Effects of Armaments with Depleted Uranium, Implications of Information Technology Developments on Global Security among 28 Drafts Approved by First Committee

GA/DIS/3515
31 October 2014
Sixty-ninth session, 22nd Meeting (PM)

Effects of Armaments with Depleted Uranium, Implications of Information Technology Developments on Global Security among 28 Drafts Approved by First Committee

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) forwarded 28 drafts to the General Assembly today on a broad range of items, from the effects of armaments containing depleted uranium, developments in the field of information and telecommunications, the Hague Code of Conduct against ballistic missile proliferation, and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

While 21 of those texts were approved without a vote, including on observance of environmental norms in drafting disarmament and arms-control agreements, the African Nuclear-Weapon—Free Zone Treaty, the Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament and regional confidence-building measures, a total of nine recorded votes were required on seven drafts and their separate provisions.

Those texts covered such topics as promoting multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation, compliance with arms limitation agreements, conventional arms control at the regional level and the convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament.

Recognizing that scientific and technological developments could have both civilian and military applications, a consensus draft on developments in the field of information and telecommunications would have the General Assembly express concern that those technologies could be used to the detriment of security.  Considering it necessary to prevent their use for criminal or terrorist purposes, the text would call on States to consider such existing and potential threats.

Also in that cluster, on other disarmament measures and international security, the draft on armaments containing depleted uranium would have the Assembly encourage Member States to provide assistance to countries affected by the use of such arms, in particular by identifying and managing contaminated sites and material.  It was approved by a recorded vote of 143 in favour to 4 against (France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 26 abstentions.

Prompting vigorous debate was the resolution on the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which would have the Assembly urge all States not to carry out nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions.

Prior to action on that text as a whole, the Committee took action to retain preambular paragraph 6, doing so by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (Israel, India, Mauritius, Pakistan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).  That provision would urge all States that had not yet signed the Treaty to sign and ratify it as soon as possible.

The resolution was then approved as a whole by a recorded vote of 170 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions (India, Mauritius, Syria).

Also contentious in the nuclear weapons cluster was the resolution on The Hague Code of Conduct, by which the Assembly would express concern about the increasing regional and global security challenges posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles, and call on States that had not yet done so to subscribe to the Code.  The Committee approved it by a recorded vote of 152 in favour to 1 against (Iran), with 19 abstentions.

Acting without a vote, the Committee also approved draft resolutions on the relationship between disarmament and development; consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures; the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme; disarmament and non-proliferation education; regional disarmament; the report of the Conference on Disarmament; revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations; United Nations regional centres for peace and development; report of the Disarmament Commission; the United Nations disarmament fellowship; and Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status.

Two draft decisions were approved, on missiles, and the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament.

Delivering general statements and explanations of vote during the cluster on other disarmament measures and international security were the representatives of Germany, Cuba, Sweden, Belarus, Belgium, Japan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mexico, United States, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Egypt, Ecuador, India, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Brazil, Syria, Netherlands and Iran.

The representative of India spoke during the cluster on regional disarmament.

Delivering general statements and explanations of vote during the cluster on disarmament machinery were the representatives of Morocco, South Africa, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Spain, United States, Germany and Iran.  The representative of the European Union delegation also delivered a statement.

Speaking in explanation of vote on Cluster 1 on nuclear weapons were representatives of Iran, Cuba, India, Spain, Egypt, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan and Israel.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 3 November, to continue taking action on all texts before it.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue its consideration of all draft resolutions and decisions before it, across the whole spectrum of its agenda items.  For further background, please see Press Release GA/DIS/3513 of 29 October.

General Statements

MICHAEL BIONTINO (Germany) introduced draft resolution “L.46”, on the consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures, on behalf of its co-sponsors.  He said that the resolution was first tabled in 1996 and combined a wide variety of aspects from transparency and confidence-building measures to peacekeeping, and sought to achieve tangible results in a short timeframe.  The Group of Governmental Experts had facilitated a system between donor and beneficiary States and had recently focused more on small arms and light weapons, exchanging information and best practices.  He thanked the co-sponsors of the draft for their support.

