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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 20, November 1997

First Committee Gives Little Hope of Resolving Disarmament Gridlock
By Rebecca Johnson

The First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (Disarmament and International Security), chaired by Ambassador Mothusi D.C. Nkgowe of Botswana, closed its session on 17 November after taking action on 43 draft resolutions and two draft decisions. This report consists of a summary analysis of the political trends indicated in the First Committee votes, followed by an appendix listing all the resolutions, detailing their main points, the votes and relevant comments regarding the votes

Taking place in the shadow of the yearlong impasse in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) and the debates over the Secretary-General's plans for UN reform, as well as Iraq's defiance of UNSCOM over inspections, the First Committee appeared to be in a backwater, judged by some participants subdued and even 'passive'. In its contrary signals on nuclear disarmament and landmines, where rival resolutions with quite different approaches were all adopted, the UN failed to give clarity to the debates over the CD's future work. For the third year running, there was not enough support for sponsors of a fissile materials ban (fissban) or cut-off (FMCT) to table a resolution. Advocates of a fissban were afraid that a split vote in the UN would undermine the consensus achieved in 1993. The risks to such a resolution indicate that there will be continued opposition in the CD to convening a fissban committee and getting negotiations underway on the basis of the 1995 Shannon mandate.

Many of the resolutions sought approval and resources for ongoing research or programmes in regional confidence building. Others updated information or expressed backing for nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ) or regional initiatives. There was consensus backing for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and for resolutions on illicit arms transfers, radwaste dumping, military budgets, practical measures for peace-making and confidence-building. Although some resolutions relating primarily to small arms and light weapons achieved consensus support, one important resolution on small arms (L.27/Rev.1) was forced to a vote by a small number of countries opposed to the report of the Panel of Government Experts. Many resolutions have become traditional furniture, with an exhortatory function and few practical implications. The main signals from the 1997 First Committee debates are analysed in more detail below.


A draft decision on the comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT), which was attempted and withdrawn last year, was put in 1997, but failed to get consensus (L.7). Australia had hoped to get the CTBT acknowledged by consensus by having a procedural decision, containing only a request to be on the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) future agenda, and steering clear of endorsements and calls for accession. Such optimism was dashed when India insisted on a vote and abstained, together with 3 others. India also insisted on separate votes (and voted against or abstained) every time a paragraph in another resolution welcomed or endorsed the CTBT. This was indicative of India's hardened attitude towards the CTBT and other multilateral arms control initiatives that 'fall short' of a binding framework for time-bound nuclear disarmament.

Nuclear Disarmament

There were a number of resolutions dealing with nuclear arms control and disarmament. For the first time in several years there was only one resolution on bilateral arms control (L.32), co-sponsored by the US, Russia, France and Britain, and supported by all the nuclear-weapon States (NWS). The rival Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) resolution on this subject was not tabled. The US-Russian resolution backed continuing progress in START and urged further reductions and negotiations.

Japan's annual resolution calling for nuclear disarmament (L.28/Rev.1) was supported by all five nuclear powers for the first time, but received an unexpected challenge from Pakistan, who objected that the resolution was misnamed because it focused on non-proliferation and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), rather than nuclear disarmament. Pakistan put in a series of amendments designed to bring Japan's resolution more in line with the NAM approach, as traditionally introduced by Myanmar. In the end, after eleventh-hour bargaining with Japan over its amendments to both the nuclear disarmament resolution and a Japanese-sponsored resolution on small arms, Pakistan agreed to withdraw its amendments and let Japan's resolution go to a vote unamended.

The NAM resolution (L.29) was harder hitting but had the support of only one NWS, China. It called for a halt to the qualitative improvement of nuclear arsenals and urged the CD to convene a committee to negotiate a phased programme of nuclear disarmament in a time-bound framework. The NAM resolution received 109 votes in favour, but 39 against, and no Western allies in support. Japan garnered 156 votes in favour, with none against and 10 abstentions. However, Pakistan has served notice that unless Japan's resolution puts more pressure on the NWS, it will be challenged again in the future.

The nuclear disarmament resolution to watch is the Malaysian-sponsored call for negotiations leading to a nuclear weapon convention, tabled for the second year running (L.37*). The springboard for the nuclear weapon convention demand is the July 1996 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the threat or use of nuclear weapons, from which the resolution takes its title. Malaysia's resolution achieved support from the NAM and China, Ireland, Sweden, New Zealand and Ukraine, obtaining 116 votes in favour, with 26 against and 24 abstentions. During the general debate in the First Committee, the ICJ opinion and/or concept of a nuclear weapon convention had been positively commended in statements from Bangladesh, Brazil, the Holy See, India, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

While recognising that the conditions necessary for negotiating a nuclear weapon convention have not yet been created, many more countries are raising this demand, relating it to the conventions banning biological and chemical weapons, which were achieved after overcoming considerable difficulties. This year the call for a nuclear weapon convention received support from a few Western allies and, for the first time, Ukraine. But although Britain abstained, rather than opposing the reference to the ICJ opinion, Russia, which last year had abstained, this year voted against. The resolution as a whole was opposed by the United States, Russia, Britain, France and most NATO countries, showing that there is still deeply-entrenched opposition to the concept of a nuclear weapon ban.

India sponsored a resolution calling for a convention prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons (L.15), in which 109 (mainly NAM) States called for the CD to negotiate a multilateral no-use treaty. Although some of the NWS may now be willing to discuss taking nuclear weapons off alert bilaterally or among the five powers, it is extremely unlikely that the CD will ever negotiate a multilateral no-use convention. Pakistan tabled the annual resolution calling for the CD to negotiate on negative security assurances (NSA - L.41), which achieved 116 votes in favour, with NATO countries, Russia and countries which would prefer to see security assurances dealt with in the context of the NPT, like South Africa, abstaining. While it is still unlikely that the CD will ever be given a mandate to negotiate on NSA, reconvening the committee in the CD with a deliberative mandate is one of the options that CD members will be seriously considering next year.

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones

A resolution that called for a NWFZ in Central Asia (L.44/Rev.1), which had been withdrawn by its sponsors in 1996, received consensus this year. The five countries concerned, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, have held meetings during the year in Almaty and Tashkent and now look set to take the initiative forward. Other resolution on NWFZ included consensus backing for existing NWFZs and consideration of NWFZ in the Middle East and South Asia, but not Central and Eastern Europe, despite attempts by some States in the region, notably Belarus and Ukraine.

Israel joined consensus on the resolution calling for a NWFZ in the Middle East (L.4*) but made clear whenever the subject was raised that a NWFZ must be freely chosen by all the States in the region under consideration, citing the necessity for improved regional security and confidence building measures. As Arab States registered their reservations on the resolution endorsing the CWC, with some noting that their accession to this Convention was contingent on Israel joining the NPT, Israel called on all States in the Middle East to adhere to the CWC.

