Press Releases

    GA/DIS/3313
    2 November 2005

    Compliance with Disarmament Agreements, Follow-up to NPT Review Conference Obligations Addressed in First Committee Texts

    Recommends Six more Drafts to General Assembly

    (Issued on 1 November 2005.)

    NEW YORK, 1 November (UN Headquarters) -- The Disarmament Committee today approved two competing draft resolutions concerning existing disarmament instruments:  a United States-led text on compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements; and a text by Iran on follow-up to the nuclear disarmament obligations agreed at the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

    According to the first, the General Assembly, stressing that the failure by States parties to comply with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements to which they were parties not only adversely affected the security of States parties, but could also create security risks for other States relying on the constraints and commitments stipulated in those agreements, would urge those States not currently in compliance with their respective obligations to make the strategic decision to come back into compliance with those obligations.

    By approving that revised draft resolution by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to 0 against, with 11 abstentions, the Committee also recommended that the Assembly call on all Member States to hold those not in compliance with such agreements accountable for their non-compliance in a manner consistent with the United Nations Charter.  (See Annex I). 

    Iran's representative, explaining his abstention, said that non-compliance should be judged objectively, in line with the principles enshrined in international obligations.  A subjective conclusion of non-compliance and the attempt to use that as "political and foreign policy leverage" undermined the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  Unlike the previous drafts on compliance, this year's text had contained drastic changes.  It had strengthened suspicions that the United States' delegation had no trust in such competent international organizations as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    The second revised text, as orally amended, was approved by a recorded vote of 70 in favour to 52 against, with 22 abstentions.  Under its terms, the Assembly, gravely concerned over the failure of the 2005 NPT Review Conference to reach any substantive agreement on the follow-up of the nuclear disarmament obligations, would call for practical steps, as agreed in 2000, to be taken by all nuclear-weapon States that would lead to nuclear disarmament in a way that promoted international stability.  (See Annex III).

    Based on the undiminished security for all, the Assembly would call for, among other things, concrete agreed measures to reduce further the operational status of nuclear weapons systems, a diminishing role for those weapons in security policies so as to minimize the risk that they would ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination, and further efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally.

    Prior to the vote on the draft as a whole, a separate vote was taken on the orally amended preambular paragraph 6, which reaffirmed the resolution on the Middle East adopted in 1995 by the NPT States parties and also reaffirmed the importance of the early realization of universal adherence to the Treaty and placement of nuclear facilities under full-scope IAEA safeguards.  The Committee retained that paragraph by a vote of 58 in favour to 54 against, with 23 abstentions (See Annex II).

    Speaking after that vote, the United States representative said she had voted "no" on the draft on follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations, and she was pleased to have found herself in very good company.  She could not agree more with the need for full compliance with the NPT and all non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament obligations.  That was why she had sponsored "L.l/Rev.1".  The draft, "L.38/Rev.2", however, completely missed the mark.  It shrouded proliferation and non-compliance under the false mantle of the pace of nuclear disarmament.  All one needed to do was to look at the draft's sponsor, which was none other than the State that the IAEA's Board of Governors, just over a month ago, had found to be in non-compliance with its NPT obligations. 

    She said that the version of the text today no longer sought to establish an ad hoc committee under the General Assembly.  Those who supported the NPT had wisely rejected the proposal, as the last thing the Committee needed was yet another resolution dealing with nuclear disarmament.  That shared objective was being pursued in good faith and in a transparent manner, and shared progress had been recorded in that regard.  What the world needed was sincere, rigorous compliance, including with non-proliferation obligations.

    According to a new draft resolution submitted by France and approved by the Committee without a vote today, the Assembly, aware of the security, safety and destabilization risks arising from the presence of stockpiles of conventional ammunition, would recognize that the security of stockpiles must be taken into consideration and that the appropriate controls with regard to the security and safety of conventional ammunition stockpiles, explosive materials and detonating devices were indispensable at the national level in order to eliminate the risk of explosion, pollution or diversion.  

    Also without a vote, the Committee approved three additional draft texts on:  United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament; United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa; and United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Statements were also made today by the representatives of United Kingdom, France, Argentina, Russian Federation, China, Indonesia, India, Venezuela, and South Africa.

