germany, Guinea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom).
That draft as a whole was then approved by a vote of 159 in favour to 7 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, France, India, Israel, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States) with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, China, Federated States of Micronesia, Pakistan).
Speaking on a point of order, the representative of Guinea said that his delegation had meant to vote in favour of operative paragraph 13.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution, sponsored by India, entitled Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons (document A/C.1/67/L.25), approving it by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 47 against, with 10 abstentions (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Marshall Islands, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, Uzbekistan).
According to that text, the Assembly, convinced that the use of nuclear weapons poses the most serious threat to the survival of mankind, would express determination to achieve an international convention prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons, leading to their ultimate destruction. It would also stress that such an international convention would be an important step in a phased programme towards the complete elimination of those weapons, within a specified framework of time.
The Assembly reiterated 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.
Also sponsored by India, a draft resolution entitled Reducing nuclear danger (document A/C.1/67/L.27) was approved by a recorded vote of 108 in favour to 48 against, with 13 abstentions.
By its terms, the Assembly 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 nuclear weapons. It would request the five nuclear-weapon States to take measures towards the implementation of those steps, and call upon Member States to take the necessary measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects and to promote nuclear disarmament, with the objective of eliminating nuclear weapons.
The Committee then turned to a draft resolution sponsored by Switzerland, entitled Decreasing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems (document A/C.1/67/L.28), which would have the Assembly express concern that, notwithstanding the end of the cold war, several thousand nuclear weapons remain on high alert, ready to be launched within minutes, and call for further practical steps to be taken to decrease the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems, with a view to ensuring that all such weapons are removed from high-alert status. It would also urge States to update the General Assembly on progress made in the implementation of the present resolution.
A recorded vote was requested for preambular paragraph 8, by which the Assembly would welcome the adoption by consensus of the conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions by the 2010 NPT Review Conference, including the commitments of the nuclear-weapon States to promptly engage with a view to, inter alia, considering the legitimate interest of non-nuclear-weapon States in further reducing the operational status of nuclear weapons systems in ways that promote international stability and security.
That paragraph was retained by a recorded vote of 146 in favour to 4 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States), with 15 abstentions.
The draft as a whole was approved by a recorded vote of 145 in favour to 4 against (France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States), with 19 abstentions.
The Committee then turned to a draft resolution co-sponsored by France and Germany on preventing the acquisition by terrorists of radioactive sources (document A/C.1/67/L.39), which would have the Assembly call upon Member States to support international efforts to prevent that occurrence, and, if necessary, suppress such acts, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law.
In that connection, the Assembly would encourage Member States to enhance their national capacities with appropriate means of detection and related architecture or systems, including through international cooperation and assistance, in conformity with international law and regulations, with a view to detecting and preventing illicit trafficking in radioactive materials and sources. It would also encourage all Member States that had not yet done so to become party to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
Further to the text, the Assembly would invite Member States, in particular those producing and distributing radioactive sources, to endorse the efforts of the IAEA to enhance the safety and security of radioactive sources. It would encourage cooperation among and between Member States and through relevant international and, where appropriate, regional organizations aimed at strengthening national capacities in this regard.
That draft was approved without a vote, as orally edited by the Committee Secretary.
The Committee then took action on a draft resolution sponsored by Canada on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (document A/C.1/67/L.41). That text would have the Assembly urge the Conference on Disarmament to agree on and implement early in 2013 a balanced and comprehensive programme of work that includes the immediate commencement of negotiations on such a treaty.
It would request the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States on this treaty, as well as to establish a Group of Governmental Experts with a membership of 25 States chosen on the basis of equitable geographical representation which, taking into account a report containing the views of Member States, will make recommendations on possible elements which could contribute to a treaty. It will operate on the basis of consensus, without prejudice to national positions in future negotiations and which will meet in Geneva for two sessions of two weeks in 2014 and in 2015.
Following a recorded vote on operative paragraph 3, concerning the establishment of a group of governmental experts, the provision was retained by 143 in favour to 3 against (Iran, Pakistan, Syria), with 22 abstentions.
Next, the draft as a whole was approved, as orally revised by the Committee Secretary, by a recorded vote of 148 in favour to 1 against (Pakistan), with 20 abstentions.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution introduced by Australia on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (document A/C.1/67/L.43), by which the Assembly would stress the vital importance and urgency of its signature and ratification without delay and without conditions in order to achieve its earliest entry into force.
It would underline the need to maintain momentum towards completion of all elements of the verification regime, as well as urge all States not to carry out nuclear-weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions, to maintain their moratoriums in this regard and to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the Treaty, while stressing that these measures do not have the same permanent and legally binding effect as the entry into force of the Treaty.
The resolution would also urge all States to remain seized of the issue at the highest political level and, where in a position to do so, to promote adherence to the Treaty through bilateral and joint outreach, seminars and other means.
A recorded vote was requested on preambular paragraph 6, by which the Assembly would welcome the adoption by consensus of the conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions of the 2010 Review Conference of the NPT, which, inter alia, reaffirmed the vital importance of CTBT’s entry into force as a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime and included specific actions to be taken in support of the treaty’s entry into force.
That paragraph was retained by a vote of 163 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 4 abstentions ( India, Israel, Mauritius, Pakistan).
The draft as a whole was approved by a vote of 166 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions ( India, Mauritius, Syria).
The Committee next took action on a draft resolution introduced by Japan on united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/67/L.49) by which the Assembly would reaffirm the importance of all States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons complying with their obligations under all its articles, and call upon all States not party to the Treaty to accede as non-nuclear-weapon States promptly and without any conditions.
It 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, emphasizing the importance of the principles of irreversibility, verifiability and transparency. It would also welcome the ongoing implementation by the Russian Federation and the United States of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START), and encourage them to continue discussions on follow-on measures in order to achieve deeper reductions in their nuclear arsenals.
The Assembly would 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, stressing the importance of maintaining existing moratoriums on nuclear-weapon test explosions and reaffirming the importance of the continued development of the Treaty verification regime.
In another provision, it would reiterate its call for the immediate commencement of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and its early conclusion, and call upon all nuclear-weapon States and States not parties to the NPT to declare and maintain moratoriums on the production of fissile material for any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
It would call upon the nuclear-weapon States to promptly engage with a view to further diminishing the role and significance of nuclear weapons in all military and security concepts, doctrines and policies.
