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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 19, October 1997

UN General Assembly General Debate

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) General Debate, 1-7 October 1997

Editor's note:see last issue for extracts from the General Debate in September. The extracts below are taken from UN Press Releases, which utilise the speakers' words as much as possible.

Speech by Janet G. Bostwick, Foreign Minister

"She reiterated the urgent call of the Bahamas to address the growing problem of small arms trafficking. Those countries involved in the production and sale of arms were urged to impose strict control measures and to provide assistance to vulnerable States so as to reduce the threat of the traffic in arms."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9326, 7 October

Speech by Ivan Antonovich, Foreign Minister

"Belarus was disappointed by the tepid response to its call for the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the centre of Europe, as only such zones would eventually lead to the elimination of the nuclear threat."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9320, 2 October

Speech by Mompati S. Merafhe, Foreign Minister

"He called on all nations to support the Convention banning anti-personnel landmines - a prohibition which should be extended to all weapons of mass destruction."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9325, 6 October

Speech by Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Foreign Minister

"Another crucial issue for his country was the problem of landmines, which infested a great part of Chad's territory. He appealed to the international community to help his country with demining. His Government looked forward to adoption of a convention against the use and stockpiling of anti-personnel landmines. ... There had been definite advances in international disarmament efforts... However, he denounced the scandalous trade in conventional weapons and welcomed the moratorium efforts initiated by West Africa on the import and export of small arms."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9321, 2 October

Speech by Roberto Robaina Gonzalez, Foreign Minister

"It was absurd hypocrisy for military expenditures to be the number one world business, with close to $900 billion in circulation, followed by drug smuggling, with upwards of $500 billion, he continued. As much money was invested in a modern bomber as would be required to relieve the foreign debt of the 20 most indebted countries."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9318, 1 October

Speech by Lamine Kamara, Foreign Minister

"The proliferation of small weapons was a serious problem confronting African nations, he continued. He, thus, supported establishing a department for disarmament and arms control, with adequate funding and the ability to monitor cross-border movements."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9323, 3 October

Speech by Laszlo Kovacs, Foreign Minister

"[Hungary] supported a total ban on anti-personnel landmines and intended to become one of the first signatories of the new Convention. It was an important milestone in the development of international humanitarian law and the endeavour to end the immense human suffering caused by the proliferation and indiscriminate use of those weapons. The remarkable achievements of the Oslo Conference did not diminish the role that other fora, including the Conference on Disarmament, could play in promoting the objectives of the new Convention."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9318, 1 October

Speech by Mohammed Said al-Sahaf, Foreign Minister

"Iraq had been suffering for more than seven years under a blockade that was the most extensive and cruel boycott system ever imposed by the Security Council in its history, he continued. His country had stated to the Assembly, more than once, the steps it had taken to implement Council resolutions on the Gulf crisis in order to have the blockade lifted. His country no longer had banned weapons, equipment, machinery or materials. The system of continuous observation, established in his country by the Special Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was working effectively. His Government looked forward to the Commission's semi-annual report. He hoped it would be submitted to the Security Council in a few days, and that it would equitably reflect the progress achieved and open the door to the beginning of the lifting of the blockade. ... The oil-for-food-and-medicine formula was a temporary and modest formula that met only a small fraction of Iraq's needs... The formula continued to experience major obstacles and difficulties, which the United States and the United Kingdom, in particular, tried to impose, with a view to hindering its proper and effective implementation. ..."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9321, 2 October

Speech by Fayez Tarawneh, Foreign Minister

"The Iraqi people had suffered enough under the blockade imposed upon them for seven years, he said. It was time for the international community to act to alleviate the suffering. In issuing a serious call for the lifting of the blockade imposed on the people of Iraq, his Government reaffirmed the necessity of preserving Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9323, 3 October

Marshall Islands
Speech by Phillip Muller, Foreign Minister

"Nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands had helped the international community to understand the effects of nuclear weapons on people and the environment and was a contributing factor to the prevention of nuclear war during the cold war era, he said. Pacific island communities which had been adversely affected by the weapons testing of external Powers were not expendable populations. The 67 nuclear weapons tests conducted in his country and neighbouring Pacific islands contaminated every inch of their environment and exposed each one of their citizens. His Government was seeking resources to address the direct medical and environmental consequences of radiation exposure. His country was also struggling to deal with the indirect problems of displacement and the lack of adequate medical care for the affected population.
While it was encouraging that the IAEA was in the process of conducting a survey in the northern areas of the Marshall Islands, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation could have a much greater role, he said. There was no reason why they could not undertake studies that could in the future assist populations who were suffering from the effects of atomic radiation. He requested that the Scientific Committee expanded its scope of work to look into areas affected by nuclear tests like the Marshall Islands."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9320, 2 October

Speech by Leonardo Santos Simao, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

"[The Minister] urged all governments to respect the wishes of their peoples by signing the international treaty for the total ban of anti-personnel landmines by the end of the year. ... Lamenting the hazards that landmines continued to pose for rural development in Mozambique, he said his country had prohibited the production, commercialization, utilization and unauthorized transportation of anti-personnel landmines within its borders. His Government continued to give priority to providing assistance to victims of landmines before, during and after mine clearance, to ensure an early and safe return and resettlement of displaced persons, as well as to quicken the resumption of economic activities in mine-plagued rural areas."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9321, 2 October

Speech by Yousef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, Foreign Minister

"[Oman] had deposited the instruments of ratification for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons...at the beginning of 1997, and had commenced negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency...towards finalizing a safeguards agreement in accordance with its obligations as envisaged in the Treaty."

Solomon Islands
Speech by Patteson Oti, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

"Expressing his Government's continued support for the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the southern hemisphere and elsewhere, he called for the creation of a forum of non-nuclear-weapon States that would be committed to the elimination of all nuclear weapons and would seek agreement on the implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons..."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9323, 3 October

Speech by Abdulaziz Kamilov, Foreign Minister

"During the Assembly's forty-eighth session, his Government had called for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia, and had consistently progressed towards that initiative. The international conference on such a zone in September affirmed the positive response to that goal. ... The establishment of such a zone in Central Asia...required the assistance of the Assembly, its President and Secretary-General in passing a special resolution in that regard. It also required a United Nations group of experts to study the forms and elements of the regional agreement on that issue."
Source: United Nations Press Release GA/9326, 7 October

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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