    The Committee will meet again at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, 1 November, to conclude action on all draft resolutions and decisions.

    Background

    The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its third and final phase of work, namely, action on all draft resolutions and decisions.

    Expected to be acted on under cluster 1, which concerns nuclear weapons, is a draft on follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed in the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

    Action is also expected on a draft from cluster 4, which deals with conventional weapons, on problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus.

    From cluster 6, which concerns other disarmament measures and international security, action is expected on compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements.

    Expected to be acted on under cluster 7, which deals with disarmament machinery, is:  United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean; United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament; and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa.

    Draft Summaries

    Cluster 1

    The General Assembly, expressing grave concern over the failure of the 2005 NPT Review Conference to reach any substantive agreement on the follow-up of the nuclear disarmament obligations, would decide to establish an ad hoc committee in 2006 to review the implementation of disarmament obligations under the NPT and agreed in the 1995 and 2000 NPT Review Conferences and to compile and submit a comprehensive report on possible practical mechanisms and strategies for complete nuclear disarmament at its sixty-second session, under the terms of a new revised draft resolution by Iran entitled "Follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed in the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons" (document A/C.1/60/L.38/Rev.2).

    The Assembly would call for practical steps as agreed by the 2000 NPT Review Conference to be taken by all nuclear-weapon States that would lead to nuclear disarmament in a way that promoted international stability and, based on the principle of undiminished security for all among them:

    -- further efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally; increased transparency by the nuclear-weapon States with regard to nuclear weapons capabilities, and the implementation of agreements pursuant to article VI of the NPT and as a voluntary confidence-building measure to support further progress in nuclear disarmament; the further reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons, based on unilateral initiatives and as an integral part of the nuclear arms reduction and disarmament process; concrete agreed measures to reduce further the operational status of nuclear weapons systems; a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies, so as to minimize the risk that these weapons will ever be used and to facilitate their total elimination; and the engagement, as soon as appropriate, of all the nuclear-weapon States in the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons. 

    By a further term, the Assembly would note that the 2000 NPT Review Conference agreed that legally binding security assurances by the five nuclear-weapon States to the non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime. 

    Further, the Assembly would urge the States parties to the NPT to follow up on the implemention of the nuclear disarmament obligations under the Treaty and agreed to at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference and the 2000 NPT Review Conference and its preparatory committees. 

    It would decide to include in the provisional agenda of its next session the item entitled "Follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed in the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons". 

    Co-sponsors of the draft include Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Cluster 4

    A draft resolution on problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (document A/C.1/60/L.40/Rev.1), would have the Assembly call on all interested States to determine the size of their surplus stockpiles of ammunition, explosive materials and detonating devices, if they represent a security risk and if external assistance is needed to eliminate that risk.

    It would recognize that the security of stockpiles must be taken into consideration and that the appropriate controls with regard to the security and safety of stockpiles of conventional ammunition, explosive materials and detonating devices are indispensable at the national level, in order to eliminate the risk of explosion, pollution or diversion. 

    In a related term, the Assembly would encourage States capable of doing so to assist interested States in a bilateral framework or through international or regional organizations, on a voluntary and transparent basis, in elaborating and implementing programmes to eliminate surplus stockpiles or to improve their management. 

    The Assembly would also encourage Member States to examine the possibility of developing and implementing, within a national, regional or subregional framework, measures to combat illicit trafficking in conventional ammunition. 

    It would ask the Secretary-General to seek Member States' views regarding the risks arising from stockpiles of conventional ammunition surplus to defence needs and regarding national ways of strengthening controls on conventional ammunition, and to submit a report to the General Assembly at its next session.

    The draft resolution is sponsored by Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

    Cluster 6

    According to a new United States-led draft resolution on compliance with non-proliferation arms limitation and agreements (document A/C.1/60/L.1/Rev. 1), the General Assembly would underscore the contribution that compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and other agreed obligations makes to enhancing confidence and strengthening security and stability.  It would also urge those States not currently in compliance with their obligations to make the strategic decision to come back into compliance.