Further, the Assembly would recognize the legitimate interest of non-nuclear-weapon States in receiving unequivocal and legally binding security assurances from nuclear-weapon States, which could strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and call upon all nuclear-weapon States to fully respect their existing commitments with regard to security assurances.
It would encourage the establishment of further nuclear-weapon-free zones, where appropriate, and recognize that, by signing and ratifying relevant protocols that contain negative security assurances, nuclear-weapon States would undertake individual legally binding commitments with respect to the status of such zones and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against States parties to such treaties.
A recorded vote was requested on operative paragraph 2, concerning accession to the NPT. The Committee retained that provision by 165 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel) with 3 abstentions ( Bhutan, Mauritius, Pakistan).
A recorded vote was also requested for operative paragraph 8, concerning ratification of the CTBT and maintenance of test moratoriums on nuclear-weapon test explosions. That provision was retained by 165 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) with 4 abstentions ( India, Iran, Mauritius, Syria).
A recorded vote was also requested for operative paragraph 9, on a fissile material ban, following which the provision was retained by 162 in favour to 2 against (China, Pakistan), with 8 abstentions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, India, Iran, Israel, Russian Federation, Syria, Mauritius).
Operative paragraph 16, which concerneduniversalization of the comprehensive safeguards agreements of the IAEA, also required a recorded vote, following which that provision was retained by 161 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 8 abstentions (Argentina, Brazil, India, Iran, Israel, Mauritius, Pakistan, Zimbabwe).
The Committee then approved the resolution as a whole by a recorded vote of 159 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 12 abstentions.
Next, the Committee took action on a draft resolution entitled Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/67/L.52), approving it by a recorded vote of 113 in favour to none against, with 57 abstentions.
Bearing in mind the need to allay the legitimate concern of the States of the world with regard to ensuring lasting security for their peoples, that text would have the Assembly reaffirm the urgent need to reach an early agreement on effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
Also by that text, the Assembly would appeal to all States, especially the nuclear-weapon States, to work actively towards an early agreement on a common approach and, in particular, on a common formula that could be included in an international instrument of a legally binding character. It would recommend that further intensive efforts be devoted to the search for such a common approach or common formula and that the various alternative approaches, including, in particular, those considered in the Conference on Disarmament, be further explored in order to overcome the difficulties.
It would also recommend that the Conference on Disarmament actively continue intensive negotiations with a view to reaching early agreement and concluding effective international agreements to assure the non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
Acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution entitled African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (document A/C.1/67/L.55), by which the Assembly would call on African States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible. It would also call upon the States contemplated in Protocol III to the Treaty that have not yet done so to take all necessary measures to ensure the speedy application of the Treaty to territories for which they are internationally responsible, as applicable.
It would also call upon the African States parties to the NPT that have not yet done so to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with the IAEA, thereby satisfying the requirements of the Treaty of Pelindaba, and to conclude additional protocols to their safeguards agreements on the basis of the Model Protocol.
Explaining his position after the votes on a number of draft resolutions, the representative of China, regarding L.13, said the country had always upheld the idea of the total destruction of nuclear weapons. China endorsed the purpose of the draft resolution; however, some content had exceeded the requirement of the 2010 NPT Review Conference documents, so the delegation had abstained.
With regard to L.41, he said his delegation had abstained in the vote on operative paragraph 3, as well as on the resolution as a whole. Its main consideration was that the resolution did not specify that the Conference on Disarmament was the only viable venue for negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty. To move the central issue away from the Conference would not help consolidate and defend its status. He urged the Conference to start negotiations on a fissile material ban as soon as possible, with the participation of the major relevant parties, with the aim of achieving nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Concerning L.49, China believed that it could not support operative paragraph 9 regarding a moratorium on the production of fissile material, as that would not help promote the early start of treaty negotiations. Therefore, China had cast a negative vote on that paragraph and abstained on the resolution as a whole.
The representative of Australia, speaking about L.2, discussed his country’s record, including its strong advocacy for the universalization of the NPT and IAEA safeguards, as well as its support for verifiable nuclear-weapon-free zones, including the establishment of one in the Middle East. Australia supported much of draft resolution L.2, but believed that its reference to just Israel and not to other risks in the region was unbalanced. That was particularly so when Iran had deeply troubling nuclear activities and Syria would not address the nature of its weapons of mass destruction activities. So, Australia had abstained.
The representative of Switzerland said the delegation had supported draft resolution L.2 because it promoted universalization of the NPT by all States in the Middle East. Switzerland welcomed measures for a conference to facilitate achievement of that goal.
The representative of India, explaining the delegation’s vote on various resolutions, said that it had abstained from voting on L.2 as a whole and had voted against preambular paragraphs 5 and 6, because it believed that the focus of the resolution should be limited to the region that it intended to address. Regarding L.13, India remained committed to the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, sharing the view that both nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament were possible. Nevertheless, the delegation had voted against the draft because it could not accept the call to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon State. Nuclear weapons were part of India’s national security.
Furthermore, concerning draft resolution L.28, the representative, noting India’s sponsorship of the resolution on ”Reducing nuclear danger” said its goal was to assist other resolutions as well. Despite the “no votes” of some sponsors on L.27, India had voted for L.28 as a step towards delegitimizing nuclear weapons. However, it had abstained from voting on preambular paragraph 8 because India was not a party to the referenced treaty, so it was not bound by its outcome.
Regarding draft resolution L.40, the representative said that India maintained fraternal ties with Mongolia and respected that country’s choice and status. With regard to draft resolution L.41, India supported a treaty banning fissile materials, but the establishment of a group of governmental experts should not replace the Conference on Disarmament in negotiating the treaty, the delegate said.
Regarding L.49, India felt that the draft resolution fell short of the objective of a verifiable nuclear disarmament process in an agreed multilateral framework, said the speaker. India had voted against operative paragraph 2 because it could not accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State. It had abstained on operative paragraphs 8, 9 and 16. With regard to draft resolution L.55, India respected the sovereignty of States to create non-nuclear free zones and, enjoying friendly relations with Africa, would respect such a zone in Africa.
