Press Releases

    GA/DIS/3302
    13 October 2005

    Outer Space Arms Race now Credible Threat, new Legal Agreement Needed to Block any Possible Weapon Deployment, First Committee Told

    Seven Draft Texts Introduced; Chemical and Biological Weapons, Ban on new Types of Weapons, Nuclear Disarmament among Issues Addressed

    NEW YORK, 12 October (UN Headquarters) -- The weaponization of outer space was a credible threat, and hopes to dominate space were illusory and would weaken, and not strengthen, the security of all States without exception, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Community) was told today during a thematic debate on outer space and weapons of mass destruction.  It also heard the introductions of seven draft resolutions. 

    One way to avoid the weaponization of outer space, the representative of the Russian Federation said, was to close the loopholes in current international space law by evolving a new and comprehensive international legal agreement to block opportunities to deploy any type of weapons in space, or use force or threat of force with respect to spacecraft.  Such an agreement would be in everyone's interest, first and foremost, of the 130 States with space programmes. 

    He said he had been advocating prompt agreement on a work programme in the Conference on Disarmament.  In the interest of achieving such a consensus in the Conference, he was "willing not to object" to creating an ad hoc committee on preventing an outer space arms race that did not have a negotiating mandate, but only a "discussion" mandate. Those with reservations needed to be convinced that new agreements on preventing an outer space arms race were urgent, achievable and in everyone's interest.  If, however, someone were to begin to deploy weapons in space, he said he would be compelled to formulate "an adequate response".

    Later in the meeting, that representative introduced a new draft resolution on transparency in the activities of outer space, so as to ensure that that realm was not turned into a "military theatre".

    China's representative warned that it would be too late if one country took the lead in ushering in weapons in outer space.  The prevention of an outer space arms race must not await the deployment of outer space weapons.  There were indications, however, that certain warfare concepts and theories, such as control over and occupation of space, were being codified.  The research and development of space weapons was also being carried out, with the danger of the weaponization of outer space more imminent than ever.  He urged preventive measures to ensure that space weapons were never used to seek military superiority or to wage wars, and for the Conference to negotiate the appropriate agreement.

    Introducing a draft resolution entitled "Prevention of an arms race in outer space", Sri Lanka's representative said the text had been gathering strength each year.  That growing interest reflected the unprecedented advances in space technology within reach of an increasing number of both developed and developing countries.  It was becoming increasingly clear, however, that the line between commercial and scientific use of space technology and the military use of such technology was fast blurring, to the point where there was an urgent need now to ensure that space -- humankind's last frontier -- was used only for non-offensive and non-belligerent purposes.  Preventing an outer space arms race was easier than attempting to control and decelerate such a race after it had begun, she warned.

    Draft resolutions were also introduced today on:  nuclear disarmament (Myanmar); chemical weapons (Poland); biological weapons (Hungary); prevention of the acquisition of mass destruction weapons by terrorists (India); and ban on development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction (Belarus).

    Statements were also made in the thematic debate by the representatives of the United Kingdom (on behalf of the European Union), Pakistan, Poland, Italy, Canada, Cuba, Australia, Sri Lanka, Republic of Korea, and Uruguay (on behalf of Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR)). 

    The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. Thursday, 13 October, to begin a thematic debate on conventional weapons and to continue hearing the introduction of drafts.

    Background

    The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to begin its thematic discussion on other weapons of mass destruction and the disarmament aspects of outer space, and to hear introductions of further draft resolutions and decision.

    Thematic Debate and Introduction of Drafts

    JOHN FREEMAN (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union supported and promoted the universal ratification of and adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention.  Those treaties had an essential role in countering the threat of chemical and biological weapons and, with other key multilateral agreements, provided a basis for the international community's disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.  States who were not parties to those treaties were urged to adhere to them and join the mainstream.  The Union would continue to stress the importance of those treaties, and promote universal adherence.  It also continued to urge all those States who were parties to the treaties to take all necessary steps to implement their obligations under both the treaties and Security Council resolution 1540, including in relation to enacting penal legislation.

    He said the Union continued to pursue its strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  It believed that control of emerging technology would continue to be an issue of considerable concern in the area of chemical and biological weapons.  He acknowledged the progress made towards the universalization of the CWC, and was supportive of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).  One of the most important features of the CWC was the obligation for possessors of chemical weapons to destroy their stockpiles by specified deadlines.  He continued to urge those possessors to take every possible step to meet those deadlines.

