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    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/GA/1713
        20 October 2000
     Draft Resolution on Steps to Prevent Accidental Use of Nuclear Weapons
    Among 13 Texts Introduced in Disarmament Committee
     
     

    NEW YORK, 19 October (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly would call for a review of nuclear doctrines and, in that context, immediate and urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons, according to one of 13 draft resolutions introduced this morning in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

    By further terms of the text, introduced by the representative of India, the Assembly would ask the five nuclear-weapon States to undertake measures towards that goal and call upon Member States to take the necessary measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to promote nuclear disarmament, with the ultimate objective of eliminating nuclear weapons.

    Also today, the Committee heard the introduction of drafts on the following issues:  prevention of an arms race in outer space; Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status; biological weapons; advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the use or threat or use of nuclear weapons; measures to uphold the 1925 Geneva Protocol; developments in information and telecommunications in the context of international security; regional disarmament; observance of environmental norms in disarmament treaties; relationship between disarmament and development; fourth special session; United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament; and the United Nations Regional Centre in Asia and the Pacific.

    The draft resolution on the prevention of an arms race in outer space would have the Assembly reaffirm the importance and urgency of preventing such an arms race and the readiness of all States to contribute to that common objective.  It would call upon all States, particularly those with major space capabilities, to actively contribute to the peaceful use of outer space and to refrain from actions contrary to that objective and to existing treaties. 

    Under a draft on the follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, the Assembly would underline the unanimous conclusion of the Court that there existed an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion, negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.  It would call upon all States to immediately fulfil that obligation by commencing multilateral negotiations in 2001 leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention.

    According to a draft text, introduced by the representative of Mongolia, on its international security nuclear-weapon-free status, the Assembly would welcome the joint statement of the five nuclear-weapon States to provide security assurances to Mongolia in connection with its status, as a contribution to implementing the relevant 1998 Assembly resolution.  At the same time, the Assembly would appeal to the Member States of the Asia-Pacific region to support Mongolia's efforts to join the relevant regional security and economic arrangements.  

    The Assembly would welcome the progress achieved so far in negotiating a protocol to strengthen the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, according to a draft introduced today by South Africa.  Also, the Assembly would reaffirm the decision of the Fourth Review Conference urging the conclusion of the negotiations before the Fifth Review Conference, to be held at Geneva from 19 November to 7 December 2001. 

    A draft text on measures to uphold the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which banned the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of bacteriological warfare, would have the Assembly renew its call on all States to strictly observe the principles and objectives of the Protocol, and reaffirm the vital necessity of upholding its provisions.  The draft was introduced by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. 

    The Assembly would call upon Member States to promote further, at multilateral levels, the consideration of existing and potential threats in the field of information security, as well as consideration of possible measures to limit the threats emerging in that field, by the terms of a text introduced by the Russian Federation.  The Assembly would consider that such measures could be served through the examination of relevant international concepts aimed at strengthening the security of global information and telecommunications systems.

    A draft introduced by the representative of Pakistan on regional disarmament would have the Assembly affirm that global and regional approaches to disarmament complemented each other and should, therefore, be pursued simultaneously to promote regional and international peace and security.  In that context, the Assembly would call upon States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels. 

    A draft resolution sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement would have the Assembly decide, subject to the emergence of a consensus on the objectives and agenda of a fourth special session devoted to disarmament, to convene the session.  It would ask the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States on the objectives, agenda and timing of the special session and to report to the Assembly at its fifty-sixth session.

    By the terms of another draft resolution, also introduced by the representative of South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on the observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control, the General Assembly would reaffirm that international disarmament forums should take fully into account relevant environmental norms in negotiating treaties and agreements on disarmament and arms limitation. 

    The representative of South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, also introduced a draft text on the relationship between disarmament and development, by which the Assembly would urge the international community to devote part of the resources freed by the implementation of disarmament and arms control agreements to economic and social development.