India forced a vote on any resolution that mentioned a NWFZ in South Asia (L.38 and L.35, operative paragraph 3), arguing that it opposed the concept of a NWFZ in South Asia because it took a selective approach and did not meet India's security concerns. Brazil's resolution calling for the Southern Hemisphere to be made into a NWFZ (L.35) got wide backing but was again opposed by the Western NWS. Brazil emphasised that the primary purpose was to enhance cooperation and the pursuit of common goals among the Parties to NWFZ. Although the resolution explicitly recalled the rights of passage through maritime space and the Law of the Sea, the United States, Britain and France seemed to fear that the initiative would restrict rights of free passage, particularly by vessels carrying nuclear weapons and reprocessed plutonium. Japan and NATO countries abstained. The NATO NWS also opposed a resolution (L.12) aimed at implementing declarations making the Indian Ocean a 'zone of peace'.


There were three landmines resolutions: Canada's supported the Ottawa Process (L.1*); Sweden's backed the process underway to strengthen the 1980 Convention on Certain Weapons (CCW) (L.22); and Australia's pushed for the CD to work on landmines (L.23/Rev.1). Australia had fulfilled the post of Special Coordinator for landmines in the CD during 1997.

Of these, only the CCW resolution gained consensus, since it avoided controversy by not mentioning the attempts to address landmines comprehensively. Considering its radical demand for a total ban on production, stockpiling, transfer and - most importantly - the use of anti-personnel landmines, the Ottawa resolution surprised many by achieving 142 votes in favour, with only 18 abstentions. This high vote was partly because the Treaty has been completed and is now a fact of life. Some countries, such as Finland, voted for the resolution but said they would not be signing the Ottawa Treaty in the near future, citing their security conditions and current reliance on the weapons.

The Australian resolution on landmines in the CD obtained 147 votes with 15 abstentions. This vote concealed some contradictions, however, which do not augur well for those who want negotiations on landmines to take place in the CD in 1998. Some, such as the United States, Russia and China, supported this resolution as a counterweight to the Ottawa Treaty, which they have for now decided not to sign. The United States, in particular, needed this resolution in order to tell the US public, which is clamouring for a landmines ban, that it is trying to get a more comprehensive ban negotiated in the CD. Among non-aligned countries, however, there is quite strong opposition to putting landmines in the CD, as they fear it will take precedence over nuclear disarmament issues. Other delegations (comprising both Ottawa signatories and Ottawa hold-outs), who for political reasons supported this resolution, do not think the CD is capable of making progress on landmines in the near future, and see the resolution as little more than a face-saver for the United States, with minimal hope of being implemented.

Transparency in armaments

There were two resolutions on transparency in armaments (TIA). From the Netherlands, L.43 backed the implementation and further development of the UN Register of Conventional Arms, achieving 155 votes, with 11 abstentions. However, there was opposition in the form of abstentions from China and several non-aligned members of the CD to paragraphs calling for a group of governmental experts to be convened in 2000 and for the CD to continue work. On this basis, it will take some hard bargaining for there to be any chance for the CD to convene an ad hoc committee on TIA in 1998.

This year Egypt put in a rival resolution on transparency, which focused on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), arguing that inventories and information should be provided on holdings of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, as well as conventional arms. Declarations of biological and chemical stockpiles and facilities are part of those treaties, so the primary aim of this resolution is to have nuclear arms included.

There is already a growing level of transparency in the post-Cold War era. The US and Russia have bilateral arrangements for information exchange, France went public last year with information on its nuclear arsenal, and Britain's new Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, is on the record from 1995 as an advocate of a nuclear arms register. Nevertheless, Egypt's resolution was opposed by NATO States, Russia and Australia. Some said they supported the principle of transparency but feared that the UN Register would be weakened if it were made to deal with all weapons at this point. Supporters of a nuclear arms register have pointed out that Egypt's resolution does not require the UN Register itself to include WMD; if transparency procedures on nuclear arms were set up under other auspices, they would not interfere with the UN Register of Conventional Arms, but would instead enhance its credibility. Stigmatising the UN Register for being selective and discriminatory has been a favourite excuse from countries that do not wish to participate in greater transparency.


The NAM-sponsored resolution calling for a fourth special session on disarmament (UNSSOD IV) achieved consensus this year, mainly because it included no date. In effect, there is now no chance of convening a special UN conference to re-assess the post-Cold War security environment and disarmament agenda before the year 2000. The US had previously opposed because it considered that the sub-text of this initiative was to focus primarily on nuclear disarmament and it wanted to avoid having UNSSOD IV before the next NPT Review Conference (in 2000). The earliest date for UNSSOD IV would now be 2001, subject to agreement on a balanced agenda and other issues which will be debated in the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC).

Outer Space

The item on preventing an arms race in outer space (PAROS), which for many years was regarded as a NAM ritual and hangover from the Cold War, has been the subject of renewed interest. This year's resolution (L.19), which called for the CD to re-examine and update the mandate for establishing a PAROS committee, was supported by 128 countries, including the non-aligned, Russia, Japan, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. There is growing concern about the US-driven pressures to weaken the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty regime and the dangers of the further militarisation of space through the growing use of satellites for weapons targeting, command and communication, as well as defence systems for disabling such satellites or destroying incoming missiles. Given the splits in NATO and cross-group support for addressing such issues in the CD, it is possible that the US might concede multilateral talks on this (in preference to the much larger compromise required to allow a nuclear disarmament committee to be convened).


The implications of UN reform on disarmament and arms control issues have yet to be determined. The overall mood at the First Committee was one of limbo, laced with pessimism regarding the opportunities for progress on the major issues. The signals to the CD from this First Committee are: continued deadlock on fissban negotiations, landmines and nuclear disarmament; possible compromises on PAROS and security assurances, but only for discussions (and only if enough CD members fear that the Conference would be dangerously weakened by other year of impasse).

Appendix: Summary of Resolutions Adopted by the UN First Committee and General Assembly


Voting is given as for:against:abstentions
'Consensus' is used when a resolution is adopted without a vote. Some countries state that they have not participated in the consensus. The First Committee votes are shown first, followed by the votes in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 9 December. Comments following the votes refer to debate in the First Committee only.

Some resolutions were taken in parts. In this case, 'PP' refers to preambular paragraph and 'OP' refers to operative paragraph. Occasionally, representatives informed the Committee that they had been absent or that their votes had been wrongly recorded. Numbers given here are from the immediate official records. Asterisks on some resolutions are part of the identifying First Committee number. 'Rev' denotes an agreed revision incorporated before action was taken.