    The Assembly would urge all States to implement and to comply fully with their respective obligations.

    By a further term of the text, the Assembly would call on all Member States to take concerted action to encourage, through bilateral and multilateral means, the compliance by all States with their respective non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and other agreed obligations and to hold those not in compliance with such agreements accountable for their non-compliance in a manner consistent with the United Nations Charter. 

    The Assembly would encourage efforts by all States parties, the United Nations and other international organizations to take action, consistent with the Charter, to prevent serious damage to international security and stability arising from non-compliance by States with their existing non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament obligations.

    The draft resolution is also sponsored by Zambia.

    Cluster 7

    A draft resolution by Argentina on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (document A/C.1/60/L.21), would have the Assembly encourage the Regional Centre to further develop activities in the important area of disarmament and development.

    It would appeal to Member States, particularly those within the region, as well as to international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to make and to increase voluntary contributions to strengthen the Regional Centre, its programme of activities and the implementation thereof.

    Another draft resolution by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement on the United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament (document A/C.1/60/L.18) would have the Assembly reiterate the importance of the United Nations regional activities to increase the stability and security of its Member States, which could be promoted in a substantive manner by the maintenance and revitalization of the three regional centres for peace and disarmament.

    The Assembly would appeal to Member States in each region, as well as to international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations to make voluntary contributions to the regional centres in their respective regions to strengthen their activities and initiatives. 

    The draft resolution is also sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda.

    Another draft resolution, sponsored by Nigeria on behalf of the Group of African States on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (document A/C.1 /60/L.41), would have the Assembly appeal once again to all States, as well as to international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions to strengthen the Centre's programmes and activities and facilitate their implementation.

    The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to facilitate close cooperation between the Regional Centre and the African Union, in particular in the areas of peace, security and development and to continue to provide assistance towards stabilizing the financial situation of the Centre.

    Action on Texts

    The Committee adopted draft resolution L.18 entitled United Nations Regional Centre for peace and disarmament, without a vote

    The Committee then adopted draft resolution L.41 entitled United Nations Regional Centre for peace and disarmament in Africa as orally amended, without a vote.

    The representative of Iran, speaking on draft resolution L.38/Rev. 2 on Follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed in 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons said, based on a request made from some delegations for adding elements to the resolution enabling them to support the draft and based on the consultations over the weekend, Iran wanted to add a new phrase to preambular paragraph 6, which currently read, as follows:  "Reaffirming the resolution on the Middle East, adopted on 11 May 1995 by the parties to the Treaty".

    The new paragraph would read:  "Reaffirming the resolution on the Middle East adopted on 11 May 1995 by the parties to the Treaty, in which it also reaffirmed the importance of the early realization of the universal adherence to the Treaty and placement of nuclear facilities under full-scope IAEA safeguards.

    The representative of the United Kingdom asked if there would be more time to study the changes to the text. 

    A discussion then ensued about whether action on the text would be deferred to a later time. 

    Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus, tabled by Germany and France. 

    France's representative said that, in light of consultations over the weekend, he would introduce a number of oral amendments, with the aim of achieving consensus on the text, as follows:  preambular paragraph 5 would be deleted entirely, and operative paragraphs 1 and 2 would be brought together, so that it could be clearly understood that they were talking about the same thing in both those two paragraphs. 

    He said that operative paragraph 4, which had been 5, but became 4 now after the merger of paragraphs 1 and 2, would read as follows:  "Encourages all Member States to examine the possibility of developing and implementing, within a national, regional or subregional framework, measures to address accordingly the illicit trafficking related to the accumulation of such stockpiles".

    Argentina's representative said that France's amendments were intended to "come to grips" with the issue of stockpiles.  She welcomed the draft's submission, mindful of the need to act effectively to fight the proliferation of trafficking in conventional weapons and munitions.  In dealing with firearms and their ammunition, it should be recognized it that was not a set of separate problems.  National measures must be adopted to control those.  Her position had been reflected in negotiations on a marking and tracing instrument.  However, that final document had not managed to deal with the issue holistically.  Nor had it included the issue of munitions.  When reviewing the marking and tracing instrument in two years, hopefully, the matter of munitions would be included, without the start of a separate negotiating process.  Argentina would support France's draft, in a reaffirmation of the need to deal with the problem of small arms and light weapons, as well as their munitions. 