    According to the terms of a text on the United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament, also submitted by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Assembly would reiterate the importance of United Nations activities at the regional level to increase the stability and security of Member States, which could be promoted in a substantive manner by the maintenance and revitalization of the three regional centres for peace and disarmament. 

    Another draft introduced by the South African representative on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, would have the Assembly reaffirm its strong support for the forthcoming operation and further strengthening of the Regional Centre, and underscore the importance of the Kathmandu process as a powerful vehicle for the development of the practice of region-wide security and disarmament dialogue.  

    The representatives of Brazil and the Netherlands made statements.

    The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday, 20 October, to continue the second stage of its work.

    Committee Work Programme

    The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue its second phase of work, namely, a thematic discussion on disarmament and security items, as well as the introduction and consideration of related draft resolutions.  The discussion, which began on Friday, 13 October, will conclude on 23 October.

    The subjects to be covered in the thematic discussion are as follows: nuclear weapons; other weapons of mass destruction; the disarmament aspects of outer space; conventional weapons; regional disarmament and security; confidence-building measures, including transparency in armaments; disarmament machinery; other disarmament measures; and related matters of disarmament and international security. The deadline for submission of draft resolutions was Friday, 13 October.  The Committee has received 50 texts.    

    The Committee was expected to hear introductions of drafts on the following: reducing nuclear danger; prevention of an arms race in outer space; Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status; biological weapons; advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the use or threat or use of nuclear weapons; measures to uphold the 1925 Geneva Protocol; developments in information and telecommunications in the context of international security; regional disarmament; observance of environmental norms in disarmament treaties; relationship between disarmament and development; fourth special session; United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament; and the United Nations Regional Centre in Asia and the Pacific.

    A text on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/C.1/55/L.6), sponsored by the Russian Federation, would have the Assembly call upon Member States to further promote at multilateral levels the consideration of existing and potential threats in the field of information security, as well as consideration of possible measures to limit the threats emerging in that field.  It would consider that the purpose of such measures could be served through the examination of relevant international concepts aimed at strengthening the security of global information and telecommunications systems.
    The Assembly would invite all Member States to continue to inform the Secretary-General of their views and assessments of the following questions: general appreciation of the issues of information security; definition of the basic notions related to information security, including unauthorized interference with or misuse of information and telecommunications systems and information resources; and the content of the examination of relevant international concepts aimed at strengthening the security of global information and telecommunications systems.  The Secretary-General would be asked to submit a report based on replies received from Member States to the next Assembly session.

    By the terms of a draft resolution on measures to uphold the authority of the 1925 Geneva Protocol (document A/C.1/55/L.20), sponsored by South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, the General Assembly would renew its call on all States to observe strictly the principles and objectives of the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925, and reaffirm the vital necessity of upholding its provisions.  The draft resolution would also have the Assembly call on States that continued to maintain reservations to the Protocol to withdraw those reservations.

    A draft resolution on the observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/C.1/55/L.21) would have the General Assembly reaffirm that international disarmament forums should take fully into account relevant environmental norms in negotiating treaties and agreements on disarmament and arms limitation, and that all States should fully contribute to ensuring compliance with such norms in the implementation of treaties and conventions to which they were parties.
     
    The Assembly would also call upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures so as to contribute to ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress in the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres, without detriment to the environment or to its effective contribution to attaining sustainable development. 

    The draft resolution is sponsored by South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

    Another draft text sponsored by South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/55/L.22), would have the Assembly urge the international community to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms control agreements to economic and social development, with a view to reducing the ever widening gap between developed and developing countries.  

    By further terms of the text, the Assembly would call upon the high-level Steering Committee on Disarmament and Development to strengthen and enhance its programme of activities.  It would invite all Member States to communicate to the Secretary-General, by 15 April, their views and proposals for the implementation of the Action Programme adopted at the International Conference on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development, as well as any other views and proposals with a view to achieving the goals of the Action Programme, within the framework of current international relations.

