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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 31, October 1998

UN First Committee General Debate

United Nations First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), General Debate, 12-21 October 1998

Editor's notes: the Committee agreed on its Programme of Work (A.C.1/53/CRP.1) on 17 September. The Committee's schedule (Summarised in UN Press Release GA/DIS/3105) is as follows: general debate, 12-21 October; "exchange of views on the rationalization of work and reform of the Committee's agenda," 21 October; "thematic discussion of specific disarmament and international security items and consideration of all draft resolutions submitted under those items," 23 October-2 November; action on draft resolutions, 3-13 November. Coverage of the Committee's deliberations will continue in the next issue.

The Chair of the Committee is Andre Mernier of Belgium.

With the exception of the opening statement in the General Debate by the UN Secretary-General, the extracts below are taken from official UN summaries which utilize the speakers' words as much as possible.

UN Secretary-General

Opening Statement by Kofi Annan, 12 October

"As you know, I decided last year to re-establish the Department for Disarmament Affairs with an Under-Secretary-General as its head. I was very pleased that the General Assembly supported that decision. I am glad also that it acted on my recommendation to review the work of the Disarmament Commission, and of this Committee. I know you plan to update, streamline and revitalize your work, and I look forward eagerly to the results. ...

It is sometimes said that weapons do not kill: people do. And it is true that in recent years some horrific acts of violence have been committed without recourse to sophisticated weapons. ...

Small arms are used to inflict death or injury on thousands upon thousands of civilians every year. ... So disarmament has to concern itself with small weapons, as well as large. I am glad that the international community is now coming to realize this.

Let me salute, in particular, the moratorium initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the trade and manufacture of small arms, and the recent entry into force of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of, and Trafficking in, Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials. (Perhaps what we need next is a Convention Limiting the Length of the Titles of International Agreements!) ...

We must be thankful that so many Member States have signed and ratified the Ottawa Convention - a global ban on landmines - which will enter into force next March; and we must now work hard to make this ban universal.

At the same time, we cannot afford to slacken our efforts to contain the proliferation of larger weapons, and especially of weapons of mass destruction. It would be the height of folly to take for granted that such weapons are too terrible ever to be used, and that States will keep them only as a deterrent. ... As long as States have such weapons at their disposal, there will always be the risk that sooner or later they resort to using them. And there is the ever-present risk that they will escape from the control of States and fall into the hands of terrorists.

That is why we must intensify our efforts to expand the membership of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, and to make observance of them more verifiable.

And that is why we must be concerned about the nuclear tests carried out by India and Pakistan this year. Of course, I warmly welcome the declarations of intent to adhere to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), made here in the General Assembly by the Prime Ministers of those two States.

We must all work to ensure that that Treaty enters into force as soon as possible. But we must also work to finish the job of promoting universal adherence to all the key treaties on weapons of mass destruction, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). And we must bear in mind that the long-term sustainability of that Treaty depends on all parties working seriously to implement all its articles. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3108, 12 October.

Algeria

Abdullah Baali, 13 October

"The argument that nuclear disarmament was the sole domain of bilateral negotiations had shown its limitations. Indeed, recent reality had confirmed that the only appropriate framework through which to negotiate nuclear disarmament was offered by multilateral negotiating forums. ...

[T]he causes of competition between the nuclear-weapon States and the so-called 'threshold States' should be avoided. The laboratory simulations to upgrade nuclear weapons should cease. Furthermore, all States should commit themselves to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and pursue nuclear disarmament negotiations in good faith leading to verifiable international measures. … [O]nly negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament could lead to the elimination, once and for all, of apocalyptic weapons. In order to give that body new impetus, his country had created a special committee aimed at banning the production of fissile material for weapons purposes. That initiative had allowed for further reflection and the emergence of new proposals. ...

The establishment in the Conference of an ad hoc committee to consider negative security assurances …was...welcome... Recent…developments should prompt the Committee to look seriously into that question, which should be reviewed globally through an international convention drawn up by the Conference. … [T]he establishment and consolidation of nuclear-weapon-free zones should be encouraged... His country was the third African State to ratify the Pelindaba Treaty. Yet, it was still profoundly concerned about the proximity and density of links between Africa and the Middle East and the absence of progress regarding the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East. ...

... While the convening of a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament had been the subject of careful study, there had been no tangible progress to that end, despite last year's consensus resolution on the question. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3109, 13 October.

Argentina

Fernando Enrique Petrella, 15 October

"[Argentina] was the first to master the circle of nuclear fuel early in the decade, yet it had opted for self-restraint. The tests by India and Pakistan had raised concerns and it was, therefore, encouraging that both countries had pledged to soon accede to the CTBT. His Government was also following the situation in Iraq closely. It appealed to Iraq to cooperate with United Nations efforts to destroy its weapons of mass destruction...

The most notable development in the sphere of conventional weapons was the entry into force of the Ottawa Convention... His Government had already initiated the process of ratifying the Treaty. In his region, a security system that was based on conflict prevention, cooperation and confidence-building was being established. His country had invited other governments in the region to join a dialogue on confidence-building, strengthening transparency in military budgets and expenditures, and greater cooperation in defence and security. Recent regional conferences on confidence-building and security in Santiago, Chile, in 1995, and in San Salvador in 1998, had promoted inter-American cooperation…

[Argentina] was in the process of approving the Inter-American Convention Against...Illicit [Arms] Trafficking... That Convention had been elaborated by the Organization of American States (OAS). In April 1998, the States of the region had pledged to ratify that instrument and to progress towards a single mechanism for registering the buyers and sellers of those weapons and related materials. In addition, his country supported the proposal to make its region a zone of peace and a zone free of landmines. … Such a zone would eventually encompass all of the countries in the western hemisphere."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3111, 15 October.

Armenia

Christine Simone, 20 October

"[Armenia] called for States to continue to abide by the safeguards system of the IAEA. Her country had become the first State with an operating power plant to sign the protocol additional to its safeguards agreement...

Her Government had joined the Chemical Weapons Convention with an underlying commitment towards strengthening regional stability... Unfortunately, Armenia and Georgia were the only two States in their region to take that step. ...

[Armenia] considered the Ottawa Convention an important step forward in the elimination of one category of excessively injurious conventional weapons. However, to assume legally binding obligations, her country expected a clear and observed readiness and reciprocity from its neighbours in the region. Her Government was concerned by Azerbaijan's reluctance to accede to the Convention. The existence of a large amount of landmines along Armenia's borders with Azerbaijan was a great source of concern which must be addressed.

[T]he [CFE] Treaty was an essential instrument to guarantee stability in the region and prevent large-scale conventional attacks. Despite the major role and stability the CFE Treaty had provided, States still flagrantly violated the Treaty. For example, Azerbaijan considerably exceeded its Treaty limitations in three ground categories..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3115, 20 October

Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Mya Than (Myanmar), speaking on behalf of the seven member States of ASEAN (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam), 16 October

"[ASEAN] called on all States, especially the nuclear-weapon States, to conclude negotiations on effective measures of nuclear disarmament, leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. He reiterated the Association's call to begin multilateral negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a phased programme of progressive and balanced reductions of nuclear weapons, within a specified framework of time through a nuclear weapons convention. ...

[ASEAN] also called for the convening of an international conference at an early date to reach agreement on a phased programme to prohibit the development, testing, production, acquisition, stockpiling, loan, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons... [ASEAN] supported and encouraged efforts to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones throughout the world and welcomed the ongoing consultations between the States parties to the treaty of Bangkok and the nuclear-weapon States. He hoped the nuclear-weapon States would sign and ratify the proposed protocol as soon as possible. ... [ASEAN] stressed the importance of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 8 July 1996. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3113, 16 October.

Australia

John Campbell, 13 October

"[Some people argued] that the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in May had changed the parameters of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament fundamentally - pointing the world away from arms control and disarmament and towards arms races and the risk of nuclear war. … [H]is country did not share such 'apocalyptic visions'. For one, it did not minimize the remarkable achievements of recent decades, which had resulted in the conclusion of many bilateral, regional and international arms control agreements. For another, it strongly believed that remarkable progress could be made on both non-proliferation and disarmament, despite existing tensions. ...

In the face of periodic setbacks, it was vitally important that the international community 'stay the course' on arms control and disarmament... The international community must now examine the ways in which to contribute to the peace and security needs of South Asia... The approach should help those countries dispel the view that they needed a nuclear deterrent. The global community had to repair the damage done to the international non-proliferation regime...

[T]he third meeting next April of the Preparatory Committee of the next NPT Review Conference would be a critical step towards enabling the non-proliferation regime to address the most challenging period in its 30-year history. Those challenges had resulted from India's and Pakistan's nuclear tests, as well as from Iraq's attempts to undermine the authority of the United Nations Special... In addition, recent actions by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had jeopardized the 1994 agreed framework it signed with the United States.

Concerning efforts to elaborate a verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention... [h]is country emphasized a strong verification machinery, including an appropriate system of visits to facilities. It was important to build into the regime international confidence and transparency.

Given the large number of producers and users of anti-personnel landmines that remained outside the Ottawa Convention, the Conference on Disarmament should negotiate a ban on the transfer of those weapons..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3109, 13 October.

Bahrain

Abdul Rahman Hashem, 20 October

"The Israeli position, namely its refusal to subscribe to the NPT and its rejection of the safeguards and regulations of the IAEA, had compelled other countries to develop those weapons, thereby generating a perilous arms race. His country, therefore, called on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to accede to the NPT. ...

In an appeal against terrorism, [Bahrain] had specifically called for a convention that would prohibit nuclear terrorism. It also had supported the convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament...

As a supporter of the landmines ban...[Bahrain] had endorsed the Ottawa Convention. ... The feasibility of a convention to prohibit the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons should also be explored..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3116, 20 October

Bangladesh

Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, 12 October

"The NPT, which called for the elimination of nuclear weapons, was initiated in 1968. Yet, today, the international community remained unable to agree on the time-bound elimination of nuclear weapons. Substantive negotiations on total and comprehensive nuclear disarmament should commence immediately in the Conference on Disarmament. Also, a conference in the near future on all aspects of the illicit arms trade would be an important step. In that respect, the joint initiative of Canada and Norway to hold an informal session in the United Nations on the dangers posed by small arms was commendable.

He called for an early convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament. ... Strengthening United Nations competence in the field of disarmament would require effective coordination among the First Committee, the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission... The non-governmental organizations concerned with the subject could also play a significant role in promoting global disarmament. The efforts of civil society could be put to much better use through effective coordination with the United Nations. He was pleased with the...establishment of the Department of Disarmament Affairs and wanted it to play a very active role in disarmament. That could be done, in part, by activating the regional centres for peace and disarmament. The Centre in Asia and the Pacific, for example, should move to the region and not operate from Headquarters."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3107, 12 October.

Belarus

Aleg Laptsenak, 16 October

"Most Member States questioned the validity of forceful intervention or the involvement of certain geopolitical factors in conflict settlement. Missiles were excellent technology, but they rated zero as a contribution to politics.

[H]is country's proposal to establish an international fund to assist countries whose economies suffered disproportionately when they attempted conventional weapons elimination measures had international support. It might result in the establishment of a global demilitarization fund. There should be more efficient international control over the export of small arms, in particular to regions of conflict. While every State had the right to choose the means to ensure its national security, it was inadmissible to ensure security at the expense of others. He was concerned, for example, by the destabilizing effects of expanding the boundaries of a military alliance.

Belarus had drastically reduced its armed forces and military arsenal. He urged all States to support the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free space in the centre of Europe, which would become an integral part of Europe's comprehensive security architecture. ...

The concept of making an act of premeditated harm to the environment a crime against peace and security should be considered... He supported the convening of a special session of the Assembly devoted to disarmament, with an agenda that would strike a balance between conventional and nuclear disarmament issues and concentrate on international security priorities..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3113, 16 October.

Benin

Samuel Amehou, 16 October

"[Benin] supported a peaceful settlement of all conflicts and the revitalization of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa. ... [Benin] welcome[d]...the imminent entry into force on 1 March 1999 of the Ottawa Convention. It was regrettable, however, that the combatants in many wars continued to use those barbaric weapons, which several years after the end of hostilities spread devastation and poverty. ...

The recent nuclear tests by India and Pakistan had been a brutal reminder that the world was still not free from the risk of nuclear annihilation... As such, the General Assembly should advance innovative ideas and new concepts aimed at binding mankind to the true path of general and complete disarmament. It was disconcerting to know that certain States continued to stockpile and develop chemical and biological weapons. ...

[Benin] had actively participated in efforts to establish the...ECOWAS moratorium on the export, import and production of small arms. Those laudable efforts should be supported by the world community through sustained systems to demobilize and reintegrate former combatants from Sierra Leone and Liberia. The small arms and weapons should be collected and repurchased in order to ensure their effective destruction. It was only through such bold action that the international community could help the region."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3112, 16 October

Botswana

Tebelelo A. Boang, 16 October

"Non-nuclear-weapon States, particularly those party to the NPT, had made a large contribution to non-proliferation and disarmament. Therefore, they deserved better than 'being perceived as potential rogue States to be kept in check with the threat or use of nuclear weapons'. ...

