Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East
Report of the Secretary-General
1. In paragraph 10 of its resolution 63/38 of 2 December 2008, on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to continue to pursue consultations with the States of the region and other concerned States, in accordance with paragraph 7 of resolution 46/30 of 6 December 1991, taking into account the evolving situation in the region, and to seek from those States their views on the measures outlined in chapters III and IV of the study annexed to his report of 10 October 1990 (A/45/435) or other relevant measures, in order to move towards the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. In paragraph 11 of the same resolution, the Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to submit to it at its sixty-fourth session a report on the implementation of the resolution. The present report is submitted pursuant to that request.
2. On 11 February 2009, a note verbale was sent to all Member States drawing their attention to paragraph 10 of resolution 63/38 and seeking their views on the matter. Replies, which have been received from Cuba, Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Lebanon, Mali, Mexico, Nicaragua and Qatar, are reproduced in section III below. Additional replies received from Member States will be issued as addenda to the present report.
5. The Secretary-General reaffirms the urgent need for a just and lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and expresses concern that a further deterioration in the situation may occur if progress is not made towards this objective. He believes that events on the ground over the past year, which included a major armed crisis in Gaza, the discontinuation of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations undertaken in the Annapolis framework, and limited progress towards Palestinian unity underscored the need for a renewed effort to resume direct talks on a two-State solution and comprehensive regional peace. He welcomed the renewed commitment by the United States to the Middle East peace process and joined with the Quartet, the League of Arab States, and the broader international community in urging the parties to respect and act upon their prior commitments and to expedite the implementation of the resolutions 1850 (2008) and 1860 (2009), recently adopted in this context by the Security Council. The Secretary-General calls upon all concerned parties within and outside the region to resume dialogue with a view to creating stable security conditions and an eventual settlement that would facilitate the process of establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. The Secretary-General reiterates the continued readiness of the United Nations to provide any assistance deemed helpful in that regard.
III. Replies received from Governments
[11 June 2009]
4. Cuba fully supports the proposal to make the Middle East region a nuclear-weapon-free zone, in line with the wishes expressed by the overwhelming majority of the countries in the area and in accordance with Security Council resolution 487 (1981) and resolution 687 (1991), paragraph 14, as well as other resolutions adopted by consensus by the General Assembly.
5. The establishment of such a zone, in addition to making an important contribution to the achievement of nuclear disarmament, would represent a milestone in the Middle East peace process. Israel, the only country in the region that has neither become nor stated its intention to become a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, should renounce the possession of nuclear weapons and place all its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, in line with Security Council resolution 487 (1981), in order to comply promptly and unconditionally with the just demands of the international community.
6. Together with the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, Cuba reiterates the call for a complete and total ban on the transfer to Israel of nuclear equipment, information, material or facilities, as well as relevant resources or implements and the provision of nuclear-related scientific or technological assistance. In addition, it expresses its concern about the continued assistance and access afforded to Israeli nuclear scientists, which may have potentially serious negative consequences for security in the region.
7. It is common knowledge that Israel’s ability to act with impunity in this regard is due in large part to the protection it enjoys from the Government of the United States of America in the Security Council and other international forums. That country has paralysed the Security Council by exercising its veto power 31 times against draft resolutions relating to the question of Palestine and by repeatedly threatening to make use of this antidemocratic and outdated privilege.
8. The statements made by the Prime Minister of Israel on 12 December 2006, admitting that Israel is a nuclear-weapon State, are of grave concern. Israel’s acquisition of nuclear capabilities represents a threat to the security of neighbouring States and to peace in the region, which is already in turmoil.
9. In view of the critical situation currently prevailing in the Middle East, Cuba reaffirms the ongoing responsibility of the United Nations, including the Security Council, with respect to peace and security in the region, including the resolution of the question of Palestine.
[26 June 2009]
5. Japan is firmly committed to supporting the Middle East peace process, considering that it is a key for regional stability, which is a vital factor in establishing a foundation for a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. Based on the recognition that the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East is through the realization of the peaceful coexistence between the two States of Israel and Palestine, Japan has been making its utmost efforts to that end. In particular, Japan has been promoting the following measures:
(1) Japan maintains high-level political dialogues with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority in order to encourage them to advance the peace process. For instance, Ambassador Tatsuo Arima, Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for the Middle East, visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in May 2009, in order to work with high-level officials of the relevant parties to play a responsible role in enhancing the Middle East peace process based on the two-state solution;
(2) Japan has been actively involved in assisting the Palestinians since the Oslo Accords of 1993. As of March 2009, Japan has disbursed a total of more than 1 billion United States dollars in assistance to the Palestinians. In response to the situation in Gaza, January 2009, Japan immediately implemented about 11 million United States dollars of emergency humanitarian assistance, including in kind assistance to afflicted people in Gaza. On 2 March 2009, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on the occasion of the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza, Japan pledged 200 million United States dollars in assistance to the Palestinians in the coming years, including humanitarian assistance and early recovery at a scale of 60 million United States dollars for people in Gaza;
(3) The Government of Japan has actively been initiating and sponsoring various projects that will contribute to confidence-building between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In addition to that, Japan, based on its efforts in the fields mentioned above, is promoting the “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity” initiative through regional cooperation among Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Japan, as its mid- and long-term effort to generate hope and trust among the peoples in the region for future coexistence between Israel and Palestine and for their mutual prosperity.