    The verification and, in particular, the mechanism of challenge inspections was an essential means of detecting non-compliance with the Convention and to increase transparency, confidence and international security.  He promoted the instrument of challenge inspections.  The Biological Weapons Convention remained as relevant as ever.  Since 2002, there had been a very useful follow-up process, which had led States to address in a successful manner the issues of the adoption of necessary national measures to implement the prohibitions set forth in the Convention.  He intended to assess the efficiency of that international process with a view to its further employment after 2006.  It was important that State parties agreed on a substantive outcome at that Conference, so as to strengthen the Convention and build a sound basis for future work.

    He said to implement its strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the field of biological weapons, the Union was focusing on practical measures, in particular universality and national implementation with the aim of joint action.  The annual confidence building measures exchange was important and needed to be revitalized.  The Union endorsed the Secretary-General's mechanism to investigate the alleged use of chemical and biological weapons, endorsed at the forty-fifth session of the General Assembly in 1990.  The Union also supported The Hague Code of Conduct, to which 121 countries had subscribed and more were seriously considering taking that step.

    MASOOD KHAN (Pakistan) welcomed the report by the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that the six main chemical weapons possessors continued to destroy declared chemical weapons stockpiles, and that the process of destruction and verification was moving apace.  He had also taken note of the Director-General's statement that the "lion's share" of the task lay ahead, however, and that major challenges remained.  It was a matter of concern that the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpiles of the major possessors was falling behind schedule.  That pace should be accelerated, as should reducing the risk of chemical weapons proliferation and the possible acquisition of those weapons by non-State actors or terrorists.

    Thus, he stressed, the speedy destruction of stockpiles was critical.  The know-how to produce chemical weapons was widely available, and the usual hurdles in that regard were much less problematic.  The practical difficulties and resource constrains facing developing countries in the destruction process should be considered, and assistance and technical support to States parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention was vital.  He encouraged allocating appropriate resources from the regular budget of the OPCW, and encouraged additional voluntary contributions for that purpose.  The Chemical Weapons Convention was an example of successful multilateralism, and could be replicated in other areas of disarmament and non-proliferation.  In the area of biosciences, he said that past wrangling over strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention should cease.  The pace of biosciences had been phenomenal and, thus, a long-term perspective should be developed.  In addition, a new paradigm of full cooperation to harness biosciences for the full service of humanity should be devised.

    KRZYSZTOF PATUREJ (Poland) introduced a draft resolution on the Chemical Weapons Convention (not yet issued).  The resolution remained very timely, and represented real progress achieved in the CWC implementation and the work of the OPCW in The Hague since the adoption of last year's resolution.  The draft included new elements.  A special emphasis was made on maintaining the importance of the action plan on the implementation of Article VII.  The importance of the role of the international cooperation and assistance was also confirmed.  The resolution would, for the first time, reaffirm the importance of Article XI provisions relating to the economic and technological development of States parties and recall that full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of those provisions would contribute to universality.

    He said emphasis was made on the role of the full and effective implementation of all provisions of the Convention, and the resolution would note the substantial contribution of the Technical Secretariat and the Director-General.  His basic assumption and goal was to ensure a consensus approval of the resolution.

    HU XIAODI (China) said that experience had shown that the development of science and technology, if not properly guided, could also result in calamity.  Advanced space technology, used to seek military superiority or to wage wars, would seriously endanger the peace and security in outer space and jeopardize the happiness and welfare of humankind.  Unfortunately, some trends in outer space indicated that such a possibility "is becoming true".  Currently, certain warfare concepts and theories, such as control over space and occupation of space, were being codified.  The research and development of space weapons was also being carried out.  Thus, the danger of the weaponization of outer space was becoming more imminent than ever.

    He said that space assets should promote, rather than undermine, the world's peace, welfare and development.  It was both the right and obligation of all countries to ensure the peaceful use of outer space and prevent an arms race in outer space.  That must not await the deployment of outer space weapons, which would start to cause damage.  It would be too late if one country took the lead to usher weapons into outer space, with other States following suit.  It was urgent to do everything possible to prevent the proliferation of space weapons.  The key was to take preventive measures; otherwise the right to peaceful use of outer space and the safety of outer space assets would be put in jeopardy.

