Tuesday, 16 November 1993
at 3 p.m.
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 27th MEETING
Mr. von WAGNER
DECISIONS ON DRAFT RESOLUTIONS SUBMITTED UNDER ALL DISARMAMENT AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AGENDA ITEMS (continued)
The meeting was called to order at 3.30 p.m.
DECISIONS ON DRAFT RESOLUTIONS SUBMITTED UNDER ALL DISARMAMENT AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AGENDA ITEMS (continued) (A/C.1/48/L.8/Rev.2, L.9, L.13/Rev.2, L.15*, L.23, L.26/Rev.2, L.37, L.44/Rev.1, L.48 and L.51)
Draft resolutions A/C.1/48/L.15* and L.48
37. Mr. EL TINAY (Sudan) introducing draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.48, said that the sponsors had taken into account the realities of the post-cold-war era and the positive developments which had occurred in the region, in particular the signing of the Declaration of Principles between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel. Having said that, however, Israel should not take advantage of the agreement – which was but one stage along the road towards the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace – to disguise the fact that negotiations with the Arab countries of the region were at an impasse as a result of Israel's categorical refusal to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories which it had taken by force in 1967.
38. Citing official Israeli statements, he asserted that Israel could also not hide the fact that it had nuclear weapons. In that context, he had been surprised to note that the Israeli delegation had subordinated the question of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons to the question of the Middle East peace process when, at each session of the General Assembly, a resolution had been adopted calling upon Israel to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. After intense consultations, the Arab countries had maintained that the draft resolution should be worded in such a way as to obligate all the States of the region to place all their nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. Since the text of the draft resolution was quite different from that of previous resolutions on the subject with respect to both form and content, he urged that it should be adopted.
Explanations of vote before the vote
39. Mr. LEDOGAR (United States of America) welcomed the fact that the sponsors had sought to make many positive changes to draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.15*, although he regretted that some of the most important rights and freedoms of navigation had not been dealt with in the text. Indeed, while the sixth preambular paragraph reaffirmed the freedom of navigation in the high seas, no mention was made of the freedom of overflight, the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea, the right of transit passage through straits or the right of passage through archipelagic waters. The United States therefore felt constrained to vote against the draft resolution.
40. Mr. AL-ATTAR (Syrian Arab Republic) said that the submission of draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.48 was justified because Israel continued to refuse to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, thus threatening the security and stability of the countries of the region and of the entire world. The draft resolution was in line with the wishes expressed by the international community since it committed Israel, like other States of the region, to renounce its nuclear option and to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. In so doing, Israel would be demonstrating that it sincerely sought a way to bring the peace process in the Middle East, which had not yet achieved the desired results to a conclusion. It would also reassure the other countries of the region.
41. It should be emphasized in that regard, that those who called for the establishment of regional arrangements with a view to monitoring nuclear weapons in the Middle East appeared to forget that there could be no cooperation under the shadow of occupation and annexation and when the rights of others were being denied and the resolutions of competent international authorities remained unimplemented. They also behaved as if they did not recognize that it was the responsibility of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security, which was its raison d'être.
42. Mr. GUILLAUME (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the members of the European Union, said that the introduction of draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.48 was all the more untimely in that with the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement in Washington the Middle East peace process had taken a decisive turn. The Twelve also deplored the singling out of a particular country, since the risk of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East was a problem that should be dealt with in a global manner within the framework of the peace talks. It should be recalled in that connection that that was the aim of the Mubarak plan, which had the support of the entire international community. The Twelve shared the aim of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and urged all the countries of the region, including Israel, to accede to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation and to place all their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. Moreover, the issue of the presence of weapons of mass destruction in the region should be dealt with in the framework of the Middle East peace talks.
43. The vote of the members of the European Union should be understood, therefore, as both an appeal to leave the past behind, and a clear message of support for the negotiations under way in the framework of the Middle East peace process.
44. Mr. O'SULLIVAN (Australia) said his delegation would vote in favour of draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.15*, as its tone and language had undergone a marked adjustment in the right direction. It was apparent from the 1993 report of the Ad Hoc Committee, however, that no concrete result had been achieved in regard to the development of new approaches to peace and security in the Indian Ocean region. It was to be hoped that all the interested States would contribute to the report to be prepared by the Secretary-General in implementation of the resolution.
45. Mr. BERNHARDSEN (Norway), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries on draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.48, said that the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East could be brought about only if the countries of the region acted in a spirit of cooperation. In order to establish a climate of confidence, therefore, all the countries of the region should accede to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation and place all their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. In that connection, the singling out of a particular country was a practice that should be eschewed, particularly in view of recent events in the region.
Action on draft resolutions
Draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.15*
46. Mr. KHERADI (Secretary of the Committee) said that draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.15*, entitled "Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace", was sponsored by Indonesia, on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations members of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, Panama and the Philippines.
47. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.15*.
In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: France, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Norther Ireland, United States of America.
Abstaining: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey.
48. The draft resolution was adopted by 110 votes to 3, with 32 abstentions
Draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.48
49. Mr. KHERADI (Secretary of the Committee) said that draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.48, entitled "Israeli nuclear armament", was sponsored by Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
50. A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.48.
In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Chad, China, Colombia, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
Against: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America.
Abstaining: Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Belarus, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, Singapore, Suriname, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Zambia.