IVIAN DEL SOL (Cuba) said that her delegation was co-sponsoring “L.26” on developments in the field of information and telecommunications technology (ICT) in the context of international security.  The hostile use of ICT to subvert the legal order of other States contravened international norms and created tensions and situations that were unfavourable to international peace and security.  Her delegation fully shared the concerns expressed in the draft resolution on the use of ICT that was incompatible with global peace and security.  Cuba rejected any covert use of information systems belonging to other nations to harass or attack others, and denounced the decades-long aggression carried out by the United States against Cuba, through television and radio, in violation of international law and norms.  Illegal transmissions of television signals were carried out without her country’s consent.  That undermined the purpose of broadcasting and aimed to subvert order in Cuba.  While there was enormous potential for ICT in education, medicine and other areas, its use for purposes counter to the United Nations Charter should be denounced.  She hoped the draft resolution would receive broad support.

ULF LINDELL (Sweden) said his delegation would join the consensus on draft resolution “L.26” along with Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey,  United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.  International deliberations on cyberspace issues and the use of ICT in an international security context should continue to evolve as the international community sought greater common understanding and shared views on those issues.  The Internet must remain open, thereby facilitating a free flow of information in cyberspace.  The same rights that individuals enjoyed off-line must also be protected online, in particular, freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek and impart information, and freedom of assembly and association.  While the group would prefer a direct reference to the Human Rights Council resolution 20/8, it noted the reference in “L.26” to the importance of respect for human rights in the use of ICT, which was a step in the right direction. Discussions on the future of the Internet should be based on a multi-stakeholder approach that included the private sector and civil society.

Action on Texts

The representative of Belarus said on “L.26” that his delegation could not imagine contemporary society today without communications technologies.  Protecting cyberspace from criminal assaults was one of the key tasks that required joint efforts from all States.  Cybercrime was constantly changing and being improved upon, and many such crimes were being committed under the guise of personal freedom.  Belarus was a co-sponsor of this resolution and he called for universal support.

The representative of Belgium, speaking on “L.43”, said his delegation would vote in favour of the draft.  There was a law of 11 May 2007 in Belgium that prohibited certain weapons containing depleted uranium, which was preceded by parliamentary hearings in which scientists expressed their views.  Belgium was the first country in the world to have declared such a prohibition.  It was willing to offer its expertise on the matter to any States seeking to establish legislation on that issue.

The representative of Cuba introduced four draft resolutions, namely “L.43”, “L.41”, “L.39” and “L.42”.  She said that environmental norms should be taken into account when negotiating treaties, which was set forth in “L.41”.  Regarding “L.43”, she said there were long-term effects of depleted uranium on the environment and further study was needed on that topic.  Regarding “L.42”, she reiterated that disarmament and development were two of the main challenges facing humankind.  Worldwide, some $1.75 trillion was devoted to military spending, when that amount could be invested to fight extreme poverty and foster development for all nations.

The representative of Japan said his delegation would vote in favour of “L.43”.  Japan had submitted its views on the effects of depleted uranium to the Secretary-General.  Japan did not possess weapons that used such material, and would continue to examine studies conducted by the relevant international organizations.  He called on those groups to conduct successive on-site studies and investigate the effects of depleted uranium on the environment and human body.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, explaining his position on “L.45”, said that nuclear disarmament was a priority in building a peaceful and prosperous world.  However, the doctrines of hegemony of the cold war era, and threats, blackmail and the “open use of war-time tools” were major blocks at present.  The draft resolution “L.45” contained references to compliance, but there was no reference to the nuclear possessions of the main sponsor State.  The United States intended to disarm States without respect for their security concerns, and the draft resolution had nothing to do with genuine nuclear disarmament obligations.  His delegation would abstain in the vote.

The representative of Mexico said her delegation would vote in favour of “L.45” and had done so since the outset.  She supported the reference to the NPT review process, as well as the issue raised regarding principles and objectives of disarmament.  The agreements reached at the 2000 and 2010 NPT Review Conferences were also extremely important and had Mexico’s support.  The country believed some nations were not playing their part in implementing international disarmament agreements, and it would support the draft because of the need to call international attention to the need for implementation of the provisions of all agreements to which States were a party, particularly under the disarmament and non-proliferation regime.

