First Committee Approves 11 Drafts Covering Control over Conventional Arms, Outer Space Security, as United States Withdraws Text on Transparency

GA/DIS/3642
5 November 2019
Seventy-fourth Session, 24th Meeting (AM)

First Committee Approves 11 Drafts Covering Control over Conventional Arms, Outer Space Security, as United States Withdraws Text on Transparency

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) today approved seven draft resolutions on conventional weapons and four others aimed at averting the militarization of outer space, as delegates stated their national positions on the best ways forward.

As the Committee approved by recorded vote a package of draft resolutions outlining how to keep outer space free of weapons, Sri Lanka’s representative said the realm is the common heritage of all humanity, and everyone has a shared responsibility to ensure it remains conflict‑free.  Egypt’s delegate, echoing a commonly shared view, highlighted the intention of some States to turn outer space into an area of conflict.

Taking up the draft resolution “No first placement of weapons in outer space” (document A/C.1/74/L.59), the Committee approved it by a vote of 123 in favour to 14 against, with 40 abstentions.  By its terms, the Assembly would urge an early commencement of substantive work in the Conference on Disarmament on the topic, based on an updated draft treaty introduced by China and the Russian Federation in 2008.  The Assembly would encourage all States, especially spacefaring nations, to consider the possibility of undertaking political commitments not to be the first to place weapons in outer space.

Prior to that approval, the Committee decided to retain preambular paragraph 5, which would have the Assembly reaffirm that practical measures should be examined and taken in the search for agreements to prevent an arms race in outer space, by a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 42 against, with 10 abstentions (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Turkey).

Some delegations shared concerns, with Germany’s representative, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, saying “L.59” failed to respond to the objectives of maintaining and strengthening trust.  Instead, the draft resolution contains ambiguities and shortcomings, he said, regretting to note the development of technology with anti‑satellite capabilities.  He also was concerned that the draft did not provide a definition of a space weapon.

The Committee approved the draft resolution “Further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space” (document A/C.1/74/L.58/Rev.1), by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 41 against, with 10 abstentions (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Japan, Malawi, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Switzerland, Turkey), after holding separate recorded votes on two paragraphs.

By the terms of the draft resolution, the Assembly would welcome the work in 2018‑2019 of the Group of Governmental Experts tasked with making recommendations on a related international legally binding instrument.

While Pakistan’s representative said his delegation voted in favour of both draft resolutions because they share the noble goal of achieving a just and stable order, the European Union’s delegate said members voted against “L.59” and “L.58/Rev.1” even though keeping the skies safe is a priority.  Among several reasons, he said “L.59” does not ensure trust in outer space and can create a conflict when one State can confuse another State’s object for a weapon.

The representative of the United States reiterated his delegation’s opposition to the Chinese‑Russian draft treaty presented to the Conference on Disarmament.  While Washington, D.C., prefers that space remain conflict free, those two countries are deploying technologies that turn the realm into a war‑fighting domain.  As the main sponsor of a rival text, “Advancing transparency and confidence‑building measures for outer space activities” (document A/C.1/74/L.55/Rev.1), he announced that his delegation was withdrawing it for further consultations, stating that its calls for compromise were rebuffed by the primary sponsor of “L.58/Rev.1”.

Welcoming that decision, the Russian Federation’s delegate said transparency‑related efforts in compliance with the United Nations disarmament machinery should be considered to keep outer space as a domain free of weapons. 

The Committee approved, by a recorded vote of 175 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions, the draft resolution “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (document A/C.1/74/L.3).  By its terms, the General Assembly would reaffirm the importance and urgency of preventing an arms race in that realm and the readiness of all States to contribute to that objective.

By its terms, the Assembly would also call upon all States, particularly those with major space capabilities, to contribute actively to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space and invite the Geneva‑based Conference on Disarmament to establish a working group on the topic as early as possible.