It had become abundantly clear that the flow of light weapons to developing countries was not only encouraged by the demand for those weapons, but was also a product of 'blinded conscience whose only concern is positive returns on this deadly commercial venture'. International arms merchants were, indeed, a cause for concern. His country would continue to contribute to stemming the illicit flow of small arms by restricting their possession and use to institutions charged with maintaining national security."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3113, 16 October.

Brazil

Celso Amorim, 13 October

"[S]ignificant progress had been made in the area of conventional weapons through the fulfilment, on 17 September, of the conditions for the entry into force of the Ottawa Convention. ...

The process of small-arms control was greatly enhanced with the adoption of the Inter-American Convention... Reference should also be made to the initiatives undertaken by various African countries, led by Mali, South Africa and Mozambique, and the agreements in that field reached by subregional organizations. His Government favoured the convening of an international conference on the illicit trade of small arms.

In the dreadful area of weapons of mass destruction, the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] had made good progress in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention... The number of States that had joined that instrument had increased from 87 to 117. His Government had participated with fellow Latin American and Caribbean countries in establishing a national authority, which oversaw more than 8,000 industrial establishments. ... Similarly, strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention was particularly important...

His Government condemned all nuclear tests and urged the nuclear-capable States to join the CTBT. Having renounced the nuclear option, his country persisted in efforts to prohibit those weapons. As an interim measure, it also strove to limit the geographical scope of the nuclear menace through the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones. Once again, a group of like-minded countries would table a draft resolution in the Committee on a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas.

Brazil's National Congress approved its accession to the NPT, thereby mandating the Government to pursue the objective of nuclear disarmament... His Government had also participated in the joint declaration of foreign ministers of 9 June, which launched the quest for a new agenda in the area of nuclear disarmament. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3109, 13 October.

Brunei Darussalam

Pengiran Maidin Pengiran Hashim, 15 October

"[T]he establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in various parts of the world was a positive measure... His country welcomed proposals for the creation of additional zones in such areas as Central Asia and Europe. ...

Over the years, the international community had made tremendous efforts to tackle the problem posed by the illicit transfer of arms. His country believed that the problem could be best addressed by the building of a global consensus, on such issues as monitoring and controlling the transfer of small arms, and the inherent link with the traffic in other contraband products. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3111, 15 October.

Burkina Faso

Michel Kafando, 16 October

"[N]umerous and important disarmament initiatives had been undertaken, but the most important event at the beginning of the current Assembly session was the announcement of the imminent entry into force of the Ottawa Convention. ... With respect to the devastating effects of landmines throughout the world, especially in Africa, his country was the fortieth State to ratify the treaty, thereby enabling its entry into force. ...

Also of concern was the phenomenon of small arms and light weapons... Countries paid a heavy price for their uncontrolled circulation. As a consequence, the moratorium on the export, import and production of small arms was essential. … In addition to respecting the moratorium, the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity...had promised to gather information from members on the breadth of the scourge and on the implementation of measures already undertaken. Of great importance in that regard was the strengthening and operation of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Lomé, Togo. The member States of the OAU were making the fight against the production, dissemination and utilization of light arms an 'absolute priority'. It was a gigantic endeavour which required the support of the international community."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3112, 16 October

Cameroon

Martin Belinga-Eboutou, 15 October

"His country supported the convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, as was proposed by the recent summit meeting of Non-Aligned Movement... In addition, attention must be drawn to the proliferation and illicit traffic in small arms. … It was important in that regard to underline the situation in Central Africa. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3111, 15 October.

Canada

Marc Vidricaire, 15 October

"[I]n 1998, the world had experienced a profound test of the strength of the nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation regime. In that regard, the three fundamental global treaties must be defended, namely the NPT, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention. Those instruments were complemented by the CTBT and by nuclear-weapon-free zones. ...

The [START]...process...must be vigorous... Currently, however, that process was at a standstill. His country had a fundamental and a clear security interest to see START II ratified and implemented, as well as to see the START process continue. ... The other three nuclear-weapon States should join the START process in the near future.

A [fissile materials] treaty...was now being negotiated in the [CD]... While there was no agreement that stocks should be part of an eventual treaty, that vital issue should not be ignored. There were an estimated 2,000 metric tons of plutonium and highly enriched uranium in stockpiles - enough material for 100,000 nuclear warheads. His country called for a moratorium on fissile material production for the duration of the treaty negotiations. Further, those States with weapons-useable fissile material should take progressive steps to irreversibly remove it.

[I]t was time for the Conference to heed the call for the establishment of a subsidiary body aimed at substantive discussions on nuclear disarmament. Its creation would reflect faith in the international security regime and promote its vitality. ...

The growing global commitment to human security was nowhere clearer than in the common effort to eliminate anti-personnel landmines... His country was committed to working with friends and partners to universalize the Ottawa Convention and to ensure that demining and victim assistance efforts were fully funded and sustained. ...

[T]he insecurity and human suffering caused by the proliferation and vast accumulations of small arms and light weapons was troubling. Those were legitimate weapons used by States for legitimate purposes. Yet, huge quantities seemed to have moved unchecked between regions and have fallen into the wrong hands. Ensuring regional stability involved three steps: transparency; dialogue; and restraint. It was more urgent than ever that full advantage be taken of the available tools, namely the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. In that connection, the European Union should be congratulated for its adoption of a code of conduct on the export of conventional arms.

The fundamental strategic issue of the 'non-weaponization of outer space' should also be urgently addressed... Currently, there was no international regime ensuring against the possible abuse of outer space. His country had formally proposed negotiations on a treaty banning the weaponization of outer space, but, regrettably, the Conference on Disarmament had been unable to take action on that proposal. He hoped it would do so in 1999."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3111, 15 October.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Patricia Durrant (Jamaica), 24 September

"[T]here had been in recent years significant growth in both the legal trade and illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons. There were an estimated 100 million such weapons in circulation throughout the world and there existed an inestimable capacity for their continued production. ... [T]he threat posed by the increase in the illegal traffic of small arms was particularly troubling to nations of the Caribbean. ... The time had come to address the problem urgently, aggressively and comprehensively... Stronger measures should be used against illegal exporters and importers. The problem was truly multinational, involving both the arms-producing and arms-purchasing nations. Without a coordinated approach, little could be achieved. The CARICOM attached substantial importance to the Inter-American Convention...

[T]he environmental risk inherent in the movement of nuclear waste was an issue of primary concern to CARICOM. The threat of contamination during the shipment of radioactive material was very real and had profound and lasting implications for the viability of the fragile marine and island ecosystems that characterized those States. The continued use of Caribbean waters as a route for the trans-shipment of irradiated reactor fuel remained a matter of grave concern...

[F]or more than 10 years following the 1987 Conference on the Relationship Between Disarmament and Development, the international community had paid lip service to the notion of investing the resources diverted from arms proliferation in human development. The disarmament for development initiative had achieved little over the years, because insufficient attention had been given to the dividend in peace and stability gained through development. The time had come to breathe new life into the initiative."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3116, 20 October

Chile

Juan Larrain, 20 October

"[Chile] was pleased with the impetus given to the work of the [CD]...by its decision to establish an ad hoc committee to negotiate a fissile material cut-off treaty. Nevertheless, the Conference had not yet made any progress in relation to nuclear disarmament. ... Chile deeply regretted the nuclear tests in South Asia. … As long as there was no progress on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, it would be more difficult to defend the non-proliferation regime. ...

His country believed it essential for the international community to develop and perfect new instruments to regulate the manufacture, trade and use of conventional weapons... In that connection, Chile welcomed the forthcoming entry into force of the Ottawa Convention and hoped to soon ratify that important instrument.

In regional terms…[Chile] was about to publish a 'defence book' as a tangible manifestation of its policy of transparency in armaments. He recalled the two regional conferences of the [OAS]…on confidence-building measures, held in Santiago in 1995 and in San Salvador in 1998, as well as the plan of action of the second Summit of the Americas, also held in Santiago in April 1998. He urged all States in the region to make progress with the formulation of their defence policies in that connection. Furthermore, he stressed the importance his country attached to its joint declaration with the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) countries, which established a zone of peace free from weapons of mass destruction.

[Chile] was pleased with the decision of the United Nations to revitalize and maintain the regional centres for peace and disarmament, particularly the centre in Peru. Also, his Government supported the Biological Weapons Convention and had been participating actively in efforts to conclude a protocol... His Government was also committed to the Chemical Weapons Convention and had established a national authority to comply with its provisions.

[Chile] supported the convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly... His country attached special importance to the adoption of measures to regulate international maritime transport of radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel, in accordance with the highest international safety standards."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3115, 20 October

China

Li Changhe, 14 October

"[T]he nuclear tests conducted by India demonstrated 'outrageous contempt' for the widely supported international non-proliferation regime. Pakistan had been forced to respond with its own nuclear tests. The international community reacted strongly. His country would call upon India and Pakistan - especially the initiators of the nuclear tests - to take measures as soon as possible to meet the various requirements set forth in Security Council resolution 1172... Settlement of the Kashmir issue was one of the key elements towards peace and security in South Asia. The international community should facilitate a peaceful and just resolution of that issue. ...

Besides the South Asian nuclear tests, people were concerned that instead of ending the Cold War, some military blocs and alliances established in that era were expanding and gaining strength. A few countries, bolstered by their economic and technological superiority, were intensifying efforts to develop sophisticated weapons, which undermined global strategic balance and stability. Those countries were frequently resorting to the use or threat of use of force in international affairs. Such a practice of seeking one's own security at the expense of others was detrimental to easing the international situation. Moreover, such behaviour would negatively impact on international arms control and disarmament efforts.

Complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons was the common aspiration of mankind... The indefinite extension of the NPT did not imply that the nuclear-weapon States could possess nuclear weapons forever. Rather, they should intensify efforts to fulfil the obligations contained in article VI of the NPT. ...

In August, China had ratified the amended Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons [CCW], which concerns landmines, as well as the newly annexed Protocol on blinding laser weapons... It favoured proper and reasonable control on landmines aimed at protecting civilians..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3110, 14 October

Colombia

Alfonso Valdivieso, 12 October

"[Colombia] vehemently opposed nuclear testing. Those that had been carried out this year once again demonstrated the danger posed by nuclear weapons and heightened the urgent need to eliminate them. …

The nuclear-weapon States parties to the [NPT]… must fulfil their commitments in good faith… [H]e noted the many proposals for nuclear-weapon-free zones and said that his country supported the proposal to rid the southern hemisphere of nuclear weapons, as well as the proposals for Central Asia and the Middle East.

His country had been advancing the ratification process of the Chemical Weapons Convention and hoped to complete it soon. ... [Colombia] also welcomed the progress made to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention.

[I]n August 1998, the Congress of Colombia adopted the [CCW]…and its protocols. That ratification, along with that of the Ottawa Convention, was now being considered by the Colombian Congress.

[T]he illicit traffic in, and proliferation of, small arms constituted a serious threat to the security and economic development of affected countries and regions. ... An international convention on the issue must commit States to adopt legal measures for the internal control of small arms. He supported the initiative to conclude a protocol on measures to combat the problem posed by small arms, in the framework of the proposed convention against transnational organized crime, which would be negotiated by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3107, 12 October.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Monga Mulenda Makonga, 20 October

"Suspicion and distrust were the basis of all disarmament agreements, which explained the inertia in implementing them... While the production of fissile material for peaceful purposes should be encouraged, his country condemned all nuclear tests and the stockpiling and possession of weapons of mass destruction. ...

Disarming a country, however, meant exposing its sovereignty and territorial integrity to its more aggressive neighbours... That was a dilemma. Should credit be given to the argument that, in order to achieve peace, you must prepare for war? On the other hand, how was it be possible to reduce military budgets in the face of threats by neighbours? Africa produced very few weapons of war, yet it remained 'the theatre of armed conflict'. African lives were viewed through 'the end of a gun' by weapons traders, whose investments in African society were cheap, yet profitable. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3115, 20 October

Croatia

Ana Mariya Besker, 16 October

"[Croatia] shared the concern of many others regarding the pace and tenor of developments in disarmament and international security since the last meeting of the Committee. Citing a political analyst on the failure of the international community to consolidate the gains of the end of the Cold War, she added, 'we are now moving beyond the risk of missing opportunities, to the risk of retrogression'. ...

Considering the landmine issue...Croatia had been one of the most afflicted countries in Europe and was, therefore, 'painfully aware of the urgency of the problem'. Further, her Government welcomed the decision of the Conference on Disarmament to establish an ad hoc committee to negotiate a fissile materials cut-off treaty. It was, however, a matter of regret that the Conference was unable to reach a consensus regarding the enlargement of its membership, as her country had hoped to be admitted in the first group. ...