The representative of Cuba, also explaining the vote on “L.45”, said that Cuba had always supported the need to preserve and strengthen multilateralism, ensuring strict observance of all disarmament agreements.  However, the draft did not adequately address the issue.  For many years, resolutions on that item were adopted by consensus and were supported by Cuba.  However, beginning in 2005, the language of the text had begun to be amended by its authors and there was no longer unanimity.  The text did not have sufficient focus on cooperation, and the language had been formulated to highlight non-proliferation to the detriment of the issue of disarmament.  The draft provided an opportunity for unacceptable interpretations of treaty law, and State parties could refuse to comply with some of the obligations stemming from those treaties.  Additionally, the text disregarded the fact that in each treaty agreement there were specific mechanisms, and it was not productive to try to address such problems from a singular perspective.  Cuba would therefore abstain from that draft.

The representative of the United States, also speaking on behalf of France and the United Kingdom, said he wished to explain their negative vote on “L.43”, covering the effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium.  He said that was not a new issue.  The health and environmental effects of depleted uranium emissions had been explored by various bodies and agencies, but none had documented scientific evidence.  It was regrettable that the conclusions of their studies were ignored and that the authors of the text were calling for further research without taking into account existing data.  Given the lack of tangible evidence, he did not recognize the risks to health and the environment.

The representative of the Russian Federation, explaining his position before the vote on “L.45”, on compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements, said his delegation planned to abstain owing to several well thought out reasons.  The Russian Federation had consistently and comprehensively implemented its obligations in the areas of non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament.  It supported initiatives in completing the universalization of existing legal instruments and strove to develop, on a consensus basis, new, legally-binding agreements where needed.  The draft resolution could play a positive role and the Russian Federation, in general, supported its potential, which, if implemented correctly could support the maintenance of international peace and security.

However, what was really happening was that the sponsors of the draft resolution had negotiated the initiation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and then declined, after several decades, to ratify it.  The sponsors, among other things, refused to develop a legally-binding protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Conventions; they retained their restrictions on the Geneva protocol, which contravened their obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.  The authors of the resolution were blocking the international community from preventing an arms race in outer space and were blocking attempts at dialogue in this direction.  He also drew attention to previous comments, given in connection with a report from the United States State Department, which formerly gave an objective picture regarding the compliance of international obligations in arms control.  However, they did not find this in the report.  The information contained was far from what was happening in that area.

In the context of the draft resolution, he said, the Russian Federation cautioned against the publication of such provocative documents.  His country had well-developed mechanisms for specific weapons and the prevention of their dissemination.  The Russian Federation had consistently spoken for and would continue to speak for strong cooperation to resolve disputes in any possible situation of non-compliance with treaty obligations.  That needed to be done through existing systems and not in a politically motivated manner.  This time, the Russian Federation would be abstaining on the vote for this resolution.

MICHAEL BIONTINO (Germany) said his delegation would abstain from “L.46” this year.  He regretted that the United Nations Environmental Report from 2010 continued to be quoted in a selective and misleading way.  The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report mentioned that the overall measures of radioactivity were low and did not pose any danger.  Those findings had not been adequately reflected in preambular paragraph 7.  In addition, preambular paragraph 5 and operative paragraph 7 did not include the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 2012 that concluded inter alia that, in general, the existence of depleted uranium residues dispersed in the environment, as studied, did not pose a radiological hazard to local populations.  His delegation was of the view that more research was needed, and he regretted that the current draft text did not allow for it to be supported.

Ms. BILA (Ukraine) said her delegation would vote in favour of “L.45”, as her country had always understood the importance of the issue of compliance.  That had been proven via being a consistent partner for more than 20 years and that Ukraine was a member of the NPT, also showing that it could implement decisions.  She deeply regretted the explanation given by the Russian Federation.  She said that explanation showed that non-compliance with the NPT was not a “mistake”, but that the official position of that country was to break those resolutions.

Taking action on drafts in the cluster on other disarmament measures and international security, the Committee approved without vote the draft decision, introduced by India, on the Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (document A/C.1/69/L.13).  That resolution would have the General Assembly include that item in the provisional agenda of its seventieth session.

The Committee then took action on a resolution entitled Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/C.1/69/L.26), approving it without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly would call on States to consider existing and potential threats in the field of information security, and take into account the assessments and recommendations of the Group of Governmental Experts.