The representative of the Russian Federation, then, detailed his country’s reasons for its votes on draft resolutions L.2, L.13, L.28 and L.41, saying the delegation had fully supported L.2 because the establishment of a nuclear free zone was one of its top foreign policy priorities. The Russian Federation called on all countries involved to contribute to creating such a zone, which would help resolve issues relating to the peace process in the region. The first step should be conducting a conference on the topic. As a State sponsor of such a conference, the Russian Federation was serious about its obligations and was taking active steps to ensure that all States in the region were involved. The Russian Federation believed that delaying the convening of the conference could have negative political consequences on the regional and international level.
The Russian Federation, said the delegate, had voted against L.13 because it reflected a trend in adapting resolutions in the nuclear disarmament cluster, the representative continued. The Russian Federation was not against an innovative approach in the area of nuclear disarmament, but at same time, thought that the flexible interpretation of documents in that area, such as the NPT, was unacceptable. Furthermore, in the resolution, there was a contradictory appeal in expanding the mandate of the IAEA, which the Russian Federation thought distorted basic international agreements and was destructive in terms of strengthening the NPT regime.
The Russian Federation had opposed L.28 because it was unacceptable to take out of context certain provisions, such as the 13 practical steps towards nuclear disarmament agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference and the 2010 NPT Action Plan. Everyone knew that those documents were complex in nature and that various aspects were interlinked. They could not use parts of them selectively. Issues could not be examined without looking at international security as a whole. Also, the authors of the draft did not even look at the specificities of national arsenals.
The representative said the Russian Federation favoured L.41 since it had always supported the international process on banning fissile materials, but the delegation had abstained when voting on the operative part of the resolution to create a group of governmental experts, because that would not contribute to solving the issue of the production of fissile materials.
The representative of Brazil , explaining his delegation’s position on several texts, said his delegation voted in favour of L.25 on the understanding that a gradual phasing programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons could be a realistic approach. The NPT review process had also noted that nuclear disarmament should be pursued within a legal framework, which he said should also be done within specific timelines.
He said his delegation had voted in favour of L.27, as the most serious threat came, not from the use of nuclear weapons, but from their very existence. Thus, de-alerting and de-targeting them should not supplant efforts towards their complete elimination. His delegation had voted in favour of L.41 on a treaty banning fissile material for nuclear weapons, because it was committed to the objective of nuclear disarmament and believed such a treaty could bring added value to those efforts. However, such a treaty could only be considered a concrete step towards nuclear disarmament if it dealt with existing stocks of plutonium and enriched uranium, which were enough to use in nuclear weapons for many centuries to come. A treaty that failed to address that would not further the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.
Also, he said, that process must take place within the Conference on Disarmament and not in an alternative context. With the IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreements, there was already a “de facto FMCT”, but the political will was needed on the part of nuclear-weapon States to pick up corresponding obligations to free the world of those weapons that threatened humankind and hampered efforts towards peace.
He said that his delegation had abstained on L.49 because, while it shared the ultimate goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons, it believed that the draft resolution could benefit from some adjustments in order to promote the objectives in a more effective and balanced manner.
Regarding the resolution’s operative paragraph 16, he recalled that the IAEA Additional Protocol was a voluntary instrument, and felt that the language used in that provision would benefit from that used in the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. It was the sovereign decision of any State to conclude an Additional Protocol, and that should be universally applied once the complete elimination of nuclear weapons had been achieved, he added.
Also speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Cuba said, concerning L.43 on the Test-Ban Treaty, said that her delegation maintained a clear position and objected to all such of tests, including those undertaken with super computers and other sophisticated explosive methods. For that reason, her delegation had always voted in favour of that resolution, and it had done so again this year.
However, her delegation also believed it was important to point out that with the reiteration of operative paragraph five, the resolution drifted away from its imminently technical nature and did not help in solving the problem. Diplomacy and dialogue should continue towards a long-term solution in the Korean peninsula, and she reaffirmed support for the peninsula’s denuclearization. She was concerned with the slow movement in that regard, as well as the general lack of progress by nuclear-weapon States towards the full elimination of their nuclear arsenals. Further, the text should be kept relevant to the CTBT and avoid matters of controversy, focusing instead on the need for consensus.
The representative of Cuba said her delegation had voted in favour of L.41 in its entirety because it favoured the launching of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament for a non-discriminatory, multilateral and verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty, which also covered existing stocks. Negotiating such a treaty would be a positive but insufficient measure if it did not define subsequent steps to bring about nuclear disarmament.
It was everyone’s responsibility to preserve and strengthen the Conference on Disarmament, for which a fair and balanced programme of work focused on the real disarmament priorities should quickly be adopted. Regarding operative paragraph 3, calling for establishment of a governmental expert group, her delegation had abstained because it believed that that would be a non-inclusive step with limited participation on a topic of interest to all parties. Those matters were highly sensitive and of interest to all Member States. Creating groups of experts should be the exception, not the rule, and there should instead be inclusive processes in which all States were on equal footing in all disarmament bodies of the United Nations. Much of the current paralysis was due to a lack of political will on the part of some States when it came to making real progress, she added.
The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking also on behalf of France and the United States, said regarding draft resolution L.4 that their three Governments had been in touch with the five Central Asian States and were encouraged by their willingness to hold the consultations. France, the United Kingdom and the United States believed that nuclear-weapon-free zones could help. Some issues in the draft were outstanding, namely article 12 of the treaty, but the three countries supported the zone in Central Asia and underscored their readiness to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement.
Regarding L.28, the three countries continued to disagree with the basic premise that the current level of readiness increased the risk of the unintentional use of nuclear weapons. The operational readiness of their respective systems was at a level with their national security requirements. They had decreased their operational readiness since the early 1990’s, and their respective nuclear weapons systems were no longer targeted at any State. While alert levels had been lowered, the relationship between those levels and security was complex. Their nuclear weapons were also subjected to control to prevent their accidental use, and could only be used at the sole direction of the command of authority.
Speaking in a national capacity, the representative said that the United Kingdom had cast a negative vote on L.13. That was not a new resolution and the delegation’s previous reasons for not supporting it remained valid. It had voted “no” as the many changes to the text had taken it further away from the NPT Action Plan, which should guide the work. There was a need for all States that possessed nuclear weapons to promote the shared objective of making the world safer, reflecting the fact that a global approach was required.
The representative of the United States , also explaining his delegation’s position on L.13, said that it shared the views and opposition expressed by the United Kingdom. The common understanding was that the 2010 NPT Review Conference should be preserved and not altered by offering new concepts, as L.13 did.
