Press Releases

    GA/DIS/3299
    10 October 2005

    Failures in Multilateral Security Mechanisms Raise Nuclear Proliferation Risks, Diminish Prospects for Nuclear Disarmament, First Committee Told

    NPT Regime Weaknesses, Threat from Clandestine Nuclear Weapon Programmes, Pre-emptive Nuclear Doctrine among Issues Raised

    NEW YORK, 7 October (UN Headquarters) -- Recent failures in multilateral security mechanisms, which had raised the risk of nuclear proliferation and diminished prospects for nuclear disarmament, were highlighted today by a wide range of speakers, as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) concluded its general debate.

    Iran's representative told delegates that one nuclear-weapon State "cries wolf" about the risk of proliferation by States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), whose facilities for peaceful nuclear energy use were under full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, while it concluded agreements for the transfer of all kinds of nuclear technology to non-NPT parties.

    He said that the transfer of nuclear weapon technology to Israel -- the only non-NPT party in the Middle East with clandestine nuclear weapon facilities -- and other forms of "nuclear sharing" constituted non-compliance by the United States with its NPT obligations.  The so-called proliferation concern over the peaceful nuclear activities of some countries was just a pretext for pursuing political objectives and imposing a new "nuclear apartheid". 

    The international community should resist that discriminatory approach and insist on the full implementation of all commitments, he said.  Steps should be taken to prevent the development of new types of nuclear weapons, stop nuclear sharing, prohibit the threat of use of those inhumane weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States and renounce unlawful unilateral actions and policies.  Meanwhile, there was no justification whatsoever to limit the inalienable rights of the NPT States parties to peaceful nuclear activities, including the fuel cycle. 

    Israel's representative asserted that the right granted under Article IV of the NPT, namely to benefit from nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, had been misused by some countries, primarily Iran, in their effort to develop clandestine military nuclear programmes.  Notwithstanding its advantages, the IAEA safeguards regime did not provide a sufficient basis for uncovering clandestine nuclear programmes and facilities.  The technological know-how and equipment needed to develop military nuclear programmes, especially dual-use technologies in the fuel cycle, and specifically uranium enrichment, had become much more accessible. 

    Moreover, he said, the revelation of the existence of the Khan black market and proliferation networks -- through which equipment, technology, whole facilities and even blueprints of weapons had been transferred -- had shown that the world was no longer facing just a small group of countries of concern in their export behaviour, but increasingly also important non-State actors.  Traditional mechanisms of non-proliferation were insufficient to deal with current challenges.  The establishment of a linkage between terrorism and mass destruction weapons, for example, was "only a question of time":  terrorists that acquired the capability to develop weapons of mass destruction would use those weapons, he warned. 

    The representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea warned that, as long as there were attempts to permanently retain a monopoly of nuclear weapons and to use them to dominate the world, it was not possible to think of disarmament, peace and security.  If the international community wanted the real non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons and the existing disarmament regimes preserved and not weakened, it should question the "nuclear threat policy of the nuclear superpower" that caused weapons proliferation, and take practical steps to remove that threat. 

    He called on the nuclear-weapon States to abandon their nuclear doctrines, based on the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons, and commit not to be the first to use nuclear weapons under any circumstances.  They should also come to the table to discuss the relevant international agreements.  Several countries were opting to strengthen their self-defence capabilities because they felt that the existing arms control regimes, including the NPT, could not defend the security of non-nuclear-weapon States.  His country took the road of nuclear deterrence because of United States' nuclear threats.  There would be no need for it to keep a single nuclear weapon if the relations were normalized between his country and the United States.

    Statements were also made by the representatives of Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Sudan, Andorra, San Marino, Ukraine, Kenya, Qatar, Zambia, Georgia, Armenia, Oman, and Jordan.  A member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) also spoke.

    The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Monday, 10 October, to begin its thematic discussion on nuclear weapons and its consideration of draft resolutions.

    Background

    The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to conclude its general debate.

    Statements

    AMINU BASHIR WALI (Nigeria) said the past year had been marked by a string of failures in the field of disarmament and arms control, including the failure of Member States to agree on an agenda for the Disarmament Commission, the failure of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) review to prevent a meaningful outcome, the inability to agree to convene the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, the continued failure by some States to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the ambivalence towards the negotiation of a fissile material treaty.  It was no surprise that the discouraging trend continued with the failure to agree on the cluster on disarmament and non-proliferation in the Summit Outcome.  The need to reverse the negative trend was one of the greatest challenges for the international community.  The existence and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction continued to pose a serious threat to international peace and security.

    He said States that possessed weapons of mass destruction could no longer pretend that their weapons did not pose a threat to the global community.  The time had come for Member States to stop interpreting the threat from nuclear and other types of weapons only within their own narrowly defined interests.  Progress could not be achieved under such rigid viewpoints, but only through necessary political will on the part of all States.  The need for confidence-building measures to assuage the fears of States that were threatened by those who had weapons of mass destruction could not be underestimated. Legally-binding security guarantees remained the best assurance that such States would not acquire nuclear arms in self-defence.

    Despite the disappointing failures in the area of disarmament, there had been modest progress, such as the adoption of an international instrument on tracing illicit small arms.  But, that should only be considered a stopgap measure.  It was only through a legally-binding international instrument that the transfer of small arms to non-State actors could be controlled and criminalized.   Nigeria endorsed the declaration adopted at the Conference on facilitating the entry into force of the CTBT and called upon the remaining 11 States that had not yet ratified it to immediately do so.

    MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) said his country was horrified at the reprehensible attacks in Bali, Indonesia last weekend.  That had been tempered by some good news, namely the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei.  In the area of conventional weapons, he said that the many conflicts in the subregion had worsened the problem of the illicit trafficking and spread of small arms and light weapons.  The insecurity that those weapons promoted contravened ongoing development efforts.  He, therefore, supported the extension of the Bamako moratorium on the import of those weapons.  He also positively assessed the progress made by the ad hoc committee mandated to negotiate an instrument on the tracing and marking of small arms and light weapons.  Efforts should be stepped up now to finalize that instrument.

    He said his country also feared the existence and spread of weapons of mass destruction.  That was why he called on the international community today to work to prevent such catastrophes as the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It was difficult to understand the hesitations evident at the recent review of the NPT.  The lack of any substantive outcome had been disturbing.  Also worrying had been the fact that the CTBT had not entered force nine years after its adoption, owing to 11 more countries whose ratification was required for the Treaty to take effect.  Clearly, such treaties were only launching points through which countries furthered their own ambitions and desires for domination.  His country was also determined to halt the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and to promote the creation of additional nuclear-weapon-free zones.  The current situation in the disarmament machinery must be reversed.

    JAVIER WILLIAMS SLATE ( Nicaragua) said the omission of disarmament and non-proliferation in the Summit Outcome should not be allowed to hurt development and what had been achieved in the First Committee.  As the Rio Group had put it, the failure to adopt a document that reflected existing challenges was a wake up call to everyone about the changes that were needed in the multilateral realm, as those challenges included the fear that the CTBT had not been entered into force, the NPT had not won universality and some countries refused to join the Treaty.

    With regard to mines, he said the problem was rooted in the civil war the country had suffered through in 1980s.  In the 1990s, the demining program began its work.  Since then, 80 per cent of the mines had been deactivated.  Nicaragua, as party to the Ottawa Convention, committed itself to eliminating all such death artefacts on its territory.  But, the demining program had suffered several setbacks, including the destruction caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.  The chief objective of that program was to come up with practical solutions to detect anti-personnel mines on the mountainside.  In 2005 his country had destroyed, or still planned to destroy, 4,000 mines.  The Organization of Central American States was channelling resources to promote nationwide goals.  Nicaragua was grateful to the sponsors for contributing specialized personnel from several countries.  Nicaragua soon expected to declare itself free of anti-personnel mines.  Regional and subregional arms control agreements could support its progress towards peacefully resolving conflicts.

    His country was determined to prevent the illegal trafficking of weapons and to move forward with arms control, he said.  A build-up of weapons destabilized countries and threatened national security.   Nicaragua suffered severely during the 1980s.  The horrors and fallout of that war took a toll of more than 50,000 lives.  As a demonstration of leadership, Nicaragua had shown regionally how to reduce arms.  1,007 missiles were destroyed in 2004.  A priority was given to implementing and harmonizing legislation designed to achieve small arms control.   Nicaragua supported the carrying out of a training and technical assistance programme to create a national level commission to control illicit trafficking of small arms.  In light of regional steps, the member countries of the Central American Community had shown it was moving forward and putting an end to such trafficking.

    LAURO L. BAJA ( Philippines) said the Philippines had noted how a number of States had been disappointed by the failure to include a section on disarmament and non-proliferation in the Summit Outcome.  But, that disappointment should not be construed as absence of mandate for the General Assembly through its First Committee to discuss disarmament issues.  The act of omission did not in any way cancel out the disarmament goals contained in the 2000 Millennium Declaration.  The five goals contained in the Declaration should remain valid today.  Those goals did not exclude other options to advance disarmament.  In light of that understanding, his Government was in full accord with the views expressed by the President of the General Assembly when he said the Outcome should not limit ambitions, but rather serve as a beachhead from which Member States could move forward.

    His country supported a new course in multilateral arms control diplomacy spearheaded by Norway and six other countries from different regions of the world, he said.  Although that new initiative was not reflected in the Outcome, it nevertheless responded to the call of world leaders in the 2000 Millennium Declaration disarmament goals.  The Norwegian initiative needed to be considered, because of the promise it held in advancing the collective effort to carve out a more peaceful and secure world that would be free from the scourge of wars, conflicts and terrorism.  The failures of the NPT review, the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission to generate substantive results was a reality the world had to face.  The international community must not relent in its resolve to achieve constructive results.  No man-made challenges were insurmountable.

    Inspiration should be drawn from the progress achieved in the other fields of disarmament and the promotion of peace and security, notably:  the adoption of the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts on Nuclear Terrorism and the amended Protocol on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material; the growing number of countries concluding IAEA Additional Protocol; the conclusion of negotiations on an international instrument on the marking and tracing of small arms and light weapons; the increasing support for the new protocol on Explosive Remnants of War to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons; the Ottawa Treaty; the Strategic Arms Limitation and Reduction Treaty; and the increasing number of countries that either signed or ratified the CTBT and the Hague Code of Conduct.

    He said a salient consensus reflected in the Outcome dealt with the inter-relatedness of development, peace and human rights.  The inter-relationship of disarmament and development deserved particular attention because of the increasing resources poured to military expenditure despite the prevalence in poverty worldwide.  Financing for development could be sourced from cuts in military expenditures.  That cut-back could facilitate the efforts of developed countries to reach the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) for official development assistance (ODA) purposes. 