    The Conference on Disarmament was the best venue for negotiating and concluding a legal instrument to prevent the weaponization of outer space, he said.  He urged the Conference to start substantial work at an early date.  In 2002, China and Russia, along with Viet Nam, Indonesia, Belarus, Zimbabwe and Syria, tabled a working paper in the Conference entitled "Possible elements for a future international legal agreement on the prevention of the deployment of weapons in outer space, the threat or use of force against outer space objects".  Later, China and Russia jointly distributed three thematic non-papers.  He hoped the Conference could take those documents as a basis for negotiating and concluding a new outer space legal instrument.

    ANTON V. VASILIEV (Russian Federation) called for strengthened multilateral efforts for disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  He advocated strict compliance with the NPT and attached great importance to the banning of chemical and biological weapons.  The urgency was predicated on the threat that those weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists.  The main challenge was to eliminate the current supplies of toxic substances according to the deadlines.  His country had to fulfil its obligations.  In 2002, it started to eradicate supplies of chemical weapons and, to date, had eliminated 1,000 tons of toxic substances.  It was now increasing the financing of targeted programmes to eliminate chemical weapons.

    He said financial and technological assistance had been provided by the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Canada, Czech Republic, European Union and New Zealand.  With external assistance, his country was now building three of the eventual six sites dedicated to eliminating chemical weapons.  It was an important priority to ban chemical weapons, and he believed in universalizing The Hague Code of Conduct.  The number of parties was growing steadily.  The Russian Federation was prepared to provide assistance to other States, and supported the initiative of Poland for a draft resolution in support of the Treaty.  The most effective way to go about that would be to conclude a verification mechanism with a legally binding instrument.

    He supported the decision of the fifth review conference, which called for annual meetings of States parties to the Convention and expert meetings to consider other measures.  An important measure to help prevent the spread of biological weapons would be the universalization of the Biological Weapons Convention.  In the last year, the international community had made progress in reducing the threat that such weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists.  In particular, Security Council 1540 established a realistic basis for countering the black market for weapons of mass destruction.

    CARLO TREZZA (Italy) said he appreciated that an invitation had been extended to the Director-General of the OPCW and the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).  Other officials from other disarmament forums would also address the Committee in the coming days.  He underlined the importance of the presence in New York of persons with the institutional responsibility for implementing the main disarmament and non-proliferation agreements.  The main weapons of mass destruction treaties would be less meaningful without appropriate mechanisms for their implementation and, possibly, their verification and compliance.  The nature of the existing mechanisms varied.  Some, like the Chemical Weapons Convention, had full organizations through which to implement and verify compliance with its provisions.  The test-ban Treaty, for example, had a temporary structure, which he hoped would become permanent as soon as possible.

    He said, however, that other treaties were not so fortunate.  The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had to rely on a five-year review process to assess implementation.  He favoured strengthening that process.  For verification of part of the commitments under that Treaty, States parties could rely on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Italy, together with its European Union partners, supported the Agency's safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol.  The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Agency and its Director General had been an important recognition of the role played by the Agency worldwide.  The Biological Weapons Convention also had to rely on a five-year review process, which he supported.  He also supported the Treaty's verification.  He drew the Committee's attention to the vital importance of following up the implementation processes of disarmament and non-proliferation engagements and of the need to regularly brief the Committee on the evolution of those processes by the responsible officials.  He urged the start of talks on a fissile material cut-off treaty, as soon as possible.

    GLYN BERRY (Canada) said outer space assets played an important role in sustaining strategic stability.  All nations had a stake in protecting space assets; they all shared a responsibility for ensuring that human actions did not jeopardize future assets in outer space.  Canada had long advocated a ban on space-based weapons as a means to fulfilling a greater end, which was sustainable access to space for peaceful purposes.  That was too precious to remain unprotected.  At the General Assembly in 2004, Paul Martin said "It would be a tragedy if space became one big weapons arsenal.  Weapons of mass destruction must not be based in space.  The time has come to expand this ban to all weapons."  A legal instrument should be negotiated without delay.  A space weapons ban had long been a subject for discussion.  It was time for the international community to organize itself to ensure substantive debate on the consideration to enhance outer space security.  Among specific elements of a space weapons ban should be such topics as definition, transparency, entry into force and verification.

    He said Canada appreciated that measures other than a weaponization ban could also enhance space security.  States might wish to explore various approaches to confidence-building.  Constructive ideas included proposals for no first deployment pledges.  Proposals could also foster a diplomatic environment.  Concrete steps had already been taken.  Last October, Russia was the first country to pledge that it would not use weapons of any kind in space.  If adopted widely, such a declaration would help build confidence.  The Hague Code of Conduct also made an important contribution to confidence building.  Another step available to all States would be to accede to the Outer Space Treaty.  All States were urged to ratify the Treaty before its fortieth anniversary in 2007.