The representative of New Zealand said that the delegation had voted “yes” on L.2. New Zealand was a strong supporter of the NPT and committed to a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. It looked forward to the convening of a conference on that topic. New Zealand also noted that the IAEA would have a crucial role in verifying this zone, and signing the Additional Protocol would enhance the Agency’s ability to continue its work. On record was also New Zealand’s concern about the absence of the names of any other States in the resolution. New Zealand hoped that that lack of balance would be addressed in future years.
The representative of Canada said that L.2 unfairly singled out Israel without addressing the non-compliance of other States that were already party to the NPT. The resolution was deficient because it ignored reality, including Iran’s non-compliance with the Security Council and Syria’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA. For these reasons, Canada had voted against it.
Concerning L.41, the representative of Ecuador said that a matter of such importance should not be reduced to exclusive treatment by some States. The international community called for the broadening of the membership of the Conference on Disarmament. The creation of a group of governmental experts would limit the degree to which the concerns of members were being represented equally. Nuclear non-proliferation mattered to all parties, not just a few. The place for negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty was in the Conference on Disarmament, as it was the only multilateral negotiating forum. The delegation believed that that could be reflected in preambular paragraph 9, which could also express that those negotiations should address future production and existing stockpiles. That would address the matter holistically. Hence, this was the reason for the abstention of Ecuador. The delegation also stressed the need for an international binding instrument on security assurances.
The representative of France stated that the country had regretted having had to vote against L.13, but the text did not reflect the obligation undertaken in the 2010 NPT Review Conference or the balance between the Treaty’s three main pillars. Furthermore, France was struck by the lack of a reference to negotiations on the treaty banning production of fissile material. Also, the resolution did not deal sufficiently with NPT compliance obligations and there was no mention of the challenge represented by Iran’s non-compliance. France supported certain aspects, but many of the proposals taken on board led them away from common sense and away from the NPT. The Action Plan should be the guide, and France was disappointed that this resolution focused exclusively on nuclear disarmament. Although the delegation could not support the text, it was ready to keep working on it.
Regarding resolution L. 41, the delegation said the draft reflected commitments in the area of nuclear disarmament, and he had supported it, but France was concerned about the way the text had evolved over the past two years. France wished to continue implementing the 2010 NPT Action Plan, he added.
The representative of Israel explained the delegation’s position on three draft resolutions. Concerning L.2, the delegation had voted against it because of its unbalanced approach singling out Israel, which would not solve the greater problem of peace and security in the Middle East. The fact that its sponsor had chosen to include a reference to the 2012 conference showed ill will towards the matter. Regarding L.41, the representative said that several States in the Middle East had a poor record in terms of their nuclear non-proliferation obligations. Concerning L.43, Israel had voted in its favour, however it could not support some of the language. The CTBT and NPT were not linked, and an attempt to include a reference to the NPT conference would only jeopardize the CTBT.
The representative of Spain, explaining the delegation’s vote on L.55, said that the country had been in favour of the Pelindaba Treaty, however, it had decided not to sign the third protocol. First of all, the Treaty contained guarantees regarding nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, which Spain had already adopted under other treaties. Second, Spain had already taken necessary measures so that the content of the Treaty applied to its territory. Spain had always supported this resolution; however, it could not join the consensus on operative paragraph 5. Spain did not want to alter the resolution except for operative paragraph 5.
The representative of Pakistan said the delegation continued to support the focus of L.2, but was disappointed in the unrealistic call on those countries outside the NPT to join it. Pakistan had voted in favour of the resolution, but abstained from preambular paragraphs 5 and 6. Regarding L.13, the delegation was disappointed by operative paragraph 11, which called on Pakistan to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State. Regarding L.28, Pakistan, as a non-party to the NPT, said it could not subscribe to its obligations.
Regarding L.41, the representative recognized the efforts by the Canadian delegation to conduct informal consultations on the resolution, however, it considered that the group of governmental experts proposal was ill-advised and added no value to the process or substance of a fissile material cut-off treaty. Pakistan remained convinced that changing the format or forum would not help; therefore, it had voted against the resolution as a whole.
Regarding L. 43, the delegate said Pakistan had consistently supported the CTBT and had voted in favour of this year’s resolution as well. As it did not consider itself bound by decisions of the NPT Review Conferences, Pakistan had abstained from voting on preambular paragraph 6.
Regarding L.49, Pakistan continued to disagree with several of its provisions, said the delegate. It was unrealistic for Pakistan to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State. While Pakistan supported the total elimination of nuclear weapons, it did not agree to the immediate commencement of fissile material cut-off treaty negotiations, which it viewed as selective. In view of those reservations, Pakistan had abstained, while voting against operative paragraph 9.
Regarding L.41, the representative of Egypt said that the international community had indentified nuclear disarmament as the priority in multilateral disarmament diplomacy, as far back as the first resolution of the General Assembly. Within that context, his delegation had always considered a treaty on fissile material as a critical step. Taking into consideration both nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation objectives, Egypt had engaged in constructive dialogue with Canada and other interested delegations on the draft, and had suggested operative language asking for an explicit reference to stockpiles. While he appreciated the positive response to some of his delegation’s concerns, given the absence of an explicit reference that the work would take place exclusively in the Conference on Disarmament, and other concerns, Egypt had thus abstained in the vote on the operative paragraph and on the draft as a whole.
The representative of the United Arab Emirates said his delegation had voted in favour of L.41, as well as operative paragraph 3 as amended before the vote. He said it was significant for his delegation to vote in favour of that paragraph, as well as on the draft resolution as whole, particularly taking into consideration that a governmental expert group would only make recommendations on possible aspects that could contribute to the creation of a treaty and would not serve to negotiate the treaty. The call for the group’s establishment in that resolution was not meant to be a replacement but merely a supportive function to the Conference on Disarmament, and was not mandated to take a decision on any “FMCT”.
The representative of Japan, speaking also on behalf of Sweden, said they had supported L.4/Rev.1 and welcomed the entry into force of the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty in 2009. Such a zone was the first in the northern hemisphere and would encompass an area where nuclear weapons previously existed. He welcomed the expressed readiness of the five Central Asian states to continue consultations on a number of the Treaty’s provisions and encouraged the States concerned to accelerate consultations towards early progress. He also encouraged those States to keep countries with an interest in that process informed.