By a vote of 166 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 5 abstentions (Australia, Georgia, Palau, Ukraine, United Kingdom), delegates went on to approve the draft resolution “Transparency and confidence‑building measures in outer space activities” (document A/C.1/74/L.60), by which the Assembly would encourage Member States to continue to review and implement the transparency and confidence‑building measures proposed in the 2013 report of the Group of Governmental Experts on the issue.

Turning to conventional weapons, the Committee approved three texts without a vote: “Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them” (document A/C.1/74/L.27); “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (document A/C.1/74/L.43); and “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.1/74/L.54).

The Committee approved “The Arms Trade Treaty” (document A/C.3/74/L.25), by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 26 abstentions.  By its terms, the Assembly would welcome the decisions taken at the Fifth Conference of States Parties to that Treaty, held in Geneva from 26 to 30 August.

By a recorded vote of 154 in favour to none against, with 23 abstentions, it approved the draft resolution “Transparency in armaments” (document A/C.1/74/L.30), which would have the Assembly call upon Member States to provide the Secretary‑General, by 31 May annually, with data and information on exports and imports of small arms and light weapons requested for the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.

The Committee then approved, by a recorded vote of 161 in favour to none against, with 19 abstentions, the draft resolution “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.1/74/L.45).  By its terms, the Assembly would invite all States that have not signed that Convention to accede to it without delay.

Then, by a vote of 138 in favour to 1 against (Russian Federation), with 39 abstentions, it approved the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions” (document A/C.1/74/L.46).  By its terms, the Assembly would urge States outside that Convention to join as soon as possible.

The First Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 6 November, to continue to take action on draft resolutions and decisions before it.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to take action on all draft resolutions and decisions before it.  For background information, see Press Releases GA/DIS/3624 of 10 October, GA/DIS/3640 of 1 November and GA/DIS/3641 of 4 November.

Action on Draft Texts

At the outset of the meeting, representatives explained their positions on draft resolutions related to other weapons of mass destruction, which the Committee approved on 4 November.  (For details on voting results, see Press Release GA/DIS/3641.)

The representative of Nicaragua said his delegation voted against the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (document A/C.1/74/L.10).  While Nicaragua is a party to the Convention, favours the destruction of all remaining chemical weapons and condemns their use anywhere by anyone, it rejects the decision of the fourth Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention on 27 June 2018, which went beyond the prerogatives granted to the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Right of Reply

The representative of the United States, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, responded to remarks made on 4 November by the Russian Federation and Syria.  The Russian Federation needs to change its behaviour and abide by its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, he said, reiterating that in 2018, the Russian Federation used chemical weapons in a brazen assassination attempt in the United Kingdom.  He called on Moscow to dissuade the Bashar Al‑Assad regime from using chemical weapons and to stop shielding it from accountability.  The Assad regime must stop harming its own people and take tangible steps towards peace and stability.

The representative of the United Kingdom said the incident in Salisbury on 4 March 2018 involved the use of novichok by the Russian Federation’s military intelligence service, leaving one person dead and four others fighting for their lives while also endangering many more.  The United Kingdom has no doubt who was responsible for the attack, he said, adding that only the Russian Federation had the means and motive to carry out a sickening and despicable act in clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The representative of the Russian Federation said more than one and a half years have passed since the incident in the United Kingdom, yet to date no evidence has been presented regarding the involvement of the Russian Federation or its citizens.  Saying “we have no doubt” is not evidence.  He called on the United States to stop manipulating the facts, pressuring OPCW and advancing baseless accusations against the Russian Federation and Syria.

The representative of Syria, thanking those delegations that voted against “L.10”, said that draft was politicized and does not reflect the facts on the ground.  Instead, it targets one country, namely Syria.  It is not strange for the representative of the United States regime to distract attention from its repeated crimes, he said, adding that the impact of the use of weapons of mass destruction can be seen in Viet Nam, Iran, Japan and other States.  Moreover, the United States must eradicate its chemical weapons stockpile and stop requesting extensions for implementing its agreement.  In addition, the Turkish regime is responsible for chemical weapons incidents in Syria through its support for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and Al‑Nusra Front.