Numbers are generally higher in the UNGA votes because a number of smaller countries do not attend and vote in the First Committee. Countries that are in serious arrears with their payments to the UN are recorded as absent, whether or not they voted, which explains why the co-sponsors of some resolutions are not able to record their votes in favour.

In general, the State introducing a resolution is its leading sponsor, responsible for trying to negotiate wording that might obtain consensus or, alternatively, for getting as many co-sponsors and votes as possible. The summary below identifies the major points of the resolutions and a few key related statements, but does not list all co-sponsors or all States which spoke on the resolutions. The full list of co-sponsors, text of resolutions, summary of statements, and voting details can be obtained from the United Nations Web-Site http://www.un.org/News

First Committee Resolutions to the United Nations General Assembly

L.1* (UNGA 52/38 A) Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction (Landmines)

Introduced by Canada and at least 118 co-sponsors, including Britain and France.

Supported the Ottawa Process for a complete ban and called on all States to sign the Ottawa Convention banning the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of all anti-personnel landmines. The resolution mentioned other fora, including the CD and CCW, and called on all States to contribute towards mine clearance, awareness programmes and the care and rehabilitation of mine victims.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: 127:0:19
UNGA: 142:0:18
Abstentions included USA, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Turkey, South Korea, Israel, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Iran, Kazakstan, Egypt, Cuba, Jordan, Belarus, Mongolia, Morocco, Azerbaijan.
In explanation, the US said that it abstained because it cannot sign the Ottawa Treaty since it did not reflect US concerns. The US highlighted Clinton's commitment to demining and promised not to use APL outside Korea after 2003. Finland said the three resolutions on APL were complementary, so it had voted for this resolution while dissociating itself from OP1, which called on all States to sign the Ottawa Treaty. Finland said that it believed in the goal of the resolution, but wanted the CD to negotiate a landmines ban. Egypt also argued for landmines to be dealt with in the CD. India expressed its reservations and argued in favour of a phased approach that took into account national security concerns.

L.2/Rev.1 (UNGA 52/38 B)
Transparency in Armaments
(Weapons of Mass Destruction)
Introduced by Egypt.
Tabled because of what Egypt considered to be the 'inadequacies' of the traditional resolution on transparency, which only covers conventional arms, this resolution called for the principle of transparency (information, declarations and inventory of arms, as in the UN Register of conventional arms) to be applied to WMD (chemical, biological and nuclear weapons) and 'transfers of equipment and technologies directly related to the development and manufacture' of WMD.
Paragraph vote on PP6, which stressed universality of the NPT, CWC and BWC 'with a view to realising the goal of the total elimination' of all WMD - 80:34:25
(UNGA: 96:35:25)
Paragraph vote on OP3, which requested the UN S-G to seek the views of Member States and report on this issue - 73:46:17 (UNGA: 95:46:15)

FIRST COMMITTEE, 17 November: 81:45:16
UNGA: 98:45:13
Most of the NAM voted for the resolution in all its parts. South Africa abstained on OP3 and Mexico expressed doubts about the language of OP2 and OP3 but both countries voted in favour of the resolution. Cuba abstained and India voted against PP6 'because of its position on the NPT' but otherwise both voted for the resolution. Those voting against the resolution included the US, Russia, EU and NATO countries and Australia. Many stressed their support for transparency in armaments, emphasised their support of the rival resolution L.43 and criticised L.2 for its 'divisive' focus on WMD. Some of these countries, including Australia, Austria, Japan, Canada, Norway and New Zealand, abstained on PP6; but Russia and the US and their other allies opposed because, in the words of the US, 'the language and context distorts the meaning and purposes' of the treaties. China did not vote on PP6 or OP3 and abstained on the whole resolution.

L.3 (UNGA 52/39A)
Review and Implementation of the Concluding Document of the Twelfth Special Session of the General Assembly: United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific
Introduced by Nepal and co-sponsored by countries from the region.

Backing for Asia-Pacific Regional Centre and the Kathmandu Process.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 14 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.4* (UNGA 52/34)
Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Region of the Middle East
Amended resolution introduced by Egypt.
Called for 'practical and urgent steps' to bring about a NWFZ in the Middle East and invites all countries there to adhere to the NPT, but does not point finger at Israel by name. The resolution noted 'the importance of the ongoing bilateral Middle East peace negotiations and the activities of the multilateral working group on arms control and regional security in promoting mutual confidence and security in the Middle East.' Israel withdrew its amendment (L.49).

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: consensus

UNGA: consensus
Israel joined consensus in spite of the resolution's 'deficiency', saying that consensus had been possible since 1980 because all parties 'lived with each others' interpretations and reservations'. Israel thought a NWFZ could complement regional security initiatives and wanted step-by-step approaches with confidence building measures. Iran had not been able to co-sponsor because of reference to the ongoing peace process. Syria thought a NWFZ was not a requisite of the peace process and wanted mention of the Madrid formula and 'peace for land' initiatives.

L.5/Rev.2 (UNGA 52/41)
The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
Introduced by Egypt on behalf of the League of Arab States.
Called for Israel to accede to the NPT and place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full scope IAEA safeguards. Paragraph vote on PP6, which supported the NPT's 1995 Principles and Objectives - 137:2:3 (UNGA: 156:2:4) Israel and India voted against. Abstentions included Pakistan, Cuba and Papua New Guinea.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: 124:2:17
Israel and the US voted against. Abstentions (no pattern of group affiliation) included India, Norway, Canada, Myanmar, Kazakstan, Uruguay, Singapore, Kenya, Estonia, Congo.
Israel said the resolution's reference to the CTBT was 'cynical manipulation' and objected to the way in which support for the NPT was used as a mechanism for condemning Israel.

L.6 (UNGA 52/39 B)
Review and Implementation of the Concluding Document of the Twelfth Special Session of the General Assembly: Regional Confidence-Building
Introduced by Gabon on behalf of the States members of the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa.
Supported the Non-Aggression Pact, and requested ongoing support from the UN for preventing conflict, demobilising soldiers, combating the circulation of weapons and drugs, peace-keeping training and education on public affairs, law and human rights in the region.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 13 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty
Draft decision introduced by Australia.
Procedural decision to include the CTBT in the agenda of the UNGA's next session. Text kept to a minimum to try to obtain consensus but India insisted on a vote.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: 148:0:4
UNGA: 154:0:4
India, Libya, Bhutan and Tanzania abstained. India reiterated its objections to the 'limited' non-proliferation intent of the CTBT and criticised its loopholes, including the ability of the NWS to continue testing using sophisticated and unverifiable techniques. India called instead for a phased programme to eliminate nuclear weapons within a specified framework of time.

