Confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context
Report of the Secretary-General
* A/59/50 and Corr.1.
1. On 8 December 2003, the General Assembly adopted resolution 58/43, entitled “Confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context”, in which, inter alia, it called upon Member States to refrain from the use or threat of use of force in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and upon Member States that have not already done so to open consultations and dialogue in the regions of tension without preconditions. The Assembly urged States to comply strictly with all bilateral, regional and international agreements, including arms control and disarmament agreements, to which they are party. The Assembly also urged, in the context of confidence-building measures, the maintenance of military balance between the States in the regions of tension consistent with the principle of undiminished security at the lowest level of armaments and encouraged the promotion of unilateral, bilateral and regional confidence-building measures to avoid conflict and prevent the unintended and accidental outbreak of hostilities. The General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States with a view to exploring possibilities of furthering efforts towards confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context, particularly in the regions of tension, and to report on the subject to it at its fifty-ninth session. The present report is submitted pursuant to that request and on the basis of information received from Member States.
2. In this connection, a note verbale dated 18 February 2004 was sent to all Member States requesting their views. The replies received are reproduced in section II below. Any replies received subsequently will be issued as addenda to the present report.
II. Replies received from States
[1 June 2004]
1. Israel believes that confidence-building measures are an effective and significant instrument for improving relations and promoting good-neighbourliness in the regional and subregional context. Israel is of the view that ideas on how to promote and identify regional confidence-building measures should be first and foremost developed and agreed upon in the relevant regional and subregional context between the regional parties themselves. Confidence-building measures should be presented and negotiated, freely and directly, between the regional parties with a view to reducing tensions and facilitating political dialogue and cooperation. We believe that this sequence should be preserved if confidence-building measures are to fulfil their objective.
2. Moreover, it is clearly apparent that confidence-building measures cannot be imposed by some States or even by the international community. Imposing confidence-building measures would undermine their essential objective, namely the enhancement of security and trust between the regional parties.
3. We believe that introducing ideas regarding regional and subregional confidence-building measures and their formation, initially in the United Nations, in the manner described in the above resolution, is counterproductive and runs counter to the principle that confidence-building measures should be freely agreed upon and negotiated between the regional parties. This would not be conducive to the building of trust and confidence in the regional and subregional context.
4. Israel would therefore encourage States to present ideas for confidence-building measures to their relevant regional counterparts through direct dialogue and exchange of views in the pursuit of the objective of enhancing confidence and reduction of tensions.
[26 May 2004]
Lebanon supports all international confidence-building measures and agreements, the maintenance of military balance, and efforts to combat the unrestrained proliferation of various types of weapons in the region and the world, because of the grave threat it poses at the global, regional and subregional levels. Lebanon also wishes to reaffirm its adherence to international law and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the principles of the sovereign equality of States and regional integrity. The primary obstacle facing Lebanon in confidence-building at the regional and subregional levels is Israel, which continues to occupy part of Lebanese Arab territory, seeks to deny Palestinians the rights of return proclaimed in General Assembly resolution 194 (III) and carries out daily terrorist acts inside occupied Palestine.