Press Releases

    GA/DIS/3236
    21 October 2002

    IMPLEMENTATION OF DISARMAMENT AGREEMENTS, TERRORISM
    AND MASS DESTRUCTION WEAPONS AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED
    IN 17 TEXTS INTRODUCED IN FIRST COMMITTEE

    NEW YORK, 18 October (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly, stressing that any violation of arms limitation and disarmament non-proliferation agreements could create security risks, would urge all States parties to implement them and comply with their provisions entirely, according to one of 17 draft resolutions introduced in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), as it concluded its second phase of work.

    Introducing the text, the United States representative said that States parties must hold each other accountable and take appropriate steps to deter violations. He urged the international community to use "all means at its disposal" to ensure, not just that the treaties were complied with, but that mass destruction weapons and their delivery means were kept out of the hands of terrorists and States that supported them.

    According to a new draft resolution submitted by the Indian delegation entitled "Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction", the Assembly, deeply concerned by the evidence of growing risk of linkages between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and especially that terrorists might seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction, would call upon all Member States to support international efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring those weapons and their delivery means.

    As he introduced a revised version of the text, the representative of India said that the profoundly tragic terrorist attacks, most recently in Indonesia, had dramatically affected the nature of disarmament and global security approaches. There was a growing realization of the grave potential of terrorists of non-States groups, spanning national boundaries, to create terror and devastation, thereby causing reverberations affecting the whole civilized world.

    A text introducing Myanmar would have the Assembly seized of the danger of the use of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, in terrorist acts and the urgent need for concerted international efforts to control and overcome it, recognize that the time was now opportune for all nuclear-weapon States to take effective disarmament measures with a view to achieving the elimination of those weapons.

    By a draft resolution introduced by the representative of Iran, the Assembly, convinced of the need for a comprehensive approach towards missiles, would request the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a panel of governmental experts, to further explore the issue in all its aspects and prepare a report for the Assembly's consideration at its fifty-ninth session.

    Introducing a draft resolution on the effects of the use of depleted uranium in armaments, which sought a report of the Secretary-General on that question for the fifty-eighth session, the representative of Iraq cited findings of United Nations agencies and programmes on the toxic effects of the use of those radiological weapons on human life and the environment, for generations to come. The draft was a modest step towards assessing its effects, he said.

    Another new draft resolution, concerning national legislation on the arms transfers, introduced today by the representative of the Netherlands, would have the Assembly invite Member States to enact or improve national legislation, regulations and procedures to exercise effective control over the transfer of arms, military equipment and dual use goods and technology, also taking into account commitments under international treaties.

    According to a draft resolution sponsored by the Russian Federation on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, the Assembly would call upon Member States to promote further, at multilateral levels, the consideration of existing and potential threats in that field, as well as possible measures to limit them.

    A series of draft texts were introduced by the representative of South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, by which the Assembly would: decide to establish an open-ended working group to consider the objectives and agenda for a fourth special session on disarmament; renew its previous call to all States to strictly observe the principles and objectives of the 1925 Geneva Protocol; reaffirm multilateralism as the core principle in disarmament and non-proliferation; negotiations in the appeal for strengthening the United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament; and call for measures to ensure application of scientific and technological progress in the framework of international security without detriment to the environment.

    Under another Non-Aligned Movement text, the Assembly would also request the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a group of governmental experts to be established in 2003, to present a report at the fifty-ninth session on the relationship between disarmament and development.

    A revised text introduced by The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia representative on security and relations in South-Eastern Europe, would have the Assembly reaffirm the urgency of consolidating South-Eastern Europe as a region of peace and call on all participants in the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, as well as all concerned international organizations, to continue to support the efforts of the States of that region towards stability and cooperation.

    The Assembly would invite the group of interested States that was formed in New York in 1998 to continue to analyze lessons learned from previous disarmament and peace-building projects, as well as to promote new practical disarmament measures to consolidate peace, especially as undertaken or designed by affected States themselves, under a draft introduced by the representative of Germany.

    The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Monday, 21 October, to begin taking action on all draft resolutions and decisions.

