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

Official Records

General Assembly

Forty-ninth session

First Committee

25th meeting

Friday, 18 November 1994, 3 p.m.

New York

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

The meeting was called to order at 11.15 a.m.

Agenda items 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 71 and 72 (continued)

Action on draft resolutions  submitted under all disarmament and international security agenda items


Mr. Troug (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) (interpretation from Arabic): My delegation voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.1/49/L.16/Rev.1. However, our affirmative vote certainly does not mean that my country recognizes Israel or that we accept certain elements in the text relating to the peace process in the Middle East.

While we welcome the establishment of a nuclear-weapon- free zone in the region, we draw the attention of the international community to the fact that its aspirations, however noble, can be realized only if the whole world boldly faces up to the Israelis, who possess an enormous arsenal of nuclear weapons, with more than 200 nuclear warheads, not to mention other weapons of mass destruction that they continue to develop. This situation cannot be conducive to realization of the dream of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

We request the international community to take the necessary steps to help destroy Israel’s nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. The Israelis must also submit their nuclear facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Only thus can the Middle East become a nuclear-weapon-free zone.


Mr. Moradi (Islamic Republic of Iran): I wish to express my delegation’s reservations on the ninth preambular paragraph and operative paragraph 4 of draft resolution A/C.1/49/L.16/Rev.1, entitled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East”.

Our position with respect to the recent agreements and negotiations in the Middle East is quite clear and well known. We do not believe that they will lead to the full restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the achievement of justice in the Middle East. For this reason, we have strong reservations on elements of the ninth preambular paragraph and operative paragraph 4. Those paragraphs prescribe a specific option for realizing peace and security in the region, which runs counter to the guidelines and recommendations for regional approaches to disarmament adopted by the Disarmament Commission in 1993.

We are convinced that the establishment of a nuclear-weapon- free zone in this region at an early date is the most viable way to realize peace and security in the Middle East. This has been Iran’s consistent position since 1974, when it initiated a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and introduced what became draft resolution 3263 (XXIX) of 9 December 1974. At present the main obstacle to realization of this initiative is Israel’s refusal to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and to put its nuclear-weapon programme under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. Therefore, that entity’s attempt to introduce irrelevant and extraneous elements into the text of this traditional draft resolution is nothing but an attempt to misrepresent the main purpose of the draft resolution and divert the attention of the international community from its threatening nuclear-weapon programme.

Mr. Yativ (Israel): I would like to explain my delegation’s position on draft resolution A/49/C.1/L.16/Rev.1.

Israel’s attitude with regard to the draft resolution, with its new additions, which was adopted by consensus, was influenced by the fact that it now includes some new, important and positive elements that reflect the changing reality of the Middle East. However, Israel has strong reservations with regard to the modalities contained in the draft resolution.

It remains for me, however, to place on record the Government of Israel’s policy on the nuclear issue, which is based on four principles: comprehensiveness, regional framework, a step-by-step approach and the primacy of the peace process.

The first principle is comprehensiveness. The nuclear issue should be dealt with in the full context of the peace process as part of the overall discussions on all regional security problems — conventional and non-conventional.

The second principle concerns a regional framework. Nuclear non-proliferation will be achieved and assured only by establishing the Middle East as a verifiable nuclear-weapon- free zone. 

The third principle is a step-by-step approach. Practicality dictates that the process be begun with confidence- and security-building measures, establishing relations of peace between all States and reconciliation between all peoples of the region and, in due course, complementing the process by dealing with conventional and non-conventional arms control, with priorities assigned to systems that experience has proved to be destructive and destabilizing.

The fourth principle is the primacy of the peace process. Negotiations on all the issues involved in the security of the region have to take place freely and directly, the way in which they are conducted, in fact, in the bilateral and Arms Control and Regional Sources multilateral talks within the framework of the peace process. Israel strongly supports the concept of establishing the Middle East as a nuclear-weapon-free zone. This should be freely and directly negotiated between all States of the region and should include for mutual verification arrangements.

Israel feels bound only by those provisions of the present draft resolution that are in accordance with its policy. Israel therefore does not see itself committed to the modalities of this draft resolution in future negotiations, including those of the working group on arms control and regional security. We hope that the consensus reached here, modest though it is, will contribute to the good will and moderation so needed for the crucial effort we all have to invest in the ongoing peace process.

Mr. Hasan (Iraq) (interpretation from Arabic): My delegation joined the consensus on draft resolution A/C.1/49/L.16/Rev.1, “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East.” However, we would like to place on record our reservations with regard to the ninth preambular paragraph and paragraph 4, since they do not give prominence to the role that international organizations, such as the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), play in the efforts to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East. The failure to mention the participation and support to be extended to such an initiative by international organizations will give some parties in the region the opportunity to continue their bilateral and regional negotiations indefinitely, without achieving any substantive results. They will accordingly avoid any international commitment, foremost among which is adherence to international disarmament treaties.



Document symbol: A/C.1/49/PV.25
Document Type: Meeting record
Document Sources: General Assembly
Subject: Arms control and regional security issues
Publication Date: 18/11/1994
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