He said the delegations had voted in favour of L.52, as deepening substantive discussions and ways to increase the effectiveness of negative security assurances were essential to realizing a world free of nuclear weapons. He strongly hoped that the Conference would break its longstanding stalemate and advance its substantive work on negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty, as well as on other important issues.
The representative of Iran said that his delegation had, as in previous years, voted in favour of L.2, which dealt with the most important aspect of security in the Middle East, namely the threat of the nuclear arsenals of the Zionist regime. That regime, which officially acknowledged the presence of nuclear weapons and enjoyed the support of the United States, was the only threat to the countries of the Middle East and beyond. A nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region was proposed by Iran in 1974, and the General Assembly had uninterruptedly endorsed the proposal since then.
He said that the 2012 conference would provide the international community with an opportunity to exert maximum pressure on the Israeli regime to eliminate all nuclear weapons and accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon party, and place all its facilities under IAEA safeguards, thus paving the way for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. It was ironic that countries like Canada, the United States and those of the European Union had kept “deadly silent” on Israel’s clandestine nuclear regime, and made baseless allegations against Iran’s peaceful and safeguarded activities. Countries that hosted nuclear weapons in violation of the NPT did not have the right to express concern over Iran’s peaceful programme.
On L.13, Iran had joined consensus, but wished to put on record that the resolution was acceptable in as much as the content was in line with the 2010 NPT Review Conference. In regard to the meetings of nuclear-weapon States, he stressed that the reduction in the deployment and operational status of nuclear weapons could not substitute for their total elimination.
On L.41, he said his delegation had abstained. In proposing that resolution, some countries had intended to misuse the General Assembly as leverage to prioritize the items on the Conference on Disarmament’s agenda. Nuclear disarmament was the highest priority on the disarmament agenda, and the total elimination of those weapons was the only guarantee against their use or threat of use. Regarding a treaty to ban fissile material for nuclear weapons, he strongly believed that it should not be developed as a mere non-proliferation instrument. His delegation would never accept such an approach, and he stressed that the scope of such a treaty should not colourthe past, present and future production of fissile material for nuclear and other explosive devices and provide for their complete destruction. Issues on the Conference’s agenda should not be taken outside the Conference, as that was a premature attempt to divert attention from the total elimination of nuclear weapons as the highest priority in disarmament.
He said his delegation had supported L.43. However his delegation wished to disassociate itself from operative paragraph 5 because of its language and the way in which it was drafted. As explicitly stated, the General Assembly was entitled to discuss independently any issue in the scope of the Charter and make recommendations. There was no need, therefore, to refer to the work of other bodies that was done in a completely different context.
The representative of Syria said his delegation had voted in favour of L.2 because of the belief in the utmost importance of the issue regarding peace and security in the region, and because it believed in the need to create a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons. He reminded “those who had weak memories” that Syria had been one of the first States to have called for creating a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, and had done so since its accession to the NPT in 1968. As was known near and far, Syria had contributed to many initiatives aimed at achieving that noble cause, the most recent of which was the resolution submitted to the Security Council in 2003 on behalf of the Arab Group. It proposed to clear the Middle East region of all weapons of mass destruction, with nuclear weapons at the forefront, in the framework of collective international monitoring and United Nations supervision.
He said that Israel’s representative, in a “comical” intervention that had brought to mind the “theatre of the absurd”, had attempted in a clearly desperate way to mislead the esteemed Committee by making false allegations, in order to distract from the dangers of Israeli nuclear weapons and the fact that Israel did not abide by international resolutions, was not a party to the NPT, and had not placed its nuclear installations under IAEA supervision. It was no secret nowadays that Israel followed a policy of aggressive nuclear armament, based on a huge nuclear arsenal and delivery means, whose size was larger than that of the British and French. Israel and its allies were hiding the dangers that arose from its possession of nuclear weapons and the threat to use them against countries in the region, under what was called a “policy of nuclear ambiguity”.
It was ironic, he said, for the Israeli representative to issue false allegations, while Israel itself refused to abide by resolutions of international legitimacy and place its nuclear installation under IAEA supervision. He called on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to join the NPT as a non-nuclear party and remove its nuclear arsenal and means of delivery in a manner that would contribute to achieving peace and security in the region. Most countries in the region were looking forward to convening a conference, towards the end of the year in Helsinki, Finland, to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone.
Israel’s announcement in the IAEA conference this past September had confirmed the intention to evade the resolution of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and thus “foil” the Helsinki conference, he declared, saying that everyone knew that Israel was the only party in the region that owned nuclear weapons and their delivery means.
As for what the statement this morning by the representative of the United States, he said that country was the main party that breached and violated the NPT and threatened its credibility. American nuclear weapons were spread outside the boundaries of the United States over eight countries, which was a clear breach of the Convention. The United States’ nuclear non-proliferation policies lacked objectivity and were based on double standards and hypocrisy.
He said he also regretted confirmation of the “unannounced alliance” with Israel expressed by the representative of Cyprus on behalf of the European Union, questioning Syria’s position with regard to IAEA cooperation. That was out of place, provocative, and protected Israel’s evasion of its nuclear non-proliferation responsibility. The representative of Cyprus was in no position to give advice or to criticize others, as her state and most others in the European Union were in non-compliance with the NPT because there were nuclear weapons on the territories of European Union States, and they cooperated in a direct and indirect, public and private manner with Israel by furnishing it with nuclear, chemical and biological material for weapons. Those States had provided Israel with equipment and expertise, not to mention political cover.
He said that if members of the European Union were really concerned with non-proliferation, they would have exerted real pressure on Israel to participate in the 2012 conference and to join the NPT. Syria had joined well before many members of the European Union and abided by its provisions, as well as those of the IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreement. Syria received the Agency inspector on a regular basis, and all reports noted that the country was in full compliance with its agreement.
He went on to remind the Committee of the former rights of reply made by Syria regarding allegations made by France, reminding that delegation that its country, France, was the sole party responsible for the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, by providing a mono-reactor to Israel in 1955. It continued to help Israel in all aspects of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction. France, in 1960, had committed the first nuclear test in the Algerian desert, and noted “fresh reports” confirming that those tests had been committed and made with “live human test subjects”.
