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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 18, September 1997

UN General Assembly: General Debate

United Nations General Assembly General Debate, 24-30 September 1997

Editor's note: coverage of the General Debate, as it continued into October, will be included in the next issue.

UN Secretary-General
Opening Statement by Secretary-General Kofia Annan
"...recent achievements included the completion of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Progress had also been achieved on the Ottawa process to ban anti-personnel landmines, an effort he vigorously supported. ... Achievements in disarmament did not yet encompass the remaining nuclear stockpiles, nor the continued proliferation of light weapons and small arms, he said. The Secretary-General said the department for disarmament and arms regulations which he had proposed in his reform package was intended to bolster the capacity of the United Nations to pursue such aims. ..."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9302, 22 September

Speech by General Hugo Banzer Suarez, President
"He reaffirmed his Government's concern about the laying of landmines. It was incomprehensible that those same borders across which countries were seeking to promote trade and integration should be sown with devices of war that menaced civilian populations and threatened their fundamental rights. That matter was of particular relevance for Bolivia, due to the well-known and acknowledged fact that Chile had laid a significant number of mines along their common border. Removal of those mines was of the utmost urgency, in keeping with the commitments assumed in Oslo and the dictates of morality."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9315, 29 September

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Speech by Jadranko Prlic, Foreign Minister
"Noting that Bosnia and Herzegovina was one of the largest fields infested by anti-personnel landmines, he said his country strongly supported the conclusions of the Oslo Conference and hoped to see the international community united in supporting comprehensive ban on those weapons."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9313, 26 September

Speech by Luiz Felipe Lampreia, Foreign Minister
"...the regional initiative to self-impose limitations on conventional arms purchases in Latin America was unjustified, since there was no threat of military destabilization there. Arms purchases were compatible with the region's defence needs and were aimed at replacing obsolete or outworn equipment. ... Great strides had been made with respect to disarmament and anti- personnel landmines, he said. In its signing of the Comprehensive NuclearTest-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and in the firm commitments expressed at the Oslo conference on anti-personal land mines Brazil sought to support the efforts of the international community. ..."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9302, 22 September.

Burkina Faso
Speech by Ablasse Ouedraogo, Foreign Minister
"Disarmament efforts must work towards the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, biological and chemical, he said. The circulation of small arms in Africa continued to be a serious problem and had increased the incidence of criminal acts in the region. There was concern about the progress of the Secretary-General's follow-up on the issue of the unlawful circulation of small arms."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9315, 29 September

Speech by Ernesto Samper Pizano, President
"The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was not being properly complied [with]. Important members had yet to ratify the chemical weapons treaty. There was no interest in advancing the agreements on the restriction of the conventional arms market. ... He proposed a five-point plan to deal with the problem of the arms build-up. It involved a declaration by the developing nations of a two-year moratorium on high-technology weapons trade, extending the register of arms to include light weapons, commitments from the governments of arms-producing nations to establish a moratorium on the sale of high-technology weapons to regions in conflict, follow-up and verification of relevant multilateral commitments and treaties, and consideration by the fourth special session of the assembly devoted to disarmament of the regulation of trade in light arms and high-technology weaponry."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9311, 25 September.

Speech by Mate Granic, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
"Croatia's interests in the global landmine problem was motivated by personal affliction. Millions of mines laid in the formerly occupied territories of Croatia during the war continued to pose a direct threat, especially to the most vulnerable - the civilians. It was also a great impediment to the reconstruction of war-affected areas."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9310, 25 September

Czech Republic
Speech by Josef Zieleniec, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
"A positive tone should be set during the upcoming preparatory meetings for the Review Conference in the year 2000 of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). His country had just informed the IAEA of its interest to participate in that body's safeguards arrangements. It was also prepared to sign the international agreement banning anti-personnel landmines in Ottawa this December."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9305, 22 September.

Speech by Fabian Alarcon Rivera, President
"Last year, [Ecuador] had co-sponsored the draft resolution on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the southern hemisphere and its adjacent areas. Issues relating to conventional disarmament must also be given full attention. Ecuador supported the holding in 1999, a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, as well as the complete prohibition of anti-personnel landmines."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9311, 25 September.

Speech by Amre Moussa, Foreign Minister
"Efforts should proceed to free the Middle East from all weapons of mass destruction and their delivering vehicles, he stated. The General Assembly should take the necessary steps to ensure Israel's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the prompt undertaking of negotiations to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9314, 29 September.

Speech by Major-General Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka, Prime Minister
"The Prime Minister urged the international community to begin negotiations as soon as possible on a treaty to halt and prohibit the production and development of all nuclear weapons. Also important was the destruction of all stockpiles and arsenals of nuclear weapons."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9302, 22 September.