L.8/Rev.1 (UNGA 52/38 C)
Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and collecting them
Introduced by Mali and co-sponsored by 15 African States, Japan, Haiti and Costa Rica.
Concerned about security problems and 'banditry' linked to small arms in the Saharo-Sahelian subregion and endorses Mali's initiatives and the UN Advisory Missions against the proliferation of small arms.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.9 (UNGA 52/38 D)

Relationship between disarmament and development
Introduced by Indonesia on behalf of the NAM.
Stressed the 'symbiotic' relationship between disarmament and development' and urged resources from arms limitation and disarmament agreements to be put towards economic and social development.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus
US did not participate in the consensus as 'disarmament and development are two separate issues which should not be linked'. The US also said it was not bound by the final document of the 1978 Conference on Disarmament and Development. Israel dissociated itself from the reference to the Cartagena statement from the NAM. The EU clarified their view that there was 'no automatic linkage' between disarmament and development.

L.10/REV.1 (UNGA 52/38 E)
Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control
Introduced by Indonesia for the NAM.
Affirmed the importance of the environment and sustainable development in relation to arms control agreements and called on States to 'adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures' to contribute to ensuring that scientific and technological progress 'in the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres' are applied without detriment to the environment or sustainable development.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: 138:0:8
UNGA: 160:0:6
Abstainers in the First Committee were US, UK, France, Israel, Japan, Monaco, Kyrgyzstan and Liberia. South Korea said it had abstained in 1996 but now voted for, because of 'significant improvements' in the resolution.

L.11/Rev.1 (UNGA 52/38 F)
Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament
Introduced by Colombia on behalf of the NAM.
Decided, 'subject to the emergence of consensus on its objectives and agenda', to convene UNSSOD IV, but mentioned no date. The 1998 session of the UNDC will be charged with determining the date and agenda. The language was made less specific in order to overcome US and Russian objections and obtain consensus.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 14 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus
The US said that UNSSOD IV could only be convened 'when its purposes are clear and balanced' and warned against it dealing solely with nuclear disarmament 'the impetus behind UNSSOD IV calls'. Russia emphasised that UNSSOD IV could only be held if there was consensus on its objectives and dates. The EU said for the record that agreement with the resolution did not imply agreement with PP5, which noted the Cartagena Final Document.

L.12 (UNGA 52/44)
Implementation of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace
Introduced by Indonesia on behalf of the NAM.
Called on the P-5 and 'major maritime users of the Indian Ocean' to participate in the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean and facilitate 'mutually beneficial dialogue to advance peace, security and stability' in the region.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: 104:3:38
UNGA: 125:3:40
The US, UK and France voted against, while the NATO States and allies abstained. The US objected that the ad hoc Committee served no useful purpose and should be scrapped and raised concerns that rights of free passage and overflights must be explicitly acknowledged.

Review of the Implementation of the Declaration on the Strengthening of International Security
Draft decision introduced by Indonesia on behalf of the NAM. Procedural decision to put the issue on the agenda for 1998.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: 96:0:48
UNGA: 116:0:52
Most of the NAM and China voted for. Opponents were mostly NATO and Eastern European States, including Russia.

L.14* (UNGA 52/33)
The Role of Science and Technology in the Context of International Security and Disarmament
(Export Controls)
Introduced by India.
Objected to 'the imposition of non-transparent ad hoc export control regimes with exclusive membership', arguing that they tend to 'impede the economic and social development of developing countries'. The purpose of the resolution is to oppose export controls as operated by groups of countries such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Club) and the Australia Group. These groups, consisting primarily of technologically developed countries, voluntarily restrict their exports of certain dual use items and technologies that could be used to develop weapons of mass destruction, in accordance with lists and use criteria which the exporters agree collectively to apply.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: 88:42:17
UNGA: 95:43:19
In favour was mostly NAM and China, while members of the control regimes (EU, USA and associated States) voted against. Abstainers included Russia, South Africa, and Canada. China said that it had voted for the resolution because it opposed measures that hampered the peaceful exchange of technology for developing countries.

L.15 (UNGA 52/39 C)
Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons
(Nuclear Use Convention)
Introduced by India.
Wanted to go further than the limited and qualified security assurances granted by the NWS, which do not cover non-NPT States, such as India, Pakistan and Israel. Evoked the ICJ advisory opinion, expressed support for a universal nuclear weapons convention, and called on the CD to commence negotiations on 'an international convention prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances'. The annex to the resolution contains a four-article draft 'Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons.'

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: 95:30:28
UNGA: 109:30:27
The NAM and China voted in favour; NATO and would-be NATO States voted against; while an assortment abstained, including Russia, Japan, Ireland, Sweden, Argentina, Austria, New Zealand, Australia and many East European countries.

L.16 (UNGA 52/39 D)
United Nations Disarmament Information Programme
Introduced by Mexico.
Underlined the importance of the UN Disarmament Yearbooks and the work of the UN Disarmament Information Programme and expressed concern at declining resources.<> FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.17 (UNGA 52/45)
Consolidation of the regime established by the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco)
Introduced by Mexico.
Noted with satisfaction that the Treaty of Tlatelolco is in force for 32 States in the region and urged remaining countries to deposit their ratification instruments with OPANAL.

FIRST COMMITTEE 10 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.18 (UNGA 52/38 G)
Consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures
(Peace-building/Small Arms)
Introduced by Germany.
Stressed the relevance of the UNDC discussions on 'Guidelines on conventional arms control/limitation and disarmament' and called for interested States to establish a group to implement practical disarmament measures, including arms control with particular regard to small arms and light weapons, confidence building measures, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants, demining and conversion of military industries and facilities.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.19 (UNGA 52/37)
Prevention of an arms race in outer space
Introduced by Sri Lanka.
Raised concern that the growing use of outer space increases the need for greater transparency and better information and called for the CD to re-establish an ad hoc committee on Prevention of an arms race in outer space, after examining and updating the mandate, if necessary. The resolution emphasised the importance of 'strict adherence' with bilateral and other agreements relevant to this issue and argued that wider participation in the legal regime applicable to outer space could enhance its effectiveness.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 11 November: 101:0:40
UNGA: 128:0:39
The NAM countries, Russia, China and a number of Western allies, including Japan, Australia, Canada and New Zealand voted for. The US and EU countries abstained. Referring to cooperation between Russian and US astronauts, the US stated "There is no arms race in outer space". Luxembourg appreciated Sri Lanka's constructive approach and 'positive changes' to the draft but said that the EU abstained in any case.