    A draft resolution sponsored by South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, on the convening of the fourth special session of the General assembly devoted to disarmament (document A/C.1/55/L.23) would have the General Assembly decide, subject to the emergence of a consensus on its objectives and agenda, to convene the fourth special session of the Assembly devoted to disarmament.  It would request the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States on the objectives, agenda and timing of the special session and to report to the Assembly at its fifty-sixth session.

    By the terms of a draft resolution on the United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament (document A/C.1/55/L.24), the General Assembly would reiterate the importance of United Nations activities at the regional level to increase the stability and security of Member States, which could be promoted in a substantive manner by the maintenance and revitalization of the three regional centres for peace and disarmament.  It would also reaffirm that, in order to achieve positive results, the centres should carry out dissemination and educational programmes that promote regional peace and security aimed.

    By further terms of the draft, the Assembly would appeal to Member States in each region, international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations to make voluntary contributions to the centres in their regions to strengthen their programmes of activities and implementation.  It would also request the Secretary-General to provide all necessary support, within existing resources, to the centres in carrying out their programmes of activities.

    The draft resolution is sponsored by South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

    A draft resolution on the prevention of an arms race in outer space (document A/C.1/55/L.25) would have the General Assembly reaffirm the importance and urgency of preventing an arms race in outer space and the readiness of all States to contribute to that common objective, in conformity with the provisions of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.  

    The Assembly would call upon all States, particularly those with major space capabilities, to contribute actively to the objective of peaceful use of outer space and prevention of an arms race in outer space.  It would call on them to refrain from actions contrary to that objective and to existing treaties, in the interest of maintaining international peace and security and promoting international cooperation.

    By further terms of the draft, the Assembly would emphasize the necessity of further measures, with appropriate and effective provisions for verification, to prevent an arms race in outer space.  It would reiterate that the Conference on Disarmament, as the single multilateral disarmament-negotiating forum, has the primary role in the negotiation of a multilateral agreement or agreements on the prevention of an arms race in outer space in all its aspects.

    The draft is sponsored by Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and the Sudan.

    According to a draft text on reducing nuclear danger (document A/C.1/55/L.32), the Assembly would call for a review of nuclear doctrines and, in that context, immediate and urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons.  The Assembly would request the five nuclear-weapon States to undertake measures towards that goal.  It would call upon Member States to take the necessary measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to promote nuclear disarmament, with the ultimate objective of eliminating nuclear weapons.

    The Assembly would request the Secretary-General, within existing resources, to continue to seek inputs from the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters on information with regard to specific measures that would significantly reduce the risk of nuclear war, including the proposal contained in the Declaration adopted at the United Nations Millennium Summit for convening an international conference to identify ways of eliminating nuclear dangers, and to report thereon to the Assembly at its next session.

    The draft resolution is sponsored by Bhutan, Costa Rica, Fiji, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    A draft text on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (document A/C.1/55/L.33) would have the Assembly reaffirm its strong support for the forthcoming operation and further strengthening of the Regional Centre, and underscore the importance of the Kathmandu process as a powerful vehicle for the development of the practice of region-wide security and disarmament dialogue.  

    The Assembly would express its appreciation for the continuing political support and financial contributions to the Regional Centre, which were essential for its continued operation.  In that connection, it would appeal to Member States, in particular those within the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to international government and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions, the only resources of the Regional Centre, to strengthen its programme of activities and their implementation.

    The draft resolution is sponsored by Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam.

    A draft on regional disarmament (document A/C.1/55/L.34) would have the Assembly affirm that global and regional approaches to disarmament complemented each other and should, therefore, be pursued simultaneously to promote regional and international peace and security.  In that context, the Assembly would call upon States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels. 

    In a related provision, the Assembly would stress that sustained efforts were needed, within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament and under the umbrella of the United Nations, to make progress on the entire range of disarmament issues.  It would welcome the initiatives towards disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and security undertaken by some countries at the regional and subregional levels, and support and encourage efforts aimed at promoting confidence-building measures at the regional and subregional levels in order to ease regional tensions and further disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation measures at those levels.  

    The draft resolution is sponsored by Bangladesh, Egypt, Fiji, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia and Turkey.