Speech by Tarja Kaarina Halonen, Foreign Minister
"In the disarmament sphere, the focus was shifting from weapons of mass destruction towards conventional arms, including small arms, she said. Finland would continue to participate actively in efforts by the Conference on Disarmament towards an effective global treaty on anti-personnel landmines. Recent positive developments in the area of nuclear disarmament should be followed up by Russian ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9307, 23 September.

Speech by Kwamena Ahwoi, Foreign Minister
"[The Foreign Minister] said that while weapons of mass destruction deserved priority attention, the illicit transfer and use of conventional weapons constituted a threat to the stability of States and fueled the numerous conflicts which bedeviled the world today, particularly in Africa. The international community must adopt all available means to curb that illicit traffic."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9309, 24 September.

Group-of-77 (Non-Aligned Movement)
Speech by Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Foreign Minister of United Republic of Tanzania
"Anti-personnel landmines maimed and killed the innocent long after the wars in which they had been employed were over, he said. However, the worldwide banning of those weapons through the ramfework of the Ottowa process should not be seen as an end in itself. Rather, it should be seen as part of the overall effort aimed at eliminating other weapons, especially weapons of mass destruction."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9302, 22 September.

Speech by Ali Alatas, Foreign Minister
"The establishment of a new department for disarmament and arms regulation, to be headed by an Under-Secretary-General was crucial. The new department, however, should address nuclear disarmament as a priority issue and not only the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. ... Much of the insecurity in the world today stemmed from the fact that the international community had not been able to abolish nuclear armaments, he said. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had been indefinitely extended, but without guarantee that the commitment to nuclear disarmament would be honoured. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) did not effectively prohibit nuclear testing without loopholes or exceptions. Nevertheless, Indonesia signed the Treaty in the hope that the nuclear Powers would refrain from testing through simulation. That hope had been shattered by the recent sub-critical tests announced by a nuclear-weapon State. Although those sub-critical tests did not legally violate the CTBT, they were a travesty to the spirit of the Treaty. The nuclear Powers should desist from conducting such tests as they could lead to the resumption of the nuclear arms race and its attendant risk of global disaster. The Treaty on a South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone came into force earlier this year and he hoped the nuclear-weapon States would also contribute to regional security by their timely accession to the relevant protocol of the Treaty."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9317, 30 September.

Speech by Kamal Kharrazi, Foreign Minister
"[Iran] called for an end to the arms race, the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, and the control of conventional weapons. ... Iran's Islamic principles considered weapons of mass destruction to be inhumane and illegitimate, he said. Iran's nuclear activities were performed within the framework of IAEA regulations and followed peaceful objectives, despite a barrage of false and baseless accusations to the contrary. Insecurity in the Middle East was rooted in Israeli militarism and in its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. ..."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9305, 22 September.

Speech by Ray Burke, Foreign Minister
"With respect to nuclear disarmament, he said that genuine peace and security could never be achieved as long as such weapons remained in State arsenals. It was now time for consideration of an integrated approach to disarmament, to culminate inagreement on a total ban on nuclear weapons. Agreement was also needed on managing the peaceful uses and transport of nuclear energy."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9311, 25 September.

Speech by David Levy, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
"The Government of Iran continued to speak in terms which threatened Israel and called for its destruction, he said. Yet the international community continued to refuse to speak out against Iran's policies, its declarations and its actions. Iran's efforts to acquire operational weapons of mass destruction represented the greatest threat to security and stability in the Middle East and beyond. His Government called on the members of the international family of nations - and particularly the United States and Russia, the European Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States - to exercise the full weight of their influence to prevent that development, which represented an existential threat to Israel."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9314, 29 September.

Speech by Lamberto Dini, Foreign Minister
"Italy had some of the world's strictest and most advanced legislation on the export of arms. In June, the Italian Government had unilaterally decided to renounce the production, export, stockpiling and use of anti-personnel landmines. But the full value of that commitment could only be realized if it was shared by all countries, whether or not they were parties to the 'Ottawa process'. The recent Oslo Conference had made remarkable accomplishments, but they were not yet universal. To achieve that goal, efforts should be complemented by the continuing involvement of the Conference on Disarmament."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9310, 25 September.

Speech by Percival James Patterson, Prime Minister
"The conclusion of the CTBT during the fifty-first session of the General Assembly and the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention had enhanced the prospects for real progress towards the goal of general and complete disarmament, he said. But more needed to be done in the areas of arms regulation and disarmament, especially in respect of conventional weapons and the proliferation of small arms. Jamaica welcomed steps to prohibit the use of anti-personnel landmines, and urged Member States to give full support to the Ottawa Process for the conclusion of an international treaty to ban that category of weapons so as to command universal obedience. ... bilateral and regional cooperation was critical to combatting drug smuggling. An associated problem, the smuggling of arms and weapons of destruction, was a significant factor in spreading a cycle of crime and violence. The CARICOM had pushed for a regional initiative to attack that problem. It looked forward to hemispheric support, particularly in restricting illegal exports from the main areas of manufacturing and sale of small arms."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9310, 25 September.