    The representative of the United States requested that the vote be delayed until later in today's session.

    The Chairman then stated that action on the draft text would be delayed until the others had been acted upon.  He turned to cluster 6, on other disarmament measures and international security, specifically to the draft resolution on compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements (document A/C.1/60/L.1/Rev.1).

    The representative of the Russian Federation said he would abstain in that vote.  He was disappointed that its authors had not taken some of his amendments and comments into account.  From the Russian perspective, the draft had lost its objective and purposes in ensuring compliance with non-proliferation and disarmament agreements, in contrast to the similar draft previously adopted by the General Assembly by consensus.  He was particularly concerned about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Combating such proliferation guided his country in ensuring the compliance of its partners, but the draft "abounded" with provisions that gave grounds for arbitrary interpretation and, perhaps, not necessarily associated with the goals of non-proliferation and disarmament. 

    He said that the claims about non-compliance, not substantiated by facts, were too serious to be formally recorded in the General Assembly resolution.  It was difficult to support "faceless" accusations.  The conclusion about non-compliance with obligations should be made within the framework of relevant disarmament and non-proliferation treaties, within their established procedures.  The concept of enforcement of compliance, such as in preambular paragraph 7, also raised doubts.  The call in the operative paragraph 4 to hold to account non-compliant States was also unclear.  Besides, the parameters of such actions were not clearly described. 

    Moreover, he said, international practice covered a large number of agreed obligations with various legal, political, military and technical implications.  Each agreement had its specifics, modalities, and mechanisms for establishing the circumstances that might be interpreted as non-compliance.  An attempt to lay out everything under a single, not clearly defined chapeau, was counterproductive.  Thus, such a resolution, instead of promoting States' compliance with their obligations would rather call into question their willingness to work towards compliance in the future.  He would also not like to have the idea of greater efficiency and strengthened disarmament mechanisms "hanging in the air".  He would not be able to support the draft, therefore, although he favoured strict compliance by States with their arms limitation, disarmament and non-proliferation obligations.

    After the list of additional co-sponsors to the draft were read out, Morocco's representative, on a point of order, said his delegation was not a co-sponsor of the draft resolution.  He thought, perhaps, that it was " Monaco". 

    Monaco's representative said her country had indeed co-sponsored the text.

    Then, the Committee approved the draft resolution on non-compliance (L.1/Rev.1) by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to none against, with 11 abstentions. (See Annex I.) 

    Explaining his position after the vote, Iran's representative said he had supported the consensus resolution on compliance with arms limitation, disarmament and non-proliferation agreements since 1985, when it was first introduced with the title "Compliance with Arms Limitation and Disarmament Agreements".  Based on his principal position, he was of the strong belief that all States parties must comply on a non-discriminatory basis with all of its treaty obligations.  Such compliance should be in strict observance of the provisions of the relevant international organizations associated with the treaties.  Non-compliance should be assessed and judged objectively, in accordance with the principles enshrined in international obligations. 

    He said that the subjective conclusion of non-compliance and attempt to use that as "political and foreign policy leverage" undermined efforts to strengthen the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  The introduction of a resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors on the Iranian nuclear issue, in which reference had been made to non-compliance by his country with its safeguard obligations, was one such example.  Article 12 c of those agreements stipulated that inspectors should report any non-compliance to the IAEA Director General, who should then transmit a report to the Board of Governors.  But, interestingly, there had been no reference to Iran's non-compliance in the reports of either the Director General or the Agency.  Yet, that had allegedly been the basis of the Board's resolution.  Introducing the text, therefore, had been subjective and in contradiction with the IAEA statute. 

    Today's draft resolution had taken on board some amendments by the Non-Aligned Movement, in particular the addition of the phrase "and other agreed obligations" in six relevant occasions in the new draft, he said.  That had clearly included obligations agreed at disarmament conferences, such as the NPT review.  In addition, that had underscored that compliance with the obligations emanating from such review conferences was as fundamental and essential as compliance with the obligations enshrined in the legal instruments, themselves.