He asked the Canadian delegation to view the IAEA report on Syria’s positive cooperation, as that would hopefully set her straight in her false statement. Her delegation had given the impression that her country supported Israel’s violations, which contravened international law, the United Nations and the Charter, and supported Israel’s continued possession of nuclear weapons.
Cluster 2 Drafts: Other Weapons of Mass Destruction
The Committee next considered a draft resolution, introduced by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, entitled measures to uphold the authority of the 1925 Geneva Protocol (document A/C.1/67/L.15).
By its terms, the Assembly, recalling the long-standing determination of the international community to achieve the effective prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical and biological weapons, would renew its call to all States to strictly observe the principles and objectives of the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, and reaffirm the vital necessity of upholding its provisions. It would also call upon those States that continue to maintain reservations to the 1925 Geneva Protocol to withdraw them.
That text was approved by a vote of 166 in favour to 1 against (South Sudan), with 3 abstentions ( Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United States).
Also acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution sponsored by Poland 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.1/67/L.44).
According to that draft, the Assembly would emphasize that the universality of this Convention was fundamental to the achievement of its objective and purpose, and would call upon all States that had not yet done so to become parties to the Convention without delay. It would also underline that implementation of the Convention made a major contribution to international peace and security through the elimination of existing stockpiles of chemical weapons and the prohibition of the acquisition or use of chemical weapons, and provides for assistance and protection in the event of use or threat of use of chemical weapons.
Also by that text, the Assembly would note that the effective application of the verification system builds confidence in compliance with the Convention by States parties, and would stress the importance of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in verifying compliance with the Convention as well as in promoting the timely and efficient accomplishment of its objectives.
It would reaffirm that the provisions of the Convention shall be implemented in a manner that avoids hampering the economic or technological development of States parties and international cooperation in the field of chemical activities for purposes not prohibited under the treaty.
In an explanation of position after the vote, the representative of Iran said the delegation attached importance to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. While the continued existence of chemical weapons undermined that instrument, Iran believed that the non-compliance of the major possessors was a source of great concern. Although the delegation had joined the consensus, it was dissatisfied with the lack of non-compliance by the major parties.
The representative of South Sudan then announced for the record that the delegation had erroneously voted in favour of L.15 when it had sought to abstain.
Cluster 3: Outer Space (Disarmament Aspects)
Making a general statement before the vote, Ms. LEDESMA HERNÁNDEZ ( Cuba) said that an arms race in outer space would be a threat to international security. It was essential to develop transparency and confidence-building measures for space. Her country wanted to prevent an outer space arms race, which required verification and monitoring to ensure transparency. Cuba hoped that the draft resolution would garner the support of all Member States.
The Committee then turned its attention to a draft resolution, co-sponsored by Egypt and Sri Lanka, entitled Prevention of an arms race in outer space (document A/C.1/67/L.3). That text would have the Assembly reaffirm the importance and urgency of preventing an arms race in outer space. It would also reaffirm the readiness of all States to contribute to that common objective, in conformity with the provisions of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.
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.
It 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. It would also invite the Conference to establish a working group under its agenda item entitled “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” as early as during its 2013 session.
The Committee approved that draft by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions ( Israel, United States).
Cluster 4: Conventional Weapons
Making a general statement before the vote, SOKVENG NGOUN ( Cambodia), speaking on behalf of Albania and Slovenia, said the delegation had the honour to table the draft resolution entitled “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction” (document A/C.1/67/L.8). The text, he said, was similar to that of previous years, the main purpose of which was to emphasize the Convention’s universalization, as well as to promote care for and reintegration of mine victims. Support by United Nations Member States for this resolution would signal hope to all mine victims. The text had received support in the past and Cambodia hoped that, this year, it would receive even wider support to put an end to the suffering of mine victims and to achieve a mine-free world.
In explanation of position before action, the representative of Morocco said his delegation would vote in favour of L.8, in order to reiterate its support for the humanitarian goals of the Convention. Morocco supported the elimination of anti-personnel mines, as well as efforts to destroy stockpiles and assist the mines. Mine-clearance efforts by Morocco included providing financing and care for mine victims as well as support to countries in the region, and engaging in dialogue with non-governmental organizations to implement the treaty’s goals. Morocco also regularly took part in meetings of States parties to the Convention.
Next, the Committee approved draft resolution L.8 by a recorded vote of 152 in favour to none against, with 19 abstentions.
By its terms, the Assembly would note with regret that anti-personnel mines continue to be used in some conflicts around the world, causing human suffering and impeding post-conflict development. It would invite all States that had not yet signed that Convention to accede to it without delay, and it would urge all States that had signed but not ratified to do so without delay.
Stressing the importance of the full and effective implementation of and compliance with the Convention, that draft would also have the Assembly urge all States parties to provide the Secretary-General with complete and timely information in order to promote transparency and compliance with the Convention. It would renew its call upon all States and other relevant parties to work together to promote, support and advance the care, rehabilitation and social and economic reintegration of mine victims, mine risk education programmes and the removal and destruction of anti-personnel mines placed or stockpiled throughout the world.
By further terms of the text, the Assembly would urge all States to remain seized of the issue at the highest political level and, where possible, promote adherence to the Convention through bilateral, subregional, regional and multilateral contacts, outreach, seminars and other means.
Then, acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution, as orally amended, on 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 (document A/C.1/67/L.12).
According to the draft, as orally revised, the Assembly would call upon all States that have not yet done so to take all measures to become parties to this Convention and the Protocols thereto, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to these instruments at an early date and so as to ultimately achieve their universality.
The Assembly would emphasize the importance of the universalization of the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War, and welcome the decisions by the Fourth Review Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention to adopt an accelerated plan of action to promote universality of the Convention and its Protocols, adopt actions to enhance the implementation of the compliance mechanism, continue the Sponsorship Programme within the framework of the Convention, and encourage States to contribute to it.
By further terms, it would welcome the commitment by States parties to contribute to the further development of international humanitarian law and, in that context, to keep under review both the development of new weapons and uses of weapons, which may have indiscriminate effects or cause unnecessary suffering.