The representative of the United States said it is amazing that today a country like the Russian Federation would make assassination attempts on a neighbour’s territory.  November marks the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, representing a time of hope that there would be a world where everyone could be at peace with their neighbours.  Unfortunately, the Russian Federation turned away and is neither East nor West.  It has nowhere to go but to go down, which is a difficult position to be in.  As for Syria, he drew attention to the victims of chemical attacks in that country. 

The representative of Turkey said the Syrian regime is trying to divert attention from the crimes it has committed on innocent people, but these efforts are useless.  Indeed, the Syria regime will be held accountable.

Action on Draft Texts

The Committee then took up four draft resolutions in its cluster on disarmament aspects of outer space:  “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (document A/C.1/74/L.3); “Further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space” (document A/C.1/74/L.58/Rev.1); “No first placement of weapons in outer space” (document A/C.1/74/L.59); and “Transparency and confidence‑building measures in outer space activities” (document A/C.1/74/L.60).

The representative of the European Union delegation, speaking also for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, North Macedonia and Moldova, said they will not support the draft resolutions “L.58” and “L.59”.  Strengthening safety and security is a key priority for the European Union, which has proposed an international code of conduct for outer space activities.  “L.59” does not ensure trust in outer space and can create a conflict when one State can confuse another State’s object for a weapon.  However, the bloc would vote in favour of “L.3”.

The representative of Egypt, regretting to note an intention by some States to try to turn outer space into an arena for conflict, said that in view of the current volatile and fragile international order, it is more necessary than ever before for the United Nations to clear its resolve.  The international community can rise above narrow differences and agree to prevent an arms race in outer space.

The representative of the Russian Federation said preventing an arms race in outer space is one of his delegation’s priorities.  The international community can protect that realm from the appearance of weapons.  The United States is trying to impose its rules and the idea of domination from outer space and could target objects under the excuse of combatting debris.  Preventing an arms race in outer space can be achieved only through multilateral and legally binding agreements.

The representative of Cuba said all States have a legitimate right to equal and non‑discriminatory access to outer space, and its militarization must stop immediately.  Cuba supports a legally binding treaty to prohibit the deployment of weapons in space and regrets that one State blocked consensus in the Group of Governmental Experts on the topic.  Cuba will support the four resolutions on outer space before the Committee today.

The representative of Sri Lanka, introducing the draft resolution “L.3”, said outer space is the common heritage of all humanity.  Everyone has a shared responsibility to ensure that it remains free of conflict and militarization.  The draft resolution has been adopted every year for close to 40 years, he said, adding that the current iteration will hopefully bridge gaps and create common ground for further progress.

The representative of the United States said there is a common interest to maintain peace and security in space for all, but there are different views on how to achieve that and on defining what a weapon is.  Washington, D.C., fully supports existing international law, including the United Nations Charter and the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, and it does not seek any changes to those foundational documents.  As outer space is becoming more congested and contested, the best way to address this is by non‑legally‑binding standards, confidence‑building measures and greater transparency that would reduce the risk to spacecraft while complementing existing regimes.  His delegation presented the draft resolution “Advancing transparency and confidence‑building measures for outer space activities” (document A/C.1/74/L.55/Rev.1), but its calls for compromise were rebuffed by the primary sponsor of “L.58/Rev.1”.  As such, his delegation is withdrawing “L.55/Rev.1” to continue consultations.

The representative of China said preambular paragraph 4 of “L.58/Rev.1” and preambular paragraph 5 of “L.59” consist of existing language from previous resolutions.  Delegations requesting separate votes on those paragraphs are seeking to undermine the two texts with a view to creating international divisions.  China deplores that approach and calls for the two drafts to be supported as a whole, retaining their original wording.