    The contribution to preventing the development of weapons of mass destruction was another new positive development in the draft, which urged those States not in compliance with their treaty obligations to revise their policies, he said.

    However, that in contrast to the previous consensus drafts on the subject, this year's draft had been introduced with drastic changes, he continued.  The introduction of the text had strengthened the suspicions that the United States delegation had no trust in competent international organizations, such as the IAEA, when it said there was no such thing as perfect verification and when it stressed that on site inspections and other measures, such as remote cameras and seals for continuous monitoring, could not satisfy the United States.  That had been an attempt to undermine the multilateral verification system.  Unfortunately, some of the elements included in the text were ambiguously drafted and lacked clarity.  Thus, he had abstained in the vote.

    China's representative said he had all along believed that full compliance by States parties with their arms limitation, disarmament and non-proliferation agreements was conducive to promoting international disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, hence enhancing international peace and security.  He, therefore, agreed with main thrust of the draft resolution, but some very important elements and principles, which had been included in previous such texts, had not been fully reflected in the current draft.  Those elements and principles were still valid and important under the current international situation and, therefore, they should have been reaffirmed and upheld.  In that light, he had not participated in the voting on the draft. 

    The representative of Indonesia in an explanation of vote on draft resolution L.1/Rev. 1 on compliance with non-proliferation agreements said his delegation regretted that there was a difference compared with 57/86, when discussing compliance.  However, Indonesia recognized that some amendments had been accommodated, but his delegation remained unsatisfied, since there was still a lack of clarity on the text, particularly with preambular paragraph 7.   Indonesia believed clarification was closely related to the treaty regimes.  Therefore, his delegation abstained.  Compliance and nuclear disarmament should be addressed in a balanced manner.

    The representative of India, in an explanation of vote on draft resolution L.1/Rev.1, said he voted in favour.  But, he would like to place on record that States, in encouraging compliance by other States, should act in accordance with the compliance mechanisms provided in the relevant agreements.  Similarly, they should also resolve any issues in respect of the disarmament and arms limitation agreements to which it was a party.

    The representative of Venezuela said he abstained on draft resolution L.1/Rev.1, because he was not satisfied with the way it was drafted and he regretted that there had been a substantial language departure.  At times, there were commitments that could not be complied with as quickly as hoped.  That did not mean there was a risk to international stability.  The most appropriate way to help people live up to compliance was helping, not pressing sanctions.

    The representative of Pakistan, in an explanation of vote on resolution L.1/Rev.1 said his delegation consistently held the position that States should adhere to the obligations of treaties to which they were party.  The United States did take on board some proposals and amendments.  Nonetheless, Pakistan would have liked 57/86 be incorporated.   Pakistan believed compliance obligations applied only to States which assumed them and he would have appreciated a more specific mention of that in the operative paragraphs.   Pakistan believed such concepts were relevant to the treaty and agreements, and they did not have independent existence.   Pakistan felt the resolution distanced itself from the cooperative spirit characteristic of its predecessor.  The new resolution contained things against the spirit of the Untied Nations Charter.

    The representative of Bangladesh said he voted in favour of resolution L.1/Rev.1, because he supported the spirit and content of the resolution, as amended.  However, he wished to place on record that, in his country's pecking order, nuclear disarmament had a place of priority.   Bangladesh continued to believe that the best guarantee against nuclear non-proliferation lay in the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

    The representative of Egypt, in an explanation of vote of resolution L.1/Rev. 1 said his country attached great importance to the important issue of compliance, but he wanted to point out certain shortcomings in the resolution.  It gave way to a misinterpretation of the laws of treaties.  Also, the draft presupposed the non-compliance of what was described as "those" States, urging them to make the strategic decision to come back into compliance.  Further, operative paragraph 4 of the resolution raised concern by calling for Member States to take action to ensure compliance, and to hold those not in compliance accountable.  That reflected a departure from the previously agreed resolution.  Ensuring compliance with treaties was of major importance, but even more important was achieving universality of those treaties.   Egypt abstained from the vote. 