Speech by Kassmjomark K. Tokaev, Foreign Minister
"United Nations environmental activities had special importance for Kazakhstan, he said, because of the acute environmental problems it had inherited, including the ecological disasters of the Aral Sea and the former Semipalatinsk nuclear-testing ground. ... Some 470 nuclear explosions had been conducted at the Semipalatinsk testing ground, which use to be the largest in the world. There had been enormous damage to the local population's health and to the environment. Kazakhstan had called attention to the nuclear Powers' responsibility for the damage caused by nuclear tests. They should set up an international fund to rehabilitate the health and environment of regions affected by the tests. Kazakhstan's decision to close the Semipalatinsk testing ground was a major contribution to nuclear disarmament, he said. This month, his country had hosted an international conference on nuclear non-proliferation. ... the heads of the Central Asian States had adopted a Declaration proclaiming 1988 as the year of environmental protection in the region. They had stressed the need to establish a nuclear- weapon-free zone in Central Asia. As a party to the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), his country believed the signing of the document was one of the most historical events of the century. He called on all States to adhere to it. ..." Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9316, 30 September.

Republic of Korea
Speech by Yoo Choong-Ha, Foreign Minister
"Given the magnitude of the scourge of anti-personnel landmines, the Republic of Korea had decided to extend for an indefinite period its moratorium on the export of landmines which was due to expire at the end of this year, he said. His Government felt, however, that each country's legitimate security concerns should be given due consideration in addressing the matter. He reiterated that while his Government fully supported the crusade to protect innocent civilians from landmines, a sweeping ban could not be a satisfactory answer to a country like the Republic of Korea which faced the real and present risk of a recurrence of all-out war, and whose capital was situated 25 miles from the military demarcation line. His Government felt that the adoption of the draft convention on the banning of anti-personnel landmines in Oslo two weeks ago had failed to reflect the exceptional nature of the security situation in the Korean Peninsula."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9314, 29 September.

Speech by Shiekh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, Deputy First Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
"Kuwait welcomed the movement towards prohibition of the production, stockpiling and use of landmines, he said. It would be a similar measure to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Kuwait also welcomed the regulations concluded to control arms, to reduce the nuclear threat and to tighten controls over arms trade, especially in the area of ballistic missiles, and to increase transparency regarding weapons. ..."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9315, 29 September.

Speech by Kelebone A. Maope, Foreign Minister
"His Government was encouraged by the progress made in the field of disarmament with the recent ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention, he said. Africa had already contributed positively to the disarmament process by signing the Pelindaba Treaty, declaring Africa a nuclear-free zone. The recent negotiations in Oslo regarding the ban on anti-personnel mines was a step in the right direction."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9316, 30 September.

Speech by Abuzed Omar Dorda, Head of Delegation
"The United Nations was responsible for the situation in Iraq, he said, where people starved and died and confronted that which was 'more serious than hunger and more dangerous than death'. Some Iraqis had been forced to sell body parts such as kidneys, to secure some food for their children. What kind of international legality could justify the continued application of sanctions that could lead to such results? The United Nations had created the favourable conditions and provided the cover for what had been happening in Iraq."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9316, 30 September.

Speech by Martin Andjaba
"Nuclear weapons and their proliferation continued to be a cause of concern to the international community, he said. It was hoped that with the conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), serious negotiations would now begin on the elimination of nuclear weapons. The total elimination of those weapons was the only genuine guarantee for non-nuclear-weapon States against the threat of their use."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9315, 29 September.

Speech by Mohammed Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister
"Since 1974, Pakistan had pursued its proposal for a nuclear-weapons-free zone in South Asia, but India had taken successive steps to escalate its nuclear and missile capabilities, he said. Pakistan and India should agree on mutual and equal restraints in the nuclear and ballistic fields and make similar arrangements with respect to conventional weapons, so as to secure equal security for both countries. Pakistan was prepared to conclude and strengthen confidence-building measures and, as a first step, would agree on a set of principles to guide future bilateral arms control arrangements. He also offered to open negotiations on a non-aggression treaty between the two countries. ..."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9305, 22 September.

Speech by Eduardo Ferrero Costa, Foreign Minister
"Peru...had participated actively in the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty negotiating process, signing it on the day it was opened for signature. It was also gratified at the result of the Oslo Conference in the context of the Ottawa Process to prohibit the production, transfer and use of anti-personnel landmines. Peru had participated as a full member and was preparing to sign the first global agreement in December. The Rio Group had also undertaken to make the Latin American region the first in the world to be free of such devices."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9310, 25 September.