    According to a draft text sponsored by Mongolia on Mongolia's international security and nuclear-weapon-free status (document A/C.1/55/L.40), the Assembly would welcome the joint statement of the five nuclear-weapon States to provide security assurances to Mongolia in connection with its nuclear-weapon-free status, as a contribution to implementing General Assembly resolution 53/77 D of 1998.  It would request the Security Council to take note of that statement.

    At the same time, the Assembly would appeal to the Member States of the Asia-Pacific region to support Mongolia's efforts to join the relevant regional security and economic arrangements.  It would endorse and support Mongolia's good-neighbourly and balanced relationship with its neighbours as an important element of strengthening regional peace, security and stability.  It would invite Member States to cooperate with Mongolia in taking the necessary measures to consolidate and strengthen its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, the inviolability of its borders, its economic security, ecological balance and its nuclear-weapon-free status, as well as its independent foreign policy. 

    By the terms of a text on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (document A/C.1/55/L.42), the Assembly would welcome the progress achieved so far in negotiating a protocol to strengthen the Convention and reaffirm the decision of the Fourth Review Conference urging the conclusion of the negotiations by the Ad Hoc Group as soon as possible before the commencement of the Fifth Review Conference -- to be held at Geneva from 19 November to 7 December 2001 -- and to submit its report, which should be adopted by consensus, to the States parties to be considered at a special conference.

    In that context, the Assembly would call upon all States parties to accelerate the negotiations, and to redouble their efforts within the Ad Hoc Group, to formulate the efficient, cost-effective and practical regime and seek early resolution of the outstanding issues through renewed flexibility, in order to complete the protocol in accordance with the decision of the Fourth Review Conference.  The Assembly would note with satisfaction the increase in the number of States parties to the Convention and reaffirm the call on all signatory States to ratify the Convention without delay.  It would also call upon those States that had not yet signed the Convention to become parties to it at an early date, thus, contributing to universal adherence. 

    The draft resolution is sponsored by Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.  

     Under a draft resolution on the follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/55/L.48), the General Assembly would underline the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.  It would call upon all States to immediately fulfil that obligation by commencing multilateral negotiations in 2001 leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination.

    By further terms of the text, the Assembly would request all States to inform the Secretary-General of efforts and measures they take on the implementation of the resolution and nuclear disarmament.

    The draft resolution is sponsored by Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Viet Nam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Statements

    JEAN DU PREEZ (South Africa), on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, introduced five draft resolutions.
     
    He said that the draft resolution on measures to uphold the authority of the 1925 Geneva Protocol (document A/C.1/55/L.20) urged Member States who continued to maintain reservations to the Protocol to withdraw such reservations.  The sponsors hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted with the widest possible support. 

    Introducing the draft resolution on the observance of environmental norms in disarmament treaties (document A/C.1/55/L.21), he said that the objective was to ensure compliance with relevant environmental norms in the negotiation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements.  The international community had long been aware of the environmental consequences of military activities.  The draft resolution did not refer to any specific disarmament agreement.  It called for the application of the progresses made in science and technology without detriment to the environment.

    On a draft resolution on the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/55/L.22), he said that it underlined the importance of reallocating resources to bridge the gap between developed and developing countries.  It acknowledged the actions that had been taken and called on the international community to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development.  He hoped that that the text would be adopted without a vote.

    Introducing a draft text on the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (document A/C.1/55/L.23), he said that the Non-Aligned Movement believed that the holding of such a session could help mobilize public opinion in favour of disarmament.  It continued to believe that the session could be held provided there was strong political commitment by Member States.  The Movement was concerned over the lack of progress in that regard.  The draft resolution called for further steps to lead to the convening of the special session with the participation of all Member States, subject to agreement on its objectives and agenda.  The only substantive change in this year’s text was contained in the preambular paragraph, where it welcomed the Secretary-General’s consultation with Members States.

    He said that the draft resolution on United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament (document A/C.1/55/L.24) underlined the importance of all the centres to increased stability and security.  It emphasized the important contribution of the centres and requested for voluntary contributions to strengthen their programmes of activities.  That draft text should be adopted without a vote.