    The representative of Cuba, in an explanation of vote on draft resolution L.1/Rev.1, said he would like to place on record its dissatisfaction with L.1/Rev. 1.  He said a number of positives had been eliminated that were in 57/86, but indeed, now certain controversial language had been included.   Cuba had heard no argument to allow for the drastic and unwarranted change in this year's draft resolution.

    The latest version suffered from obvious insufficiencies, he said.  First, a selective, unbalanced and politicized approach was taken.  Second, to the notion of resolving problems of non-compliance with measures compatible in dealing with the issue of verification, the roll played by the machinery and procedure set forth in international agreements was sidestepped.  In the operative section, there was ambiguous wording that might give rise to arbitrary manipulation.  Throughout, Cuba held up the need to preserve and strengthen multilateralism and guarantee strict observance of arms limitation agreements.  His delegation was convinced of the need for the States parties to said agreements to live up to them, without any double standards.  The chief author behind L.1 still had in its possession ample nuclear arsenals.  In turn, Cuba highlighted the importance of seeing to it that international agreements had relevant verification machinery designed to foster cooperation among parties.

    The representative of Sierra Leone, introducing draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.59 on the report of the Disarmament Commission said it contained a new paragraph 5, which replaced the previous paragraph 5.  As he understood from the Secretariat, the revision had been issued that morning.  The new paragraph 5 welcomed the efforts the Commission had made during its original meeting towards achieving its objectives.  He conducted intensive consultations over the past four weeks, and also held two open-ended consultations.  Most delegations had expressed disappointment that the outcome of 2005 had failed to address the important issue of disarmament and non-proliferation.

    In the General Assembly, a large number of delegations complained about the pitiful performance of the Conference on Disarmament, yet last week, the First Committee adopted a resolution on the importance of the Conference, without a vote.  Resolution L.20 on the report on the Conference on Disarmament took note of what it described as "significant contributions made during 2005 session to promote substantive discussions".  It also took note of active discussions held and it stressed the urgent need for the Conference to commence its substantive work.  Those were some of the provisions which we adopted last week without a vote.  L.59/Rev.1 was the very least of what the First Committee should recommend to the General Assembly.  When States took action on it, they should focus their attention not so much on the words, but on the spirit of the text.  All resolution L.59/Rev.1 said was that some groundwork was made in 2005, so let's build on it, let's work harder, so next year we'll be in a better position.  That was all.  Nothing more. Nothing less. It was not a call to legislate, or enforce, but to intensify.

    The United States representative said her delegation would not participate in the vote on L.21, on the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean(document A/C.1/60/L.21).

    Then, acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution on the Regional Centre.

    The representative of the United Kingdom said that if it was the Chairman's intention to put the resolution on follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations (document L. 38/Rev.2), as orally amended, to the vote, then he did not require any more time. 

    Speaking on that draft resolution before the vote, the representative of South Africa said she recognized the right of any Member States to submit resolutions for consideration.  She considered her support for the texts based on their merit and content, and their consistency with her country's national policy on the issues addressed in the resolutions.  The origin of the resolutions, therefore, did not determine her support.

    She said that, at the 2005 NPT Review, an opportunity was lost to make realistic progress on the most pertinent challenges facing the Treaty.  Nuclear weapons represented a continued risk to humanity, and the longer those existed, the longer the world would have to wait to be free from their use or threat of use.  The elimination of those weapons was the NPT's primary objective, especially its article VI.  Nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing, requiring continuous and irreversible progress on both fronts. 

    L.38/Rev.2 was considered in the context of the failed outcome of the 2005 NPT review and South Africa's principled position on nuclear disarmament, she said.  As the text was not only in accordance with his country's policy on nuclear disarmament, but also consistent with the Non-Aligned Movement's position, she would vote in favour of the draft. 

    Egypt's representative said he had decided to support the draft on the basis of objective considerations, although he would have liked the text to have reflected the need to implement the NPT, and indeed, to implement the IAEA safeguards.  He would join the ranks of those supporting the draft, however.

    France's representative said he would align himself with the position of the European Union on the draft resolution.  Apart from the intrinsic value of the text, the context in which it was being submitted should also be considered.  He would vote "no". 