The representative of United States said his delegation’s vote against the draft resolution “Transparency and confidence‑building measures in outer space activities” (document A/C.1/74/L.60) will not distract Washington, D.C., from supporting such voluntary measures.  Reiterating his delegation’s opposition to the Chinese‑Russian draft treaty presented to the Conference on Disarmament, he said that while the United States prefers that space remain conflict free, those two countries are deploying technologies that turn the realm into a war‑fighting domain.  He expressed regret that operative paragraph 3 in “L.58/Rev.1” is being put to a vote, adding that his delegation cannot support language that lacks an agreed definition in the United Nations system.

The representative of France, speaking also on behalf of two other countries, encouraged delegations to vote against “L.59”.  All countries should work through existing forums towards effective transparency and confidence‑building measures.  “L.59” raises a number of problems, including the absence of a common definition of a space weapon.  In addition, there are also limits on what can be verified once a space vehicle is launched.  Moreover, language included in the text by China that reflects that country’s vision of world geopolitics cannot be supported, he said, adding that no one should support the inclusion of national language in multilateral texts.

The representative of the Russian Federation welcomed the decision of the United States to withdraw draft resolution “L.55/Rev.1” and their aim to keep seeking confidence.  This is probably the first step in this direction by the United States.  Related efforts in compliance with the United Nations disarmament machinery alongside transparency and confidence‑building measures should be considered to truly address arms race in outer space and keep it free from any weapon.

The representative of Iran said outer space must be maintained for peaceful uses, adding that transparency and confidence‑building measures are a means to achieve this aspiration and can never substitute for a legally binding instrument.  As such, his delegation will vote in favour of “L.60”.

The representative of Venezuela said her delegation will do as much as possible to prevent an arms race in outer space, and will vote in favour of “L.3”, “L.58/Rev.1”, “L.59” and “L.60”, because they are all constructive ways to attain that goal.  However, she regretted to highlight the destructive actions of certain countries that cause division and undermine progress while unilaterally proclaiming war‑like intentions in outer space.

The representative of Pakistan said his delegation will vote in favour of “L.58/Rev.1” and “L.59” because they share the noble goal of achieving a just and stable order.  It is an aspiration to and an interest of humanity to have an outer space free of an arms race or any conflicting activities.

The Committee then considered the draft resolution “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (document A/C.1/74/L.3).  The text would have the Assembly reaffirm the importance and urgency of preventing an arms race in outer space and the readiness of all States to contribute to that objective, in conformity with the Outer Space Treaty.  It would call upon all States, particularly those with major space capabilities, to contribute actively to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space and would invite the Conference on Disarmament to establish a working group on the topic as early as possible.

It then approved the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 175 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space” (document A/C.1/74/L.58/Rev.1).  By its terms, the Assembly would welcome the work in 2018‑2019 of the Group of Governmental Experts on further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space, which is tasked with considering and making recommendations on substantial elements of a related international legally binding instrument.  The Assembly would urge the international community to pursue efforts aimed at preventing an arms race, including placement of weapons, in outer space.

By a recorded vote of 111 in favour to 40 against, with 12 abstentions, the Committee decided to retain preambular paragraph 4, which would have the Assembly bear in mind that all Member States, in particular those with major space capabilities, should contribute actively to the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

By a recorded vote of 55 in favour to 50 against, with 48 abstentions, it also decided to retain operative paragraph 3, which would have the Assembly express regret that, due to the position of one expert, consensus could not be reached on the final report of the Group of Governmental Experts.

It then approved the draft resolution as a whole by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 41 against, with 10 abstentions (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Japan, Malawi, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Switzerland, Turkey).

Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution “No first placement of weapons in outer space” (document A/C.1/74/L.59).  By its terms, the Assembly would urge an early commencement of substantive work in the Conference on Disarmament on the topic, based on an updated draft treaty introduced by China and the Russian Federation in 2008.  It would also encourage all States, especially spacefaring nations, to consider the possibility of upholding, as appropriate, a political commitment not to be the first to place weapons in outer space.

By a vote of 114 in favour to 42 against, with 10 abstentions (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Turkey), the Committee decided to retain preambular paragraph 5, which would have the Assembly reaffirm that practical measures should be examined and taken in the search for agreements to prevent an arms race in outer space.