L.20 (UNGA 52/40 B)
Report of the Conference on Disarmament
Introduced by Sri Lanka (CD President at end of 1997 session).
Emphasised the importance of the CD as the 'single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community' and encouraged it to sort out its problems during the intersessional period and be ready to commence 'early work on various agenda items' in 1998.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.21 (UNGA 52/40 A)
Report of the Disarmament Commission
Introduced by Colombia.
Sought to enhance the dialogue and cooperation between the UNDC, First Committee and CD, recognising the role of the UNDC as a 'specialised deliberative body'. Recommended the adoption of three substantive issues for consideration in 1998: NWF Zones, UNSSOD IV, and Guidelines on conventional arms control/limitation and disarmament (see L.18).

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.22 (UNGA 52/42)
Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects
Introduced by Sweden, with co-sponsorship from a cross-group of States, including France, Russia, US, UK, South Africa and Finland.
Supported the CCW, called on all States to adhere to amended Protocol II and Protocol IV on Blinding laser weapons. Sought consensus and avoided controversy by not mentioning the Ottawa process or CD attempts to address landmines more comprehensively.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 11 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.23/Rev.1 (UNGA 52/38 H)
Contributions towards banning anti-personnel landmines
(Landmines/CD) Introduced by Australia, with co-sponsorship from a cross group of States, including France, Russia, US, UK and Finland.
After welcoming 'as interim measures' the various bans, moratoriums etc. declared by States on AP landmines, called on the CD to 'intensify its efforts on the issue of anti-personnel landmines'. No mention of Ottawa or the CCW.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: 121:2:19
UNGA: 147-0-15
China, Russia, India, Pakistan and the majority of States from all sides voted in favour. In the First Committee, South Africa called for a vote and voted against, together with Eritrea, on grounds that L.23 'failed to give recognition' to either the CCW or the Ottawa Process, and does not acknowledge that the UNGA resolution 51/45 S in 1996 called for the pursuit of a comprehensive, effective and legally binding ban on AP landmines. Other countries which have spoken against putting the landmines into the CD, such as Mexico, also abstained, along with Cuba, the Philippines, and a number of African States. In the GA, there were no votes against: South Africa abstained.

L.24 (UNGA 52/47)
Convention on the Prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons and on their destruction
Introduced by Hungary.
Noted that the BWC now has 140 States Parties, endorsed the work of the Ad Hoc Group of Governmental Experts to Identify and Examine Potential Verification Measures from a Scientific and Technical Standpoint, and called for universal adherence to the BWC.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.25/Rev.2 (UNGA 52/38 I)
Prohibition of the dumping of radioactive wastes
Introduced by Kenya on behalf of the Group of African States.
Expressed concern about radiological warfare and the dumping of nuclear or radioactive wastes and called on the CD to include radioactive wastes as part of any convention on the prohibition of radiological weapons, which it is encouraged to negotiate.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.26 (UNGA 52/46)
African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty
(Pelindaba Treaty)
Introduced by Kenya on behalf of the Group of African States.
Supported the Pelindaba Treaty, called on all African States to sign and ratify it, and called on States, including the NWS, which have not yet signed or ratified the relevant protocols to do so.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.27/Rev.1 (UNGA 52/38 J)
Small arms, orally amended
Introduced by Japan.
The UK and US withdrew co-sponsorship following inclusion of some of Pakistan's amendments into the resolution.
The main thrust of the resolution was to endorse the recommendations made by the Panel of Government Experts on Small Arms and the guidelines for international arms transfers adopted in 1991, and to call on States to implement the relevant recommendations, in cooperation with appropriate regional and international organisations, the police, intelligence services, customs and border controls etc. The resolution also called for further work on this issue under the auspices of the United Nations, including additional research on ammunition and explosives, a report on implementation, and an international conference on the illicit arms trade during the next year. At the insistence of one group of States, an additional paragraph was inserted after the paragraph affirming the 'inherent right to individual or collective self-defence recognised in Article 51' of the UN Charter, 'which implies that States also have the right to acquire arms with which to defend themselves.' The new paragraph, PP5, (see paragraph vote, below) reaffirmed the right of self determination. Pakistan still persisted with a further amendment (L.52), which would qualify the endorsement of the Panel of Government Experts with the words "bearing in mind the principles referred to above and the views of Member States on the recommendations". After intense negotiations between the co-sponsors and Pakistan, Japan agreed to accept some of this additional language in return for Pakistan withdrawing its formal amendment. OP1 was thus amended to read: "Endorses the recommendations contained in the report on small arms, which was approved unanimously by the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms; bearing in mind the views of Member States on the recommendations." As a result of these caveats, which they had opposed, Britain and the United States withdrew their co-sponsorship, although they still voted in favour of the resolution as a whole

Paragraph vote called by France on PP5, which reaffirms the right of self determination, particularly 'peoples under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation' - 120:0:23 (UNGA: 139:0:21)
Abstainers included Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, El Salvador, France, Georgia, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Paraguay, Russia, Spain, Sweden, FYRO Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, UK, US, Uruguay.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 14 November: 137:0:8
UNGA: 158:0:6
Abstainers in the First Committee included Bahrain, Israel, Mongolia, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE
The United Kingdom said that it strongly supported the work of the Panel of Experts on Small Arms, but did not wish to see the caveat in OP1 and regretted the changes. Likewise, the United States said the amendment had 'muddied' the endorsement in OP1. The US also said that it had abstained on PP5 because the mention of self determination was inappropriate in this context, and not because it disagreed with the principle. Pakistan said that it had only been able to vote for the resolution because the co-sponsors had accepted its amendments. Singapore drew attention to PP4 on self defence and PP5 on self determination and wanted the main focus of small arms control to be on the illicit arms trade. Mexico and Brazil endorsed, subject to getting the opinion of their own experts, since they had not been able to participate in the Panel. Algeria said that its vote in favour did not mean it endorsed the recommendations of the Panel, which would have to be studied by experts in Algeria. China did not take part in the vote on PP5 but said that it had voted for the resolution as a whole. Russia and Israel objected to PP5, saying it was inappropriate and changed the nature of the resolution, resulting in their abstaining rather than voting for the whole. Cuba, on the other hand, said that the revisions had persuaded it to vote for the resolution. Similarly, Egypt voted in favour, after abstaining in 1995. Egypt also emphasised that small arms did not mean 'primitive', but could be highly sophisticated, and that the issue of small arms should not be addressed in a 'selective' manner.