    ISMAIL KHAIRAT (Egypt) introduced the draft resolution on the prevention of an arms race in outer space (document A/C.1/55/L.25).  Year after year, his delegation had submitted such a draft, in cooperation with the delegation of Sri Lanka.  Proceeding from humanitarian objectives and the need for the peaceful exploration of outer space, the draft emphasized the increasing importance of outer space discovery, as well as the need for more global transparency to achieve that goal.  The text also stressed the need to take the measures necessary to prevent an outer space arms race.  

    He said the draft also emphasized the need for countries to contribute to that end and to refrain from taking any measures that might counter that objective.  It also emphasized that an ad hoc committee should be established, as early as possible during the 2001 session of the Conference on Disarmament, to complete examination of the issue of the peaceful use of outer space.  He hoped the text would receive wide support again this year. 

    HIRA THAPA (Nepal) introduced a draft resolution on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (document A/C.1/55/L.33).  He said that the draft would have the General Assembly commend the activities of the Centre in fulfilling its mandate and for organizing annual disarmament meetings in Kathmandu.  It would reaffirm its strong support for the Centre and reiterate its appeal for voluntary contributions.  It would also express appreciation for the offer of the Government of Nepal to bear the operational costs of the Centre and would request the Secretary-General to conclude his consultations by July 2001 to assess the possibility of enabling the Centre to operate effectively from Kathmandu as soon as possible.  He hoped that the draft would be adopted by consensus, as had been the case in previous years.

    In a technical revision, he said that operative paragraph 4, line 2, should read:  “as well as to international governmental and non-governmental organizations”.

    HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) introduced the draft resolution on the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice concerning the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/55/L.4).  The text was an updated version of the one adopted at the last Assembly session.  Fourteen of its preambular paragraphs and the four operative paragraphs were virtually identical with last year’s text.  A new element had been introduced as the sixth preambular, which welcomed the unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament.

    He said that the Advisory Opinion of the Court had clearly concluded that States had a legal obligation to pursue negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects to bring those to an early conclusion.  That was consistent with the solemn obligation made by States parties under article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to pursue nuclear disarmament negotiations with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons.  That was also in keeping with the recent pronouncement at the 2000 NPT Review Conference.  The draft’s sponsors considered that the unanimous opinion of the Court was a clear basis for follow-up actions by Member States.  

    In calling upon all States to commence multilateral negotiations leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention, the draft did not envisage the commencement of immediate negotiations on the convention itself, but rather on nuclear disarmament negotiations leading to the conclusion of such a convention.  It, thereby, allowed for the very same kinds of disarmament measures to which the nuclear-weapon States had pledged themselves at the 2000 NPT Review.  The approach called for in the text, therefore, was both realistic and credible, and compatible with the incremental approaches suggested by others.

    He said he was fully cognizant that nuclear disarmament negotiations needed to move forward in an incremental or progressive way.  The draft deliberately focused on the unanimous opinion of the Court.  It did that so there would be no confusion between the Court’s two main conclusions – namely, the threat and use of nuclear weapons and the obligation to negotiate nuclear disarmament.  Those required different responses.  The draft appropriately focused on the disarmament obligations of States and its implementation under the aegis of the General Assembly.

    Continuing, he said that the draft did not pretend that the obligation of States to pursue nuclear disarmament was the only conclusion of the Court that could influence disarmament policy, or that there were no other actions that could be taken in light of the Court’s opinion.  In fact, the third operative paragraph encompasses the Court’s decision as a whole, whereby States were requested to inform the Secretary-General on the efforts taken to fulfil their duties, as underlined in the Court’s conclusions.

    Finally, he said, the draft did not remove the obligation under article VI of the NPT in relation to general and complete disarmament.  The Court, in arriving at its conclusion, had relied on international and customary law, as well as other disarmament instruments.  The Court’s conclusion on the obligation to negotiate nuclear disarmament had made no link at all between such an obligations and general and complete disarmament.  The NPT did not make a direct link to that effect.  Rather it had stated that there was an obligation to do both.  

