21 April 2004


Press Release

Disarmament Commission                                     

2004 Substantive Session                                   

264th Meeting (AM)


With just two days remaining in the 2004 substantive session, the Chairman of the Disarmament Commission concluded this morning that it did not appear likely that agreement would be reached on substantive agenda items.

Questioning the momentum to which some in the Commission had referred, Indonesia’s representative, speaking in his national capacity rather than as coordinator of the Non-Aligned Movement of countries, said the process had been a kind of “hitting the bush” exercise.  Although some delegations played beautifully with the language of formulation, when it came to a deep reading of the proposals, the “formulation of wording” was “still far apart”, he said. 

(For details of the proposals and amendments on agenda items, please see Press Releases DC/2911 of 7 April, DC/2915 of 16 April, and DC/2916 of 19 April.)

Prior to the Chairman’s conclusion that agreement on the agenda was not likely, Ireland’s representative, on behalf of the European Union, expressed the Union’s hope that consensus could still be achieved, underscoring the Union’s commitment to the Commission.  She had been prepared to accept the Chairman’s proposal of 12 April, although, if adopted, that would have represented a “significant move away” from the Union’s original proposals.  Regarding the input from the United States on that proposal, if those amendments had been acceptable to the other members, she also would have been able to go along with those.

Commission Chairman Revaz Adamia (Georgia) said he had been approached by some delegations expressing the view that, should consensus elude the present session, two years to deliberate three items, rather than the usual three years, might be difficult.  He asked members to decide whether this year would be counted as a year of discussion on substance, or whether that three-year cycle would be counted as beginning next year, or whenever consensus on the items was achieved.

When the Commission turned to the draft report of the session, to be forwarded to the General Assembly for adoption, delegations raised a number of points, including that the proposals should be annexed or attached to the report, on an “equal footing” rather than appear in the body, as had been the usual practice.  Also, some delegations questioned their appearance in a list of speakers who had made statements in the course of deliberations on the proposed substantive agenda items, when they had only spoken in a procedural context.

A request was also made by the representative of Morocco to avoid giving the impression in the report that a general debate had taken place.  Everyone knew that it would be extremely difficult to reach agreement on topics.  The main concern of delegations, therefore, had not been to necessarily do so at this session, but to take positions, in order that they would not be blamed for “the state of failure”.  Perhaps the report should avoid dramatizing the situation or giving the impression that there had been “good” on one side that had wanted to accept things, and “bad” on the other who would not.  Time and time alone would judge the efforts of the parties concerned.  Nevertheless, the Commission had “blazed the way” to some extent towards achieving a result acceptable to all.

The representative of Pakistan, in addition to requesting that it be made clear in the report that his delegation had only spoken on a procedural matter, asked the Secretariat to correct the appearance of “Pakistan” as being “out of the NAM’s box”, rather than inside, where it belonged.  

The Disarmament Commission will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 23 April, to consider for adoption its report to the General Assembly.

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For information media. Not an official record.