    OMAR BASHIR MOHAMED MANIS ( Sudan) congratulated the IAEA and its Director General for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  The world was witnessing several international and regional variables with regard to disarmament issues.  That had highlighted the need for entrenching international security by activating multilateral channels, in order to decisively grapple with nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  The balance of power between the nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States should not be upset any further.  Regrettably, the sixtieth General Assembly session was taking place at a time when the world community was unable to reach consensus on disarmament matters.  The rigid positions demonstrated during negotiations on an outcome text of the World Summit had not occurred in a vacuum, but had been the result of several setbacks in multilateral work in the disarmament field, from the Final Document of the General Assembly session devoted to disarmament in 1978 to the NPT Review Conference in May.

    He said that, despite some unilateral and bilateral initiatives by some States to reduce their strategic nuclear weapons arsenals, many States continued to develop and even test their chemical, nuclear and biological techniques on the pretext of preserving national security.  The selectivity and lack of objectivity in disarmament matters was unacceptable.  Still other States questioned the ability of existing instruments to be universally and effectively enforced.  The conflicts, wars and hotbeds of tension around the world had caused some States to live in a state of defence preparedness.  That had been reflected in the increased military spending by States, at the expense of such pressing needs as poverty and disaster relief.  Expenditures for those latter concerns, already very modest, were now declining.  The nuclear-weapon States must seriously reduce expenditures on armament programmes, with a view to phasing out their strategic nuclear arsenals.  Meanwhile, the measures designed to develop binding global instruments should provide protection to the non-nuclear-weapon States, while not compromising States' rights to engage in nuclear research for peaceful purposes. 

    Also urgent was the need to create additional nuclear-weapon-free zones throughout the world, he said.  That was the shortest route to foster the disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  Numerous States had signed treaties for such zones, which now represented 50 per cent of the globe, but many tense regions were still awaiting progress in that regard.  The Middle East, for example, could have become a nuclear-weapon-free zone had it not been for Israel's continuous refusal to subject its nuclear facilities to the IAEA safeguards regime.  That had threatened stability and security in the region and the world.  He saluted Libya's courageous initiative to voluntarily rid itself of its weapons of mass destruction programmes.  For its part, the Sudan was a real partner in global efforts to achieve disarmament.  The tension in the Great Lakes region had caused small arms to proliferate.  He was paying special attention to disarmament, demobilization and the reintegration of former combatants, and he looked forward to international and regional support on the technical aspects of that process.  The world must be made secure, so that the focus could be on peace, stability and sustainable development, and not on the machinery of war and destruction.

    JULIAN VILA COMA ( Andorra) said despite specific advances in the areas of development and security, the final document of the high-level Summit contained an essential omission regarding the question of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  The total absence of recommendation on those two points was not accidental, but rather due to an international conjunction of the ghosts of yesterday's balance of terror, the failure of the NPT conference and the lethargy of the Conference on Disarmament.  As the international community observed the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it did not know how to consolidate collective action towards the eradication of nuclear energy for military purposes.  He then reiterated the support of his country for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the destruction of military arsenals and the fight against the illicit trade in small arms.

    DANIELE BODINI ( San Marino) said his country shared the frustration that the 2005 NPT review was unable to produce a consensus document on substantive issues and that any mention of disarmament and non-proliferation had been omitted from the Summit Outcome.  Moreover, the existing conventions were not always implemented and the ratifications of new ones were not moving at the desired speed.  His Government and its people had lived in peace for 1,700 years without an army.  The strongest weapon any civilization could have was "the power of reason".

    He said Member States all shared a fear that terrorists would one day successfully use weapons of mass destruction; the only question was where and when?   San Marino welcomed the adoption by the General Assembly of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.  It was crucial to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction without delay.  It was unfortunate that the process was moving slowly, due to a lingering distrust among some States, coupled with the difficulty of international organizations to provide accurate monitoring.

    San Marino did not have weapons of mass destruction, he said.  Like many similar countries, it had to put the lives of its citizenry into the hands of others.  One attack could destroy the entire population.  One of the most important tasks was to inform and educate civil society of the dangers of such destructive weapons, especially in those countries where leaders acted aggressively.  A country's own citizens could be the most effective negotiators with their governments.  If properly informed about the potential catastrophic outcome of the use of weapons of mass destruction, they would take a stand to preserve their lives and the lives of their children.

    ITZHAK LEVANON (Israel) highlighted a wide range of threats and challenges, and said when disarmament was applicable and relevant, then that should be the chosen tool, but when the reality was such that disarmament became irrelevant, other instruments should be considered.  In the current state of affairs, substantive weight should be given to non-proliferation efforts.  Moreover, the conceptual and traditional association between progress in disarmament and non-proliferation had become irrelevant.  The international community should strengthen the steps taken in the field of non-proliferation without seeking to link that to progress, or to the lack thereof, in the field of disarmament.  The conceptual separation between the fuel cycle technology for military purposes and the technology for civilian purposes should be reviewed.  Recent developments had made clear that the incautious proliferation of fuel cycle technologies could be diverted to the development of military programmes.  It was incumbent on the global community to ensure that States acting in bad faith should be prevented from exploiting the loopholes in the current international treaties and norms. 

    In recent years, the right granted under article IV of the NPT, namely to benefit from nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, had been misused by some countries, primarily Iran, in their effort to develop clandestine military nuclear programmes, he said.  Notwithstanding its advantages, the IAEA safeguards regime did not provide a sufficient basis for uncovering clandestine nuclear programmes and facilities.  In addition, the technological know-how and equipment needed to develop military nuclear programmes, especially dual-use technologies in the field of the fuel cycle, and specifically uranium enrichment, had become much more accessible.  The revelation of the existence of the Khan black market and proliferation networks -- through which equipment, technology, whole facilities and even blueprints of weapons had been transferred -- had shown that the world was no longer facing just a small group of countries of concern in their export behaviour, but increasingly also important non-State actors.