    On a national basis, he said, there were many different ways to reinforce space stability, including better protecting ground stations.  He encouraged enhanced cooperation between United Nations bodies, and working closer together to highlight a commonality of interests.  The world had a duty to itself and to future generations to secure sustainable access to the use of space for peaceful purposes.  The possibility that space weapons could be deployed loomed ever closer.  The world would gain much from ensuring space security.  In that way, States would be able to ensure the peaceful use of outer space for future generations.

    YURI ARIEL GALA LOPEZ (Cuba) called, once again, for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons.  Cuba had always ascribed a top priority to nuclear disarmament.  It was paradoxical for some States to continue to see to it that the international community was focused ever more on horizontal proliferation, to the detriment of nuclear disarmament, notwithstanding the fact that there are tens of thousands of those weapons jeopardizing humankind's very existence.  Proliferation and its ramifications must be resolved through political and diplomatic means, in accordance with international law and the United Nations Charter.  The only sure and effective way to avoid the proliferation of mass destruction weapons was to achieve their total elimination.  The imposition of machinery of that was selective composition, lacked transparency and acted on the sidelines of the United Nations and international treaties, was not the right way to tackle international terrorism and the use of mass destruction weapons.

    He called, instead, for the establishment and strengthening of an international coalition of all States to forestall the acquisition of mass destruction weapons by terrorists.  That effort must be carried out with international cooperation, under the auspices of the United Nations and the relevant international treaties, and be consistent with the United Nations Charter.  The only guarantee that would keep weapons of mass destruction the hands of non-State actors, however, was their total prohibition and elimination.  Nuclear weapons endangered international peace and security, and the development of new kinds of nuclear weapons and the existence of strategic defence doctrines resting ever more on the possession and use of that kind of weaponry could have disastrous consequences.  To avoid those, the shortcomings inherent in the NPT must be corrected, and a multilateral convention banning nuclear weapons must be negotiated.

    It had become plain at the seventh review of the NPT in May that certain nuclear Powers lacked the political will necessary to attain the objective of the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, he said.  "Foot dragging" could not continue.  Multilateral negotiations should be launched to hammer out a universal, legally binding instrument, whereby the nuclear-weapon States committed not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against States that did not have them, he stressed.

    CRAIG MACLACHLAN (Australia) said Australia had long supported multilateral efforts to eliminate chemical and biological weapons and their production.  It strongly supported the implementation and universalization of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Conventions, which was fundamental to the international norms against those weapons.  The lesson of experience was that there were States that would either resist subscribing to those Treaties or, having done so, would subvert their aims.  He strongly supported practical initiatives and measures that would reinforce the global norms against weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological weapons.

    He said one important practical initiative -- the Australia Group -- marked its twentieth anniversary this year.  Its first meeting convened in response to Iraq's use of chemical weapons in its war with Iran.  At the Australia Group plenary held in Sydney, participants focused on key issues, including terrorism.  They agreed to significant measures to strengthen the Group.  Of note were refinements to export control lists, including the addition of specific aerosol sprayers suitable for dispersal of biological agents.  The Group also agreed to continue engaging non-participants and to promote robust export control standards as required under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540.  Australia Group participants remained firmly committed to the Chemical Weapon Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention.

    SARALA FERNANDO (Sri Lanka) recalled that, during her general debate statement, she had referred to her country's long abiding interest in the issues of outer space, grounded in its early active involvement in the negotiations in the United Nations on the law of the sea and outer space, in defining the heritage of mankind.  Several treaties and agreements had been concluded over the years to protect space assets, of which the 1967 Outer Space Treaty remained the most important.  At the time of the conclusion of that Treaty, in the early years of space exploration, only a few nations had the ability to have their own space programmes.  The situation today was quite different, with more than 130 countries possessing some space programme, and about 30 with launch capability.

    In addition, she said, space technologies were particularly important for developing countries, as that impacted such critical areas as communications, education, health and the environment, food security and disaster management.  Everyone had a stake in space security.  As the fortieth anniversary of the signing of the Outer Space Treaty approached, she urged Member States to work towards its universalization; it currently had 98 States parties.  Everyone should work together to examine present and future threats to keep outer space peaceful.