    When the CHAIRMAN announced a separate recorded vote on preambular paragraph 6 of L. 38/Rev.2, as orally amended today by Iran, the speaker from the United Kingdom said he had thought a decision would be taken on the draft as a whole.

    Iran's representative said he respected the position of delegations to request time for consideration of draft, but since the voting process had already started on his draft, he would request that it continue, as required by the rules of procedure. 

    A discussion ensued about the way forward.  Participants included the representatives of Sierra Leone, Austria, and Japan.

    Summing up, the CHAIRMAN said the Committee had previously accepted oral amendments on the same day as proceeding to a vote, provided there had been no request for deliberations.  Today, for the first time in the current session, there had been a request to delay action on a draft because an amendment had been submitted on the same day as proceeding.  So, based on rule 120, he was about to propose a delay until tomorrow.  Then, the representative of the United Kingdom said there was no problem, provided that the vote was on the draft as a whole.  Thus, the CHAIRMAN's proposal was to delay action until tomorrow, based on the rules of procedure. 

    Iran's representative said that the amendment was straightforward and delegations could be clear about their positions, because similar such amendments had been submitted to other drafts.  The decision should be taken today. 

    The CHAIRMAN proposed a suspension of the meeting. 

    Mexico's representative said he was concerned about not abiding by rules of procedure. 

    The CHAIRMAN then suspended the meeting for 15 minutes.

    When the meeting resumed, the Chairman returned to the voting process on L. 38/Rev.2, as orally amended.

    The representative of the United Kingdom said that the European Union would vote against the proposed amendment to preambular paragraph 6, as it would to the draft resolution as a whole. 

    The Committee then voted to retain preambular paragraph 6, as orally amended, by 58 in favour to 54 against, with 23 abstentions.  (See Annex II.) 

    The draft as a whole was approved by a recorded vote of 70 in favour to 52 against, with 22 against.  (See Annex III).

    Speaking after the votes, the United States representative said her delegation could not agree more with the need for full compliance with the NPT and all non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament obligations.  That was why it had sponsored L.l/Rev.1.  L. 38/Rev.2, however, completely missed the mark.  It shrouded proliferation and non-compliance under the false mantle of the pace of nuclear disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.  All one needed to do was to look at the draft resolution's sponsor, which was none other than the State that the IAEA's Board of Governors, just over a month ago, had found to be in non-compliance with its NPT obligations. 

    She said that the version of the text today no longer sought to establish an ad hoc committee under the General Assembly.  Those who supported the NPT had wisely rejected the proposal, as the last thing the Committee needed was yet another resolution dealing with nuclear disarmament.  That shared objective was being pursued in good faith and in a transparent manner, and shared progress had been recorded in that regard.  What the world needed was sincere, rigorous compliance, including with non-proliferation obligations.

    The time for paying lip service was past, she said.  It was time for the international community to call on all States to comply with their international obligations.  The widespread support for the IAEA Board of Governor's resolution had been a step in the right direction.  She voted "no" on L.38/Rev.2 for all of those reasons, and she was pleased to have found herself in very good company, indeed, she said.

    Mexico's representative said his vote was consistent with his Government's position in favour of nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  For that reason, all relevant provisions of international law should be applied.  Nuclear disarmament was not an option, but a legal obligation for all countries.  In voting for the draft resolution, he stressed the need to make substantial progress in the application of the NPT's provisions, particularly with regard to measures adopted at the 1995 and 2005 Review Conferences. 

    He launched a fresh appeal to Member States, particularly the State that had tabled the text, to act in accordance with the provisions adopted under disarmament conventions and treaties, and to comply with the verification measures that enabled the achievement of that objective.  He also stressed the need to destroy all nuclear stockpiles and use measures which eliminated any possibility of the further proliferation of mass destruction weapons and their delivery systems by any country at all, since those were completely inhumane weapons.

    India's representative had abstained in the vote on the draft.  It had voted against the amendment to the sixth preambular paragraph because it could not accept the call for universal adherence to the NPT and full-scope IAEA safeguards.  He supported the main goal of the draft, however, and he was committed to global, non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.  The draft was, however, embedded in the NPT framework and pertained to NPT States parties, to which India was not a party.