    He said that traditional mechanisms of non-proliferation had proven to be insufficient to deal with the current challenges.  New arrangements and tools should be developed, in order to complement those mechanisms and address the real challenges.  As for terrorism, that "ugly scourge" had stricken again on many occasions, causing thousands of casualties among innocent civilians.  The establishment of a linkage between terrorism and mass destruction weapons was "only a question of time":  terrorist groups that acquired the technological capability to develop any type of weapons of mass destruction would use those weapons.  That dangerous trend, combined with the continuous trend of "suicide terrorism", had the potential to significantly perturb the security and stability of all, be it on a personal, regional or global level.  He, therefore, welcomed Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), as a significant step for enhancing the joint struggle against such terrorism.

    Attempts by some parties to grant a certain level of legitimacy to terrorist organizations and to tolerate the use of certain types of weapons by non-State actors was dangerous and inadmissible, he said.  No non-State actor should be allowed to obtain such weapons as landmines or Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS).  Israel, for its part, had recently taken concrete measures in that regard by its decision to prolong its moratorium on the export of any anti-personnel mines.  It also adhered to the Wassennaar Guidelines on MANPADS.  Terrorism could not exist in a vacuum.  Terrorist organizations were supported and financed by States.  The international community, therefore, must take action to curb the flow of resources and arms to terrorist groups and their sponsors.  At present, some neighbouring countries and others in the region had resolved to develop mass destruction weapons, thereby ignoring their legal obligations and supporting terrorist organizations.  That combination, together with public threats to the very existence of the State of Israel, was moving the region away from the vision of peace and security.

    He called for a restructured security architecture in the Middle East, based on the foundation of cooperation, whereby each State would be reassured of the safety of its population and its peaceful existence.  That should start with confidence-building measures, enhancing trust and strengthening security.  Reducing threats to regional security would pave the way for the reduction in arms accumulation and the arms race in all its aspects, thus giving the economy, education and social components of national security the leading role it deserved.  Regarding the establishment of a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the region, Israel supported the eventual establishment of a mutually and effectively verifiable zone free of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their delivery means.  The political realities in the Middle East mandated a practical step-by-step approach.  That process should begin with modest confidence-building measures, followed by the establishment of peaceful relations, reconciliation and good-neighbourliness.  That could possibly be complemented by conventional and non-conventional arms control measures, and lead to more ambitious goals as the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. 

    PAK GIL YON (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said that, although it had been 10 years since the end of the cold war, the tendency of nuclear-weapon States to resort to nuclear weapons had increased.  The doctrine of a nuclear pre-emptive strike was openly preached, thereby rendering nuclear deterrence obsolete, as the development of new types of nuclear weapons and its qualitative improvement were speedily pursued.  As long as there were attempts to permanently retain a monopoly of nuclear weapons and use them to dominate the world, it was not possible to think of disarmament, peace and security.  A cool-headed analysis should be made of the reality of the situation, and a correct solution should be presented, aimed at realizing practical disarmament and safeguarding durable peace around the globe.

    With regard to weapons of mass destruction proliferation, he said that it was "none other than the threat of existing nuclear weapons that has caused the proliferation".  The first and foremost task for non-proliferation, therefore, was to completely destroy nuclear weapons as early as possible.  Nuclear disarmament was the best way to stop proliferation.  Without nuclear disarmament, proliferation would persist.  If the international community wanted the real non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons, and the existing disarmament regimes preserved and not weakened, it should question the "nuclear threat policy of the nuclear Superpower" that caused weapons proliferation, and take practical steps to remove that threat.  Nuclear-weapon States must abandon their nuclear doctrines, based on the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons, and commit not to be the first to use nuclear weapons under any circumstances.  They should also come to the table to discuss the relevant international agreements.

    To insist only on non-proliferation, while turning away from security assurances, was to avoid reality, he said.  Assurance of the non-use of nuclear weapons was a matter of the survival of non-nuclear-weapon States, as well as for the promotion of the global nuclear disarmament process.  The non-nuclear-weapon States demanded unconditional assurances by the nuclear-weapon States of the non-use of nuclear weapons, under any circumstances.  Today, several countries opted to strengthen their self-defence capabilities because they felt that the existing arms control regimes, including the NPT, could not defend the security of non-nuclear-weapon States. 

    He said, "If we connive or tolerate the gangster-like logic that only big countries can have nuclear weapons or attack small countries, then there will occur several changes in the international order, which will certainly push non-nuclear-weapon States toward acquiring nuclear deterrence."  His country was a small nation under constant threats from the superpower, the United States.  His country took the road of nuclear deterrence because of United States nuclear threats, based on a deep-rooted hostile policy towards his country for half a century.  The Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear weapons were not intended to threaten or strike others, and his country had no intention of retaining them permanently.  There would be no need for it to keep a single nuclear weapon if the "DPRK-US" relations were normalized, bilateral confidence was built, and the "DPRK" was not exposed to the United States nuclear threat any longer.

    During the recent round of six-party talks held in Beijing, China, his delegation had approached the discussion seriously, with magnanimity and a principled, fair and above-board stand to achieve its consistent final goal of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula by all means, he noted.  That had enabled the talks to come up with an agreement on the principles towards that goal in a broad framework, overcoming all of the challenges.  The joint statement had reflected his country's principled position on the resolution of the nuclear issue.  At the same time, it clearly specified the obligations of the United States and South Korea -- the responsible parties for the denuclearization of the whole Korean peninsula. 