Next, the Committee approved the resolution on Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation (document A/C.1/69/L.39) by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, United Kingdom, United States), with 48 abstentions.

Concerned by the continuous erosion of multilateralism in the field of arms regulation, that text would have the Assembly urge the participation of all interested States in such negotiations, and renew and fulfil their individual and collective commitments to multilateral cooperation.

The Committee then approved without vote a draft resolution on Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/C.1/69/L.41), by which the Assembly would call upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures to contribute to ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress.

The Committee also approved without vote the draft resolution, introduced by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on the Relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/69/L.42).  By its terms, the Assembly would urge the international community to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development, with a view towards reducing the ever-widening gap between developed and developing countries.

Action was then taken on the draft resolution, also introduced by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on the Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium (document A/C.1/69/L.43).  It was approved by a recorded vote of 143 in favour to 4 against (France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 26 abstentions.

That draft would have the Assembly encourage Member States to provide assistance to countries affected by the use of arms and ammunitions containing depleted uranium, in particular, by identifying and managing contaminated sites and material.

The draft resolution on Compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments (document A/C.1/69/L.45) was approved by a recorded vote of 160 in favour to none against, with 14 abstentions.  By its terms, the Assembly would call upon concerned States to encourage the compliance by all States with their respective non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and hold those not in compliance accountable for their non-compliance in a manner consistent with the Charter of the United Nations.

The Committee then approved without a vote the draft resolution on Consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (document A/C.1/69/L.46).

That draft would have the Assembly emphasize the importance of including in United Nations-mandated peacekeeping missions practical disarmament measures aimed at addressing the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.  That text would also encourage Member States in a position to do so to financially contribute to the United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation.

Next, the Committee took action on a resolution entitled United Nations Disarmament Information Programme (document A/C.1/69/L.52), approving it without a vote.

By its terms, the Assembly would recommend that the Programme continue to inform, educate and generate public understanding of the importance of multilateral action in a factual, balanced and objective manner.  Those efforts should focus on the continued publication of the United Nations Disarmament Yearbook and other publications, updating the disarmament website, and other measures.

The Committee then approved by consensus a draft entitled Disarmament and non-proliferation education (A/C.1/69/L.53), which would have the Assembly reiterate the request to the Secretary-General to utilize electronic means to the fullest extent possible in the dissemination of disarmament information, and maintain the website on disarmament education.

The representative of Egypt said his delegation had abstained on “L.45”.  It had been eager for the text to return to consensual language, but the current version contained language that caused concern.  Egypt had provided concrete language on the NPT, however, the current resolution missed the universalization of that cornerstone Treaty, which had compelled Egypt to abstain.

The representative of Ecuador said his delegation had abstained on “L.45” because it contained language that paved the way for possible misinterpretation.  Given that disarmament and non-proliferation instruments needed to be universal, his delegation believed that the text should have included a call for those instruments’ universalization.  He recognized the existence of pending agreements in nuclear disarmament and hoped that obligations in that area would be carried out on the same footing without distinction by States, all of which should be endeavouring equally to comply with article VI of the NPT.

The representative of India said his delegation had voted in favour of “L.45” because it believed in the responsibility of States to fully comply with the obligations contained in agreements to which they were party, in a manner consistent with the United Nations Charter and international law.  He emphasized the importance of the multilateral system in addressing issues that might arise from those commitments.

The representative of Sweden explained his delegation’s position on “L.43”, saying that although his delegation had voted in favour of the draft, the effects of depleted uranium on health and environment had not been determined by the scientific evidence.  Sweden would have preferred that the resolution pointed to data collected so far.  His delegation would closely monitor research in that field and take it into consideration when the issue was taken up again in future sessions.

The representative of the United Kingdom explained the position of her country and France on “L.41” and “L.42”.  She said the countries had joined consensus on “L.41”, as they operated on the stringent implementation of arms control and disarmament agreements.  On “L.42”, while the United Kingdom and France had joined consensus on the vote, she said the notion of a symbiotic relationship between disarmament and development was questionable.  There was no automatic link between the two, but rather a complex relationship that the draft did not capture.