[Croatia] considered the recent adoption of a European code of conduct on arms sales to be an important contribution to 'greater accountability and transparency in conventional arms control in Europe'. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3112, 16 October

Cuba

Rafael Dausa Cespedes, 16 October

"[T]he prohibition of nuclear testing was never meant to be an end in itself, but rather a step towards an end to the qualitative development of nuclear weapons and the promotion of nuclear disarmament. Even with the prohibition in place, a number of nuclear Powers still had the ability to modernize their nuclear arsenals through subcritical testing and computer simulations.

[Cuba] welcomed the recent creation in the [CD]…of two special committees to initiate negotiations on negative security assurances and a ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. … Negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty must take into consideration future production, as well as existing stocks.

[H]is country had proposed a number of initiatives aimed at elaborating a verification mechanism for the Biological Weapons Convention... While it remained determined to contribute towards that goal, it rejected the setting of artificial deadlines for the conclusion of that work. Regarding the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which Cuba was also a party, the highest priority should be attached to bringing about its full implementation. In ratifying it, his country had declared that the commercial and financial embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States was incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Convention.

The lack of adequate control by States over the stockpiling and transfers of small arms and light weapons was causing a great deal of harm... Strengthened controls should be a prime element of strategies to combat the growing traffic of those weapons... [Cuba] would object, however, to any effort to manipulate the emergency nature of that effort in order to distort the disarmament priorities adopted by the General Assembly in its final document of 1978.

[Cuba] fully shared the humanitarian concerns provoked by the indiscriminate and irresponsible use of anti-personnel mines. However, his country could not gloss over the security implications for its nation. For almost four decades, Cuba had been the victim of a policy of aggression and hostility from the world's greatest political, economic and military power. As such, renouncing the use of those arms was a luxury Cuba could ill afford. His country used landmines along the perimeter that bordered a naval base illegally occupied by the United States Government. It must use mines to try and avoid any provocation and prevent any incursions into its territory."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3112, 16 October

Cyprus

Sotirios Zackheos, 21 October

"Despite the continuing foreign occupation of almost 40 per cent of the territory of Cyprus, it still decided to sign the Ottawa Convention as an expression of its determination to contribute to international efforts to rid the world of those weapons. His country was also encouraged by the attention being given to the scourge of illicit trafficking in small arms. Cyprus was committed to all the measures being pursued by the European Union towards the containment of that problem. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3117, 21 October

Ecuador

Luis Valencia Rodriguez, 16 October

"His country...stressed the importance of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice by which all States must initiate and conclude multilateral negotiations aimed at the elimination of those weapons… [I]t was also crucial that nuclear-weapon States provide unconditional and legally binding security guarantees... Accordingly, the creation of an ad hoc committee in the Conference on Disarmament on that item was particularly important. ...

Nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties...were also positive steps towards worldwide denuclearization... The provision of unconditional security assurances to the States of the regions by nuclear-weapon States was not fundamental to their success. The joint declaration of 9 June by the Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden regarding a new nuclear disarmament agenda was also welcome.

... Terrorists and drug traffickers were the biggest consumers of [light]…weapons and the millions in circulation were not governed by any particular controls... Their threat was even greater than the threat of the production of new weapons. Indeed, those weapons were one of the greatest contributors to the 'death business' and governments must assume responsibility for their control. …"

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3113, 16 October.

Egypt

Maged Abdelaziz, 14 October

"[T]he recently held Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Durban...reiterated its call on the Conference on Disarmament to establish an ad hoc committee to negotiate a phased programme for the elimination of nuclear weapons, within a specific time frame. He expected that programme of action to be able to 'overcome the lacuna in explicit commitments' relating to nuclear disarmament, especially from the nuclear-weapon States. Unfortunately, the nuclear-weapon States lacked the genuine political will needed to fully and completely implement their obligations under the NPT.

The nuclear tests conducted recently in South Asia created a new reality, which had to be addressed by the international community... The tests demonstrated that both the NPT and the CTBT were inadequate instruments for maintaining the global non-proliferation regime and the international community had to address that at the regional and global level. ... On the regional level…it was important for more nuclear-weapon-free zones to be established, especially in regions of tension, such as the Middle East and South Asia. It was a matter of deep regret that the proposals for the creation of the Middle East zone, dating back to 1974, had so far failed. ...

Double standards in the pursuit of nuclear non-proliferation was dangerous and counter-productive... His Government could not understand how certain countries could severely condemn and take strong action against one proliferator, while all but condoning the actions of another. ...

[H]is Government supported the United Nations Register on Conventional Arms as a confidence-building mechanism, but was disappointed over the failure to broaden its scope. The panel of governmental experts mandated to consider the functioning of the Register should rectify that deficiency."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3110, 14 October

Ethiopia

Duri Mohammed, 20 October

"Failure to implement the CTBT would mean a retrogression in the disarmament process. Appropriate steps should be taken to begin negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, within a specified time frame. ...

The problem [of small arms] was particularly evident in Africa. The problem should be addressed urgently, and he supported the convening of an international conference on the matter. ...

As a country that had been highly affected by [landmines]…Ethiopia attached paramount importance to the implementation of [the Ottawa] Convention and sought substantive support for its demining efforts. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3115, 20 October

European Union (EU)

Thomas Hajnoczi (Austria), speaking for the EU and on behalf of the Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European Union (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) and Iceland, 12 October

"Regrettably, the world was still saddled by the risk of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and by the destabilizing problems posed by the accumulation of conventional weapons... The European Union called on the international community to intensify the fight against those threats. The Union condemned the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan. Both countries should sign and ratify the CTBT swiftly and unconditionally, and should also adhere to the NPT regime, as it stood. Further, both countries should introduce a moratorium on fissile material production, while a treaty was being negotiated, and legislate stringent controls on the export of nuclear-related materials and other sensitive technology. ...

The Union welcomed the [IAEA]...adoption in May 1997 of a model and additional protocol to its existing safeguards agreements meant to improve its efficiency. On 8 June, the Union had concluded three additional protocols covering the 13 non-nuclear-weapon States of the Union, the United Kingdom and France. It called on all other States having safeguards agreements with the IAEA to conclude additional protocols based on that model. The Union also remained deeply concerned by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's continuing non-compliance with its safeguards agreement and strongly urged it to rectify that as soon as possible. In Iraq, the Union was committed to the full implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions…

The Union had been active in promoting the early entry into force of the CTBT and would continue to do so... Now that the CTBT had been concluded, it was time for action on the issue of a ban on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and related devices. The Union urged all States to maintain a moratorium on the production of those materials, pending the conclusion of the negotiations for a verifiable treaty.

The Union continued to believe that there was need for nuclear-weapon States to intensify the global reduction of nuclear weapons... It urged the Russian Federation to ratify START II without delay, so as to enable its rapid entry into force and progress with START III. The Union also supported the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones, especially in the Middle East and in South and Central Asia.

[T]he Union considered the Chemical Weapons Convention to be a landmark in the disarmament... It reiterated its readiness to assist the Russian Federation in fields related to the Convention. The Union also placed a high priority on the reinforcement of the Biological Weapons Convention... To improve the effectiveness of such conventions, an effective export-control mechanism was needed. …

The international community faced a serious challenge with the proliferation of small arms. The Union called on all States to make every effort to enable the Disarmament Commission to make progress on the problem during its 1999 session…

[A]ll Union member States should take appropriate steps to comply with the objectives of the Ottawa Convention. Between 1993 and 1997, the Union contributed $140 million to demining activities and assistance to the victims. In 1998, it had plans to increase its efforts by earmarking $60 million to the same cause. That made the Union the world's major donor in the area. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3107, 12 October.

Fiji

Poseci W. Bune, 12 October

"[Fiji] called on all nuclear-weapon States, as a first step, to immediately halt the production and testing - in whatever form - of nuclear weapons. Those States should destroy all stockpiles of nuclear weapons and all States should sign and ratify the NPT and the CTBT, particularly India and Pakistan. Failure to ensure the effective implementation of such legal instruments would fuel the view that the members of the international community were simply 'a roost of procrastinators'.

The START process was an important part of the matrix of reduction and elimination... As such, it should be energized and widened to include other nuclear-weapon States. The creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones around the world had greatly assisted progress towards a nuclear-weapon-free world. … Where such zones did not exist, he urged their creation. The NPT and the CTBT were only steps towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The world community must now negotiate and conclude a 'treaty for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free world' within a specified time frame.

A ban on the production of fissile material for weapons purposes should also be urgently addressed... Every effort should be made to establish a 'fissile material inventory' within the Conference on Disarmament and to commence negotiations, as soon as possible, on a fissile material cut-off treaty. …

As a signatory of the Ottawa Convention, his Government called on those States that had not yet signed to join the vast majority of Member States in doing so... [T]he current human tragedies occurring in several nations were the result of conventional weapons. … High priority should, therefore, be given to the elaboration of strategies aimed at preventing the proliferation of the supply of conventional weapons, particularly at limiting their flow to conflict areas. In that regard, he supported the work of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms and hoped its report would receive the attention it deserved in the Conference on Disarmament and in the Disarmament Commission. Moreover, Fiji urged all Member States to participate in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, as it was an effective instrument of transparency. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3107, 12 October.

Georgia

George Volski, 21 October

"Georgia's accession to the Ottawa Convention was one of the most urgent matters and a plan for the imminent future. But the complexity of the situation was also understandable. It was impossible to fully meet the provisions of the Convention at a time when, due to separatist or other ambitions, part of the country's territory was practically uncontrolled.

Neither could the comprehensive transparency of armament be spoken of under the circumstances... Practically, there was no mechanism that could control the influx of conventional arms in those territories or monitor illegal trafficking and unveil information about existing stockpiles of armament. ...

[Georgia] hoped that the number of signatories to the NPT would be increased by two in the near future and, yet, efforts aimed at curbing the proliferation of nuclear weapons had not lived up to current demands. More attention should be paid to an analysis of the preconditions for the propensity towards the development of nuclear armament and more effort should be exerted to eliminate those preconditions. ...

[T]he problem of considering environmental issues during the elaboration and implementation of agreements on disarmament was urgent. He hoped that the ideal of preserving the environment for posterity would ultimately prevail."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3117, 21 October

Ghana

Jack Wilmot, 16 October

"The excessive accumulation of conventional weapons posed a serious threat to mankind... It was a welcome development that the international community was now paying increasing attention to the search for a solution. It was also commendable that the Economic Community of West African States had prepared a moratorium on the import, export and manufacture of small arms. His country supported the idea of convening an international conference to discuss the issue. ...

[I]t was regrettable that not much progress had been made towards the goal of general and complete disarmament. Current experience demonstrated that threshold States and non-parties to the NPT and CTBT would not continue to indefinitely abide by the Treaties or to respect the consensus reached, while the 'nuclear haves' continued to defy the calls of the international community to fulfil their obligations. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3113, 16 October.

Holy See

Renato R. Martino, 19 October

"[T]here had been some positive trends in disarmament in recent years. The Ottawa Convention...was a good example. ... He was also pleased with the new momentum accorded the small arms issue... [T]he establishment of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Small Arms, alongside the work of the Vienna Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, were positive developments.

[A] study of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace noted the anomaly by which certain States had stringent controls on the international transfer of heavy arms, but few, if any, regarding the sale of small arms and handguns. The supply of small arms must be regulated at its source, and there was an urgent need to ensure a more effective control of stockpiles. The Holy See appealed in particular for increased measures to be taken to effectively identify individuals and groups who traffic in arms outside all bounds of legal control. More decisive international police and intelligence cooperation was required.

[I]t was important for both the nuclear-weapon States and the nuclear-capable States to commit themselves unequivocally to the elimination of nuclear weapons. ... [T]he pace of disarmament was slow. The breakdown of the preparatory process for the year 2000 review of the NPT meant that the Treaty was in trouble. Additional sources of concern included the impasse in the ratification processes of START II and the CTBT. The world must move towards the abolition of nuclear weapons, through a universal, non-discriminatory ban, with intensive inspection by a universal authority. ...

[T]he continued existence of 30,000 nuclear warheads, 5,000 of them on alert status, almost a decade after the end of the cold war posed the danger of nuclear catastrophe through accident or terrorism. As was ruled by the International Court of Justice, States had an obligation to conclude negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all respects. 'Nuclear weapons are incompatible with the peace we seek for the twenty-first century', he added."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3114, 19 October.

India

Sharad Pawar, 14 October

"[T]he failure of the international community to come to grips with the threat of nuclear weapons was due to the drawbacks in the NPT. Indeed, 'the global non-proliferation regime was challenged by none other than the Non-Proliferation Treaty itself'... Rather than serving the objectives of non-proliferation, the NPT might have facilitated vertical proliferation of several magnitudes since its entry into force. ... Lessons aimed at eliminating nuclear weapons could be learned from the successes achieved in the prohibition of chemical and biological weapons... The non-discriminatory Conventions prohibiting those weapons were based on a devaluation of the military utility of those weapons and on the belief that international security was best served by their complete prohibition and elimination, rather than by partial and discriminatory arms control.