    Sri Lanka's representative said she voted in favour of the draft, given her unwavering support for the NPT regime and all its objectives.  That Treaty represented a careful balance for States parties in preventing both vertical and horizontal proliferation; however, the draft seemed to focus only on one aspect of the NPT, namely vertical proliferation.  While supporting the draft, she regretted the lack of balance, as that would not strengthen the NPT regime.

    Egypt's representative said the vote on preambular paragraph 6 had been a "shocking surprise".  That was not the perfect language, which he would have liked to see in the resolution, but it was recalling a main pillar of the NPT's indefinite extension.  He was extremely disappointed, and he was sure that reflected the position of all Arab States.  The vote had only confirmed that the lack of consensus outcome of the 2005 NPT Review and lack of any substantive reference in the World Summit's outcome document had been the result of the "politicization of disarmament and the NPT commitments" on the part of those States Members who voted "no" on that paragraph. 

    The representative of Chile said he wanted to explain that when resolution L.1/Rev. 1 was being voted on, Chile wasn't present, but had he been there, he would have supported the resolution.

    The representative of France said he understood that the Committee was now taking a conventional weapons section, but he wanted to raise two points related to L.48/Rev. 1.  First, the French and German delegations had forgotten one last linguistic change to the text in operative paragraph 6, and decided to include that issue in the provisional agenda.  On a second point, he understood also that the delegation that asked for deferral of the decision was now in the position to proceed and it was France's assumption the Committee should be able to proceed by consensus.

    The Committee then adopted A/C.1/60/L.40/Rev.1, entitled problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus, as orally amended by France, without a vote.

    The representative of India said his delegation, in an explanation of vote on L.40/Rev.1, would like to place on record his understanding that the resolution appealed to only the interested States to take stockpiles of their ammunition on a voluntary basis.  The resolution did not create any obligation on States to make available to other States their findings.

    The representative of Venezuela said, with regard to resolution L.40/Rev.1, he would like to reaffirm the legitimate sovereign right all States had to meet their self-defence and security needs.  He supported efforts designed to combat and prevent illicit trafficking.  It was up to each country in a sovereign and voluntary fashion.

    The representative of France said he wanted to go back to the conditions under which resolution L.39, entitled Preventing the risk of radiological terrorism, was adopted last week.  A vote had been asked for, but all delegations voted for it and it would seem that the delegations present did not ask for a vote.  Was there a misunderstanding?

    The SECRETARY of the First Committee said yes, there had been a misunderstanding.

    The CHAIRMAN then said the Committee would consider that resolution L.39 was adopted by consensus.

    The representative of Mexico then said that France had already addressed the appropriateness of the issue and he didn't think it was appropriate to revise the decision the Committee already took.

    The representative of France said he was in agreement with Mexico.

    ANNEX I

    Vote on Compliance with Disarmament Agreements

    The draft resolution on compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements (document A/C.1/60/L.1/Rev.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to none against, with 11 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

    Against:  None.

    Abstain:  Barbados, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Grenada, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Russian Federation, South Africa, Venezuela.

    Absent:  Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Namibia, Nauru, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.

    ANNEX II

    Vote on Preambular Paragraph 6/Follow-Up to Nuclear Disarmament Obligations

    The orally revised sixth preambular paragraph of the draft resolution on follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed to at 1995 and 2000 NPT Conferences (document A/C.1/60/L.38/Rev.2) was approved by a recorded vote of 58 in favour to 54 against, with 23 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

    Against:  Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

    Abstain:  Argentina, Armenia, Bhutan, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Russian Federation, Uruguay.

    Absent:  Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belarus, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

    ANNEX III

    Vote on Follow-Up to Nuclear Disarmament Obligations

    The draft resolution on follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed at 1995 and 2000 NPT Conferences (document A/C.1/60/L.38/Rev.2) was approved by a recorded vote of 70 in favour to 52 against, with 22 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

    Against:  Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

    Abstain:  Argentina, Armenia, Bolivia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Liberia, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Tuvalu, Uruguay.

    Absent:  Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belarus, Benin, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Namibia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

    * *** *