Nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East – First Cttee debate – Verbatim record (excerpts)

Official Records

General Assembly

Forty-ninth session

First Committee

6th meeting

Wednesday, 19 October 1994, 3 p.m.

New York

Chairman: Mr. Valencia Rodriguez ……………………….. (Ecuador)

The meeting was called to order at 3.15 p.m.

Agenda items 53 to 66, 68 to 72 and 153 (continued)

General debate on all disarmament and international security items


Mr. Al-Sahlawi (Qatar) (interpretation from Arabic): …


Since 1974, the question of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East has been on the General Assembly’s agenda.  The General Assembly has adopted many resolutions on that item at session after session in which the Assembly urged all the parties concerned to take the necessary steps towards the achievement of that objective and set out a number of principles that should be followed until such a zone was created. And yet here we are on the threshold of the twenty-first century and, for reasons that are well known to all, that goal has not been achieved.

There is a set of fundamental principles upon which efforts that aim at ensuring international peace and security and disarmament in the Middle East and throughout the world should be based. Peace and peaceful coexistence amongst nations and peoples of various ethnicities cannot prevail without the commitment by all nations of the world to the principles of peace and coexistence. Those principles are: non-use or threat of use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of any State; settlement of disputes and conflicts by peaceful means such as dialogue, arbitration and resort to the International Court of Justice; rejection of occupation and expansion at the expense of others and reaffirmation of the right of every State to sovereignty and independence; recognition of international borders of States and of the right of every State to economic and social development in keeping with the provisions of the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law.

Proceeding from its commitment to these principles, Qatar has consistently sought to entrench such concepts in our region as peace, security, good-neighbourliness and coexistence amongst all the States of the region. My country has always believed and continues to believe that all countries in the Middle East, without exception, should accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). We also support all initiatives that aim at making the Middle East a nuclear-free zone and a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, especially now that we are on the eve of a new era during which we hope to see peace and security prevail in the world.

The creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East would benefit the countries of the region at the economic and social levels, as a large part of the budgets of those countries is now being wasted on armaments and the maintenance of large defensive forces.

If the current peace process leads to results that will reassure all parties, the general climate in the region will change from one of mistrust and the continuous gearing up for conflict to one of equanimity and coexistence. Thus it will be possible to channel those vast resources that are now tied up in the military budgets to socio-economic development. That is sorely needed by the peoples of the region to improve their standards of living and ensure a better future for their coming generations.

With respect to the objective of creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, we reiterate the hope that comprehensive peace will be achieved and will generate a climate favouring the attainment of that objective so that the disarmament process may be promoted and peace and security may prevail, not only in the region, but also in the world at large.


Mr. Lamamra (Algeria) (interpretation from French): …


…The establishment of a binding and effective legal regime of safeguards against the threat of the use or the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States has unfortunately met with unjustifiable and counter-productive delaying tactics that run counter to the legitimate expectation of the overwhelming majority of the States Members of the United Nations and of their peoples, and also of public opinion in the nuclear military Powers themselves. The preparatory work of the fourth review Conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty is also encountering delay, and there has as yet been no convergence of positions towards a dynamic balance of obligations between the States parties of differing status and towards the promotion of the transfer of nuclear technology for development.

Against this background, it is a matter of concern that the new political climate in the sensitive region of the Middle East has not yet had a positive impact on nuclear disarmament and that considerable nuclear stocks held by one single State in the region still remain outside any international control at a time when the establishment of a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction should be supported by everyone.


The meeting rose at 5.40 p.m.

Document symbol: A/C.1/49/PV.6
Document Type: Meeting record
Document Sources: General Assembly
Subject: Arms control and regional security issues
Publication Date: 19/10/1994
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