[T]he START process seemed to be at a standstill, with the initial promise of deep, continuous and irreversible reductions in strategic nuclear forces fading. ... Reductions since 1990 in the United States and Russian strategic nuclear forces - in terms of the number of warheads by delivery systems - amounted to just one third, mostly in the older generation of nuclear forces. Those remaining under deployment could be modernized through non-explosive nuclear testing. ... Serious attention should be given to global 'de-alerting' and deactivating nuclear weapons. His delegation planned to introduce a draft resolution aimed at focusing global attention on reducing the nuclear danger. His country, conscious of its responsibilities as a nuclear-weapon State, would not be the first to use nuclear weapons... Moreover, it remained willing to enter into bilateral agreements or multilateral negotiations on no-first use of nuclear weapons. ...

The Committee was aware of the circumstances leading to India's 'standing aside' from the CTBT in 1996... That decision was governed by considerations that had been addressed, in part, through the limited series of five underground nuclear tests it conducted on 11 and 13 May. ... Thereafter, his country announced a voluntary moratorium on further underground test explosions, thereby accepting the basic obligation of the CTBT. ... [N]egotiations in the Conference on Disarmament for a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons might produce only a partial measure and would not eliminate existing nuclear arsenals. Through its participation in those negotiations, India would strive to ensure that such a treaty was non-discriminatory and was consistent with India's security interests. Discriminatory restrictions of access to materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes, including restrictions that negatively impacted on nuclear safety, must give way to open and transparent arrangements."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3110, 14 October

Indonesia

Arizal Effendi, 13 October

"[T]he ultimate guarantee against nuclear holocaust was a total elimination of nuclear weapons. After the conclusion of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Nuclear Missiles (INF Treaty), the reduction in nuclear forces had halted. Instead, pre-existing stockpiles were being upgraded and made more sophisticated. Furthermore, the new tests by India and Pakistan had heightened the need for progress with nuclear disarmament.

The proposals for a ban on fissile materials were discriminatory... It was not fair to ban the production of those materials, while allowing the existence of current stockpiles. ... The indefinite extension of the NPT was regarded as a significant nuclear disarmament development. Unfortunately, it appeared that the extension was a goal in itself, rather than a means for progress with nuclear disarmament. ...

A fourth special session of the Assembly devoted to disarmament would further the cause of disarmament and focus the attention of the international community. In that context, he would endorse an agenda that gave guidelines for the irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3109, 13 October.

Iran

Mohammadreza Alborzi, 15 October

"[P]ast calls to eliminate the nuclear-weapon threat had received little attention, and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons had gone unheeded. That indifference had grave consequences for international peace and security. Ignoring the desire of the international community and failing to achieve concrete nuclear disarmament agreement had played a role in the recent developments in South Asia. …

The optimism of the early 1990s had yielded to skepticism at the approach of the new century. The non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT had demonstrated their will through agreements on the indefinite extension of the NPT and the conclusion of the CTBT. They had expected their flexibility to be reciprocated through the establishment of an ad hoc committee within the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate nuclear disarmament. The various proposals made in that regard had not yet received a proper response.

Pending conclusion of a nuclear disarmament convention, efforts should be made to achieve universality of the NPT... The forthcoming Review Conference had a crucial role to play in that regard. His Government had proposed the creation of an open-ended standing committee to follow up recommendations concerning implementation of the NPT, which would be agreed upon at the Treaty's year 2000 Review Conference. That proposal, which had the endorsement of the Non-Aligned Movement, should be supported by all NPT members in the First Committee.

[Iran] had always favoured negotiations for a cut-off treaty on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons as one step in a phased programme of nuclear disarmament. ...

The clandestine nuclear arms programme of Israel continued to pose an imminent security threat... A selective approach towards nuclear non-proliferation would have disastrous effects. ... In July, Iran and the Russian Federation had issued a joint statement on the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East...

While his country welcomed the growing number of parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, serious initiatives were required to realize its universality... A related source of concern was the lack of any resolution of many important issues during the year since its entry into force. Intricate and extensive means of verification coupled with the free trade of chemicals among Member States had been the basis of the Convention. Meanwhile, parallel export control regimes continued to work against the Convention and, according to reports of the OPCW, certain chemicals were still exported to non-members of the Convention. …

The [BWC] verification regime was bound to succeed if it was coupled with a firm commitment to the free flow of material, equipment and technology for peaceful use among Member States, an undertaking which would directly affect the development of developing countries in the area of health-related science. Such assurances were essential for States that adhered to the verification protocol. A clear distinction should be drawn between those who stood for a universal instrument and those who preferred to stand aside with their sometimes questionable programmes. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3111, 15 October.

Iraq

Rokan Hama al-Anbuge, 20 October

"The Middle East was a witness to a serious imbalance... Israel persisted in its policy of expansion, occupying the Palestinian territory, as well as that of two Arab States. For its expansionist policy, it had depended on a tremendous arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as the other missiles. ... In addition, it had refused to implement Security Council resolution 487 (1981), which called on Israel by name to place its nuclear installations under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. The situation had exposed the double-standard policy of the United States with regard to the implementation of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. The United States had gone to excess in interpreting the requirements of Security Council resolution 687 (1991), especially part C concerning Iraq. It had been oblivious to the fact that section C of that text, which had been adopted under Chapter VII, had referred to the disarmament measures undertaken by Iraq to create a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and of their delivery systems. In an honest appraisal, the Council would have to consider Iraq's implementation of that paragraph.

[Iraq] had cooperated with the United Nations Special Commission on the disposal of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction as well as with the IAEA for seven and one-half years, and it had fulfilled the requirements of resolution 687 in the three weapons areas, namely chemical, biological and missiles. Some believed that the biological aspect needed further explanation, but that stemmed from a misunderstanding owing to the unprofessional approach of UNSCOM in 'mixing the main elements with the marginal elements' and the requirements of disarmament with other requirements. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3116, 20 October

Israel

Robbie Sabel, 20 October

"The vulnerability inherent in his country's geography, combined with 'the potentially existential threat' posed by some of its neighbours, influenced its approach to arms control and disarmament arrangements. Still, Israel fully shared the concern of the international community regarding the proliferation of conventional and non-conventional weapons.

Israel was in the unhappy situation of having neighbours armed with missiles and weapons of mass destruction... Some of those States openly denied Israel's right of existence and claimed to be working for its annihilation, which had made his country cautious about its security. ...

Israel fully supported the CTBT and had duly signed it. … Although Israel had not yet ratified the Treaty, it was aware of its international obligations as a signatory State. …

[H]is country supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. It would like to see such a zone free of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, as well as ballistic missiles. Such a zone should be established by direct negotiations between States, after they had recognized each other and established full peaceful relations. ...

[T]he agenda item concerning the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East was blatantly political. Israel was not a threat to its neighbours and had not violated any international norm. That agenda item was directed against Israel. It was uncalled for and should be removed from the agenda. The real dangers of proliferation had been ignored and they did not emanate from Israel. ...

Israel was not opposed to the decision of the [CD]…to establish an ad hoc committee to consider a fissile material cut-off treaty... Nonetheless, the scope of the proposed treaty was not yet clear, and Israel, like other States, would have to examine its position on the basis of the exact scope. ...

His country had signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, but had yet to ratify it... His Government was not happy that Egypt was among the Arab States that had not signed that instrument. While making a decision on ratification, his Government must consider the fact that none of the chemical-weapon-capable Arab States had signed, let alone ratified the Convention. Also, although Israel was not a party to the Ottawa Convention, it had ceased the production of anti-personnel landmines and had declared a moratorium on their export."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3115, 20 October

Japan

Akira Hayashi, 13 October

"[F]ollowing genuine achievements in the disarmament field, India and Pakistan shook the world by conducting nuclear tests... The NPT was not a framework under which nuclear-weapon States could perpetually possess nuclear weapons, while the possession of those weapons was prohibited to other countries. Indeed, the NPT had gained the largest membership of any treaty in the world. His Government did not support the view that it must accept the testing as a fait accompli and act accordingly. Rather, it attached great importance to Security Council resolution 1172 (1998), which deplored those tests and urged the two countries to adhere to the NPT and the CTBT.

[Japan] had proposed the urgent establishment of an international forum to call on India and Pakistan to renounce their nuclear weapons programmes. The forum would also consider ways and means to promote nuclear disarmament. The Tokyo Forum on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament held its first meeting in August. Its expert participants were expected to submit a report containing concrete and constructive recommendations, which would serve as guidelines for future non-proliferation and disarmament efforts.

His Government, for its part, would introduce a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament at the current Committee session... It had submitted a nuclear disarmament draft for the first time in 1994 to demonstrate the clear commitment on the part of the majority of Member States to eliminate nuclear weapons and to prepare favourable ground for the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the NPT. Since then, successive resolutions had been supported by an overwhelming majority of States, including, last year, by the nuclear-weapon States. His Government would table a new resolution at the current session with the view to gaining a global commitment to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

[T]he next step following the CTBT should be a cut-off treaty on the production of fissile material... One of the most contentious issues was how to deal with existing stockpiles. While intensive deliberations would be required, that question was too important to set aside. In an effort to advance negotiations, his Government had organized a seminar in Geneva last May to evaluate the technical aspects of such a treaty. …

Nuclear disarmament was the responsibility of the entire world, although, undeniably, the nuclear-weapon States must assume the major responsibility… Japan now called for the entry into force of START II and the commencement of negotiations on START III… [Japan] also appreciated the nuclear disarmament measures carried out unilaterally by Member States, such as by the United Kingdom, as such action provided a conducive environment to further nuclear disarmament by others.

A ban on landmines was an international priority... In that regard, Japan welcomed both instruments to curtail their use, namely the Ottawa Convention and Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. ... The complete ban...must be the ultimate goal. Yet, many countries had so far found it difficult, at present, to accept a complete ban. The conclusion of a treaty prohibiting the transfer of landmines, therefore, would be a realistic measure.

[Japan] was gravely concerned by the tragic loss of life caused by small arms and light weapons in numerous domestic and regional conflicts worldwide. His Government had first proposed the establishment of a United Nations Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms and it had hosted, this year, the Tokyo Workshop on Small Arms. Although there were agreed rules on weapons of mass destruction, no such framework for preventing the excessive and destabilizing accumulation of small arms and light weapons had been elaborated. It was time for the world to come together to establish an international norm.

[W]hile the international community strove to maintain and ensure peace and security, it was regrettable that an action contrary to those efforts had been taken in Asia. The recent missile launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - whether or not it was an attempt to launch a satellite into orbit - had not only caused serious concern for the security of northeast Asia, but had also renewed his country's concern over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3109, 13 October.

Jordan

Rajab Sukayri, 20 October

"[T]he chance for a comprehensive, just and durable peace in the Middle East 'looks too gloomy' in the absence of confidence-building between the parties involved. Such confidence, however, could not be attained alongside the existence of weapons of mass destruction. It was...regrettable that the second Preparatory Committee meeting for the next NPT review conference had not achieved tangible results. All participants should work diligently to strengthen the review process and develop consensus recommendations. ...

[Jordan] had staunchly supported the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. … That instrument would not be effective, however, unless its scope also included military holdings and procurement through national production, as well as information concerning weapons of mass destruction. Regrettably, the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms had failed to deal with that problem at its last session…

[T]he time had come to reaffirm the commitment to eliminate the most excessively injurious and inhumane weapons - landmines. Queen Noor of Jordan had participated in the worldwide campaign to rid the world of landmines. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3116, 20 October

Kazakhstan

Akmaral Kh. Arystanbekova, 14 October

"[Kazakhstan] would continue to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies. In that connection, its export of nuclear materials and technologies had been in compliance with the guiding principles of the nuclear suppliers group since 1997. Her country was also interested in joining the Missile Technology Control Group. 'Since we have a space-vehicle launching site in our territory and possess scientific and technical potential in missile-building, we can make a considerable contribution to that regime'... Her Government would continue to work for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia. It was, however, aware of the complexities and responsibility of establishing such a zone.

Despite the fact that Kazakhstan had not yet acceded to the Ottawa Convention, it fully supported the humanitarian orientation of that instrument. As a contribution to the anti-landmine campaign, the country had adopted a moratorium on those weapons, including their export and transit. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3110, 14 October

Kenya

Njuguna Mahugu, 20 October

"[T]he last 12 months would be remembered for the progress made towards the prohibition of anti-personnel landmines, an issue that had been a source of anguish to the entire international community, particularly Africa. ... It was, therefore, appropriate that Mozambique, a country that had endured and continued to endure tremendous suffering from that scourge, would provide the venue for the first meeting of the States parties in May 1999...

In his 13 April report to the Security Council, on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace in Africa, the Secretary-General had clearly identified the proliferation of conventional arms as an issue that needed to be addressed by the international community as a matter of urgency. The critical role and responsibility of countries manufacturing and exporting those weapons could not be overemphasized.

The dumping of radioactive and toxic wastes on the shores and in the waters of some developing countries remained a source of concern...