It then approved the draft resolution as a whole by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 14 against, with 40 abstentions.

The Committee turned to the draft resolution “Transparency and confidence‑building measures in outer space activities” (document A/C.1/74/L.60), by which the Assembly would encourage Member States to continue to review and implement the transparency and confidence‑building measures proposed in the 2013 report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Transparency and Confidence‑Building Measures in Outer Space Activities.  It would also decide to convene a joint half‑day panel discussion of the First Committee and the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) to address possible challenges to space security and sustainability.

It then approved “L.60” by a recorded vote of 166 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 5 abstentions (Australia, Georgia, Palau, Ukraine, United Kingdom).

The representative of Malaysia said his delegation voted in favour of all four draft resolutions because exploration of outer space should be done for peaceful purposes, access to it must be secure and all activities must comply with international law.  As such, Malaysia remains committed to international treaties to protect the outer space.

The representative of Mexico said her delegation voted in favour of “L.59”, highlighting the importance and urgency of preventing an arms race and that no weapons should be ever placed in outer space.

The representative of Japan said his delegation voted in favour of “L.3” and “L.60”.  However, it abstained on “L.59” because the language does not include a definition of an outer space weapon.  Reiterating a need for responsible behaviour in outer space, he called on Member States to refrain from actions that cause mistrust and misunderstanding.

The representative of Germany, speaking on behalf of a group of countries including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, said “L.59” does not respond to the objectives of maintaining and strengthening trust.  Instead, the draft resolution contains ambiguities and shortcomings, he said, regretting to note the development of technology with anti‑satellite capabilities.  In addition, there must be a clear definition of what constitutes a weapon, he said, adding that multilateral dialogue is the only path towards ensuring the peaceful use of outer space and preventing an arms race.

The representative of India said her delegation voted in favour of “L.58/Rev.1” because of the shared goal of preventing arms race.  As India maintains a vital interest in outer space, safety must be consolidated and its weaponization prevented.

The representative of Switzerland said his delegation abstained on “L.59” because the provisions fail to consider some key aspects, such as a definition of a weapon or references to the testing and deployment of ground‑based systems targeting satellites.  Casting an abstention on “L.58/Rev.1” and voting against retaining operative paragraph 3, Switzerland regrets to note that the Group of Governmental Experts did not agree on its substantive report, but welcomes the fact that the main spacefaring nations participated in its work.  Operative paragraph 3 broke with Committee practice and risks complicating the work of the Group of Governmental Experts going forward.

The Committee then turned to seven draft resolutions in its conventional weapons cluster:  “The Arms Trade Treaty” (document A/C.1/74/L.25); “Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them” (document A/C.1/74/L.27); “Transparency in armaments” (document A/C.1/74/L.30); “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (document A/C.1/74/L.43); “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.1/74/L.45); “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions” (document A/C.1/74/L.46); and “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.1/74/L.54).

The representative of the Netherlands introduced “L.30”, underscoring the important role that the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and its contribution to confidence‑building and transparency among States.

The representative of Mali introduced “L.27” on behalf of the 15 member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  Notwithstanding technical amendments, the text uses the same language as similar resolutions agreed by consensus in years past.  It also seeks to strengthen regional security and regional initiatives to reduce the proliferation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons.  He expressed regret that a vote has been requested on preambular paragraph 16 in a draft resolution that has previously been adopted by consensus.

The representative of Colombia, referring to “L.43”, highlighted the humanitarian and socioeconomic consequences of the illicit arms trade, as well as the threat it poses to peace, reconciliation and sustainable development.  She encouraged urgent improvements in national action to address the problem.

The representative of Cuba, in an explanation of position before the vote, said her delegation will refrain from voting on “L.25”, as it is premature given that negotiations have yet to conclude.  It will also abstain on “L.30”, which is unbalanced.  Cuba is also not in favour of convening a new group of governmental experts as proposed in the draft.  On “L.45”, she said her country cannot give up the use of anti‑personnel mines, citing its legitimate right to self‑defence.