    Most essential now was for the United States to provide light water reactors to his country, as soon as possible, he said.  That would be a demonstration of the removal of the nuclear threats against his country, while recognizing its rights to peaceful nuclear activities.  It was his firm ultimate objective to have the Korean peninsula denuclearized, and it was his consistent stand to revolve the nuclear issue peacefully, through dialogue and negotiation.  However, that could not be achieved only through his country's unilateral abandoning of its nuclear weapons programme.  The most urgent requirement was an immediate end to the United States' nuclear threats and hostile policy towards the "DPRK", aimed at "overthrowing the regime".  The United States should take decisive practical steps to remove the last legacy of the cold war on the Korean peninsula, thereby turning the "unstable armistice" into a durable system of peace.

    VICTOR KRYZHANIVSKY ( Ukraine) said the trends in international security would have significant implications for the process of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.  Effective multilateralism was more important than ever.  In light of a growing threat posed by terrorists, efforts to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems gained special importance.  Collective steps needed to be taken to ensure the universality of existing international treaties in the sphere of non-proliferation and disarmament.  In the field of non-proliferation and disarmament, his country appreciated the active involvement of the United Nations Security Council in addressing the threat, and it supported the objectives of resolution 1540.  Thorough implementation would reduce the non-proliferation threat.  Despite setbacks, there had been progress.  The establishment of the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction was an important contribution to multilateral non-proliferation efforts.

    Last year marked the tenth anniversary of Ukraine's accession to the NPT, he said.   Ukraine had ensured reduction of all nuclear weapons inherited from the former Soviet Union and created favourable conditions for the indefinite extension of the Treaty.  As part of Ukraine's obligations under the first Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START I), it still had to eliminate 5,000 tons of solid propellant from SS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and it had adopted a State program for that purpose.   Ukraine had appealed to the international community to find the ways and means to provide additional financial assistance for that demilitarization project.

    He deeply regretted that the 2005 NPT review was unable to reach any substantive outcome, he continued.  States had also expected a lot from the high-level Summit.  But, once again, the world witnessed failure.  It was regretful that the balanced initiative of Norway and other States to promote an outcome on non-proliferation and disarmament had not been accepted by the high-level forum.  Legally-binding security assurances by the nuclear-weapon States to the non-nuclear-weapon States party to the NPT, would significantly strengthen the nuclear-non-proliferation regime by eliminating possible incentive for pursuing nuclear capabilities.  IAEA safeguards were an important tool for ensuring that nuclear energy could be used peacefully, without the threat of proliferation.  He strongly supported the verification role of the IAEA.  Faithful implementation was a prerequisite for an effective and credible non-proliferation regime.  In light of the recent conference on facilitating the entry into force of the CTBT, he continued to stress the vital importance of the Treaty's universalization.

    The universalization of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention) and ensuring its strict implementation should remain a priority in the field of chemical disarmament, he said.  It was important for States to fully comply with the obligations.  His country fully supported the purposes of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention) and strict compliance with its obligations.  It was time to make decisive efforts to develop an appropriate verification mechanism for that Convention.  On small arms, the gravity of the problem was illustrated by the fact that those weapons caused 90 per cent of all casualties in armed conflict.  As part of Ukraine's efforts to fulfil the Programme of Action on small arms, his Government, with the assistance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), expected to destroy 1.5 million pieces of small arms and 133,000 tons of surplus ammunition.   Ukraine had also ratified the Ottawa Convention and it was developing national legislation to ensure effective implementation.

    THOMAS B. AMOLO ( Kenya) said that the terrorist attacks in Bali, Indonesia last weekend conclusively illustrated that those attacks occurred anywhere, and affected everyone.  It had also shown the patent inability of the multilateral system to definitively address that and other disarmament matters, which, in turn, led some to resort to unilateral measures, thereby further weakening the multilateral structure.  With multilateral solutions to disarmament under stress, the inability of the World Summit Outcome to have pointed to any meaningful direction on disarmament and non-proliferation had been a major disappointment.  Coupled with the Disarmament Commission's inability to hold any substantive meetings in 2005, the failure of the Conference on Disarmament to agree on an agenda, and the delay of the entry into force of the CTBT, a "disarmament diplomacy malaise" was setting in.  That made new, carefully considered initiatives even more attractive.

    He said that the Committee bore some responsibility for that impasse.  It could become more relevant by revitalizing its work and reasserting its "raison d'être" by thinking creatively about new solutions.  In that regard, he welcomed the initiative by some Member States to re-energize disarmament diplomacy at the Conference on Disarmament by forming working groups on various issues as soon as the Conference began its work.  That approach would help.  Political will, carefully calibrated to produce the most desirable results, was the "silver bullet" that would turn the tide.  At the same time, disappointment at the obvious lack of progress on some issues before the Committee could not overshadow a growing sense of optimism that some real progress had been made on the issue of small arms and light weapons.  The positive progress in his region, together with the multilateral process, which gave birth to a new instrument on marking and tracing, had been positive steps.