[T]he nuclear tests carried out by India and Pakistan would be remembered as having dealt a serious blow to aspirations for a world free of nuclear weapons. It was regrettable that the insecurity created from the lack of serious disarmament progress by the nuclear-weapon States had created an excuse for others to test. A wake-up call had most definitely been sounded. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3115, 20 October

North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)

Li Hyong Chol, 16 October

"[T]he nuclear umbrella over the Korean peninsula should be removed in order to realize the goal of its denuclearization. Moreover, the United States should commit itself not to use nuclear weapons against the People's Democratic Republic and withdraw its nuclear umbrella… [T]he situation in north-east Asia remained tense due to the military manoeuvres to form a new military alliance. Last year, the Japanese-United States defence cooperation guideline was revised, selecting the Korean peninsula as its main operational target. ... Japan was trying to realize its overseas expansionist plan by invoking the new Japan-United States defence cooperation guideline, and taking part in military exercises led by the United States. The South Korean authorities were introducing a large quantity of modern and sophisticated military equipment, such as F-15 fighter planes and AC-130 military helicopters, while begging for security protection from the United States and the permanent stationing of United States troops. ... Under such circumstances, his country had been compelled to increase its defence capability, even while facing a difficult economic situation. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3112, 16 October

South Korea (Republic of Korea)

Lee See-Young, 13 October

"[A] fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament should be convened... It was important for the NPT to achieve universality and for the CTBT to be strengthened. India and Pakistan should accede to both treaties. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea should be urged to follow suit and sign the CTBT. In his country, domestic procedures had already begun that should result in ratification of the CTBT next year.

He welcomed the initiative of the [CD]…in establishing an ad hoc committee on the question of a fissile material cut-off treaty. ... His Government also welcomed the decision of the United Kingdom to reduce its nuclear arsenal and the progress made by the United States and Russia in nuclear disarmament. More substantial efforts were, however, needed and the START process should be given new impetus.

[T]he expansion of nuclear-weapon-free zones and the consolidation of pre-existing ones would contribute to the cause of nuclear non-proliferation. In that context, his Government looked forward to the early implementation of the 1992 Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Much international effort had been spent to bring North Korea to comply with the agreements of the IAEA. ...

His delegation urged the full compliance of all States parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention. … In particular, his country urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to join the Convention promptly in order to free the Korean peninsula from those weapons. His Government was also a staunch supporter of international efforts to prepare a protocol to the [BWC]...

[M]issile delivery systems posed as serious a threat to peace and security as the weapons themselves. The time had come for the international community to address that problem with a legal instrument. North Korea's launching of a multiple-stage rocket last August had renewed international concern over the dangers of missile proliferation in north-east Asia. ...

[H]is country fully shared the international community's concern regarding the problem of indiscriminate use of landmines. For that reason, it declared an indefinite moratorium on their export. It had also made significant contributions to the United Nations Mine Action Programme. Unfortunately, due to the situation in the Korean peninsula, his country could not yet forego the use of anti-personnel mines, which had been a major defensive weapon in the limited area of the demilitarized zone. …

Transparency in international arms transfers was essential. His Government supported convening an international conference on the issue. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3109, 13 October.

Kuwait

Hisham al-Ghanim, 16 October

"[T]he proliferation of conventional weapon and the rash of States that had increased their arsenals pointed to the imperative of international cooperation. That issue required a reinforcement of confidence among the nations of the world, which could be achieved largely through support for the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. Moreover, governments should seek to reduce military expenditures and divert the surplus resulting from disarmament measures, especially in light of the deteriorating economies around the world. ...

His Government, as a signatory to the CTBT, called for its speedy entry into force. Meanwhile, no action that contravened its spirit or letter should be undertaken. ... Israel should be pressured to create a Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone, thus averting the imminent danger to that region. …

[Kuwait] welcomed Security Council resolution 1194 (1998), which called on Iraq to rescind its decision to suspend cooperation with the United Nations Special Commission and with the IAEA."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3113, 16 October.

Kyrgyzstan

Zamira Eshmambetova, 19 October

"The harmful effects of armed conflicts were not confined to the territories of those directly concerned... Those effects spilled over into the broader region to threaten the stability of peaceful societies. From that perspective, the proliferation of small arms was not less dangerous than the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Indeed, in some parts of the world, small arms had turned into 'weapons of mass destruction'. She, therefore, supported the idea of convening an international conference to address the problem… Her country…continued to actively participate in efforts to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3114, 19 October.

Laos

Alounkeo Kittihoun, 20 October

"[D]espite its imperfection, the CTBT, if sincerely and strictly implemented, would help prevent the non-nuclear-weapon States from acquiring those weapons of mass destruction. More importantly, it would prevent the nuclear-weapon States from improving their nuclear stockpiles. In that way, gradual nuclear disarmament could be attained. It was important that the Committee reaffirm its unequivocal commitment to the CTBT. … The future of the NPT might be at stake... Confidence in the Treaty might also be eroding. Regarding the upcoming review conference of the NPT, scheduled for the year 2000, it was urgent that the non-nuclear-weapon States and especially the nuclear-weapon States exert further efforts and fulfil sincerely and strictly their obligations…

His country was in favour of strengthening the [BWC]... In principle, it had no objection to discussing issues pertaining to the establishment of a verification regime for the Convention. However, any verification regime to be introduced had to be considered while taking into account the security and economic interests of developing countries, particularly those party to the Convention. Concerning landmines, he believed that any arrangements or negotiations to ban landmines had to take into account the legitimate national security concerns of States…

While examining the issue of peace and disarmament, it was important to recognize the role the United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament could play… [Laos] supported the programmes provided by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, known as 'the Kathmandu process' for disarmament and regional stability.

Finally...pending the elimination of all nuclear weapons, the nuclear-weapon States should agree on a legally binding international instrument to provide unconditional assurances to all non-nuclear-weapon States... A legally binding international convention prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances should also be agreed upon..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3116, 20 October

Libya

Ibrahim al-Besbas, 20 October

"The South Asia tests...expressed the imbalance in the nuclear non-proliferation regime. There were two categories of States - the nuclear-weapon States and the non-nuclear-weapon States. While one category was authorized to continue to pursue the development of nuclear weapons, the other was prevented from doing so. That policy was obsolete. ... [T]he decision of the Conference on Disarmament to establish ad hoc committees to consider a fissile material cut-off treaty and credible negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States were positive developments. ... His Government regretted that it was not possible for the Conference to reach a consensus regarding the agenda of a fourth special session…

[Libya] was one of those suffering seriously from the scourge of anti-personnel landmines... The Ottawa Convention was a significant step, yet it had many notable shortcomings. The implementation of the instrument should be global and should also address the question of demining. Many countries, such as Libya, required technical assistance for demining efforts. He hoped the [CD]…would be able to address that issue."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3116, 20 October

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)

Naste Calovski, 20 October

"It could not be said that Member States were ignorant, but the fact was that many countries felt marginalized in the effort to strengthen and improve international peace and security. That was the main reason multilateralism was going through a difficult period, and something should be done to avert that negative development. ...

Many countries were finding that the production of various kinds of conventional weapons was a lucrative business. There was no satisfactory international regime for the production, stockpiling, trade and use of conventional weapons. In that chaotic situation, each country was trying to protect its security and the world was witnessing an unhealthy security situation. He was, therefore, in favour of the establishment of an international regime to regulate the production, stockpiling and trade of conventional weapons and to ban illegal weapons production and trafficking. ...

[The CD] should be open for membership to any Member States, and no member of the Conference should have the prerogative to block the membership of any Member States of the United Nations... [T]he Conference should: abandon its present method of work; examine each agenda item in informal plenary meetings, and at formal meetings adopt the decisions; and abandon the practice of repeating itself on various aspects of nuclear disarmament."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3115, 20 October

Malaysia

Hasmy Agam, 12 October

"[N]o discernible progress in the area of nuclear disarmament had been achieved. Indeed, the nuclear-weapon States had maintained that nuclear disarmament should best be left to themselves to negotiate. Yet, to date, no real progress had been made in that regard. The START process had remained in limbo. In the meantime, the process overall had suffered a further setback following the series of nuclear tests carried out in South Asia. ... The tests should serve as a wake-up call to the international community that the proliferation of all weapons should be immediately stopped. Those two countries, in particular, should cease all activities pertaining to vertical proliferation, a loophole that they had negotiated for themselves within the context of the CTBT. … 'Like it or not,'...seven countries had declared their nuclear-weapon status. There was at least one other non-declared nuclear-weapon State and perhaps a few others. It was, therefore, imperative for the tests in South Asia to be seen not only in terms of a regional dynamic, but in terms of nuclear disarmament, which should be addressed globally. ...

He drew attention to his country's submission of a resolution in each of the past two years concerning the opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. His country would again initiate such a draft and it would continue to call for the commencement of negotiations for a convention on nuclear disarmament… [I]mmediate negotiations on such a convention were not being urged at the current stage, however, since the road to the total elimination of those weapons was a long and arduous one that was best travelled through a series of well-defined stages, accompanied by proper verification and control mechanisms. His Government's approach, therefore, was not incompatible with the step-by-step incremental approaches already proposed by others, including by members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

He was particularly concerned by the inherent danger of thermonuclear war triggered by accident or through terrorism. That prospect should further compel the international community to work towards the rapid reduction and early elimination of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, efforts should be made to avoid or eliminate such risks. In that regard, he welcomed the recent 8-nation initiative to remove all nuclear forces from alert status. That such a posture was taken by the United Kingdom with regard to its submarine-based nuclear forces was particularly welcome."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3107, 12 October.

Malta

George Saliba, 20 October

"[T]he nuclear disarmament agenda must be kept on track and nuclear non-proliferation not taken for granted... Nuclear export controls, in particular the control of dual-use technology, were an integral part of the non-proliferation regime. ...

The unspeakable atrocities that were being committed daily in various conflicts around the world must trigger international action. The root causes of conflict had to be eliminated, but the weapons themselves precipitated and prolonged conflicts. The sale and spread of all types of conventional weapons must be brought under tight control. ... [Malta] supported the convening of a United Nations conference on all aspects of the illicit arms trade in the near future and also supported efforts to further develop the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. Other measures were also welcome, including the European Union code of conduct on arms exports and the Inter-American Convention..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3116, 20 October

Mauritius

Joyker Nayaek, 16 October

"[Mauritius] did not have an army and was proud to be among the very few countries to have achieved that goal. 'We do not spend any money on armaments', he said. 'Consequently, we are pleased to submit a nil report yearly to the United Nations Register on Conventional Arms.' He expressed the wish, though, that the scope of the Register would be expanded to include a broader category of weapons. ...

[T]he international community should increase its assistance to demining. He applauded Australia's 'destroy a minefield' initiative. ...

It was regrettable that once more the [CD]…had failed to establish an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament… [Malta] noted with satisfaction, though, the establishment of an ad hoc committee on a fissile material cut-off treaty. To be credible and truly universal, any such treaty must address the question of past and existing stockpiles…"

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3112, 16 October

Mexico

Antonio de Icaza, 12 October

"[W]hile the international scene now was profoundly different from what it was 20 years ago, the Declaration of Principles, the Programme of Action and the disarmament mechanisms approved by consensus in the final document of the 1978 tenth special session of the General Assembly still retained their full validity. … The probability of the use of nuclear weapons was greater now than it was in 1978... The priority of the international community, therefore, must be nuclear disarmament. As such, negotiations for security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States was needed as soon as possible, as was the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and of their delivery systems. The paralysis in the nuclear disarmament process was apparent. Nearly six years after being signed, START II had not entered into force. The [CD]…had been unable to establish an ad hoc committee through which to negotiate nuclear disarmament and the preparatory committee for the [NPT]...had not succeeded in formulating substantive nuclear disarmament recommendations.

Some of those problems were the result of temporary situations, but underlying them were the 'archaic perceptions' of the role of nuclear weapons and military strategy... Such thinking was in urgent need of change and, indeed, there had been no change in the commitment towards a nuclear- weapon-free world. Nuclear weapons conferred neither special rights nor special privileges. … International security had been seriously affected by the failure of the NPT preparatory committee and, in particular, by the nuclear tests in South Asia. … At the current Assembly session, his Government would submit draft resolutions deploring all nuclear tests and calling for the early ratification of the [CTBT]...as well as for the maintenance of the moratoriums and respect for the spirit and the letter of the Treaty, pending its entry into force.

The constant threat of nuclear weapons, the paralysis in multilateral forums and the pressures exerted on the NPT regime had convinced many countries of the need for a new international agenda aimed at evolving a nuclear-weapon-free world, he said. The ministers for foreign affairs of several countries had issued a joint declaration to that effect in June, and they would be submitting a draft resolution in that regard. …"

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3107, 12 October.

Moldova

Igor Ciobanu, 19 October

"It was essential that non-proliferation and disarmament be pursued and implemented in parallel, through concrete and realistic measures. The nuclear tests in Asia emphasized the need for such an approach. A positive development in that regard was the action of the [CD]…in establishing an ad hoc committee to negotiate a fissile material cut-off treaty. Every country with nuclear capabilities should participate in that process. ...