The representative of Armenia, explaining his delegation’s position on “L.25”, reiterated its concerns about some sections of the Arms Trade Treaty.  In its current form, the instrument can be interpreted as hindering the right of States to self‑defence.  Armenia disassociates itself from references to the Arms Trade Treaty in other texts.

The representative of Pakistan said transparency is a means to an end, not an end in itself, with the objective being the promotion of confidence‑building measures and easing tensions through negotiations.  Regarding the group of governmental experts that would convene in 2021 and 2022, as proposed in “L.30”, he said Pakistan shares the broad expectation that its composition will conform with the principle of equitable geographic distribution, particularly from developing countries.  Financial restraints on the United Nations should not affect that, he added.

The representative of Egypt said his delegation will abstain on “L.25” and “L.27” because even though his country has always been at forefront to combat illicit trafficking, some States manipulate the arms trade.  His delegation will also abstain on “L.45”, which is not balanced.  Egypt imposed a moratorium on the production and export of anti‑personnel mines, but the current related treaties do not establish an obligation to remove mines placed by States, he said, recalling his country’s first‑hand experience with 22 million mines placed on its territory during the Second World War.  On “L.46”, Egypt will also abstain because the draft resolution was developed outside of the United Nations framework and is made to fit the requirements of certain States.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “The Arms Trade Treaty” (document A/C.3/74/L.25).  By its terms, the Assembly would welcome the decisions taken at the Fifth Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty, held in Geneva from 26 to 30 August 2019, and welcome the progress made by the standing working groups on effective treaty implementation, on transparency and reporting, and on universalization in advancing the instrument’s objective and purpose.

By its terms, the Assembly would call on all States parties to submit and update their reports as required under the Treaty, thereby enhancing confidence, transparency, trust and accountability.  It would also call upon States that have not yet done so to promptly address their financial obligations under the Treaty.

By a recorded vote of 155 in favour to none against, with 15 abstentions, the Committee decided to retain preambular paragraph 9, by which the Assembly would recall the Secretary‑General’s disarmament agenda, “Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament”, in particular the section titled “Disarmament that saves lives”.

By a recorded vote of 137 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 15 abstentions, the Committee decided to retain operative paragraph 4, which would have the Assembly call upon all States that have not yet done so to ratify, accept, approve or accede to the Treaty, in accordance with their respective constitutional processes, in order to achieve its universalization.

By a recorded vote of 136 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 31 abstentions, the Committee decided to retain operative paragraph 9, by which the Assembly would recognize the added value of the adoption in June 2018 of the report of the Third United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, including the outcome document annexed thereto.  It would also acknowledge synergies between the Programme of Action on Small Arms and the Treaty.

The Committee then approved “L.25” as a whole by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 26 abstentions.

Next, the Committee considered the draft resolution “Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them” (document A/C.1/74/L.27), which would have the Assembly encourage cooperation among State organs, international organizations and civil society in support of related programmes and projects.

By a recorded vote of 149 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 20 abstentions, it decided to retain preambular paragraph 16, which would have the Assembly welcome the inclusion of small arms and light weapons in the scope of the Arms Trade Treaty as well as the inclusion of international assistance in its provisions.

The Committee then approved “L.27” as a whole without a vote.

Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution “Transparency in armaments” (document A/C.1/74/L.30).  By its terms, the Assembly would call upon Member States to provide the Secretary‑General, by 31 May annually, with data and information on exports and imports of small arms and light weapons requested for the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.  The Assembly would also invite Member States to provide additional information on procurement through national production and military holdings.

The Secretariat delivered an oral statement on programme budget implications.

By a recorded vote of 138 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 26 abstentions, it decided to retain preambular paragraph 7, which would have the Assembly express its concern at the low number of reports that have been submitted to the Register by the Member States.

