Press Releases

     

    GA/DIS/3264
    30 October 2003

    DISARMAMENT COMMITTEE CONSENSUS TEXT CALLS ON ALL
    STATES TO SUPPORT EFFORTS TO PREVENT TERRORISTS
    FROM ACQUIRING WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

    One of 12 Drafts Recommended to General Assembly for Adoption;

    Disarmament and Development, Mediterranean Security Among Other Issues

     

    NEW YORK, 29 October (UN Headquarters) -- Deeply concerned by the growing risk of linkages between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, the General Assembly would call on all Member States to support international efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, according to one of 12 drafts approved today by the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

    Approved without a vote, the draft resolution, first tabled last year by India’s delegation, drew several statements of support, including by the representative of Pakistan who indicated that, while fully agreeing with the objectives of the text, he felt that the need to address the underlying causes of terrorism, which lay in injustice and deprivation, should also be included in the draft.

    The United States’ representative, also speaking after the vote, said that the draft last year had, for the first time, focused the Committee’s attention on the weapons of mass destruction-terrorist nexus.  The draft helpfully acknowledged the need for concerted national, regional and international efforts to confront that barbarous threat, from which no civilized nation was immune.  Both the current text and its predecessor had sent a positive sign that the Committee was prepared to respond to that threat in a serious way and on a consensus basis.

    Expressing further support of that draft, the representative of the Russian Federation said that the path to rooting out those threats was in further universalizing existing non-proliferation regimes, strengthening international verification instruments, introducing safe technologies in nuclear production and the nuclear power industry, and the relinquishing by States of superfluous arsenals and military programmes likely to upset the military balance and provoke an arms race.  The spread of weapons of mass destruction, including preventing them from falling into terrorist hands, must be resolved, not only in the General Assembly, but also in the Security Council, he said.

    The Committee also approved without a vote a draft decision by which the Assembly would decide to include an item on verification on the agenda of its next session.  Speaking before action on that text, Germany’s representative stressed that greater emphasis must be placed on non-routine inspections, in order to respond effectively and swiftly to concerns regarding non-compliance.  He called for a review of existing verification regimes, with view to identifying gaps and, where necessary, promoting the establishment of additional verification instruments, and expressed support for retaining the verification and inspection expertise of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to enhance the Security Council’s capability to respond to non-compliance.

    A draft resolution on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament was approved by a recorded vote of 94 in favour to 47 against, with 18 abstentions (Annex III).  By its terms, the Assembly would affirm that scientific and technological progress should be used for the benefit of all mankind to promote the sustainable economic and social development of all States and to safeguard international security.

    The following additional drafts were also approved by recorded votes:  implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace, 110 in favour, to 3 against (France, United Kingdom, United States), with 42 abstentions (Annex I); and the relationship between disarmament and development, 157 in favour, to 1 against (United States), with 2 abstentions (France, Israel),(Annex II).

    By several texts approved without a vote, the Assembly would:  request the Disarmament Commission to meet from 5 to 23 April 2004; call upon Member States to further consider, at multilateral levels, existing and potential threats in the field of information and telecommunications; decide to defer consideration of the consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures to its next session and to consider it every two years in the future; and decide to include the review of the implementation of the Declaration on the Strengthening of International on its next provisional agenda.

    Also:  reaffirm that security in the Mediterranean region was closely linked to European security, as well as to international peace and security; reiterate its strong support for the role of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean; and reaffirm its strong support for the forthcoming operation and further strengthening of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific.

    Statements were also made by the representatives of Italy (on behalf of the European Union), Canada, Myanmar, and Brazil.

    The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Thursday, 30 October, to continue taking action on draft texts.

     

    Background

    When the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its third and final phase of work, namely; action on all draft resolutions and decisions, it had before it texts related to confidence-building measures including transparency in armaments, disarmament machinery, other disarmament measures, related matters of disarmament and international security, and international security.

    Expected to be acted on under cluster 6, which concerns confidence-building measures, is a draft decision on verification.  Action is also expected on three drafts resolutions from cluster 7, which deals with disarmament machinery.  Those texts involve:  the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean; the Report of the Disarmament Commission; and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific. 

    In cluster 8; other disarmament measures, action is expected on draft resolutions concerning the following themes:  developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security; implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace; the role of science and technology in international security and disarmament; and measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.  A draft decision on the relationship between disarmament and development will also be acted upon.

    The Committee is also expected to take up a draft decision on the consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures from cluster 9, which concerns related matters of disarmament and international security.  From cluster 10, international security, the Committee is expected to take action on a draft resolution on strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region, and a draft decision concerning a review of the implementation of the Declaration on the Strengthening of International Security. 