    His region had been a "trailblazer" in combating the illicit circulation of small arms and light weapons, having moved from debating to implementation of clear road maps, which incorporated the twin principles of ownership and partnership, he said.  Since 2003, the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa had made significant progress in implementing the United Nations Programme of Action.  That had primarily be done through implementation of the Coordinated Agenda for Action, adopted in November 2000, the Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of the Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons, as well as the Nairobi Protocol for Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa.  In addition, the Third Ministerial Review Conference of the Nairobi Declaration, held in Nairobi in June, had approved the following texts, among others:  an agreement on the establishment of a regional centre on small arms to coordinate implementation of the Nairobi Declaration and Nairobi Protocol, to succeed the Nairobi Secretariat; and the best practice guidelines and minimum common standards on key issues in the implementation of the Nairobi Protocol, including stockpile management, import, export and transit, and marking, tracing and brokering 

    NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER, ( Qatar) said States were obligated to arrive at a consensus through which international peace and security could be enhanced.  Failure to arrive at a consensus would seriously jeopardize the question of international peace and security, which would allow the powerful to prevail.  The section dedicated to disarmament in the Summit Outcome was weak.  It did not include a reaffirmation of the commitments undertaken in the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT.  Such setbacks would eventually prompt the international community to work more seriously to face up to the current perils and address them with determination.

    Regional security remained one of the most important challenges the international community must address, he said.  The way ahead was through confidence-building and joint efforts among States. The Middle East was one of the volatile regions of the world, and it could ignite given the prevailing strategic imbalances, the double standards and the race to acquire different types of nuclear and traditional weaponry.  The fact that the international community condoned the development of the Israeli nuclear arsenal in the Middle East and failed to demand that Israel cease such development had created an abnormal situation that prompted others to follow suit.  Such a course of action exacerbated instability and aggravated tension.  It was not right to impose international sanctions on some States and exempt others from equal treatment.  All weapons of mass destruction needed to be eliminated.

    He said the threat from the proliferation of small arms and landmines should not be underestimated.  They were a threat to international peace and security.  He appreciated the work done by the open-ended working group to negotiate an international instrument to marking and tracing small arms.  The best way to check the arms race was to seek to solve the World's protracted political problems and to convince the parties to a conflict to resort to dialogue and settle their differences through political means.

    TENS C. KAPOMA ( Zambia) stressed that the Committee should use the session to strengthen the various multilateral efforts to eliminate the threat to international peace and security posed by mass destruction weapons.  He shared the concern of many speakers over the lack of progress in the multilateral disarmament machinery, and the fact that the Outcome text of the World Summit had not contained any reference to disarmament or non-proliferation.  The world community could undo the impasse in disarmament negotiations by a strong reaffirmation to uphold multilateralism in working towards internationally agreed solutions.  It was incumbent on all disarmament experts to recognize the symbiotic relationship between disarmament and non-proliferation, and the need for a careful balance between them.  He reaffirmed his country's support of the two processes, adding that the NPT depended on a careful balance of its three equally important pillars:  disarmament; non-proliferation; and the peaceful application of nuclear science.

    He said that negotiations on nuclear disarmament, undertaken in good faith, would catalyze agreement on other weapons systems.  He also welcomed innovations to strengthen confidence-building measures, which helped to secure important disarmament successes in the last century, such as START I and II (treaties by which the Russian Federation and the United States agreed to significantly reduce the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads).  Also crucial was to reduce the highly exaggerated threats of hostile regimes and fanatic groups, through an enhanced confidence-building regime.  Disarmament experts should "go back to the drawing board" and alter the current mindset, which had caused the stalemate in arms control and disarmament. 

    Turning to the destructive nature of small arms and light weapons on the stability of countries and regions, he said that universal implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action would serve humanity well.  Adoption of a globally-binding instrument to enable States to identify and trace illicit weapons was another welcome development.  Hopefully, the 2006 review of the small arms Conference would strengthen implementation of the Action Programme.  Anti-personnel mines were silent killers, which deserved the collective attention of the international community.  He called on States, international organizations and civil society to seize the opportunity of the forthcoming sixth meeting of States parties to the Ottawa Convention to accelerate implementation of the Nairobi Action Plan.  Working together, the world community could achieve the vision of a world free of anti-personnel mines. 

    REVAZ ADAMIA ( Georgia) said it was unfortunate that the NPT review concluded its work without reaching an agreement on substantive issues.  On the issue of separatism, it was a major threat to international peace and security, specifically, the so called "white spots" in the conflict zones in two secessionist regions of Georgia, Abkhazia and the former autonomous region of South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region.  Both regions were undergoing the increasingly aggressive process of militarization.  Worse yet, the separatist enclaves were receiving military shipments from the Russian Federation.  As a result, a substantial amount of arms and ammunition, which were not controlled by the State and therefore was not reflected in the records of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, had accumulated in those territories.

    In September, the South Ossetian separatists held a celebration of "independence" of the self-styled republic of South Ossetia, he said.  That event gave a display of military detachments and armoured vehicles.  That was a violation of all peace agreements related to the conflict, as well as provisions and principles of the Conventional Forces of Europe Treaty.  Despite the Russian Federation's commitment to perform the role of principal mediator in the settlement of the conflict in the former South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region of Georgia, it continued to arm separatists, which provided a fertile ground for illicit smuggling of arms, as well as the proliferation of nuclear and other dangerous materials.  The uncontrolled spread of armaments in lawless territories represented a major threat to the stability of Georgia's entire region.