In an explanation of position after the vote, the representative of Egypt said that the delegation had abstained on L.8 due to the unbalanced nature of the instrument, which had been developed outside of the United Nations framework. The Mine-Ban Convention lacked balance related to humanitarian concerns and legitimate military use, particularly in countries with long borders. The Convention also did not require States to remove the anti-personnel mines, which made it hard for other States like Egypt, with millions of anti-personnel mines from the Second World War, to meet their mine clearance requirements on their own. That was further exacerbated by weak international cooperation. The Convention itself was weak and dependent on donors, and it did not enjoy international consensus.
The representative of Syria, speaking about L.12, said the delegation had joined the consensus, as was practice. Syria’s understanding of the new operative paragraph 6, relating to welcoming decisions by the Fourth Review Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention, was that that did not represent a commitment on the part of States that were non-parties.
Concerning L.8, the representative of Iran said that landmines had claimed a great number of innocent lives, particularly among women and children. Iran welcomed every effort to stop that trend; however, the draft resolution focused mainly on humanitarian concerns and did not take into account legitimate military concerns to protect territories. Unfortunately, landmines remained an effective means for certain countries to ensure their security and to protect civilians. More international efforts were needed to explore new alternatives to landmines. The international community should speed up mine clearance and establish sustainable indigenous programmes. Iran, owing to its concerns, could not support the draft resolution and cast an abstention vote.
The representative of Cuba said the delegation had abstained on L.8. Cuba shared concern about the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel mines, but was subjected to a constant policy of hostility by the greatest super-Power. Cuba would continue to strike the right balance between humanitarian concerns and seek to protect its territorial integrity. It called on all countries that could do so to assist with the economic and social rehabilitation of mine victims.
The representative of Libya said the delegation had also abstained on L.8. Though Libya had not joined the agreement yet, it was keen to participate in its meetings as an observer. Libya had hosted a workshop on landmines with the Canadian Government. It was cognizant of the human suffering that mines caused, particularly given that Libya suffered as a result of those weapons during the Second World War. The Convention ignored the damages inflicted on countries — Libya included — as a result of wars, and did not establish a mechanism to help countries affected by mines left by colonial Powers.
Regarding L.12, the delegate said Libya was determined to review the international disarmament instruments to which it had not yet adhered. As soon as its Constitution was adopted and the parliament was elected, Libya would study all of the country’s previous positions on those instruments.
The representative of Pakistan said that landmines continued to play a significant role in regions of dispute. Pakistan was committed to pursuing a ban on anti-personnel mines and was the largest contributor to mine clearance operations in several affected countries. It enjoyed a unique record of clearing mine fields in South-East Asia.
The representative of India, explaining his abstention on L.8, said that the country supported the vision of a world free from the threat of anti-personnel mines, noting that India had discontinued the production of non-detectable anti-personnel mines and observed a moratorium on their transfer. India was a party to agreements taking into account the legitimate defence requirements of States, particularly those with long borders. The availability of military technologies that could perform the legitimate defensive role of anti-personnel mines could facilitate the goal of complete elimination of such mines. India supported victim assistance and was willing to contribute expertise to that end. India would continue to attend meetings regarding the Convention as an observer.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his delegation had abstained during the vote because it was unable to accede to the Mine-Ban Convention, owing to specific security circumstances of the Korean peninsula. While the country shared the humanitarian concerns, it could not forego the use of mines in preserving its sovereignty. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had been subjected to the hostility of the United States, so it was keeping the option open to use mines on the Korean peninsula. Under imminent security threats, the country was unable to join the Convention. He added that the use of mines by his country had not caused suffering among the “innocent civilians”.
The representative of Singapore, speaking of L.8, said her delegation would support all initiatives regarding the Mine-Ban Convention. The country supported the treaty by attending its meetings. At the same time, Singapore supported the right of States to self-defence, and a ban might be counterproductive. Singapore would continue to work with members of the international community to find a truly global solution.
The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania said that in collaboration with a non-governmental organization, it had developed a cheap technology for detonating. It used rats, which was very safe, because in order to detonate mines, 11 kilograms of weight were needed, and the rats only weighed 3.5 kilograms.
Cluster 5: Other Disarmament Measures and International Security
Delivering a general statement, Ms. LEDESMA HERNÁNDEZ ( Cuba), on L.16, said that the international community should adopt precautionary measures for the use of depleted uranium, as well as engage in long-term research projects about its effects. Environmental norms should be borne in mind when negotiating arms control agreements, and thus her delegation supported L.17. Along those lines, States should contribute to the compliance with those norms when implementing any treaty or convention to which they were a party.
On L.18, she said that text on multilateralism in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation was an important contribution, and her delegation supported it. She was assured that the draft would enjoy broad support, as in past years.
In explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of the United Kingdom, also speaking on behalf of France, said those delegations would join consensus on L.17. However, in doing so, he wished to note that those delegations operated under their own stringent guidelines, and saw no direct connection between general environmental standards and multilateral arms control.
The representative of the United States, also speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, said her delegation would not participate in the action on L.17, because, as her delegation had previously explained, the United States operated under stringent domestic environmental regimes on many activities, including on disarmament and arms control agreements. She saw no direct connection between general environmental standards and multilateral arms control, and did not consider it a matter germane to the First Committee.
Next, the Committee approved the draft resolution, sponsored by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium (document A/C.1/67/L.16) by a recorded vote of 138 in favour to 4 against (France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States) with 28 abstentions.
It would have the Assembly consider that studies conducted so far by relevant international organizations have not provided a detailed enough account of the magnitude of the potential long-term effects on human beings and the environment of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium, and express conviction that, as humankind became more aware of the need to take immediate measures to protect the environment, any event that could jeopardize such efforts would require urgent attention to implement the required measures.
By further terms of that draft, the Assembly would encourage Member States to follow closely the development of the studies and research referred to above, and invite Member States that have used armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium in armed conflicts to provide the relevant authorities of affected States, upon request, with information, as detailed as possible, about the location of the areas of use and the amounts used, with the objective of facilitating the assessment of such areas.
Acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution, also sponsored by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/C.1/67/L.17).
The text would have the Assembly emphasize the importance of the observance of environmental norms in the preparation and implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements. It would call upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures so as to contribute to ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress within the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres, without detriment to the environment or to its effective contribution to attaining sustainable development.
Another draft resolution sponsored by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, entitled Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (document A/C.1/67/L.18) was approved by a recorded vote of 119 in favour to 4 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 49 abstentions.