The proliferation and illicit trafficking in small arms constituted a real threat to post-conflict peace-building... During the conflict in the eastern districts of Moldova, huge quantities of small arms and light weapons moved unchecked into the hands of separatists. The time had come for the international community to consider action-oriented recommendations for combatting the problem of small arms proliferation. His country believed that the unchecked movement of armaments to separatist regimes, no matter the source, was a type of arms proliferation deserving the attention of the international community. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3114, 19 October.

Mongolia

Jargalsaikhany Enkhsaikhan, 14 October

"[Mongolia] welcomed the re-establishment of the United Nations Department of Disarmament Affairs, which, together with further improvement of the work of the First Committee and some other disarmament bodies, would be a positive step in strengthening the role of the United Nations in the field of disarmament. ...

His Government attached great importance to the contributions of non-nuclear States, especially by establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones in various parts of the world... [H]e hoped that a zone in Central Asia would be created before the year 2000. His country did not physically border on any of the Central Asian States, but that was no reason to exclude it from common disarmament efforts, including the efforts to expand the network of nuclear-weapon-free zones. Moreover, Mongolia declared its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone in 1992.

Disarmament and ensuring international security were not the exclusive prerogatives of the powerful... The role of smaller States in the process of disarmament and strengthening international security should not be underestimated. …

[S]ome progress had been registered with respect to the question of convening the fourth special session on disarmament during the last session of the Disarmament Commission. However, no consensus had emerged in the Commission on the objectives and agenda of the session. ... The world had been undergoing dramatic changes and transformations that demanded adequate collective responses and adjustments. All those changes called for the speediest convening of the special session. Fixing a concrete date for convening the session should be the least that the Assembly should do at the current stage."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3110, 14 October

Myanmar (Burma)

Statement by U Mya Than, 12 October

"The lack of progress in nuclear disarmament was part and parcel of the continued opposition of the nuclear-weapon States to establish an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament in the [CD]… The same reluctance was conspicuous at the meeting of the NPT Preparatory Committee. Some had even expressed opposition to negotiating a moderate, draft rolling text on nuclear disarmament and on related issues, causing the meeting to be a 'dismal failure'. The underground nuclear tests in South Asia had proven that the NPT regime was not fully effective... His Government opposed any nuclear test by any country in any environment. However, the recent tests in South Asia had raised a much deeper question than the cessation of nuclear testing - namely whether or not the NPT would be sustainable and fully effective. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3107, 12 October.

Namibia

Martin Andjabam 19 October

"While the campaign to achieve universal adherence to the [Ottawa] Convention was building momentum, the world community should not lose sight of the urgent need to demine those countries that were seriously infested with landmines.

Another source of concern was the proliferation of small arms and light weapons... In some parts of the world, those weapons represented a lucrative business. In order to curb their illicit circulation, concerted efforts were required to put in place a mechanism to bring about a legally binding instrument. The efforts of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms were welcome, especially the recommendation to convene an international conference in that regard."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3114, 19 October.

Nepal

Kamal Koirala, 21 October

"[T]he overall picture was gloomy, due to the lack of political will to agree on a time-bound elimination of nuclear weapons. ... Any treaty regime on fissile materials must consider existing stockpiles of weapons-grade fissionable materials...

The proliferation of small arms and light weapons was a matter of serious concern, as small arms had increasingly become the primary instrument of violence in conflicts. Noteworthy developments in that regard included the [ECOWAS] moratorium...and the Inter-American Convention...

United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament were useful for creating awareness about the global disarmament process. One of those centres, addressing Asia and the Pacific, was located in Nepal. His Government urged Member States of the Asia-Pacific region to make greater use of the centre's facilities."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3117, 21 October

New Zealand

Clive Pearson, 15 October

"Designing a fissile treaty would enable the international community to address both the non-proliferation and disarmament imperatives related to that material. One of the tasks ahead would be to ensure that the controls would promote international confidence. Moreover, the treaty must be non-discriminatory and multilateral in its reach and be able to deliver a cost-effective verification machinery… The contentious issue of existing stocks of fissile material also must be addressed. Dealing with production and stocks might not be possible in a single instrument - one might have to follow the other. But, sooner or later, stocks would have to be integrated…if a comprehensive fissile ban was to become a permanent disarmament measure.

Concerning the START process...[the CD] had a legitimate role to play in considering what steps might usefully be taken to support those negotiations. A mechanism to underpin the negotiations must be established, and a decision in that regard should be taken soon or lingering frustration might creep back into the work of the Conference. Following last year's inactivity, the Conference moved forward in 1998 with an ambitious programme of substantive and reform issues. While it might be better to focus on a small range of priority issues, a decision on its work was significant. ...

[W]hile negotiations to design a verification protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention were 'inching forward', the progress had been far too slow. His Government's initiative to hold a ministerial meeting last month in New York was a constructive and creative way to build political impetus beneath those crucial negotiations. ... His country was committed to the conclusion of a protocol before the end of next year. ...

The proliferation of small arms was another priority issue, and on that issue a consensus was emerging. It was essential to seek new initiatives on the issue, and to pursue the 'holistic' approach outlined by South Africa. Action was required on the national, regional and international levels.

[T]he exceptionally bad news was the threat posed to the non-proliferation regime. A 'significant body blow' to the regime was delivered by the decision of India and Pakistan to undertake nuclear tests in May. Those tests were totally irreconcilable with the claims by both countries that they were committed to nuclear disarmament. ... The NPT review process might also be in trouble... Apart from the differences over the Middle East issue, divisions over how the review process should proceed could be similarly problematic. The question now was whether the decisions taken at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference were being downgraded or, worse, were no longer regarded as binding. Minimalist interpretations of the 1995 review process would only take the disarmament community backwards. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3111, 15 October.

Niger

Joseph Diatta, 16 October

"[A]long with enforcing the ban on anti-personnel mines, vigorous global action was required to implement existing measures to combat the illicit trafficking of small arms. His Government had joined with its neighbours to motivate global action in that regard. Over and above its national legislation, it had set up a national commission in 1994 for collecting and controlling illegal weapons, through which it had already achieved concrete results. All weapons found had been stockpiled and were set for destruction in the near future. Yet, while the results were encouraging, residual insecurity remained. ... He underscored his country's request for financial resources from the United Nations to assist the national commission in collecting and controlling those weapons, and to secure lasting and secure conditions in Niger.

The regional dimension of disarmament was essential in establishing a lasting climate of peace worldwide. Further, the operation of the United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament in Asia, Africa and Latin America must be strengthened. The importance of the Centre in Lomé, Togo did not need elaboration, but it could play its role fully only with sufficient financing. ...

The convening of a fourth special session…was critical..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3113, 16 October.

Nigeria

E. O. Olusanmokun, 16 October

"[T]he most crucial issues facing the First Committee were nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. Recent developments in South Asia made it compelling for the international community to embark on a time-bound programme for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. ... [D]uring the NPT Review Conference of 1995, nuclear-weapon States had committed themselves to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons and to consider further steps to assure non-nuclear-weapon States and parties to the NPT against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. It was unfortunate that some nuclear-weapon States had not lived up to those obligations. For example, some of them persisted in their opposition to the establishment of an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament in the Conference on Disarmament. His Government was delighted with the decision of the Conference to begin negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty... He hoped that the negotiations would be carried through to their logical conclusion. ...

Although Nigeria did not participate in the Ottawa process, the country upheld the basic principles of international humanitarian law and welcomed the Ottawa Convention. ... His Government also supported the convening of a fourth special session..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3113, 16 October.

Norway

Leif Arne Ulland, 15 October

"[T]he nuclear-weapon States had an obligation under the NPT to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in international politics. ... The ultimate role of the international community was to achieve complete nuclear disarmament. One important and urgent step in that direction would be to ban the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and related devices. ... Such a treaty must include a credible verification regime... The negotiating mandate of the ad hoc committee should be limited to the production of fissile materials... Still, it was important to address the issue of past production and existing stockpiles in an appropriate manner. That could best be handled outside the negotiating framework, in a separate, parallel and voluntary process designed to enhance transparency. The management and disposal of weapons-grade fissile material should be seen as a central part of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts… [T]he CTBT could be regarded as the qualitative counterpart of a fissile material treaty, preventing the future development of qualitatively new explosives. ...

The NPT was the most important international instrument for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and of promoting nuclear disarmament... Unfortunately, the Preparatory Committee's second session for the year 2000 Review Conference had proved to be a failure. Now, the basis for a more constructive dialogue on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation must be laid. In addition, the Conference on Disarmament was in urgent need of reform, in terms of its membership, working methods and agenda. The Conference had not been able to keep pace with the changing security and disarmament agenda. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3111, 15 October.

Oman

Mohamed al-Hassan, 20 October

"[Oman] was a party to all conventions and treaties concerning weapons of mass destruction. Also, as his Foreign Minister had told the General Assembly...Oman would soon sign the CTBT. ... While he understood the national positions that had caused India and Pakistan to resort to nuclear testing...[Oman] called on those two neighbouring countries to sign the NPT and the CTBT. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3115, 20 October

Pakistan

Muhammad Siddique Khan Kanju, 20 October

"[M]any statements in the Committee's general debate had drawn attention to the nuclear tests conducted last may by India and, in response, by Pakistan. … [A]n objective evaluation of those tests must bear in mind the history and context of nuclear proliferation in South Asia, as well as India's ambitions and Pakistan's compulsions. A growing conventional asymmetry had created the possibility of military aggression being committed against Pakistan once again. Nuclear deterrence was all that stood in the way. Moreover, it was not Pakistan, but India, which 'inducted' the nuclear dimension into the volatile security environment of South Asia. … Pakistan decided to demonstrate its nuclear capability to deter aggression... Its failure to do so could have eroded the delicate psychological judgements that were the essence of deterrence. Any consequent miscalculation could have had disastrous consequences... India's tests were a provocation and Pakistan's tests were a reaction. India's tests had destabilized the 'existential' deterrence that had existed in the region for the last 20 years, while Pakistan's tests had restabilized the mutual deterrence. His country was grateful to China for recognizing the distinction and to the many others who had privately done so. ... The international community had focused on the non-proliferation implications of the tests, rather than on the security and arms escalation dangers in South Asia. While that approach envisaged a comprehensive approach to regional security, it had not addressed the core dispute over Kashmir. ...

[Pakistan] had been responsive to the concerns of the world community. Soon after conducting its tests, it had announced a unilateral moratorium on further testing. Earlier in the Assembly session, its Prime Minister had reaffirmed support for the CTBT, which would hopefully enter into force before next September. He had made clear, however, that Pakistan's adherence to the Treaty would take place only in conditions free from coercion or pressure, and he had indicated his expectation of the speedy removal of 'arbitrary restrictions' and 'discriminatory sanctions'.

In anticipation of such an environment...[Pakistan] had agreed to commence negotiations…on Disarmament on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. The wide disparity in the fissile material stockpiles of India and Pakistan could erode the stability of nuclear deterrence. The impact of such asymmetry could be further exacerbated once India acquired the S-300 missile systems and additional anti-aircraft systems. In the course of negotiations…his delegation would seek a solution to the problem of unequal stockpiles. …

[H]is country was prepared to improve implementation of its policy of not exporting sensitive nuclear technology or equipment. That process should promote non-discrimination and reciprocal benefits. Pakistan could not simultaneously be considered a partner and a target of non-proliferation regimes. ...

Despite the NPT's indefinite extension...some nuclear-weapon States had claimed the right to retain nuclear weapons indefinitely. Periodic report of 'glacial progress' in the bilateral nuclear talks was not enough. A genuine process of nuclear disarmament in the single multilateral forum for disarmament, namely the [CD]...

The propulsion of technology and political ambition threatened to militarize outer space... Pakistan would press for the creation of an ad hoc committee in the Conference next year to negotiate a legally binding instrument to preserve outer space for peaceful purposes. His country also fully supported the conclusion of a protocol to strengthen the [BWC]... Agreement in that regard was more likely to result from greater flexibility by certain major countries than by more negotiating time. … [T]he entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention had revealed the unpleasant reality of India's clandestine chemical weapons programme, despite the solemn Pakistan-India declaration of 1992 that neither country possessed those weapons. …"

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3115, 20 October

Peru

Fernando Guillen, 19 October

"[Peru] rejected all forms of nuclear testing anywhere and at anytime... [E]fforts must be intensified to achieve progress in the meetings of the Preparatory Committee for the year 2000 NPT review. Further, the opinion of the International Court of Justice had acquired greater validity and relevance in the light of the recent events. ...

[Peru] also granted special importance to the non-proliferation of certain conventional weapons and, in that regard, the early entry into force of the Ottawa Convention signalled a positive change...

[T]he proliferation of small and light weapons...had promoted an increase of violence among criminal organizations. ... All States, in particular the producers, exporters and importers of those weapons, must publicly report on the measures being undertaken to eradicate the illegal traffic in those weapons. Further, a system of intelligence cooperation must be set up to detect unlawful trafficking. ... Peru, for its part, had adopted internal legislation to deal with that problem and was developing a model system of control. The 1997 Inter-American Convention...could serve as a model for an international instrument. The Secretary- General's initiative to convene an international conference in that area also had his country's support, as did the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. In order for the Register to be fully effective, however, States must provide information to it in a timely and open manner."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3114, 19 October.