51. The draft resolution was adopted by 55 votes to 39, with 47 abstentions
Explanations of vote after the vote
52. Mr. TUN (Myanmar) said that the proliferation of nuclear weapons would not only considerably increase the risk of nuclear war but would also constitute a threat to national, regional and world security. He had always supported efforts to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, and found it encouraging in that respect that more than 155 States, including the five nuclear Powers, were now parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which was the cornerstone of that regime. To put an end to the danger of nuclear proliferation, Myanmar urged all those States which had not yet done so to accede to the Treaty and conclude full safeguard agreements with IAEA. His delegation did not think that a resolution directed specifically at a single country, such as the one just adopted, helped to realize the aim in view, and it had therefore abstained in the vote.
53. Mr. BANDURA (Ukraine) said that his country, as a supporter of the principle of the inadmissibility of resort to nuclear weapons and bearing in mind the need to act to stop them spreading, had always backed efforts at the international level to prevent any Government suspected of wishing to acquire such weapons from doing so. However, given the clearly discriminatory approach of the draft resolution – reminiscent of a recent past when confrontation between the blocs had led to the submission of various draft resolutions intended to obtain not concrete results but rather ideological dividends – his delegation had been obliged to abstain in the vote.
54. Mr. CHANDRA (India) said that his delegation's position was unchanged and that, while it continued to support all efforts for the total elimination of all nuclear weapons as part of a world approach, and the establishment of peace and security in the Middle East, it had been obliged to abstain in the vote because it found the singling out of one particular State on that issue inappropriate. If the vote had been taken paragraph by paragraph, his delegation would have voted against operative paragraph 1.
55. Mr. FRIER (Israel) said that the vote on draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.48 should reflect the position, favourable or otherwise, of the First Committee towards the Middle East peace process. His delegation regretted to see therefore that certain States had sponsored the resolution or voted in favour of it; it hoped that those which had abstained would alter their position over time and warmly thanked those States which, faithful to their convictions, had voted against it.
56. Mr. MORADI (Islamic Republic of Iran) said he had voted for the draft resolution because he was convinced that what were called, in the third preambular paragraph, the "recent positive developments" in the situation would not lead to the full restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Moreover, he thought that as long as Israel's nuclear weapons were not eliminated from the face of the earth the item "Israeli nuclear armament" ought to stay on the First Committee's agenda.
57. Mr. MARSCHIK (Austria) said that his country had always supported all efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, particularly in the sensitive area of the Middle East. It had always demanded that all countries of the region should adhere to the NPT and place their nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards. Although it had supported draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.35, therefore, his delegation had voted against draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.48: its substance seemed to have been already covered by draft resolution L.35 and its adoption might have been interpreted by some countries in a way that could have adversely affected the climate of the Middle East peace negotiations.
58. Austria attached great importance to the peace process in the Middle East, which in recent months had shown encouraging developments; in particular, the work of its working group on arms control and regional security, in which Austria was participating, was proceeding satisfactorily. A delicate point had been reached and everything should be done to facilitate the peace process in the quest for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
59. Mr. GÜVEN (Turkey) said that by reason of its geographical location his country attached great importance to the preservation of peace and security in the Middle East. It therefore encouraged all States in the region to adhere to the international instruments on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It took every opportunity to call not only on Israel but on all States of the region to accede to the NPT and to place all their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. It believed that practical steps to that effect would make an important contribution to dissipating the climate of distrust inherent to the region. Turkey had, however, abstained at the current session in the vote on draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.48, which it believed did not cover all the components of the problem relating to nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East. It would have preferred a text which underlined the responsibility of all the countries in the region to promote nuclear non-proliferation, thus contributing to the maintenance of peace and security in the Middle East.
60. Mr. NEAGU (Romania) said that at the previous two sessions of the General Assembly his delegation had voted against the draft resolution on "Israeli nuclear armament", since it believed it was high time to adopt a new, more constructive approach to the problem of nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East, in accordance with the positive developments in the relations between States in the region over the previous few years, and especially taking into account the recent breakthrough in the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. The historic agreement of 13 September 1993 opened up new possibilities for peaceful coexistence and collaboration, not only between their two peoples, but among all the peoples in the region.
61. He was also encouraged by the consensus registered on the proposal for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region. A further positive element was the decision to establish an arms control and regional security working group to deal with the sensitive issue of Middle East arms control. His delegation had noted with great interest that the United Nations was working with the group as an extraregional participant.
62. Romania's vote against the draft resolution took into consideration those important positive elements and was conceived as a constructive effort to support the peace process in the Middle East and thereby the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region and around the world.
63. Mr. O'SULLIVAN (Australia) said that the past year had seen a substantial improvement in the security climate in several parts of the world, including the Middle East, where there were good prospects that the agreement between Israel and the PLO would stimulate further progress towards peace in that region. The Middle East working group on arms control and regional security had continued to do constructive work, in which Australia had been pleased to participate.
64. His country had consistently urged Israel and other States, both parties and non-parties to the NPT, to live up to the standards of international behaviour set out in the Treaty. It appealed to the few remaining States which had not yet done so, particularly those that operated unsafeguarded nuclear facilities, to join the Treaty.
65. Australia's abstention on the vote on the draft resolution should not be interpreted as anything less than complete support for the calls that Israel should join the NPT and accept complete safeguards on all its nuclear facilities. His country fully shared the concerns expressed in the resolution and supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone and a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
66. Mr. GAJDA (Hungary), speaking also on behalf of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, unreservedly associated himself with the statement of the representative of Austria.
67. Mr. GURECKAS (Lithuania) had voted against draft resolution A/C.1/48/L.48 for the same reason as the representative of Hungary and associated himself with the latter's statement.
The meeting rose at 5.40 p.m.