The representative of Pakistan, explaining his abstention from the vote on “L.45”, said that the earlier consensus had broken down due to the deletion of significant language from the previous text.  More importantly, such a resolution must have universal application and not become a selective tool for targeting certain countries.  Some of the sponsors were in violation of their own commitments and they should “practice what they preach”.

The representative of Brazil, explaining his position on “L.45”, said the delegation had voted in favour, as, in order to eradicate threats, the relevant disarmament agreements should achieve full, and not selective, compliance.  As the international community approached the end of another review cycle, the importance of article VI of the NPT should be emphasized.  Effective verification mechanisms were essential, and the draft could have benefitted from “bolder language” in that regard.  On “L.46”, he would have preferred a previous version of the text.

The representative of Syria, explaining his position on “L.45”, said his delegation had abstained.  While compliance with the NPT and other obligations arising from such agreements were very important, some of the draft’s sponsors had not complied with international agreements regulating non-proliferation contained in that Treaty.  The draft called for compliance with the non-proliferation, disarmament, and arms control accords, while Israel was the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons and that refused to join the NPT and submit its installations to IAEA safeguards.  Israel was a sponsor of that draft, which raised many questions as to its credibility.

The representative of the Netherlands, explaining the vote on “L.43”, said his delegation had voted in favour.  However, the text had selectively quoted from a UNEP report, indicating that the overall levels of radioactivity — either particle-based or from water-borne toxicity — in some contaminated areas were low and presented no immediate dangers.  Key elements of the text, therefore, should have been formulated in a more neutral way.  The term “possible consequences” would have been preferable.  He supported the call for a precautionary approach to depleted uranium, and would follow relevant research.

The representative of the United States, explaining his position on “L.41”, said that his country operated under stringent environmental regulations, including in the implementation of arms control agreements.  His delegation, however, did not see it as a matter germane to the First Committee.  The United States had also not participated in “L.42”, as his Government believed disarmament and development were two distinct issues.  Accordingly, the United States did not consider itself bound by the final document of the international conference on disarmament and development, adopted in 1987.

The representative of Iran, explaining his position on “L.45”, said the country strongly believed that all States should comply in a non-discriminatory manner with their obligations under all provisions of the treaties to which they were party.  That resolution made a reference to the concept of compliance as a contribution to efforts to prevent the development of weapons of mass destruction.  Operative paragraph 8 of the text urged those States not currently in compliance with their respective obligations to make a strategic decision to come back into compliance.  Iran supported that demand and called upon those nuclear-weapon States that were among the resolution’s sponsors — but not currently in compliance with their respective nuclear disarmament obligations under article VI of the NPT — to move beyond rhetoric and make a strategic decision to take effective and systematic action towards the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.

He called for consultations and cooperation among State parties to the relevant instruments to resolve their concerns regarding compliance and implementation, which was essential in promoting multilateralism and full and effective implementation.  It was paradoxical that a regime, not party to any international instruments was banning weapons of mass destruction and continued to develop all kinds of such weapons in the Middle East, was included in the list of co-sponsors.  That had only tarnished the standing of that resolution.  For those reasons his delegation had abstained.

The Committee then took up a draft decision on Regional disarmament (document A/C.1/69/L.28), by which the Assembly would stress that sustained effort within the Conference on Disarmament was needed to make progress on the entire range of disarmament issues, and call upon States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels.

That text was approved without a vote.

The Committee then took action on a draft resolution entitled, Confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context (document A/C.1/69/L.29), approving it without vote.  By its terms, the Assembly would urge States to comply strictly with all bilateral, regional and international agreements, including arms control and disarmament agreements.

The Committee next took action on a draft resolution on Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (document A/C.1/69/L.30), which would have the Assembly decide to give urgent consideration to the issues involved in conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels.

Prior to action on that text as a whole, the Committee retained operative paragraph 2, by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to 1 against (India), with 33 abstentions.  That provision 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.

That text as a whole was then approved by a recorded vote of 170 in favour to 1 against (India), with 2 abstentions (Bhutan, Russian Federation).

The representative of India said that his delegation had voted against “L.30”.  The Conference on Disarmament was the single multilateral negotiating forum and there was no need for it to consider the formulation of principles in the context of regional agreements on conventional arms control when it had other issues on its agenda.