    Draft Summaries

    By a draft decision sponsored by Canada on verification (document A/C.1/58/L.48), the Assembly would decide to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-ninth session an item entitled “Verification in all its aspects, including the role of the United Nations in the field of verification”.

    The draft resolution on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (document A/C.1/58/L.7), sponsored by Costa Rica on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, would have the Assembly reiterate its strong support for the role of the Centre in promoting United Nations activities at the regional level to strengthen peace, stability, security and development.  It would appeal to Member States, particularly in the region, and to international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations to make and increase voluntary contributions to strengthen the Centre and its programme of activities.

    Reaffirming the role of the Disarmament Commission as the specialized, deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery that allowed for in-depth deliberations on specific disarmament issues, leading to the submission of concrete recommendations, the Assembly would request the Commission to meet from 5 to 23 April 2004, according to the draft text on the report of the Disarmament Commission (document A/C.1/58/L.20).

    The draft resolution is sponsored by Algeria, Brazil, Belarus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, Italy, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nepal and Venezuela.

    A draft resolution on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (document A/C.1/58/L.21) would have the Assembly reaffirm its strong support for the forthcoming operation and further strengthening of the Centre, and underline the importance of the Kathmandu process as a powerful vehicle for the development of the practice of region-wide security and disarmament dialogue.  It would appeal to Member States, especially those within the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions, the only resources of the Centre, to strengthen the Centre’s activities and their implementation.

    The draft resolution is sponsored by Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lana, Thailand, Tonga and Viet Nam.

    A draft resolution sponsored by the Russian Federation on developments in information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/C.1/58/L.3) would have the Assembly call upon Member States to further consider at multilateral levels, existing and potential threats in that field, as well as possible measures to limit emerging threats without drastically compromising the free flow of information.

    A draft resolution sponsored by Malaysia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/C.1/58/L.24) would have the Assembly reiterate its conviction that the participation of all permanent members of the Security Council and the major maritime users of the Indian Ocean in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee was important and would greatly facilitate the development of a mutually beneficial dialogue to advance peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean region.

    A draft decision sponsored by Malaysia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement on the relationship between disarmament and development (document A/C.1/58/L.29) would have the Assembly decide to include the item in its next provisional agenda.

    By a draft resolution on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament (document A/C.1/58/L.33), the Assembly would affirm that scientific and technological progress should be used for the benefit of all mankind to promote the sustainable economic and social development of all States and to safeguard international security, and that international cooperation in the use of science and technology through the transfer and exchange of technological know-how for peaceful purposes should be promoted.

    It would urge Member States to undertake multilateral negotiations with the participation of all interested States, in order to establish universally acceptable, non-discriminatory guidelines for international transfers of dual-use goods and technologies and high technology with military applications.

     

    The draft resolution is sponsored by Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Congo, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Viet Nam and Zambia.

    Deeply concerned by the growing risk of linkages between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and particularly by the fact that terrorists might seek to acquire such arms, the Assembly would call on all Member States to support international efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, according to a draft resolution entitled “Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction” (document A/C.1/58/L.35).

    The Assembly would urge Member States to take and strengthen national measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring such weapons, their delivery means, and materials and technologies related to their manufacture.  It would invite them to inform the Secretary-General, on a voluntary basis, of measures taken in that regard.

    The draft resolution is sponsored by Afghanistan, Bhutan, Colombia, India, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Solomon Islands and Sri Lanka.

    A draft decision sponsored by Germany on consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures (document A/C.1/58/L.17) would have the Assembly decide to defer consideration of that item to its next session and to consider it every two years in the future.

    Another draft decision sponsored by Malaysia on behalf of NAM on a review of the implementation of the Declaration on the Strengthening of International Security (document A/C.1/58/L.30) would have the Assembly decide to include that item on its next provisional agenda.

    A draft resolution sponsored by Algeria on strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/C.1/58/L.42) would have the Assembly reaffirm that security in that region was closely linked to European security, as well as to international peace and security. 

    The Assembly would express its satisfaction at the continuing efforts by Mediterranean countries to contribute actively to the elimination of all causes of tension in the region and to the promotion of just and lasting solutions to the persistent problems there through peaceful means, thus ensuring the withdrawal of foreign forces of occupation and respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries of the Mediterranean and the right of peoples to self-determination.

    It, therefore, would call for full adherence to the principles of non-interference, non-intervention, non-use of force, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the relevant resolutions.  It would also call on all States of the region 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 in the region.

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