Philippines

Blas F. Ople, 20 October

"[N]uclear weapons continued to represent the singular most serious threat facing the world. The task of eliminating them had been made more difficult, as 'two nations in my region and fellow members of the Non-Aligned Movement made the decision to succumb to the lure of the nuclear siren'. The international community must continue to engage both countries and make it clear that the acquisition of nuclear weapons was not acceptable.

The Ottawa Convention, which established a total ban on anti-personnel landmines, was a major victory... [T]he easy movement of finances, as well as the advances in the efficient movement of goods across oceans and borders, had ensured the continued and unfettered illicit traffic in small arms. The international community must continue to seek ways of containing that problem. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3116, 20 October

Russia

Vasily S. Sidorov, 14 October

"[M]ore than 1,700 heavy bombers, missile launchers and submarines capable of carrying nuclear warheads had been eliminated in the framework of the implementation of the Russian-United States agreements on strategic arms. At the Moscow Summit in September 1998, Presidents Boris N. Yeltsin and William Clinton reaffirmed their adherence to strict compliance with their commitments under the START and ABM Treaty. ... Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov had expressed firm determination to press for the ratification of START II by the Federal Assembly in the near future. In fact, Russia, within the framework of subsequent strategic arms agreements, was prepared to make far more drastic cuts. 'At the present stage, we deem it important that the United States also ratifies all START II-related instruments', he added.. [Russia] noted unilateral measures being taken by other nuclear Powers to reduce their arsenals and thought that such steps could be appropriately incorporated into international commitments. It was, indeed, high time all nuclear-weapon States joined the process of nuclear arms control and reduction. … His Government welcomed the decision of the [CD] to initiate negotiations on a treaty that would ban the production of fissile materials. ...

Although threats to international security persisted, there were economic problems caused by the considerable spending on nuclear arms elimination... Thus, 'attempts aimed at overly fast adoption of a strictly time-framed nuclear arms elimination programmes are counterproductive'...

The main goal of the NPT review in the year 2000 should be to strengthen the Treaty and make it universal… The nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan seriously challenged that Treaty and global nuclear non-proliferation, in general. His Government condemned those actions... His Government advocated the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones in various parts of the world... The concept was consonant with the Russian President's initiative to limit the deployment of nuclear arms within the national boundaries of the respective nuclear-weapon States. The creation of such zones was the best way to provide additional security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States. It was particularly important to deprive terrorists of the opportunity to obtain nuclear weapons. To that end, his Government submitted a draft convention to combat acts of nuclear terrorism to the Sixth Committee (Legal). ...

His Government had taken a responsible approach towards its commitments to ban chemical and biological weapons. Thus, it submitted timely notifications to the OPCW, as required by the Convention. In order to bolster the Convention and the status of the OPCW, the international verification mechanism should be adhered to and a way should be found to reduce the Organization's expenditures. He also hoped that the recent joint statement by Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton would give a new impetus to the negotiations aimed at drafting the protocol of the Biological Weapons Convention.

Outer space belonged to humanity and should not serve as a testing ground for new types of weapons... Attempts to build anti-satellite systems would militarize outer space and undermine strategic stability. His Government also understood concerns caused by the proliferation and launch of ballistic missiles and, in cooperation with the United States, it agreed to exchange information on missile launches and early warning. Furthermore, he backed initiatives to combat the illegal trafficking in small arms and supported an international conference on the issue.

[T]he problem posed by anti-personnel mines was a pressing disarmament issue. ... His country had enforced a moratorium on the export of anti-personnel mines. ...

The renewed Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) reflected new circumstances on the European continent. That would help soften the consequences of the enlargement of [NATO]…which has had a negative impact on European security. Russia hoped that the negotiating States would soon reach mutually acceptable solutions on key issues to ensure the stability of Central Europe and settle the 'flank' issue. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3110, 14 October

San Marino

Elena Molaroni, 14 October

"Her country was committed to better transparency in armaments, which was the only way to achieve a total elimination of nuclear weapons, and supported the International Court of Justice opinion that the use of nuclear weapons was illegal. ... [San Marino] believed that a fourth special session…could be useful..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3110, 14 October

Saudi Arabia

Ali Al-Jarbou, 20 October

"[Saudi Arabia] supported the efforts of the League of Arab States to make the region a zone free from all weapons of mass destruction... His country completely objected to the 'double standards practised by the international community', which excluded Israel from efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons...

His Government supported transparency in armaments as a means of consolidating international peace and security... For transparency to succeed in that regard, however, it had to follow definite and clear principles that were balanced and non-discriminatory. The United Nations Register of Conventional Arms represented the first attempt by the international community to deal with the issue of transparency. ... [T]he register had some problems, the most notable of which was that more than half of the Member States of the United Nations had continuously declined to offer information. It was necessary to deal with the fears of those States, in order to make participation in the Register more international. His country reaffirmed the position of the League of Arab States that the scope of the Register be enlarged to include other categories of weapons."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3116, 20 October

Senegal

Ibra Deguene Ka, 20 October

"[Senegal] wanted the sale and illicit traffic in small arms to be abolished in areas of conflict. ... [H]is country was delighted with the efforts of ECOWAS to combat the small arms scourge, which had led to a regional moratorium on the import and export of those weapons. Some progress had been made on a draft mechanism that would also address peacekeeping and other security issues. Despite those commendable and encouraging initiatives, Africa alone could not tackle the danger posed by those weapons. Therefore, it must be dealt with at the international level. In that regard, the efforts of Norway and Canada to harmonize action on the issue was a positive development. His delegation supported the idea of convening an international conference on the issue.

His Government was delighted that the 40 ratifications required to bring the Ottawa Convention into force had been obtained...

[Senegal was] pleased that India and Pakistan had promised to accede to the CTBT, and Brazil had acceded to the NPT. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3115, 20 October

Singapore

Kishore Mahbubani, 19 October

"[T]here was safety in brick houses and solid defence. The First Committee, for its part, rarely counselled countries to build brick houses and solid defence. Instead, it generally urged them to disarm, brick by brick. ... The Committee should balance its promotion of disarmament with a healthy respect for the realities of history... Metaphorical wolves continued to prey on the weak and defenceless and armed conflict was not likely to disappear soon. Therefore, the weak and defenceless, especially small States, should not be prematurely disarmed. They should be allowed to first build their brick houses. ...

North America and the 14 European members of [NATO]…accounted for much of the total global military expenditures, while the 132 members of the 'Group of 77' developing countries accounted for only 16 per cent. Yet, most of the developed world was at peace, while most of today's conflict occurred in the developing world. There was, thus, no empirical correlation between peace and disarmament, but between peace and armament. ...

Curiously, those who lived in brick houses were advising those in straw homes to disarm. The nuclear-weapon States had continued to object to the elimination of nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework, forcing disarmament activists to turn their attention to conventional weapons - 'the bows and arrows' that constitute the rudimentary defence of most countries. That was undermining the basic ability of States to defend themselves or maintain domestic law and order. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3114, 19 October.

South Africa

Peter Goosen, 12 October

"[D]espite the positive work being done in the context of various disarmament agreements, 1998 had been a year of 'disturbing developments', especially in the area of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. The nuclear tests conducted in South Asia and their potential impact on nuclear disarmament were of considerable concern... While South Africa had expressed its concern through a number of venues, it would continue to call on India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint and to continue their dialogue to promote mutual confidence. South Africa, itself, had 'stepped away from the nuclear weapons abyss' and, as a State party to the NPT, it was firmly committed to nuclear non-proliferation and to the total elimination of those weapons…

[D]espite the fact that South Africa and many other participants in negotiations had made clear that their nuclear disarmament proposals would not undermine or threaten the negotiations between the Russian Federation and the United States, they had refused to consider those proposals. The world community recognized that present and future negotiations among the nuclear-weapon States were of paramount importance to the reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. It sought focused deliberations on the practical steps for systematic and progressive efforts in that regard. The 1998 preparatory committee meeting for the year 2000 NPT review hopefully would recoup lost ground and successfully conclude its work.

South Africa, together with its partners to the 9 June joint ministerial declaration, would present a draft resolution for consideration by the Committee that was intended to put forward an achievable nuclear disarmament agenda. It would identify the middle ground and avoid the 'trap of inaction' created by the two poles that had for too long dominated the nuclear disarmament debate. The time had come to look at a new approach. The proposal sought to form the basis for a common approach that embraced existing unilateral and bilateral processes, as well as complementary steps at the multilateral level. …

The [CWC]… served as an example of what could be achieved in the disarmament sphere... Its verification mechanism had resulted in a number of successful inspections among Member States. Similarly, the intensification of the work by the States parties to supply the [BWC]…with a verification protocol was welcome. …

[T]he devastation wrought by the proliferation of light weapons and small arms on socio-economic development, specifically in the reconstruction of post-conflict societies, could no longer be ignored. The demobilization of ex-combatants, disarmament programmes and other initiatives in conflict areas were constrained by the existence of large amounts of those weapons, which were poorly regulated and indiscriminately used. In order to address the issue, the necessary human and financial resources must be marshalled, data must be shared, action must be coordinated and the profile of the issue must be raised."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3107, 12 October.

Sri Lanka

S. Palihakkara, 19 October

"The important consensus of the international community at the 1995 NPT review had charted a course for the elimination of nuclear weapons. However, the participants seem to have lost their way. While nuclear disarmament deliberations remained virtually paralyzed, doctrines of nuclear deterrence seem to have upheld the further utility of those weapons, despite the end of their Cold War rationale. That trend could only be reversed by activating a multilateral nuclear disarmament process - unreservedly endorsed by the international community... The current Committee session would hopefully produce a framework for international action aimed at achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world. ...

The nexus between the illicit arms trade and international criminal organizations clearly demonstrated that cooperative international measures were needed. The manifestations of the illicit arms trade had assumed disturbing transnational dimensions, which could no longer be treated as 'a law and order problem'. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3114, 19 October.

Sudan

Elfatih Mohamed Ahmed Erwa, 21 October

"Serious negotiations on nuclear disarmament should be undertaken in conformity with the provisions of the 1978 final document of the tenth special session of the General Assembly, and the first devoted to disarmament. A fourth special session would allow the international community to review its implementation and present recommendations to address the current challenges.

[Sudan] had supported all international efforts aimed at banning anti-personnel landmines, being one of the first to sign the Ottawa Convention. ... [Sudan] was one of the African countries that had suffered most from the dangers of landmines. Those weapons had prevented assistance from reaching victims and impeded the return of more than 2 million displaced persons. The voluntary fund to assist Sudan in that regard was still awaiting financing. He hoped the donor community would respond.

[Sudan] also attached special importance to curbing the flow of conventional weapons, especially in Africa, whose conventional weapons were winding up in rebel hands. ... States had the right to use conventional weapons to defend their borders and national territory. The solution, therefore, did not lie in controlling the traffic of those weapons, but in addressing the causes of the conflicts. … Transparency in conventional weapons was the primary tool for the consolidation of peace and stability... Unfortunately, the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms lacked transparency. Moreover, its scope should be expanded to include data relating to weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, as well as the military applications of sophisticated technologies. ...

[O]n 20 August, one of Sudan's pharmaceutical factories was destroyed by the United States, under the pretext that the factory was producing substances that could be used for the production of chemical weapons. That action was a unilateral and illogical measure on the part of the United States. The Committee heard an address by the Director of the OPCW, in which he said that the United States - which possessed the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world - had not conformed with the provisions of that Convention, and it was refusing to subject its chemical industry to inspection. His country had repeatedly denounced that ' standard'... Also, while a pharmaceutical factory was destroyed in a developing nation under a false pretext, Israel was transferring illegal substances that could be used in the production of nerve gases. …"

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3117, 21 October

Syria

Khalil Abou-Hadid, 21 October

"[T]he Committee was meeting amid increased calls for the comprehensive and complete elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, in particular, nuclear weapons. Those weapons...had continued to proliferate after the end of the Cold War, and had now reached India and Pakistan…[T]hat proliferation had acquired a certain degree of legitimacy after a blind eye was turned on Israel's acquisition of nuclear weapons when the NPT was indefinitely extended in 1995. ... [T]he recent series of test explosions in South Asia had created a new reality that must be dealt with by the international community. Those tests had made it abundantly clear that the legal framework of the NPT was incapable of providing the necessary and comprehensive guarantees. ... The important disarmament developments of this year should not give way to excessive optimism... The dangers of the lethal nuclear weapons, which hovered over the future of mankind, had not been reduced or eliminated. ...

One way to promote peace and security was through transparency in armaments... Regrettably, the Register of Conventional Arms lacked transparency. It must be expanded to include, in the first place, information about weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons. It should also include information on advanced technology with military applications, as well as detailed data on national military production. Moreover, the Register did not take into account the Middle East situation, which lacked a qualitative balance in the field of armaments. ...