General Statements on Cluster 7

BOUCHAIB EL OUMNI (Morocco), speaking on “L.19”, called upon all Member States of the Conference on Disarmament to show flexibility and allow it to start its substantive work.  His country supported the expansion of the Conference, but believed that the issue should be handled with care.  His delegation would continue to engage constructively in the work of the Disarmament Commission to help improve its effectiveness.  There was also room to improve the work of the First Committee.  He welcomed the role of civil society in the Committee’s work, including the statements made after the closing of the general debate.

The representative of South Africa, also speaking on behalf of the Netherlands and Switzerland, said draft decision “L.19” was informed by the range of concerns expressed about the lack of progress in disarmament forums, including in the Conference on Disarmament.  In the decision, States were encouraged to build on work that had already been undertaken.  Discussions had been held on the Conference’s agenda, with a view towards improving the body’s functioning and make proposals on its working methods.  He urged members to take the revitalization process forward in 2015.  It was clear that much remained to be done to revitalize the disarmament machinery.  The authors considered various developments and, rather than submit a follow-up resolution, introduced a new decision.  They would closely monitor progress, in particular regarding nuclear disarmament.

The representative of Croatia introduced “L.51”, on the Report of the Disarmament Commission, on behalf of members of the Bureau.  He sought the text’s adoption by consensus.  While it contained all the content of the previous resolution, it also included other elements, such as an emphasis on the need for a focused and results-oriented discussion.  The text encouraged the Commission to intensify consultations with a view towards implementing the items on its agenda.  The text also encouraged the Commission to invite the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) to prepare background papers on the agenda items.  The draft, paving the way for the Commission’s work, should help enhance its relevance and credibility.

The representative of Cuba, noting that the delegation was a co-sponsor of “L.37” introduced by the Non-Aligned Movement, said the draft supported a special organizational session of the open-ended working group to set a date for its substantive sessions in 2015 and 2016.  The draft decision was not only important to the Movement’s countries, but also to the international community as whole.  It responded to calls to optimize the disarmament machinery.  On “L.40”, the speaker said that Cuba supported the work of the Regional Centres on Peace and Disarmament and recognized that Member States had benefited from their work in helping to build cooperation in that area.

The representative of the European Union delegation, speaking on “L.51”, said the group had always recognized the importance of the Disarmament Commission, which was designed to serve as the main subsidiary body of the General Assembly on disarmament matters.  Regrettably, since 1999, it had not been able to fulfil its mandate properly and failed to agree on any recommendations.  The European Union believed that its approach on the possible ways forward should be consistent with decision 52/492, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 1998.  He hoped the Commission would take advantage of the opportunity to agree upon a more focused agenda.

Action on Texts

The representative of the Czech Republic said one of its priorities was expanding the Conference on Disarmament’s membership, which would guarantee its credibility and universality.  His delegation would thus share joint responsibility with the entire international community.  It was not logical that a small group of States addressed universal issues, and for that reason the members of the Informal Group of Observer States to the Conference on Disarmament supported “L.19”.

He delivered on behalf of the Informal Group of Observer States to the Conference on Disarmament, whose members included Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, the Holy See, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Nepal, Oman, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.  He also spoke on behalf of Angola, Austria, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Côte D’Ivoire, El Salvador, Finland, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Mexico, New Zealand, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution, introduced by Malaysia, on the Report of the Conference on Disarmament (document A/C.1/69/L.8), without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly would reaffirm the role of the Conference as the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community and call upon it to intensify consultations and explore possibilities for overcoming its ongoing deadlock.

The Committee then approved without a vote the resolution on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (document A/C.1/69/L.9).  That draft would have the Assembly appeal to Member States, in particular those within the Asia-Pacific region, as well as international governmental and non-governmental organizations, to make voluntary contributions to strengthen the Regional Centre’s programme of activities and the implementation thereof.

Next, the Committee approved the draft decision, introduced by the Netherlands, South Africa and Switzerland, on Revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations (document A/C.1/69/L.19), also without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly would include that item in the provisional agenda of its seventieth session.

The Committee then turned to the draft decision introduced by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement entitled Open-ended Working Group on the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament (document A/C.1/69/L.37), which was approved by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States).