It then approved “L.30” by a recorded vote of 154 in favour to none against, with 23 abstentions.

The Committee then turned its attention to the draft resolution “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (document A/C.1/74/L.43).  By the terms of that text, the Assembly would call upon all States to implement the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons, also known as the International Tracing Instrument, by including in their national reports information to indicate country of manufacture and or country of import.

The Secretary delivered an oral statement on programme budget implications.

By a recorded vote of 170 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions, the Committee decided to retain preambular paragraph 7, which would have the Assembly welcome the successful conclusion of the Third United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms, held in New York from 18 to 29 June 2018.

By a recorded vote of 151 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 16 abstentions, it decided to retain preambular paragraph 22, which would have the Assembly welcome the inclusion of small arms and light weapons in the scope of the Arms Trade Treaty.

By a recorded vote of 169 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions, it decided to retain operative paragraph 6, through which the Assembly would endorse the outcome of the Third United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms.

The Committee then approved “L.43” as a whole without a vote.

The Committee then considered the draft resolution “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.1/74/L.45).  By the terms of that text, the Assembly would invite all States that have not signed the Mine‑Ban Convention to accede to it without delay and would urge the one remaining State that has signed but not ratified the instrument to ratify it without delay.  It would also call upon States parties and States participating in meetings to address issues arising from outstanding dues and to proceed promptly with the payment of their share of the estimated costs.

The Committee Secretary delivered an oral statement on programme budget implications.

The Committee then approved “L.45” by a recorded vote of 161 in favour to none against, with 19 abstentions.

The Committee then turned its attention to the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions” (document A/C.1/74/L.46).  By the terms of that text, the Assembly would urge all States outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to join as soon as possible, whether by ratifying or acceding to it, and all States parties that can, to promote adherence to the instrument through bilateral, subregional and multilateral contacts, outreach and other means.

The Committee Secretary delivered an oral statement on programme budget implications.

By a recorded vote of 147 in favour to none against, with 16 abstentions, the Committee decided to retain preambular paragraph 14, by which the Assembly would take note of the initiative of the Secretary‑General, “Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament”, in particular the section titled “Disarmament that saves lives”.

It then approved “L.46” by a recorded vote of 138 in favour to 1 against (Russian Federation), with 39 abstentions.

Finally, the Committee turned its attention to the draft resolution “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.1/74/L.54).  By the terms of that text, the Assembly would call upon all States that have not yet done so to become parties, as soon as possible, to the instrument with the goal of achieving its universality.

The Committee Secretary delivered an oral statement on programme budget implications.

The Committee then approved the text without a vote.

The representative of Iran, explaining his delegation’s position, said he abstained on “L.25” because of existing political and commercial interests involving the Arms Trade Treaty.  That instrument treaty has failed to prevent the delivery of arms to a country that has committed an aggression.  The United States has exported millions of dollars in weapons to Israel and countries in the Gulf to commit aggressions against Palestine and Yemen.  His delegation cast an abstention on “L.30” because the existing United Nations mechanism is not balanced and comprehensive and does not consider the realities of a volatile region like the Middle East, where Israel continues to produce weapons of mass destruction.  Turning to “L.45”, he said anti‑personnel mines have been used irresponsibly and have claimed many innocent lives, a trend Iran wants to stop.  However, the Mine‑Ban Convention does not consider the realities of long borders and the need to defend some territories.  In some situations, mines are needed and can be used under strict control, he said, pointing out that new alternatives to mines could be explored.  On “L.46”, Iran abstained because it did not participate in negotiations on the Convention on Cluster Munitions and cannot support an instrument negotiated outside the United Nations.

Right of Reply

The representative of China, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said there is a link between the future of outer space and the future of humanity.  It should not be determined by one State.  However, one country is seeking dominance in outer space in disregard of humankind and has planned to place weapons and turn it into a battleground.  She hoped the relevant country will take effective measures to address outer space security and stay committed to the prevention of placing weapons in that realm.

For information media. Not an official record.