26 July 2005
Disarmament Commission Continues Debate on 2005 Report
NEW YORK, 25 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Disarmament Commission today continued debate on its 2005 report, in the wake of a proposed amendment on Friday to one agenda item.
“There’ll be a ‘Rev.4’”, Commission Chairman Sylvester Rowe (Sierra Leone) announced at 6:10 p.m., “where everything is put in one big basket with a hole at the top, and delegates can remove anything they want and then put everything back”. He said he had hoped to go step by step in the report’s adoption to avoid problems, but with a European Union proposal on the table to adopt the elements of a provisional agenda as a package -- “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, France’s speaker had said -- the report’s adoption eluded delegations.
The Chairman proposed reconvening the formal meeting tomorrow morning, and then moving into informal consultations on the report. The Commission had been unprepared to hold a substantive session this year, absent an agreed agenda or a fully constituted bureau. It had striven every day last week, in an organizational meeting resumed from December, to produce a provisional agenda for 2006, with some success.
On Friday, the United States representative offered an amendment to the first agenda item, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. That item previously read: “Recommendations of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects, in particular for achieving the objective of nuclear disarmament”. The United States’ proposal read, as follows, “Recommendations for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons”. (For additional details of that proposal, see Press Release DC/2985 of 22 July.)
Agreement had also been reached last week on a second agenda item, on conventional weapons, as well as a decision to discuss reform of the Commission’s working methods. The discussion today focused on whether to present the agreements reached separately, or as a package, to a further organizational session in November-December, ahead of a 2006 substantive session.
The Chairman told delegates he had tried to handle the report chronologically. The word “package” had been a negotiating tool, an understanding to facilitate the Commission’s work. He urged delegations to concentrate on the gains that had been made by not prolonging discussion of exactly how they had been made. If it proved impossible to adopt the report, those gains would be defeated. “And, like it or not -- we did achieve something, and no one can submerge that”, he said.
The Disarmament Commission will meet again tomorrow at 10 a.m. to elect two more officers of its Bureau and continue its work.
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