The Committee next took up a draft resolution on United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament (document A/C.1/69/L.40), introduced by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, approving it without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly would recognize that changes had taken place in the world which created new opportunities and posed new challenges for the pursuit of disarmament.  It would have the Assembly appeal to Member States to make voluntary contributions to the regional centres in their respective regions.

Also acting with a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution entitled Report of the Disarmament Commission (document A/C.1/69/L.51), which would emphasize the need for a focused and results-oriented discussion on the agenda, and intensified consultations, with a view to reaching agreement.

Next, the Committee approved, also without a vote, a draft resolution entitled United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (document A/C.1/69/L.55/Rev.1), which would invite all States of the region to continue to take part in the Centre’s activities and encourage it to further develop activities in all countries of the region.

Then, also without a vote, the Committee approved the draft entitled Regional confidence-building measures:  activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (document A/C.1/69/L.58), which would express concern over the negative impact of poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking on the ecosystem, human development and regional security, and call upon Member States to take action to counter that phenomenon.

The Committee next approved without a vote the draft resolution entitled United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (document A/C.1/69/L.59).  By that text, the Assembly would urge all States, the African Union States in particular, international governmental and non-governmental organizations to make voluntary contributions to the Centre.

Explanations of Vote on Cluster 7

The representative of Spain, speaking on “L.37” on behalf of a group of countries, said that the disarmament machinery needed political attention towards its revitalization so that it could continue its main tasks.  The group had voted in favour of “L.37” as it believed the decision was complementary to other initiatives aimed at revitalizing the disarmament machinery.

A representative of the United States, also speaking on behalf of France and the United Kingdom, took to the floor to explain its abstentions on “L.37”.  For the same reasons that it had abstained from past texts on the issue, those delegations had abstained again on budgetary and substantive grounds.  Those reasons remained valid and therefore the group maintained its abstention.

A representative of Germany, also speaking on behalf of Bulgaria, said that those delegations had voted in favour of “L.37” as they had done in 2012.  The disarmament machinery needed revitalization and it was against that background that they voted for the resolution.  They also supported “L.20” and “L.21” as those were complementary.  On “L.21”, he noted that the financial resources to convene the organizational session of the open-ended working group should be subjected to the scrutiny of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).

The representative of Iran said that its delegation had joined consensus on “L.55/Rev.1”, “L.59” and “L.58” on the grounds that all its measures were applicable to the countries in the concerned regions.

General Statements on Cluster 1 — Nuclear Weapons

The representative of Iran introduced, on behalf of Egypt and Indonesia, draft decision “L.24”.  He said the draft had been prepared in line with the position of the Non-Aligned Movement.  He emphasized the need to maintain the issue of missiles on the General Assembly’s agenda and, as such, sought to include the item “missiles” in the provisional agenda of the seventy-first session.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation would abstain on “L.25” concerning the Hague Code of Conduct because the instrument had been drafted and adopted in a process outside the United Nations framework and not all interested parties had participated.  All interested Member States had the legitimate right to participate in consideration of the issue and the adoption of practical measures.  The draft did not adequately reflect the interests of a group of countries.  Moreover, it did not address the issue of the peaceful use of missile technology.  The Code was focused on horizontal proliferation and ignored vertical proliferation, and it disregarded the problem of the existence and development of nuclear weapons.

Action on Texts

The Committee approved the draft decision introduced by Egypt, Indonesia and Iran on Missiles (document A/C.1/69/L.24) without a vote.

The Committee next took up a resolution on The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (document A/C.1/69/L.25), approving it by a recorded vote of 152 in favour to 1 against (Iran), with 19 abstentions.  By that text, the Assembly would express concern about the increasing regional and global security challenges posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles, and call upon States that had not yet done so to subscribe to the Code of Conduct.

The Committee then approved by consensus a draft entitled Mongolia’s international security and nuclear weapon-free status (document A/C.1/69/L.49), which welcomed the declaration of Mongolia’s nuclear weapon-free status as a concrete contribution to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and the enhancement of confidence and predictability in the region.

Then the Committee took up the draft resolution entitled Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (document A/C.1/69/L.56), which urged all States not to carry out nuclear-weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions.

Prior to action on that text as a whole, the Committee took action to retain preambular paragraph 6, doing so by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (Israel, India, Mauritius, Pakistan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).  That provision would urge all States that had not yet signed the Treaty to sign and ratify it as soon as possible.

