Press Releases

    GA/DIS/3308
    21 October 2005

    Security for Non-Nuclear-Weapon States, Ballistic Missile Proliferation Addressed in Disarmament Committee Draft Texts

    NEW YORK, 20 October (UN Headquarters) -- Convinced that nuclear disarmament and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons were essential to remove the danger of nuclear war, the General Assembly would reaffirm the urgent need to reach an early agreement on effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, according to one of three draft texts introduced today in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

    A further term of the text would have the Assembly, recognizing that security assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons could contribute positively to preventing the spread of those weapons, appeal to all States, especially the nuclear-weapon States, to work actively towards an early agreement on a common approach and, in particular, on a common formula that could be included in an international instrument of a legally binding character.

    Introducing the draft, Pakistan's representative said there had been a general expectation that at the end of the cold war it would become easier for nuclear-weapon States to extend nuclear security assurances to the non-nuclear-weapon States.  Unfortunately, the situation, instead of easing, had become more complex.  He cited several reasons for that growing complexity, among them, that most nuclear-weapon States had presumed the permanent right to retain nuclear weapons, and the geographical scope for the use of those weapons had expanded with the expansion of nuclear alliances and the operationalization of provisions for sharing nuclear weapons and command and control among alliance members.

    A 111-Power text on ballistic missile proliferation would have the Assembly, concerned about the increasing security challenges caused by the proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, welcome the adoption of the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.  A further term of the text introduced by the representative of the Philippines would have the Assembly invite all States that had not yet done so, to subscribe to the Code of Conduct.  It would encourage the exploration of further ways and means to deal effectively with the problem of ballistic missile proliferation.

    The Committee will meet again from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, 21 October, to continue its informal interactive discussion on disarmament and non-proliferation education, following which it would hear the introduction of draft resolutions and decisions on all disarmament and international security matters.

    Background

    The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue hearing introductions on draft resolutions and decisions on all disarmament and international security matters.

    The meeting opened briefly and was then suspended, in order for members to hear statements in an informal setting from the following:  the Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Nobuyasu Abe; Agnes Maracillou, Chief of the Regional Disarmament Branch, speaking for the Regional Centre in Lome; Director of the Kathmandu Centre, Tsutomu Ishiguri; and Director of the Lima Centre, Pericles Gasparini; as well as the Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), Patricia Lewis.

    Introduction of Drafts

    When the formal meeting resumed, MASOOD KHAN (Pakistan) introduced the draft resolution entitled "Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons" (document A/C.1/60/L.45).  He said that the provision of negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States was an obligation that arose from the United Nations Charter, which obligated Member States not to use or threaten to use force.  That obligation extended to weapons, including nuclear weapons, and that had been underlined by the General Assembly resolution adopted at its first special session on disarmament.

    He said that the demand for security assurances was raised by the non-nuclear-weapon States in the 1960s and it crystallized in 1968 during the concluding phase of negotiations for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  The response of the nuclear-weapon States, as reflected in Security Council resolution 255 (1968), had been "grossly inadequate" by the non-nuclear-weapon States.  At the end of the cold war, there had been a general expectation that it would become easier for nuclear-weapon States to extend nuclear security assurances to the non-nuclear-weapon States.  Unfortunately, the situation, instead of easing, had become more complex.

    The reasons for that complexity, he said, were:  most nuclear-weapon States had presumed the permanent right to retain nuclear weapons; the commitment in article VI of the NPT for complete nuclear disarmament had remained open-ended; the 2005 NPT review and the September Summit had both evaded addressing the issues of disarmament, non-proliferation, and negative security assurances; the geographical scope for the use of nuclear weapons had also expanded with the expansion of nuclear alliances and the operationalization of provisions for sharing nuclear weapons and command and control among alliance members.

    In addition, he said:  one major nuclear-weapon State, which formerly adhered to the principle of non-first-use of nuclear weapons, had now disavowed that principle and adopted the posture of first-use of nuclear weapons; new doctrines for the possible use of those weapons had been propounded, involving, for example, the use of nuclear weapons against the use or threat of use of biological and chemical weapons, the use of nuclear weapons against terrorist, and the development of mini-nukes for actual battlefield use; and two additional nuclear-armed States had emerged on the world scene, and there was another presumed nuclear-armed State, whose status and obligations remained unclear. 

    Under the current tense global circumstances, concluding credible security assurances had gained greater urgency.

    Introducing a draft text on confidence building measures in the regional and subregional context (document A/C.1/ 60/ L.24), Mr. Khan said that maintenance of peace and security at the global level, in many ways, depended on stability at the regional and subregional levels.  Instability at the regional and subregional levels bred a series of arms races, undermined efforts at arms control and disarmament, and obstructed the peaceful settlement of disputes, rendering their resolution even more difficult.  Such instability also increased poverty and spread despair and anger.

    In tabling the present text, he said he had been guided by the universally acknowledged value of confidence-building measures in many regions and subregions of the world.  He remained convinced that the initiation of such measures had and could render tangible dividends for peace.  That could also help avert conflicts, facilitate their peaceful settlement, and allow States to invest their resources and energies in the socio-economic development.  Such an approach could supplement efforts for arms control and disarmament.

    The draft reflected the views of Member States on the text and respected their sensitivities, he said.  There was an emerging consensus that the proven potential of confidence-building measures should be fully used through conscious and consistent efforts at the regional and subregional levels.  The operative portion of the text, among other things, urged strict compliance with bilateral, regional and international arms control and disarmament agreements, and underlined that confidence-building measures should contribute to attaining strategic stability.

    LESLIE B GATAN (Philippines) announced a draft resolution on behalf of 111 co-sponsors on The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.  The resolution did not depart from last year's resolution and the present resolution merely contained technical updating of last year's version.  He made an oral amendment of paragraph 1, saying that instead of 122 subscribing States to The Hague Code of Conduct, there were now 123, the latest one being Liberia.  The resolution was finalized by the plenary of the subscribing States of the Code of Conduct and the last meeting had mandated the Philippines, as chair, to submit the resolution.

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