    The terrorist attack last year in Beslan would not have happened if terrorists were stopped at the checkpoints, he said.  The only reason they were not stopped and properly checked was because they said they were headed to South Ossetia.  That was an example of how supporting separatism had a boomerang effect.  Another major point of concern was the illegal presence of the Russian military base in Gudauta in Abkhazia.  What was happening in secessionist regions of Georgia was nothing less but annexation.  Those developments were beyond the national and international disarmament and non-proliferation control mechanisms.  But, they were still basic problems that the First Committee should handle.   Georgia would fully cooperate with all international organizations in elaborating and applying special mechanisms aimed at dealing with territories and regimes which were out of control of the State.

    ARMEN MARTIROSYAN ( Armenia) said that 2005 had not fully delivered on expectations.  Opportunities that could have elevated discussions to a qualitatively different level had been lost.  Nevertheless, there had been some significant results.  Those had included the conclusion of an international convention to suppress nuclear terrorism, the positive outcome of the last round of six-party talks on the Korean peninsula, adoption of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), and the successful conclusion of negotiations for a marking and tracing instrument for small arms and light weapons. 

    Reporting to the Committee on Armenia's progress in disarmament, he said that, despite the fact that it was not a member of the Ottawa Treaty, owing to persistent threats in the region, Armenia fully adhered to its goals and objectives.  It had embarked on a demining project, which sought to free mined territories for agricultural use.  In that respect, he thanked the United States and the European Union for their support to the Landmine Impact Survey, carried out in Armenia this year by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with Armenia's Ministry of Defense.  That three-year phased project would reduce the social and economic impact of mines in Armenia.

    He said his country attached great important to transparency in armaments and military expenditures, especially at a time of unprecedented increase in military spending by a neighbouring State.  Armenia had also regularly reported under the relevant General Assembly resolutions, and this year, it presented subsequent reports.  His country had also consistently committed to the principles of international instruments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy and non-proliferation.  Given its great stake in the stability of its region, Armenia also closely followed the developments of the Iranian nuclear issue, and hoped that would be resolved through mutually acceptable means, deriving from international law.  Besides the legislative reforms aimed at upgrading the safety and security of the Armenian nuclear power plant and verification regime, Armenia had signed the final act of amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, and its ratification of that text was under way.

    MOHAMMED AQEEL BA'OMAR ( Oman) said it was a critical time for the international community.  The NPT had not reached universality, the CTBT had not been entered into force and no disarmament issues had been involved in the 2005 Summit Outcome.  The unstable security situation in the Middle East was of particular concern.  His country had acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological Weapons Convention, NPT and the CTBT.  All conventions should reflect the global will that was based on transparency and credibility in order to ensure its universality.  The establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was worthy of the international community's attention and support.  Such a zone not only enhanced regional stability, but promoted international peace and security.

    He said the fact that Israel still refused to join the collective security consensus by staying out of the NPT mechanism was cause for great concern.  Such a situation would have dire consequences on international peace and security.  He called for Israel to accede to the NPT and to subject all its nuclear facilities to the IAEA, as well as for all States that had not yet ratified the NPT to do so immediately.  At the same time, all States had the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  Finally, the use of multilateral principles in approaching disarmament issues was critical.

    SAJA MAJALI ( Jordan) said in the wake of recent failures in disarmament and non-proliferation, it was of vital importance that diplomatic deliberations continued.  She deeply regretted that an opportunity to strengthen the international resolve on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament was missed at the NPT review.  It was unfortunate that the necessary political will could not be mustered.  That failure, along with the omission of disarmament and non-proliferation in the Summit Outcome and the continued deadlock of the Conference on Disarmament, did not absolve States from their multilateral obligations.  On the contrary, the international community needed to strive to attain the goals of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.  Universal adherence to the NPT and the entry into force of the CTBT needed to be pursued.  Nuclear-weapon States needed to work towards eliminating their large nuclear stockpiles.

    She said the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament must be overcome to allow for negotiations on a convention banning the production of fissile material and one prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination.  Equally important was the drafting of a binding document providing comprehensive security guarantees to the non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT.  The creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones was pivotal, especially in the Middle East.  Furthermore, Israel's accession to the NPT was vital.

    The attainment of general and complete nuclear disarmament, the complete prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and their destruction, the non-proliferation and elimination of weapons of mass destruction, the eradication of the illicit trade in small arms and the elimination of anti-personnel landmines were among the many important issues that required urgent attention, she continued.  The threat posed by the illicit trade in small arms was serious and required a collective response.  Similarly, there was a need for the international community to mobilize resources and provide assistance to landmine clearance operations, as well as for the rehabilitation of victims.   Jordan was among the first State to sign and ratify the Ottawa Convention and she welcomed the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1540.  On the issue of terrorism, the threat posed by terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction must be addressed.  One of the best safeguards for stopping that was through formulating a comprehensive international convention on the issue.  But, the most effective way to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction was through the total elimination of such weapons.

    MEHDI DANESH-YAZDI ( Iran) said that the lack of progress towards accomplishing the total elimination of nuclear arsenals was a major source of international concern.  The continuing existence of thousands of nuclear warheads in the stockpiles of nuclear-weapon States, the development of new types of nuclear weapons, and military doctrines for their use, were threatening humanity like never before.  The failure of the seventh NPT Review Conference and the exclusion of a disarmament section from the World Summit's Outcome Document were setbacks for nuclear disarmament.  Rejection of disarmament commitments, resort to pre-emptive war, new military doctrines that lowered the threshold of use of nuclear weapons, plans to develop mini-usable nuclear weapons, and most recently, the 2005 Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations, which explicitly extended the doctrine of pre-emptive war to cover nuclear arsenals, were alarming signs.