The resolution was then approved as a whole by a recorded vote of 170 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 3 abstentions (India, Mauritius, Syria).

The draft resolution entitled African Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (document A/C.1/69/L.60) was approved without a vote.  That text would have the Assembly call upon African States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty.

Speaking in explanation of vote on “L.25”, the representative of India said his country was fully committed to non-proliferation, including of ballistic missiles.  Such missiles in the region affected India’s security, and the complexity of the situation demanded that any initiative to address those concerns should be comprehensive.  India was not a member of the Hague Code of Conduct, but was willing to study it and remained open to further engagement.

On “L.49”, he said that as a country that maintained friendly ties with Mongolia, he welcomed the consensus adoption of that resolution and respected Mongolia’s nuclear weapon-free status.  On “L.60”, he said India respected the sovereign choice of non-nuclear-weapon States to establish nuclear weapon-free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at.  As a nuclear-weapon State, India conveyed unambiguous assurance that it would support the zone’s status.

The representative of Spain, explaining the vote on “L.60”, said the entry into force of the Pelindaba Treaty was a significant contribution to strengthening international peace and security, and was of particular importance to all African countries.  That was why Spain had shown unequivocal support for the Treaty.  After studying the invitation extended to Spain to become a party to the Treaty’s Protocol, the State had decided not to sign it following consultations with parliament.  Highlighting two issues, he said that the Pelindaba Treaty did not contain any safeguard, provision or obligation regarding disarmament and non-proliferation was already embedded in Spain’s national legislation.  His delegation did not agree with operative paragraph 5, and was looking to develop more balanced language that met the needs of other delegations.

The representative of Egypt, explaining his abstention on “L.25”, said that the Hague Code of Conduct was a product of export control regimes developed outside the United Nations in a discriminatory manner.  The Code was neither balanced in its approach nor in its scope.  It focused on ballistic missiles while ignoring more advanced means of delivery.  This year’s draft resolution had also seen the addition of language, which could restrict States rights to the peaceful uses of outer space.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his delegation had voted against “L.56” because his country rejected United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009).  Those resolutions were the product of coercion and double standards.  Nuclear war exercises by the United States targeting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea took place every year on the southern part of the Korean peninsula, but the Council remained silent about them.  In the history of mankind, it was the United States that had conducted the most nuclear tests of all, and the unique security situation in the Korean peninsula had made the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea take a serious approach to the NPT.  More attention should be given to taking practical steps towards nuclear disarmament, he concluded.

The representative of Pakistan explained his position on “L.25” and “L.56”. On “L.25”, he stressed that the issue of missiles was complex and should be addressed in a multilateral forum so that the views and concerns of all States could be taken into account.  While some effort had been made in that regard, the final product, given the ad hoc nature of the forum, could not gain the support and acceptance of several missile-possessor States.  The Code did not address Pakistan’s security concerns.  Pakistan had demonstrated a commitment to non-proliferation of missiles and had abstained on that draft.

On “L.56”, he said that over the years, Pakistan had consistently supported the CTBT’s objectives and had voted in favour of the resolution in the Committee, as his delegation would again this year.  However, Pakistan did not consider itself bound by any provision emanating from the NPT Review Conferences, or any other instrument to which it was not a party.  His delegation had voted in favour of “L.56”, but abstained in the vote on preambular paragraph 6.

The representative of Israel said her delegation had voted in favour of “L.56” in light of its longstanding support of the CTBT, which the country had signed in 1996.  However, her delegation could not support the entirety of “L.56”, particularly preambular paragraph 6 and operative paragraph 1.  Although the CTBT and the NPT both dealt with issues pertaining to the nuclear domain, they were different in membership.  Israel had joined consensus on “L.60” in light of its support for the principle that nuclear weapon-free zones should emanate exclusively from within a region, be agreed upon by consensus, and reflect agreements freely arrived at by all States concerned.  Of the States that had not ratified the Pelindaba Treaty, some had called for the creation of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  Additionally, Israel had not objected to “L.24”, although her delegation found it curious that one of that resolution’s sponsors was involved in the wholesale proliferation of the sale of rockets to terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

For information media. Not an official record.