    ANTON V. VASILIEV (Russian Federation) stressed that the prevention of an outer space arms race was a major and urgent problem.  Once again, he had co-sponsored a draft resolution, given that the urgency of that situation was not diminishing, but growing. The weaponization of space was a credible and major threat.  Hopes to dominate space with the use of force were illusory.  Such a desire would weaken, not strengthen, security for all States, without exception.  One way to avoid that was to close the loopholes in current international space law and achieve a new and comprehensive international legal agreement, which would block opportunities to deploy any type of weapons in space, or use force or threat of force, with respect to spacecraft.  An agreement on the non-weaponization of space would be in everyone's interest, first and foremost, of States with space programmes, or some 130 States.

    He said, therefore, that he had been advocating prompt agreement on a work programme in the Conference on Disarmament, which would enable the establishment of a relevant ad hoc committee and orient its thematic work in that regard.  In the interest of achieving such a consensus in the Conference, he was "willing not to object" to creating an ad hoc committee on preventing an outer space arms race that did not have a negotiating mandate, but only a "discussion" mandate.  Those with reservations needed to be convinced that new agreements on preventing an outer space arms race were urgent, achievable and in everyone's interest.  His delegation's proposed new agreement on the non-weaponization of outer space had been distributed in the Conference on Disarmament.  Even with a discussion mandate, the ad hoc committee would have interesting and intensive work before it.

    If someone were to begin to deploy weapons in space, he said he would be compelled to formulate "an adequate response", but the creation of weapons in space was not his choice.  His country had no plans to create or deploy any kind of space weapon, and it had consistently supported a moratorium on testing anti-satellite systems.  The Russian Federation would not be the first to deploy weapons in outer space.  That kind of fatal weaponization of space was not inevitable.  It had been possible to reach agreement to ban chemical and biological weapons because of their potential fearsome destruction; the same could be achieved with outer space.

    He explained that he was not proposing to ban or limit the function of systems in space that carried out military functions, such as communications, including in the interest of defence, as those systems could play a stabilizing role, for example, in verifying compliance with arms control agreements or securing the viability of armed forces in peacetime.  He would like to ban the deployment in space of any type of defensive weapon, however.  Ensuring the security of space would be assisted by the development of measures of transparency and confidence building.  Such measures could complement existing norms of international space law and be used to verify compliance with current and new treaties.  There was a wide range of possible confidence building measures, including voluntary ones.  He would table a draft resolution on such steps.

    PARK IN-KINKOOK (Republic of Korea) said the universality of the Chemical Weapon Convention was far from complete.  While there was progress in extending membership, eight States had neither signed nor acceded to the Convention.  He supported an initiative by the OPCW which encouraged those States to join.  Universality was essential, with the terrorist threat increasing.  In fact, notwithstanding global efforts to fight terrorism, serous concerns still remained.

    In that regard, he said, he appreciated the valuable contribution of the OPCW and Security Council Resolution 1540.  The threat of biological weapons was also of serious concern.  The success for outcome of the fifth review in 2006 was imperative to ensure prevention of the proliferation of biological weapons.  It was necessary to take active steps to translate the Biological Weapons Convention into action.  Moreover, in order for the Biological Weapons Convention to become viable, assessment of development must be verified periodically.

    ENRIQUE LOEDEL (Uruguay), on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said he appreciated the efforts exerted thus far by the OPCW to attain the objectives and realize the purposes of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  He paid tribute to those countries that had reduced their chemical arsenals, ever since the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Yet, he reaffirmed that those possessors and facilities for producing those weapons had an obligation to destroy their arsenals and related facilities, within the deadline set forth in the Convention.  Any delay in the destruction called for in the Convention impeded its effective implementation.

    He called for stepped up international cooperation, with a view to achieving the economic and technological development of States parties in the realm of chemical work for purposes not prohibited under the Convention, including exchange of scientific and technological know-how and data about chemical substances.  Cooperation must also be accelerated to support States that wanted to establish appropriate monitoring mechanisms.  He called on States parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention to continue striving to achieve effective implementation of the national measures envisaged in article VII.  Achieving greater cooperation among States parties would contribute to jointly moving forward with the United Nations in combating terrorism, as well.  The Convention was an effective tool to help fight the proliferation of chemical weapons and dual-use substances and equipment.  He reaffirmed the need to establish customs and border controls towards that aim.