    Background

    The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to conclude its second phase of work. Introductions of draft texts on the following topics were expected: information security; the fourth special session on disarmament; measures to uphold the Geneva Protocol; promotion of multilateralism in disarmament; the United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament; observance of environmental norms; and effects of depleted uranium.

    Also: the relationship between disarmament and development; national legislation on arms transfers; assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms; strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean; missiles; nuclear disarmament; practical disarmament measures; good neighbourliness in Eastern Europe; terrorism and weapons of mass destruction; and compliance with arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements.

    According to a draft resolution sponsored by the Russian Federation entitled "Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security" (document A/C.1/57/L.1), the General Assembly would 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 possible measures to limit the threats emerging in that field, consistent with the need to preserve the free flow of information.

    A draft resolution, sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries on the fourth special session devoted to disarmament (document A/C.1/57/L.8), would have the Assembly decide to establish an open-ended working group to consider the objectives and agenda for that session. It would ask it to meet for an organizational session to set the date for its substantive sessions, and to submit a report on its work, including substantive recommendations, before the end of the current session.

    Under another draft resolution sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement entitled "Measures to uphold the authority of the 1925 Geneva Protocol" (document A/C.1/57/L.9), the Assembly would renew its previous call to all States to strictly observe 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 in 1925. The Assembly would reaffirm the vital necessity of upholding the Protocol’s provisions and call upon those States that continued to maintain reservations to the Protocol to withdraw them.

    Another draft resolution sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement entitled "Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation" (document A/C.1/57/L.10), would have the Assembly reaffirm multilateralism as the core principle in negotiations in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.

    It would urge the participation of all interested States in multilateral negotiations on arms regulation, non-proliferation and disarmament in a non-discriminatory manner. It would also call once again upon all Member States to renew and fulfil their individual and collective commitments to multilateral cooperation.

    States Parties to the relevant instruments on weapons of mass destruction would be asked to consult and cooperate among themselves in resolving their concerns with regard to cases of non-compliance, as well as on their implementation, in accordance with the procedures defined in those instruments. They would also be requested to refrain from resorting or threatening to resort to unilateral actions or directing unverified non-compliance accusations against one another.

    By a further text sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement on the United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament (document A/C.1/57/L.11), the Assembly would appeal to Member States in each region and those that were able to do so, as well as to international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to contribute to the regional centres in their respective regions to strengthen their activities and initiatives.

    According to another draft sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement concerning the observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control (document A/C.1/57/L.12), the Assembly would 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.

    A draft resolution sponsored by Iraq on the effects of the use of depleted uranium in armaments (document A/C.1/57/L.14), would have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to seek the views of States and relevant organizations on all aspects of the effects of the use of depleted uranium in armaments and report thereon to the Assembly at its fifty-eighth session.

    Under a further draft resolution sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement on the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/57/L.17), the Assembly would request the Secretary-General, with the assistance of a group of governmental experts to be established in 2003, to present a report at the fifty-ninth session with recommendations for reappraising that relationship in the current international context, as well as the future role of the Organization in that connection. It would further ask him to continue to take action for the implementation of the action programme adopted at the International Conference on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development.

    A draft resolution sponsored by the Netherlands concerning national legislation on transfer of arms, military equipment and dual use goods and technology (document A/C.1/57/L.18) would have the Assembly invite Member States to enact or improve national legislation, regulations and procedures to exercise effective control over the transfer of arms, military equipment and dual use goods and technology, also taking into account commitments under international treaties.

    The Assembly would encourage Member States to provide that information to the Secretary-General, who would be requested to make that accessible for them. It would decide to include the item in the provisional agenda of its fifty-eighth session.

    According to a draft resolution on assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and collecting them (document A/C.1/57/L.25), the Assembly would encourage the establishment in the countries of the Sahelo-Saharan subregion of national commissions to combat the illicit proliferation of small arms, and invite the international community to lend its support whenever possible to ensure the smooth functioning of those commissions.

    The Assembly would welcome the Declaration of a Moratorium of the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa, which was adopted in 1998, and encourage the international community to support its implementation. It would call on the international community to provide technical and financial support to strengthen the capacity of civil organizations to take action to combat the illicit small arms trade.