L.28/Rev.1 (UNGA 52/38 K)
Nuclear disarmament with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons
Introduced by Japan.
The most moderate of the resolutions dealing with nuclear disarmament, supported for the first time by all the nuclear powers, Japan's traditional resolution welcomed reductions accomplished so far and backed implementation of the NPT, especially the decisions adopted in 1995. With particular reference to the measures identified in the 1995 programme of action (including the CTBT and fissile materials ban), the resolution called for the 'determined pursuit by the nuclear weapon States of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons, and by all States of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control...' The resolution emphasised the responsibility of all States in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation of WMD and called for the UN to be kept informed of the progress and efforts made.
Pakistan submitted five amendments (L.48). Two raised concerns about the NWS modernising their nuclear arsenals and intending to retain their nuclear weapons 'indefinitely'. Pakistan also wanted to emphasise article VI of the NPT and call on the NWS and military alliances to 'renounce the policy of nuclear deterrence and...agree to the prohibition of nuclear weapons and their progressive dismantling and elimination' and to undertake step by step reductions with a view to the total elimination of nuclear weapons 'within a time-bound framework'.
After intensive consultations between Pakistan and Japan, Pakistan finally agreed to withdraw its amendments and abstain on the resolution, so it went forward on the final day of the First Committee.
Paragraph vote called by India on PP9, which welcomed the CTBT - 141:1:4 (UNGA: 162:1:3)
India voted against; Bhutan, Libya, Syria and Tanzania abstained in the First Committee.
Paragraph vote called by India on OP1, which urges all States to accede to the NPT - 142:3:1 (UNGA: 161:3:2)
India, Israel and Pakistan voted against; Cuba abstained in the First Committee.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 17 November: 130:0:9
UNGA: 156:0:10
Abstainers in the First Committee were Algeria, Cuba, DPRK, India, Iran, Israel, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan.
Pakistan spoke against the resolution saying that it was mis-named, because it dealt with non-proliferation rather than nuclear disarmament. Recognising that Japan's experience with Hiroshima and Nagasaki should impel it to take the lead on this issue, Pakistan said that the resolution had been diluted so much, in order to get the support of the NWS, that it was tantamount to 'an alibi for their continued policies' of nuclear deterrence and nuclear warfighting doctrines based on threat and use and therefore was not 'conducive to its ostensible objectives'. Pakistan thanked the many delegations - including China - which had supported its amendments in L.48. Cuba abstained because the resolution placed all its emphasis on a selective and discriminatory treaty. China said it voted in favour of this resolution for the first time, noting that 'this draft is an improvement over past years... more comprehensive and balanced'. China said it had also supported the NAM-backed resolution (L.29) on nuclear disarmament and hoped that Japan and Myanmar could combine their resolutions in the future. Mexico voted for the resolution, but said that it would have voted for Pakistan's amendments as well, had they been put to the vote, because they would have strengthened the resolution. Bangladesh said it supported the resolution as a step forward but would have like to have seen a stronger thrust on nuclear disarmament than the current language. Iran preferred Myanmar's draft (L.29) but supported Japan's as well. Algeria supported L.29 and abstained on Japan's draft.

L.29 (UNGA 52/38 L)
Nuclear Disarmament
(Time-Bound Framework)
Introduced by Myanmar and co-sponsored by a large number of NAM countries.
Recognised the 'complementarity of bilateral and multilateral negotiations' but said that 'bilateral negotiations can never replace multilateral negotiations'. Called on the NWS to 'stop immediately the qualitative improvement, development, production and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems' and urged the CD to establish an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament 'to commence negotiations early in 1998 on a phased programme of nuclear disarmament and for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework through a nuclear weapons convention.'

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: 97:39:17
UNGA: 109:39:18
Supported mainly by NAM States and China. Opposed mainly by NATO States, including US, UK, France and Israel. Abstentions included Russia, Japan, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Ukraine, South Korea, Marshall Islands, several former Soviet States.
China said it supported the thrust and objectives of the NAM view, since they share opposition to the policy of nuclear deterrence and all want a treaty for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons, as with chemical and biological weapons, at an early date. While it was 'sympathetic with the aims' of the resolution, Japan abstained, because it failed to mention the NPT and was not supported by all the NWS. Chile supported much of the resolution but abstained because it thought that some aspects, especially 'rigid timetables' would impede progress on nuclear disarmament.

L.30 (UNGA 52/31)
Verification in all its aspects, including the role of the United Nations in the field of verification
Introduced by Canada.
Reaffirmed support for the sixteen principles of verification and the 'critical importance of, and the vital contribution that has been made by, effective verification measures in arms limitation and disarmament agreements...'

FIRST COMMITTEE, 11 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.31 (UNGA 52/32)
Objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures
Introduced by Germany.
On the premise that 'a better flow of objective information on military matters can help to relieve international tension and contribute to the building of confidence among States and to the conclusion of concrete disarmament agreements', the resolution supported the guidelines for the UN system on standardised reporting of military expenditures' and called on all member States to report on their annual military expenditure by 30 April.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 11 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus
Pakistan argued that the grounds for transparency were specious, since specifying a percentage of budgets was meaningless when set against security requirements vis-à-vis larger and richer neighbouring countries.

L.32/Rev.1 (UNGA 52/38 M)
Bilateral nuclear arms negotiations and nuclear disarmament
Introduced by the United States, with co-sponsorship from France, Russia and the UK, as well as various NATO and former Soviet States.
Endorsed the major agreements on nuclear arms control between the US and Russia and encouraged the two largest nuclear powers to continue their efforts and to keep the UN States informed of their progress. Among the measures listed were START I and II, the INF Treaty, the Helsinki agreements in March 1997, as well as the agreements concluded on 26 September, 1997 such as the protocol to START II, the Joint Agreed Statement, Letters on Early Deactivation and agreements with former Soviet States relating to the ABM Treaty. The resolution 'urges the Russian Federation and the United States of America to commence negotiations on a START III agreement immediately after START II enters into force' on the basis of the Helsinki understandings.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: 147:0:8
UNGA: 161:0:8
Though the only NWS not to be a co-sponsor, China voted in favour. Abstainers were Cuba, DPRK, India, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Tanzania. India complained that this resolution was about nuclear arms control, not nuclear disarmament. India raised concerns about sub-critical testing and the weaponisation of space and advocated multilaterally verifiable de-alerting measures as past of multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament. Pakistan voted for, but called for the Conference on Disarmament to be kept informed of bilateral progress.

L.33/Rev.2 (UNGA 52/30)
Compliance with arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements
Introduced by the United States with cross-group co-sponsorship.
Raised concerns about the deleterious effects of non-compliance and weakening of confidence in agreements and urged all States to 'implement and comply with the entirety of all provisions' of all arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements to which they are Parties. Also encouraged the development of additional cooperative measures and verification experiments and research for enhancing confidence in the effectiveness of verification procedures.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus
China joined the consensus but expressed reservations.

L.34/Rev.1 (UNGA 52/48)
Development of good-neighbourly relations among Balkan States
Introduced by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and co-sponsored by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Hungary, the EU countries, the US and others.
Emphasised the importance for all Balkan States to promote mutual cooperation and joint activities and to support the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The resolution also affirmed 'the need for strict compliance with the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity or political independence, the inviolability of international borders and non-intervention...'