Speech by Domingo L. Siazon, Foreign Minister
"On 27 March, the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaty entered into force, he said. Nuclear-weapon States were urged to support the Treaty by becoming parties to its Protocol. Global safety also demanded control of the proliferation of conventional arms, particularly small arms and anti-personnel landmines, whether deployed or in national stockpiles. His Government would sign the Treaty banning anti-personnel landmines in December. The Philippines would also continue to support the efforts of the United Nations, individual governments and non-governmental organizations to clear mine fields, assist mine victims, and rehabilitate areas plagued by such devices."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9315, 29 September.

Speech by Yevgeny M. Primakov, Foreign Minister
"[The Foreign Minister] outline[d] efforts by the Russian Federation, together with the United States to reduce strategic arsenals under the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START I). Giving effect to the START II Treaty was next on the agenda. Understanding had been reached on the basic parameters of new START III arrangements. As a result of those efforts, the arsenals of the two largest nuclear-weapon Powers would be reduced by 80 per cent of the cold-war levels. However, all nuclear Powers must be involved in systematic efforts to reduce their nuclear arms. Stability of the multipolar world could only be assured by ending the nuclear arms race. However, conventional weapons killed most people in local conflicts. The Russian Federation was fully aware of the humanitarian dimension of the landmine problem. It advocated active phased efforts and negotiations on a global basis at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva."

Slovak Republic
Speech by Zdenka Kramplova, Foreign Minister
"In view of the perceived shift towards prioritizing socio-economic problems over issues of arms control and disarmament, disarmament should be again given priority, she said. As a new member of the Conference on Disarmament, Slovakia was convinced of that body's importance. Besides negotiations prohibiting the production of fissile materials for weapons, it was especially important to start negotiations on a global and comprehensive ban of anti-personnel land-mines. Also welcome were the conclusions of the first session of the Preparatory Committee of the Sixth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). In addition, Slovakia was prepared to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) before the end of the year. The entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention was the most significant event in the field of disarmament."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9310, 25 September.

South Africa
Speech by Alfred Nzo, Foreign Minister
"South Africa was encouraged by the large number of States which had committed to the complete eradication of weapons of mass destruction, he said, stressing that high priority should be placed on strategies and policies intended to prevent the proliferation of conventional weapons and to reduce their flow to conflict areas. South Africa also fully supported the Oslo Convention which banned anti-personnel mines. ..."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9305, 22 September.

Speech by Lena Hjelm-Wallen, Foreign Minister
"In the disarmament sphere, the quest for a nuclear weapon-free world must continue. Nuclear-weapon-free States had a legitimate right to assurances that they would not be attacked or threatened with such weapons. The focus of stemming the flow of conventional arms, another priority of the [UN] reform programme, was also welcome."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9309, 24 September.

Speech by Leonid D. Kuchma, President
"[President Kuchma said that Ukraine had] worked to support global security, and last year removed the last nuclear warhead from its territory. ... President Kuchma said his country faced a continuing burden in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster. An overall solution to that problem was impossible without large scale international assistance. While Ukraine remained committed to closing the Chernobyl facility by the end of the millennium, assistance relating to the disaster should not be conditional on such actions."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9305, 22 September.

United States
Speech by Bill Clinton, President
"I...applaud the steps that members are taking to implement the declaration on crime and public security that the United States proposed two years ago... The spread of these global criminal syndicates also has made all the more urgent our common quest to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. We cannot allow them to fall or to remain in the wrong hands. Here, too, the United Nations must lead, and it has, from UNSCOM in Iraq to the International Atomic Energy Agency, now the most expansive global system ever devised to police arms control agreements.
When we met here last year, I was honored to be the first of 146 leaders to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, our commitment to end all nuclear tests for all time - the longest-sought, hardest-fought prize in the history of arms control. It will help to prevent the nuclear powers from developing more advanced and more dangerous weapons. It will limit the possibilities for other States to acquire such devices. I am pleased to announce that today I am sending this crucial treaty to the United States Senate for ratification. Our common goal should be to enter the CTBT into force as soon as possible, and I ask for all of you to support that goal. ..."
Source: 'Remarks by the President to the 52nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly,' The White House, 22 September.

Speech by Miguel Angel Burelli Rivas, Foreign Minister
"Venezuela supported all efforts aimed at limiting the arms trade, he said. It was a matter of great concern that the lifting of embargoes by industrialized nations might begin a movement towards sale of weapons everywhere, in response to pressure by the very powerful military lobby. ..."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9309, 24 September.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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