    He said that, concerning the absence of any reference in the draft to the Court’s conclusion that there was not in international law a ban against the threat or use of nuclear weapons, the Court had, in fact, rejected that argument by stating that there could not be legal uses of nuclear weapons.  It further stressed that “States must never make civilians the object of attack and must consequently never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets.”

    RAKESH SOOD (India) introduced a draft resolution on reducing nuclear danger (document A/C.1/55/L.32).  He said that, with the end of cold war, there was no justification for nuclear weapons to be maintained in a state of hair-trigger alert, creating the unacceptable risk of their unintentional or accidental use.  The resolution puts forward a modest proposal calling for a review of nuclear doctrines, and for immediate and urgent steps to reduce the risk of unintentional and accidental use of such weapons.  India believed that the technical complexities involved in taking such steps could be overcome with the necessary political commitment. 

    The danger was a clear and present one, he said.  There had been several instances of near- accidental launch, often triggered by incomplete or inaccurate assessment of available information.  Those events demonstrated the error-prone character of maintaining large arsenals in a state of high alert.  In order to make the resolution as widely acceptable as possible, the sponsors had kept it simple, topical and free from references to contentious issues.  It advocated a desirable objective and the sponsors hoped that it would receive wide support.

    CELINA ASSUMPCAO (Brazil), on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and Bolivia and Chile, said that the region’s political declaration had pronounced the area as a zone of peace, free from weapons of mass destruction.  That had obligated all States of the region to also ensure that the zone was free of anti-personnel mines.  It was, thus, the first region to work towards freeing itself from that scourge.  A western hemisphere zone free of anti-personnel mines had been approved regionally in 1996.  As a result, all countries of the region had undertaken efforts, on a priority basis, to eliminate the danger of mines. 

    She said that implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention) and its universal adherence was an essential task.  She was pleased with Colombia’s ratification of the Convention on 6 September.  Unfortunately, however, the use of mines had affected all regions worldwide, and their removal had remained a most important global challenge in the context of post-conflict reconstruction.  The Ottawa Convention had expressed the international consensus on banning those artifacts, whose use was contrary to international law. 

    The MERCOSUR, Bolivia and Chile were taking all steps to demine and assist mines victims, in accordance with the Oslo negotiations, in order to alleviate the suffering of populations and pave the way for development, she went on.  The United Nations had, for a number of years, been focusing on that theme.  The Security Council had discussed demining in the context of peacekeeping operations.  The essential aspect of demining activities required the creation of a safe environment.  The MERCOSUR would contribute to a solution in that regard.  On 6 and 7 November, a regional seminar on the destruction of mines would be held in Buenos Aires.  A discussion forum should be established in order to reflect on the process of destroying stockpiled mines and to share experiences.

    JARGALSAIKHANY ENKHSAIKHAN (Mongolia) introduced a draft resolution on Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status (document A/C.1/55/L.40).  He said the draft had some new elements, reflecting measures taken in implementation of General Assembly resolution 53/77 D in the last two years.  The text recalled that the 2000 NPT Review Conference welcomed Mongolia’s initiative.  It also took note of the adoption by the Mongolian Parliament of legislation on its nuclear-weapon-free status as a concrete step towards promoting the aims of nuclear non-proliferation.

    He said that his country was grateful for the spirit of goodwill, understanding and cooperation that was present during the consultations on the draft resolution.  Such support was an important incentive for further pursuing the goal of defining and strengthening Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status as a contribution to nuclear non-proliferation and confidence-building.  He hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.

    ANATOLI I. ANTONOV (Russian Federation) introduced the resolution on information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/C.1/55/L.6).  His delegation had first submitted the initiative two years ago, at the fifty-third Assembly session.  The text had proceeded from the premise that the rapid progress of technology and communication was acquiring the nature of a global information revolution, affecting all areas of society -- international relations, economics, politics, administration, finances, science and culture.  Information resources were becoming one of the most valuable elements of both national and common human heritage.  