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.35 (UNGA 52/38 N)
Nuclear-Weapon-Free Southern Hemisphere and adjacent areas
Introduced by Brazil, co-sponsored mostly by the countries within the region.
Called for full ratification of the treaties and relevant protocols of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Bangkok and Pelindaba, welcomes initiatives on further NWFZ, and stresses the 'value of enhancing cooperation among the NWFZ treaty members by means of mechanisms such as joint meetings of States parties, signatories and observers to those treaties.' The resolution called on States within the region to 'promote the nuclear-weapon-free status' of the southern hemisphere and adjacent areas' and to explore and implement further cooperation among themselves. It stressed the role of NWFZ in 'strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and in extending the areas of the world that are nuclear free' and referring especially to the NWS, called for support for 'the process of nuclear disarmament, with the ultimate goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons'.
Paragraph vote called by India on OP3, which welcomed initiatives on other NWFZ proposals, including the Middle East and South Asia - 130:1:9 (UNGA: 159:1:4) India voted against. Abstainers in the First Committee were Israel, Cuba, Finland, South Korea, Estonia, Bhutan, Armenia, Vietnam, Slovakia.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: 109:4:36
UNGA: 131:3:34
France, UK, US voted against (Liberia, a co-sponsor, voted in error in the First Committee). Abstentions included Japan, NATO and former Soviet countries, although Canada voted in favour.
Despite acknowledging 'improvements' in the resolution's reference to the applicable principles and rules of international law relating to rights of passage through maritime space, the United States, on behalf also of the UK and France, voted no because it considered that the real thrust of the resolution was to 'prepare the ground for the whole Southern Hemisphere, i.e. the high seas, to become a NWFZ.' China voted in favour and said that it has not yet ratified the protocols of the S.E. Asia NWFZ, because of pending issues which it hopes can be resolved. China stressed that the geographical scope should not cover Continental Shelves or areas in dispute. India voted against OP3 because of its reference to a NWFZ in S.Asia, which India has long opposed. Because of this reference, India abstained on the whole resolution. Israel abstained, re-stating its position on the formation of NWFZs on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States concerned.

L.36/Rev.1 (UNGA 52/43)
Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region
Introduced by Algeria, with co-sponsorship from the EU and others.
With its new paragraph, 'noting the peace negotiations in the Middle East, which should be of a comprehensive nature and represent an appropriate framework for the peaceful settlement of contentious issues in the region', the resolution reaffirmed that security in the Mediterranean is closely linked to European and international security and called on all States in the region to adhere to all multilaterally negotiated disarmament and non-proliferation instruments and cooperate in combating terrorism, crime, illicit arms and drug trafficking.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 13 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.37* (UNGA 52/38 O)
Advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons
(Nuclear Weapon Convention) Introduced by Malaysia, with co-sponsorship from over 50 NAM countries.
Recalling the 8 July 1996 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, called for multilateral negotiations to commence in 1998 'leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination.' The resolution also requested all States to report back to the UN on 'the efforts and measures they have taken on the implementation of the present resolution and nuclear disarmament'.
Paragraph vote requested by Chile on PP10, which emphasised that the CD should 'commence negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework of time' - 99:34:17 (UNGA: No paragraph vote taken)
Paragraph vote requested by Canada on OP1, which underlined 'the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control' - 139:5:9 (UNGA: 152:5:6)
The five votes against were from France, Israel, Monaco, Russia and the United States. Abstainers were: UK, Bulgaria, Georgia, South Korea, Tajikistan and Turkey. The rest of the NATO countries and former Soviet States joined the NAM in voting in favour. The UK switched its vote from no in 1996 to abstention in 1997. Russia switched its vote from abstention in 1996 to no in 1997.
Paragraph vote requested on OP2, which called for negotiations leading to a nuclear weapon convention - 96:34:23 (UNGA: 106:34:24) Mainly NAM countries (including Chile and South Africa) plus China and New Zealand voted in favour. Abstainers included Japan, Ireland, Sweden, Ukraine, Finland, and a number of former Soviet countries. NATO countries plus Russia were solidly opposed.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: 103:26:24
UNGA: 116:26:24
In favour were the majority of NAM States, plus Argentina, China, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, Sweden, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Against the resolution (mainly NATO and would-be NATO): France, Russia, UK, USA, Albania, Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, TFYR Macedonia, Turkey. Abstainers included Japan, Benin, Norway, Denmark, Finland, South Korea, and several former Soviet States such as Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
Speaking before the vote, the UK said that it was committed to the goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons and would press for 'mutual, balanced and verifiable reductions in nuclear weapons', but would vote against the resolution because of its 'selectivity' and 'unrealistic call' for multilateral negotiations. In announcing that it would abstain on OP1, however, the UK used the same argument it had used in 1996 to justify voting against, objecting that 'the draft resolution contains highly selective quotations from the Court's advisory opinion'. The US said it was totally opposed to the resolution, which was accused of 'misrepresenting article VI of the NPT'. A number of countries, including Argentina, Canada, Japan, Germany, Greece and Belgium gave reasons why they voted for OP1 but opposed or abstained on the resolution as a whole. Japan said it was more important to negotiate a FMCT than a nuclear weapon convention at this stage. Sweden said that it would vote in favour of the whole resolution because it backed all initiatives, unilateral, plurilateral and multilateral, to achieve nuclear disarmament. South Africa appreciated the re-stating of the position on a 'phased programme... with a specified framework of time' and said it would support the resolution.

L.38 (UNGA 52/35)
Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South Asia
Introduced by Pakistan, co-sponsored by Bangladesh.
Noting the support of all five NWS for the proposal, the resolution called on the States of South Asia to 'continue to make all possible efforts to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South Asia and to refrain, in the meantime, from any action contrary to that objective.'

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: 139:3:8
UNGA: 153:3:8
India, Bhutan and Mauritius voted against. Abstainers included Afghanistan, Cuba, Cyprus, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam. India gave its reasons for opposing, saying that the resolution did not take into account the views of all the States in the region. Israel reiterated its views on NWFZ being freely arrived at among the countries concerned but voted in favour.

L.39/Rev.1 (UNGA 52/38 P)
Regional disarmament
(South Asia)
Introduced by Pakistan.
Recognising the importance of confidence-building measures for regional and international peace and security, the resolution affirmed that 'global and regional approaches to disarmament complement each other and should therefore be pursued simultaneously to promote regional and international peace and security.' This was regarded by India as the 'least objectionable' of the resolutions relating primarily to South Asia (implied but unstated).

FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus

L.40 (UNGA 52/38 Q)
Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels
Introduced by Pakistan.
Commented that the 'preservation of a balance in the defence capabilities of States at the lowest level of armaments would contribute to peace and stability', that 'militarily significant States and States with larger military capabilities have a special responsibility in promoting... agreements for regional security', and that an important objective of conventional arms control should be to avoid aggression and prevent the possibility of military attack. The resolution requested the CD to consider the formulation of principles on regional and conventional arms control.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 11 November: 153:1:2

UNGA: 164:1:2
India voted against. Cuba and Libya abstained

L.41 (UNGA 52/36)
Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons
(Negative Security Assurances)
Introduced by Pakistan.
Called for 'early agreement on effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons' and recommends that the CD should 'actively continue intensive negotiations' on this.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: 107:0:48
UNGA: 116:0:51
Supporters were mostly NAM countries, Japan and China. Abstainers included NATO and EU, Russia, Argentina, Israel, South Africa.

L.42/Rev.1 (UNGA 52/40 C)
Role of the UN in disarmament
Introduced by Pakistan.
Stressed that the basis for UN work on disarmament should be the 1978 UNSSOD I decalogue, reaffirmed the role of the CD as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, and opposed compliance mechanisms which were not established or envisaged in treaties (such as export controls). Following pressure, the co-sponsors deleted the first paragraph of an earlier draft, which had read: 'Having carefully considered the report of the Secretary-General entitled 'Renewing the United Nations: a programme for reform' and the proposals contained therein concerning the restructuring of the United Nations Secretariat dealing with disarmament'. Removal of this paragraph, which clearly showed the resolution's purpose of objecting to the UN reform programme's approach to disarmament and arms control issues, persuaded more States to vote for what appeared to be a general re-affirmation of the priorities and structures established in 1978.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 14 November: 93:42:9
UNGA: 111:49:12
In favour were mostly NAM countries, Russia and China. The EU, US, South Africa, and New Zealand were among the no-votes. Abstainers included Canada, Japan, Argentina, and a number of East European countries.
Luxembourg, for the EU, shared the views expressed by Australia and the United States, that even though the explicit reference to the UN reforms had been deleted, the subtext of the resolution was to ignore post-1978 changes and mandates and to pre-empt the larger debate on UN reform. New Zealand called the resolution 'backward-looking' and South Africa said it endeavoured to maintain the status-quo. Welcoming the dropping of the explicit criticism of UN reform, Russia voted in favour, as did China, which said it wanted to improve the role and status of the UN disarmament machinery. Kenya and Ghana said they voted yes because once the first paragraph had been deleted, there was no conflict between this resolution and ongoing reform.

L.43 (UN Res 52/38 R)
Transparency in armaments
(UN Register of Conventional Arms)
Introduced by the Netherlands with wide co-sponsorship, including the EU countries, East Europeans, Russia, the USA, and many NAM countries in Africa, Asia and South America.
Reaffirmed the importance of the effective operation of the UN Register of Conventional Arms and called on all States to provide the required information. The resolution supported further development of the Register, pending which it invited states to 'provide additional information on procurement from national production and military holdings'. Advocated the convening of a group of governmental experts in 2000 and for continued work in the CD.
Paragraph vote on OP5(b), which requested that a group of governmental experts be set up in 2000 to report on the continuing operation and development of the Register - 127:0:8 (UNGA: 153:0:9)
Abstentions included China, DPRK, Iran, Lebanon, Mexico, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Paragraph vote on OP7, which invited the CD to consider continuing its work on transparency in armaments - 123:0:14 (UNGA: 151:0:15) Abstentions included Algeria, China, Cuba, DPRK, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Syria.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 14 November: 132:0:10
UNGA: 155:0:11
Abstentions included Algeria, Cuba, DPRK, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Mexico, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
China said that it voted in favour of the whole but abstained on the two paragraph votes because it had difficulties with 'unified transparency measures' that did not take into account national security differences. Egypt argued that it had supported transparency in armaments resolutions from 1991 to 1993, but was forced to abstain because unless transparency was expanded to WMD, the problems with Israel's nuclear programme mean that the register and measures do not serve Egypt's security interests. Egypt also expressed disappointment that the co-sponsors had gone to a vote rather than continuing to seek an accommodation which might have enabled the resolution to gain consensus. Syria, Myanmar, Iran, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia explained why they had abstained, arguing that transparency in armaments as currently conceived was selective, and should not be taken up in the CD unless nuclear disarmament and transparency in nuclear weapons were also addressed, since these pose a greater security threat, especially in some regions.

L.44/Rev 1 (UNGA 52/38 S)
Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia
Introduced by Uzbekistan and co-sponsored by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
This resolution, which had been withdrawn by its co-sponsors in 1996, called on all States to support the initiative of the States in the region to establish a NWFZ in Central Asia. It referred to the Almaty Declaration of 28 February, 1997, signed by the respective foreign ministers in Tashkent on 15 September, 1997, and looked forward to a consultative meeting to be held in Bishkek in 1998, and requested assistance from the UN Secretary General 'within existing resources'.

FIRST COMMITTEE, 10 November: consensus
UNGA: consensus
The United States said it had been 'pleased to join consensus', but set some conditions for the proposed NWFZ, commenting that 'the devil is in the detail'. Israel reiterated its position on the necessity for the establishment of NWFZ to be freely arrived at by the States within the region.

L.45 (UNGA 52/38 T)
Status of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction
(CWC) Introduced by Canada and co-sponsored, as is traditional, by Poland. Welcomed the entry into force of the CWC on 29 April 1997 with 87 original States Parties, noted the subsequent 17 additional States Parties, and emphasised the necessity of universal adherence and effective verification. The resolution stressed the importance to the CWC of full adherence by all possessors of chemical weapons, production or development facilities, as well as previously declared possessor States.
FIRST COMMITTEE, 12 November: consensus

UNGA: consensus
Syria, on behalf of the group of Arab States, said that they would have abstained if there had been a vote, giving the non-universality of the NPT and Israel's nuclear programme as a reason why Arab States have not joined the CWC. Egypt emphasised this argument and said that it had not participated in the consensus. Israel reiterated its call for all States in the region to adhere to the CWC. Pakistan said it had joined consensus but was concerned about the revelations concerning India's chemical weapons programme and the conditions of the CWC's entry into force.

Rationalisation of the work and reform of the agenda of the First Committee
This revised draft decision, which was intended to have been submitted by the Chair of the Committee, was withdrawn on 17 November after Pakistan proposed amendments. Saying that he had hoped the revised resolution would obtain consensus, the Chair, Ambassador Mothusi D.C. Nkgowe of Botswana said that time had run out for seeking consensus, and the resolution would have to be withdrawn and addressed elsewhere.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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