    He urged the international community not to permit the 1945 "taboo of prohibition" of resorting to the threat of use of nuclear weapons to be broken.  After the end of the cold war, significant progress had been made in arms control and disarmament, but since 2000, hopes had been fading.  A policy of rejection of international commitments and resorting to unilateral actions by the United States had emerged, as that country began withdrawing from multilateral treaties, one by one.  Sight should not be lost of the fact that the terrorist attack of 11 September 2001 had not been the starting point.  Before that attack, the United States had undertaken several actions, including among others:  rejecting the test-ban Treaty; blocking negotiations for a verification protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention; withdrawal from the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty); imposing certain decisions on the 2001 small arms Conference; and opposing the Kyoto Protocol.  The tragic event of "9/11" just accelerated that policy, of which the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the climax.

    Despite the sincere efforts and good intentions of a great majority of States parties to the NPT from all corners of the world, the 2005 Review Conference ended without result, owing to the same policy of the same nuclear-weapon State.  Just before the start of the NPT Conference, a high-ranking United States official announced that "`Article VI of the NPT was just one sentence long'" and nuclear disarmament did not exist.  He further argued that the unequivocal undertaking for nuclear disarmament in the 2000 NPT Review Conference was a thing of the past.  Those same positions had led to the 2005 Conference's failure and also extended to negotiations of the World Summit Outcome.  In a position paper on the disarmament and non-proliferation section of that text, distributed by the United States delegation, all references to disarmament were deleted, except the title.  That was a clear indication that no political determination existed on that delegation's behalf to reach agreement on the disarmament section. 

    Furthermore, while 117 countries participated in the recent CTBT Conference on facilitating that Treaty's entry into force, the same nuclear-weapon State had refrained from attending the Conference, owing to its ideological opposition to the Treaty, he said.  It simultaneously continued to follow up the plans for reducing the time needed for nuclear tests, for which it had allocated millions of dollars.  That had seriously called into question its commitment on a nuclear testing moratorium.  Actions and policies rigorously pursued by the United States, without the slightest regard for the concerns of the rest of the international community, clearly indicated what lay ahead, if unchecked.  It was no wonder that that country had been trying to create smokescreens in the international forums to deflect attention from its record and actions, by "politically charging the superficial concerns over the peaceful nuclear programme of others". 

    While that nuclear-weapon State "cries wolf" about the risk of proliferation by the peaceful activities of NPT Member States whose facilities were under full-scope IAEA safeguards, ironically, it had concluded agreements for the transfer of all kinds of nuclear technology to non-parties to the NPT, he said.  The United States' 2000 nuclear cooperation agreement with Israel, the only non-party in the Middle East with clandestine nuclear weapon facilities, was in clear contradiction with its so-called non-proliferation strategy.  Transfer of nuclear weapons technology to Israel and other forms of "nuclear sharing" constituted the non-compliance of the United States with its NPT obligations.  Those cases were clear evidence that the so-called proliferation concern over the peaceful nuclear activities of some countries was just a pretext for pursuing political objectives and imposing a new "nuclear apartheid". 

    He said the international community should firmly resist that discriminatory approach and insist on the full implementation of all commitments of States parties, particularly the unequivocal obligations of nuclear-weapon States for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  The world community should take effective measures to prevent the development of new types of nuclear weapons, to stop nuclear sharing, to prohibit the threat of use of such inhumane weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States and to renounce the unlawful unilateral actions and policies.  Meanwhile, there was no justification whatsoever to limit the inalienable rights of the NPT States parties to peaceful nuclear activities, including the fuel cycle.  There was only one condition provided for in the Treaty in that regard, and that was verification through the IAEA safeguards.  Iran, as a State party to the NPT, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention, continued to comply with its obligations and cooperate with the competent international organizations, as it had done in the past.  "No politically motivated decisions by a block of countries can prevent Iran from exercising its legal and legitimate rights", he said. 

    ANDA FILIP, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said the IPU was created mainly to promote dialogue and build confidence among parliamentarians worldwide, in order to prevent or diffuse conflicts.  Through dialogue, it was possible to move from a culture of violent response to one of mutual understanding and cooperation.  Parliaments had a unique perspective to bring to bear on all the issues of the international agenda, but they also had unique responsibilities to ensure that international law was applied within national borders and that commitments were implemented.

    She said, when the speakers of Parliaments assembled for their second world conference, they made a strong call for global unity on security issues at the United Nations.  Nuclear-weapon States needed to meet their obligations in the field of nuclear disarmament and States must make new efforts in all areas of non-proliferation and arms control.  In turn, parliaments should more closely monitor the national implementation of arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament instruments and related United Nations resolutions, and engage in an exchange of information.

    The IPU was convinced that the NPT was the best possible way to eliminate the threat of nuclear attacks once and for all, and it was concerned with the breakdown of talks on the NPT.  The IPU was also supportive of the CTBT and the call for its early entry into force.  IPU members had urged the further development of nuclear-weapon-free-zones, including in the Middle East.  Parliaments should adopt national legislation to control the export of armaments of all types, particularly those relating to mass destruction.  Further, terrorism constituted one of the most tangible threats to the security of many nations and was a potentially destabilizing force within the international order.  Terrorists could acquire weapons of mass destruction unless the international community acted urgently to close legal loopholes and take concrete regulatory and law enforcement action.  The IPU looked forward to seeing negotiations on the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism come to a successful conclusion.  Finally, she added that a more comprehensive assistance package for countries emerging from conflict was needed and that the constitution of a United Nations Peacebuilding Commission was one of the greatest achievements of the World Summit.

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