    GABOR BRODI (Hungary) introduced a draft resolution on biological weapons entitled "Convention on the Prohibition and the Development and Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons" (not yet issued).  He noted with satisfaction that there were 150 States parties to the Convention, including permanent members of the Security Council.  The draft resolution welcomed the reaffirmation made in the final declaration of the fourth review that, under all circumstances, the use of biological and toxin weapons were  effectively prohibited under article 1.

    SARALA FERNANDO (Sri Lanka) introduced a draft resolution entitled "Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space" (not yet issued).  It was a major satisfaction to the many co-sponsors that the text had been gathering strength every year.  Although the resolution was traditionally a "non-aligned initiative", its sponsors had noted a growing interest among other States, reflecting the unprecedented advances in space technology within reach of an increasing number of both developed and developing countries.  As a result of globalization, such space applications as communications, broadcasting, meteorology, navigation, education and health, environmental and crop management had become crucial to the every day functioning of modern society.

    At the same time, she said it was becoming increasingly clear that the line between commercial and scientific use of space technology and the military use of such technology was fast blurring, to the point where there was an urgent need now to ensure that space -- humankind's last frontier -- was used only for non-offensive and non-belligerent purposes.  Preventing an outer space arms race was an easier task than attempting to control and decelerate such a race after it had begun.  The world could not really afford an expensive competition in outer space, as it faced so many other persistent challenges, such as poverty, hunger and disease.

    The broad thrust and substance of the draft resolution reflected the thinking and wishes of people all over the world, she said.  The unprecedented, amazing photographs of recent space exploratory missions beamed across television screens around the globe had, once again, rekindled the wonder of space exploration and strengthened popular resolve to keep that pristine world of space a peaceful arena for all time.  The draft referred to and affirmed several previous multilateral agreements on the issue, and the taking of further measures with a view to arriving at appropriate negotiations to prevent an outer space arms race.  The text also referred to the Conference on Disarmament, the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum with the primary role in that connection.  It also urged States conducting outer space activities to keep the Conference informed of the progress on bilateral and multilateral negotiations.

    JAYANT PRASAD (India) introduced the draft resolution on "Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction" (not yet issued).  The resolution underlined that the international response to the threat needed to be inclusive, multilateral and global.  The resolution took cognizance of the steps taken by States to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, and it welcomed the adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.  It also welcomed the adoption of amendments to strengthen the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials by the IAEA.

    ANDREI DAPKIUNAS (Belarus) introduced a draft resolution on "Prohibition of the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons: report of the Conference on Disarmament" (not yet issued).  It said the only adequate way to remove the threat of the inclusion of new types of weapons of mass destruction in the arsenals of States, or terrorists, was to create a machinery to initiate prompt multilateral response in order to prohibit such types of weapons as soon as the risk of their appearance becomes imminent.  The draft stipulated a specific procedure built in the existing disarmament mechanism to monitor the situation and trigger international action if it were required.

    U NYUNT MAUNG SHEIN (Myanmar) introduced the draft resolution entitled "Nuclear Disarmament" on behalf of 41 sponsors (not yet issued).  The draft was the traditional one, which had been tabled by the sponsors for the past 10 years, with the co-sponsorship of the countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the non-aligned movement (NAM).  The substance of the text was essentially the same as in previous years.  She reiterated and emphasized, however, that nuclear disarmament remained the highest priority in the area of arms control and disarmament.

    He said that the sponsors' disappointment at the failure of the 2005 NPT Review Conference to yield fruitful results, as well as the omission in the Outcome Document of the World Summit of any mention of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation was clearly reflected in the draft resolution.  Once again, the text called on the nuclear-weapon States to achieve the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.  It attached particular significance to the 13 steps for nuclear disarmament, as contained in the final document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference.  It, therefore, called for the full and effective implementation of the 13 steps by the nuclear-weapon States.

    The draft resolution was the most comprehensive on nuclear disarmament, he said.  It reflected the importance of multilateralism in the field of arms control and disarmament.  It called on the nuclear-weapon States to stop immediately the qualitative improvement, development, production and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems, and it urged the nuclear-weapon States, as an immediate measure, to de-alert and de-activate immediately their nuclear weapons, and to take other concrete measures to further reduce the operational status of those weapon systems.  It also called for the convening of an international conference on nuclear disarmament in all its aspects to identify and deal with concrete disarmament measures.

    ANTON V. VASILIEV (Russian Federation) introduced a draft resolution to ensure transparency and confidence building in space activities (not yet issued).

    Every country should have access to space technology, but outer space should not be allowed to be turned into a military theatre.

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