    A draft resolution on strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/C.1/57/L.31) would have the Assembly call upon all States of that region that had not yet done so to adhere to all the multilaterally negotiated legal instruments related to the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, thus creating the necessary conditions for strengthening peace and cooperation there.

    It would encourage all States of the region to promote genuine openness and transparency on all military matters, by participating in, among other measures, the United Nations system for the standardized reporting of military expenditures and by providing accurate data and information to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.

    By a draft resolution sponsored by Iran entitled "Missiles" (document A/C.1/57/L.32), the Assembly, convinced of the need for a comprehensive approach towards missiles, would welcome the report of the Secretary-General on the issue (document A/57/229) and ask him to seek the views of Member States on the issue and submit another report to the next session.

    The Assembly would also ask him, with the assistance of a panel of governmental experts, to further explore the issue of missiles in all its aspects and prepare a report for consideration of the Assembly at its fifty-ninth session.

    Under a draft resolution entitled "Nuclear disarmament" (document A/C.1/57/L.43), the Assembly, seized of the danger of the use of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, in terrorist acts and the urgent need for concerted international efforts to control and overcome it, would recognize that, in view of recent political developments, the time was now opportune for all nuclear-weapon States to take effective disarmament measures with a view to achieving the elimination of those weapons.

    The Assembly would also recognize that there was a genuine need to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in strategic doctrines and security policies to minimize the risk that those weapons would ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination.

    It would urge the nuclear-weapon States to: stop immediately the qualitative improvement, development, production and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems; as an interim measure, to de-alert and deactivate immediately their nuclear weapons and to take other concrete measures to reduce further the operational status of their nuclear-weapon systems; to commence plurilateral negotiations among themselves on further deep reductions of nuclear weapons as an effective measure of nuclear disarmament; and to carry out further reductions of non-strategic nuclear weapons, based on unilateral initiatives and as an integral part of the nuclear arms reduction and disarmament process.

    A draft resolution on the consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (document A/C.1/57/L.45) would have the Assembly invite the group of interested States that was formed in New York in 1998 to continue to analyse lessons learned from previous disarmament and peace-building projects, as well as to promote new practical disarmament measures to consolidate peace, especially as undertaken or designed by affected States themselves.

    It would also encourage Member States, including the group of interested States, to lend their support to the Secretary-General, as well as relevant international, regional, subregional and non-governmental organizations in responding to requests by Member States to collect and destroy small arms and light weapons in post-conflict situations.

    Another draft resolution entitled "Maintenance of international security -– good neighbourliness, stability and development in South-Eastern Europe" (document A/C.1/57/L.47/Rev.1), would have the Assembly reaffirm the urgency of consolidating South-Eastern Europe as a region of peace. The Assembly would also call upon all participants in the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, as well as all concerned international organizations, to continue to support the efforts of the States of that region towards regional stability and cooperation.

    According to a new draft resolution on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (document A/C.1/57/L.49/Rev.1), the Assembly, deeply concerned by the evidence of growing risk of linkages between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and especially that terrorists might seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction, would call upon all Member States to support international efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring those weapons and their delivery means.

    The Assembly would urge all Member States to undertake and strengthen national measures, as appropriate, to prevent terrorists from acquiring mass destruction weapons, their delivery means, and related materials and technologies. It would invite them to inform, on a voluntary basis, the Secretary-General of the measures taken in that regard, and request him to convene a panel of governmental experts, to be established in 2003, to undertake a study on the related issues.

    By a new draft resolution sponsored by the United States entitled "Compliance with arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements" (document A/C.1/57/L.54), the Assembly, stressing that any violation of such agreements and obligations could adversely affect the security of States parties and create security risks for other States, would urge all States parties to arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements to implement and comply with the entirety of all provisions.

    The Assembly would call upon all Member States to give serious consideration to the implications that non-compliance by States parties with any provisions of those agreements had for international security and stability, as well as for prospects for progress in those fields.

    It would also call upon Member States to support efforts aimed at the resolution of compliance questions by means consistent with such agreements and international law, with a view to encouraging strict observance by all States parties of the provisions of arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements and maintaining or restoring the integrity of such agreements.

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