By its terms, the Assembly would express the conviction that, in the globalized era and information revolution, arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament problems were more than ever the concern of all countries in the world. Therefore, all countries should have the possibility to participate in the negotiations that arise to tackle those problems.
Aware of the need to advance further in the field of arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament on the basis of universal, multilateral, non-discriminatory and transparent negotiations, the Assembly would recognize that the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, were among the most immediate threats to international peace and security.
Concerned at the continuous erosion of multilateralism in the field of arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament, that draft would further have the Assembly urge the participation of all interested States in multilateral negotiations on arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner. It would underline the importance of preserving the existing agreements on arms regulation and disarmament, and call once again upon all Member States to renew and fulfil their individual and collective commitments to multilateral cooperation as an important means of pursuing and achieving their common objectives in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.
The Committee then turned to a draft resolution entitled United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education (document A/C.1/67/L.34), approving it without a vote.
It would have the Assembly stress the urgency of promoting concerted international efforts at disarmament and non-proliferation, and remain convinced that the need for disarmament and non-proliferation education, particularly among youth, has never been greater. It would request the Secretary-General to prepare a report reviewing the results of the implementation of the recommendations and possible new opportunities for promoting disarmament and non-proliferation education.
Also without a vote, the Committee approved a draft decision, sponsored by India, entitled Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (document A/C.1/67/L.54), which would have the Assembly decide to include an item by the same name in the provisional agenda of its sixty-eighth session.
The representative of Japan, noting he had voted “yes” on L.16, said that his country had not used armaments or ammunitions containing depleted uranium. Japan would continue to follow developments on that issue, and called on all States to conduct on-site studies for further information gathering. Japan paid due attention to opinions, including of interested non-governmental organizations, on the effects of depleted uranium on human beings and the environment.
The representative of Germany said he had voted in favour of L.16, but regretted that information had been misquoted and not adequately presented in the preamble.
The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking also on behalf of France and the United States, said they had cast negative votes on L.16. The draft resolution called for further action based on the alleged harmful effects of the use of depleted uranium munitions on human health and environment. The environmental and health effects of the use of depleted uranium munitions had been thoroughly investigated by various organizations, and none of those inquiries had documented long-term environmental or health effects attributable to use of those munitions. It was regrettable that the conclusions of those studies were ignored and that the sponsors of the resolution had failed to quote the response from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2010 and had used a partial quote to strengthen their claim. UNEP had said that overall levels of radioactivity were low and there was no immediate danger. Given the lack of evidence to the contrary, the representative said that the three delegations did not support resolutions that presupposed depleted uranium as harmful.
The representative of Belgium, also speaking about L.16, said the delegation was very serious about any scientific reports concerning damage from depleted uranium and took note of the report submitted by UNEP. It was the first country in the world to have decreed a ban based on the cautionary principle, and was ready to provide its legal expertise. Belgium supported the achievement of a common evaluation on the possible effects of depleted uranium.
The representative of the Netherlands said the delegation voted in favour of L.16; however, it felt that basis for research could have been formulated in a more neutral way by talking about possible consequences rather than potential harmful effects. Research had indicated that the areas where measurements had been taken showed low levels of depleted uranium, which were within international standards and posed no danger. The Netherlands would monitor ongoing and future research when the issue was taken up again.
Cluster 6: Regional Disarmament and Security
Making a general statement before the vote, KHALIL HASHMI ( Pakistan) introduced three resolutions under Cluster 6. Presenting draft resolution L.47 on regional disarmament, on behalf of its sponsors, he said that, while there was no denying the importance of international disarmament, the regional dimension was significant and complemented the global level. Regarding draft resolution L.51, on confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context, he said that tabling the text had been driven by the value of such measures, which Member States are urged to pursue through sustained dialogue. Introducing draft resolution L.53, on conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels, he said that, despite the topic’s significance, it had not received due attention so far.
The Committee approved without a vote a draft resolution entitled regional disarmament (document A/C.1/67/L.47), which would have the Assembly stress that sustained efforts are 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. It would affirm that global and regional approaches to disarmament complement each other and should, therefore, be pursued simultaneously to promote regional and international peace and security. It would call upon States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels.
Also acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution entitled confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context (document A/C.1/67/L.51). Concerned that the continuation of disputes among States may contribute to the arms race and endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, that text would have the Assembly call upon Member States to refrain from the use or threat of use of force, and pursue ways and means regarding confidence- and security-building measures, through sustained consultations and dialogue. It would emphasize that the objective of confidence-building measures should be to help to strengthen international peace and security and would encourage the promotion of bilateral and regional confidence-building measures to avoid conflict.
The Committee turned to a draft entitled Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (document A/C.1/67/L.53), by which the Assembly would express the conviction that conventional arms control needs to be pursued primarily in theregional and subregional contexts since most threats to peace and security in thepost-cold-war era arise mainly among States located in the same region orsubregion. It would decide to give urgent consideration to the issues involved.
A recorded vote was requested for operative paragraph 2, by which the Assembly would request that the Conference on Disarmament consider the formulation of principles that could serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control, and looks forward to a report of the Conference on that subject.
That provision was retained by 132 in favour to 1 against ( India), with 36 abstentions.
The Committee approved the draft as a whole by a recorded vote of 166 in favour to 1 against ( India), with 2 abstentions ( Bhutan, Russian Federation).
Speaking after the vote, the representative of the Russian Federation said it had abstained on L.53 because it was convinced that the system of control should correspond to the real military and political situation. Every year, the Russian Federation pointed out to the authors of the resolution that the reference in the preamble to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe forces was unacceptable. That Treaty was a cold war relic and no longer corresponded to the military situation. It was discriminatory, as well as comical in some ways. To consider that as a model for regional security was simply unacceptable.
The representative of India said the delegation also opposed L.53, as there was no need for the Conference on Disarmament to formulate principles on that subject when it had other priority issues. Also, security concerns of States extended beyond the regional arena, so balancing defence capabilities in regions was unrealistic.
The representative of Mexico said the delegation had abstained on L.53 because it had concerns about two aspects. First, the development of principles on conventional arms was outside the competence of the Conference on Disarmament, not only because of the topic, but because it did not fit within the Conference’s negotiating mandate. Rather, the Disarmament Commission should consider the topic. Second, the paralysis in the Conference would make it unviable to consider the issue there.
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