    At the same time, he said, a serious concern had arisen in connection with potential threats stemming from the use of those technologies in ways that were inconsistent with the maintenance of international peace, stability and security, and in compliance with the principles under the United Nations Charter.  That possibility required the adoption of preventive measures:  a step-by-step approach involving geographical expansion, and the gradual introduction of specific provisions of security and stability into subsequent United Nations resolutions and decisions.  

    He said that the current text followed the mainstream of early versions and was non-confrontational in nature, taking into account the diversity of States. It concerned the application of the latest information technologies aimed at advancing the progress of civilization.  The text had not sought to impose a one-sided approach in that field, nor had it attempted to assume control over information technology systems.  Rather, its objective was to draw attention to potential security threats that could arise as result of the unlawful use of telecommunications systems and to allow States to express their points of view on that urgent problem.  He called upon delegations to support the draft and trusted that, as in previous years, it would be adopted by consensus.  

    MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) introduced a draft resolution on regional disarmament (A/C.1/55/L.34).  He said that the major threat to international peace and security emanated from disputes and an arms build-up at the regional level.  The causal factors were often specific to the regions.  Adopting only global approaches in addressing those problems was unrealistic.  Although global approaches had a positive impact, they were not sufficient by themselves to promote regional disarmament and security.  Regional approaches had assumed special importance.  Success or failure in certain regions could have both regional and global impact.  He was convinced that efforts to achieve regional disarmament must be pursued in tandem with global approaches to disarmament.  Initiatives at the regional level could not be put on hold.  The draft resolution affirmed the propositions regarding regional disarmament and underlined the fact that regional disarmament measures would contribute to international security by reducing regional conflicts.  He hoped that the draft would be adopted by consensus.

    TIBOR TOTH (Hungary) introduced the draft resolution on the Biological Weapons Convention (document A/C.1/55/L.42) and expressed the hope that the text would receive the traditional consensus support.  Important milestones in the area of biological arms control and disarmament had been marked in 2000.  The twenty-fifth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention, as well as the seventy-fifth anniversary of the 1925 Geneva Protocol had put in the right historical and moral context the ad hoc group negotiations in Geneva on a protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention.  Both dates served as indisputable reminders of the need to uphold the legacy of arms control and disarmament through the elimination of the deficiencies in previous arrangements. 

    Just more than one year from now, he said, the fifth review conference of States parties to the Convention would have to take stock of biological arms control and disarmament.  By then, the protocol would have to be submitted to a special conference for approval.  It might be appropriate to look beyond the parochial reality of the Geneva negotiations, however, for clues about what the wider political universe was anticipating in the crucial period that lay ahead.  Various high-level statements, subscribed to by nearly all States, were sending the same political message:  the urgency of the successful completion of the negotiations on the Convention’s protocol.  

    Now, it was up to the decision-makers in capitals and the negotiators in Geneva to match the dedication of political leaders with equal amounts of ingenuity and devotion, in order to finalize that instrument, he went on.  The task was not easy, as the results of the negotiations would have to be acceptable individually to each country and collectively to all.  Nonetheless, the voices heard from heads of State and foreign ministers was loud and clear -- the task was doable and worth doing.

    C.C. SANDERS (Netherlands) noted that for six years now, negotiations had been going on in Geneva on a protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention.  His country attached great importance to concluding negotiations on that protocol before the fifth review conference of the Convention next year.  It supported the efforts of the Chairman of the ad hoc group to reach agreement among all States parties and conclude negotiations in Geneva by 2001.  His Government was committed to the negotiations on the protocol and its candidacy for the seat of the future organization was a clear testimony of that commitment.  Last week, it had submitted a concrete and substantive bid to the Friend of the Chair of the ad hoc group.  It had also made a generous offer for that seat with regard to the facilities for the organization, its financial implications and privileges and immunities.  His Government would take all necessary measures so that the organization and its member States could benefit from optimal working conditions, as well as take advantage of the presence of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.

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