The appeal made [to the First Committee] by the Director-General [of the OPCW] to some Arab States to adhere to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the lack of a call to Israel to adhere to the NPT 'smacked of clear selectivity that was neither objective or acceptable'..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3117, 21 October

Switzerland

Erwin H. Hofer, 13 October

"[P]rogress had been made in matters of transparency, verification and elimination of certain arms categories. That should not, however, prompt complacency. ... It was a positive development that the [CD]…adopted a working programme underlining the importance of nuclear disarmament and set up a special committee to prepare a treaty banning the production of fissile materials for military purposes. Although those actions by the Conference constituted political progress, no actual arms reduction had resulted... Therefore, the Conference should pursue its negotiations with determination. The expansion of the composition of the Conference remained subject to debate. He welcomed efforts towards universality and would like to see negotiations on the issue culminate in the admission of five new members in 1999…

[Switzerland] would also like to see progress made with the verification protocol of the [BWC]… His Government was pleased that the Ottawa Convention was scheduled to enter into force on 1 March 1999 and would support the participation of developing countries at the first conference of the States parties… The full effectiveness of the Convention would depend on its implementation on an international scale. The United Nations should be able to play a pivotal role in the process. It was in that spirit that his Government decided to establish an International Centre for Humanitarian Demining in Geneva. ...

His country was also concerned about the proliferation of small arms, which did not easily lend itself to the kind of solution embodied by the Ottawa Convention. It was, therefore, necessary for the international community to look for new solutions. …

His Government reiterated its conviction that the universal abolition of nuclear arms was necessary... Unfortunately, START II had not been ratified by the Russian Federation. Further, the second session of the Preparatory Committee of the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT had not yielded any specific results. The parties to the Treaty must emit a clear and unequivocal political signal regarding the principles of the Treaty, especially with regard to 'the disquieting events that occurred in South Asia in May'. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3109, 13 October.

Tanzania

M. H. Jabir, 14 October

"Today, nuclear weapons remained the greatest menace to civilization, and the lack of political will on the part of nuclear-weapon States remained the biggest hindrance to the abolition of those weapons. Once again, his Government called on them to commit themselves to a time-bound framework to eliminate nuclear weapons, through multilateral negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention. According priority to nuclear disarmament did not imply any disregard for the urgent need to work for arms control and disarmament in other areas... In that regard, he placed particular emphasis on the control of the transfer of small arms and light weapons, whose extensive accumulation and proliferation was an issue of grave concern. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3110, 14 October

Tunisia

Ali Hachani, 19 October

"[T]he General Assembly had called for nuclear disarmament through its annual resolutions and its final document of 1978. In addition, the vast majority of non-nuclear-weapon States, in particular the members of the Non-Aligned Movement, had issued multiple urgent appeals for nuclear disarmament. The International Court of Justice, through its advisory opinion of 1996, had also urged nuclear disarmament. That emerging broad consensus offered a valuable opportunity for further progress towards nuclear disarmament. ... [The CD] should set up an ad hoc committee to deal with nuclear disarmament, especially in light of the recent events in South Asia..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3114, 19 October.

Turkey

Tuluy Tanc, 15 October

"[T]he nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan could have serious repercussions for the security of the region and of the world at large. It was encouraging that both countries had announced their readiness to accede to the CTBT. ...

[H]is country was fully conscious of the human suffering caused by the irresponsible and indiscriminate use of anti-personnel landmines. Unfortunately, the security situation of Turkey was distinctly different from what the proponents of the Ottawa Convention had in mind and, thus, his country had been precluded from signing… Still, in consideration of the humanitarian element of the Convention, Turkey enacted a national moratorium in 1996 banning the sale and transfer of land mines. It had also developed bilateral arrangements with some of its neighbours, including Bulgaria and Georgia, on how to keep their common borders free of those weapons.

His Government regarded the [CFE]...Treaty as the cornerstone of European security, he continued. The Treaty, however, needed to be adapted to the new security conditions on the continent. As far as his country was concerned, the CFE 'flank regime' was the heart of the Treaty. His Government also recognized the serious threat posed by the illicit trade in small arms and supported the idea of convening an international conference to address the problem."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3111, 15 October.

Uganda

Edward Khiddu Makubuya, 16 October

"[For] centuries, the Indian Ocean had been central in the trade, culture and movement of peoples in the regions bordering it. Therefore, it was important for that Ocean basin to be free from any confrontation that might endanger regional peace. That area should be declared a zone of peace, which would enhance the global economy and promote international peace and security. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3113, 16 October.

Ukraine

Volodymyr Yel'Chenko, 14 October

"As a party to START I, Ukraine considered the START process an integral part of nuclear disarmament. Criticism was mounting among non-nuclear-weapon States for the lack of progress in that crucial field. ... The declaration made by a group of countries in June, entitled 'Towards a World Free of Nuclear Weapons', had his country's support. Similarly, it supported negotiations prohibiting the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. The scope of any future treaty in that regard, however, should not be limited to banning the production of such material, but also to reducing the stockpiles.

The illicit traffic of small arms and light weapons, as well as their accumulation and proliferation, continued to threaten regional and national security... The time had come for the international community to consider action-oriented recommendations, as a starting point for negotiating a global convention. The achievements of the Ottawa process were welcome. For its part, his country had strictly adhered to the national moratorium on the export of anti-personnel landmines since 1995. Although it did not produce those weapons, it had undertaken unilateral measures to destroy its stockpiles. Last spring, it had destroyed more than 100,000 anti-personnel landmines."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3110, 14 October

United States

John D. Holum, Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), 14 October

"[T]here were glaring exceptions to the positive disarmament trend. Just as the world's resistance to weapons of mass destruction had stiffened, the hardest cases had all grown worse. If the past First Committee session had reflected hope born of achievements, the current one should reflect the sombre reality that those common endeavours had lost ground, which needed to be recovered.

The nuclear-weapon tests conducted by India and Pakistan were deplorable and disheartening…posing a serious challenge not only to the nuclear non-proliferation regime, but presenting profound dangers on the ground. The world - along with the United States and the Soviet Union - had learned painful lessons about how high the risk of war became when ballistic missile velocities reduced attack warning to a matter of minutes. If nuclear-capable missiles were deployed, India and Pakistan would not even have minutes. Flight times would be less than reaction times. There would be a hair-trigger on nuclear war.

Most recently, the provocative missile launch by North Korea passing directly over Japanese territory had raised serious concerns, which were shared by its friends and allies, including the United States. In the Persian Gulf region, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction posed additional concerns. Iraq's continuing resistance to United Nations Special Commission...on the disposal of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and IAEA inspections and Iran's development of longer-range missiles diminished international security.

It was up to the disarmament community to 'find a silver lining in those figurative mushroom clouds in South Asia and other ominous developments'... The events of this year might show the way forward, and the international community's response to those problems gave cause for hope. Within a few days of the South Asia nuclear tests, international forums - including the General Assembly, the Rio Group, the Security Council and 47 members of the Conference on Disarmament - responded in a broad condemnation of the tests and laid out measures those two countries would have to take... [There had been] some progress in that regard, including the announcements by both India and Pakistan that they were preparing to adhere to the CTBT and to engage in negotiations of a cut-off of fissile material for weapons purposes. Those two leaders also agreed to resume their review of outstanding disputes. Clearly, tangible progress would take more time and a steadfast approach by the international community. For the United States, until further progress was achieved, lifting sanctions and strengthening cooperation with India and Pakistan would be difficult. …

Even before its entry into force, the CTBT had helped create widespread condemnation of South Asia's nuclear testing... Negotiations for a cut-off of fissile material production was the next multilateral step in advancing disarmament objectives. ...

The international community must devote itself to fully implementing the prohibitions of biological and chemical weapons. That meant completing next year a compliance protocol for the [BWC]…and destroying existing stocks of chemical weapons under the [CWC's] regime. Those particularly repulsive weapons should not proliferate further. … [H]is Government supported the efforts by those involved in the Ottawa Convention. While the United States shared that goal, security concerns had prevented it from signing. His Government would do so by the year 2006, if it succeeded in identifying and fielding suitable alternatives. Meanwhile, it was important for the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate a ban on the transfer of anti-personnel landmines…

The United States remained committed to nuclear disarmament, pursuant to article VI of the NPT... Together, the United States and the Russian Federation had deactivated or eliminated more than 18,000 strategic and tactical nuclear warheads... At a recent summit in Moscow, they agreed on the principles for the disposition, by each country, of approximately 50 metric tons of plutonium released from defence programmes. Although not participants in formal negotiations on the reduction of nuclear arms, the United Kingdom and France had eliminated entire classes of nuclear weapons and substantially reduced overall levels of their nuclear forces. The significance of those reductions was in what it revealed about the lessened role of nuclear weapons in world affairs. Who could now believe that the great Powers of the future would be defined as those possessing nuclear weapons? ... Surely not the courageous leaders of South Africa, who had abandoned a nuclear weapons programme, recognizing that their country would be more secure by adhering to global non-proliferation norms. Surely not Germany and Japan, which had decided it was not in their interest to develop nuclear weapons. Surely not the 182 non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT, which had decided they could better maintain their security and prestige by agreeing to forswear nuclear weapons."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3110, 14 October

Uruguay

Jorge Perez-Otermin, 19 October

"[T]his year the international community must take concrete action to ensure that the NPT was respected. It was inadmissible for any State to fail to live up that commitment. In some respects, progress had been made, as a number of States had acceded to the NPT and the Ottawa Convention...would be entering into force. However, the world had also been frustrated by the nuclear tests in South Asia. That event broke the restraint that the non-nuclear-weapon States had shown towards the acquisition of nuclear weapons, which was regrettable. It was also regrettable that the process of nuclear disarmament as a whole was making no progress... The international community could not afford to continue with the inherent threat in that stagnation. Given that picture, he was proud of the political development of MERCOSUR - the Southern Common Market - as a zone of peace, designed to ensure the absence of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3114, 19 October.

Uzbekistan

Alisher Vohidiv, 15 October

"[T]he international community should encourage regional arms control initiatives. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones was an important contribution in that context. He supported the development of new concepts for States whose geographical situation made it difficult for them to join existing or prospective nuclear-weapon-free zones. Mongolia was an example of such a situation… [Uzbekistan] was delighted that proposals for the establishment of such a zone in Central Asia was accorded adequate recognition on the agenda of the United Nations and had received heartening international support. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3111, 15 October.

Venezuela

Ignacio Arcaya- Smith, 16 October

"The underground nuclear tests by India and Pakistan revealed and underlined the nuclear threat facing the international community. ... The status of the NPT was…a matter of concern. The nuclear-weapon States must pursue concrete disarmament measures in good faith. ...

Latin America and the Caribbean had made important contributions towards the promotion of the disarmament process. The Inter-American Convention...was a significant development in checking the proliferation of small arms. ... His Government supported the convening of an international conference to tackle the problem. ... There was need to convene the fourth special session of the General..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3112, 16 October

Viet Nam

Pham Quang Vinh, 16 October

"[T]he countries of the Non-Aligned Movement had made clear their rejection of the arguments pursued by the nuclear-weapon States that nuclear weapons provided unique security benefits. It was time to start negotiations to conclude a convention banning nuclear weapons. ...

[Viet Nam] deeply shared the grave concern over the consequences generated by the indiscriminate use of land mines. It fully recognized the gravity of the problems and the tragedy in terms of both human and material losses and, thus, supported the strict prohibition of the indiscriminate use of those weapons, as well as the moratorium on their export. ... Moreover, while the indiscriminate use of mines must be strictly prohibited, the right of States to resort to such weapons in defending their sovereignty and territorial integrity must also be recognized. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3112, 16 October

Zambia

Humphrey B. Kunda, 21 October

"[Zambia] was concerned about the reluctance of the nuclear-weapon States to negotiate nuclear disarmament in the [CD]... The international community, through the broad-based membership of the Conference must be involved in negotiating a convention to ban nuclear weapons. ... [T]he indefinite extension of the NPT and the adoption of the CTBT were significant developments that could consolidate the non-proliferation regime. The CTBT, however, had a serious shortcoming, because it did not cover testing through technical means or computer simulation. If one country conducted a simulated nuclear weapon test, all the other nuclear-weapon States could follow suit. That was the rule of law among nuclear-weapon States. The world now had 'five plus two' nuclear weapon Powers, following the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan. South Asia was now a theatre of nuclear weapons confrontation, posing additional threats to international peace and security. ...

[Zambia] hoped that any [fissile materials] treaty would not fail to include all fissile materials, including existing stockpiles. Otherwise, another loophole would be created. Another issue that was ripe for negotiations was security guarantees... More [nuclear-weapon-free] zones should be established in the Middle East and in Central Asia... [T]he time was now overdue for the convening of a fourth special session of the General Assembly…

[Zambia] was also concerned about the proliferation of conventional weapons, especially small arms and light weapons... Those weapons had taken conventional warfare to new levels, spawning conflicts and suffering of titanic proportions. ..."

Source: United Nations Press Release GA/DIS/3117, 21 October

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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