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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 41, November 1999

UN First Committee seeks a new agenda on disarmament and backs the abm treaty
By Rebecca Johnson

The First Committee of the 54th United Nations General Assembly (Disarmament and International Security), chaired by Ambassador Raimundo González of Chile, closed its session on November 9, 1999, after taking action on 49 draft resolutions and three draft decisions. This report consists of a summary analysis of the political trends indicated in the First Committee votes, followed by an appendix listing all the resolutions, detailing their main points, the votes and relevant comments regarding the votes. Voting figures are also given for the General Assembly, which on December 1 adopted all but one of the resolutions passed by the First Committee. The GA vote on the Japanese-sponsored resolution on small arms (L.42/Rev.1) was delayed, as there were financial implications and the Fifth Committee had not yet finalised its budgetary deliberations.

Opening just as the US Senate rejected the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the mood of the 1999 First Committee was sombre, but curiously flat. Summing up the session on November 9, the First Committee's Chair, Ambassador Raimundo González of Chile, noted that the proceedings had "strongly reflected the international community's deep concern at the impasse" over nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, and commented that "multilaterally, we are working at the frustration level, which is rising".

Three issues dominated the deliberations: a first time resolution from Russia on preserving and complying with the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty; nuclear disarmament, particularly the resolution from the New Agenda Coalition (NAC); and Japan's resolution on small arms.

Preserving the ABM Treaty

Aiming to marshal wider international support for sustaining the ABM Treaty and opposing US attempts to modify it to deploy or assist others to build ballistic and national missile defences, Russia's revised ABM resolution (UNGA 54/54A) was co-sponsored by China and Belarus.

Anatoly Antonov told the First Committee that the resolution had a "clearly declared and unambiguously constructive objective - to guarantee the preservation and strengthening of the ABM Treaty through its strict and full scale compliance". Claiming that if the ABM Treaty were undermined, the fulfilment of the START process of nuclear weapon reductions would become "impossible", Antonov bluntly stated that "it is a false notion that Russia is ready to discuss reviewing the ABM Treaty, much less its core provision - Article I - according to which the Parties undertake not to deploy ABM systems for a defence of the territory of their countries and not to provide a base for such a defence". Explaining why Russia had brought the issue to the United Nations, Antonov said it was "a delusion to consider the problem of the preservation and strict compliance with the ABM Treaty as a purely bilateral affair".

Statements from both Antonov and Ambassador Sergey Lavrov emphasised that the draft was "non-confrontational", as it was based on the language of the ABM Treaty and joint statements by the US and Russian Presidents in Helsinki (1997) and Cologne (1999). Nevertheless, US Ambassador Robert Grey reacted angrily and tried to get Russia and its co-sponsors to withdraw. The US delegation argued that the draft resolution was "inconsistent with the commitments made by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in Cologne". He and Antonov quoted from the same paragraph of the Cologne statement, which in Russia's view did not contain any agreement to review the ABM Treaty, but according to Grey was "a commitment by the Parties to review the Treaty in light of changes in the strategic situation". No doubt the Cologne drafters intended the language to be susceptible to either interpretation, thereby committing no-one. Failing to get Russia and China to agree to withdraw the resolution, the United States put considerable effort into persuading as many of its allies and other states as possible not to vote in favour, by arguing that it was inappropriate for the General Assembly to take sides in ongoing bilateral negotiations.

Despite US fury, France was willing to co-sponsor the resolution if it would include a call to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. Referring to the "unprecedented circumstances created by one State party to the ABM Treaty", Ambassador Hubert de la Fortelle said France wanted a text that would address the twin necessities of preserving the Treaty, the cornerstone of strategic stability since 1972, and combatting the proliferation of ballistic missiles. Russia would have accepted the French paragraphs on missile and WMD proliferation, but China reportedly refused. France did not therefore co-sponsor, but insisted on putting its amendments to the vote, on the grounds that since legitimate concerns about WMD and missile proliferation were the main reason for seeking missile defences, the resolution should address both cause and effect. The French amendments were adopted by 22 votes to 1, with 95 abstentions. The United States voted against, afraid that it would make the ABM resolution more acceptable to others. The majority who abstained included US allies, not wanting to offend, and non-aligned countries, who preferred to attack missile defences without acknowledging the security concerns underlying them. The amended resolution was adopted by the General Assembly with 80 votes to 4, and 68 abstentions.

Both sides claimed victory, with the US delegation pointing out that in the First Committee there were more abstentions than votes in favour. In the General Assembly, however, the votes in favour of the resolution outweighed opponents and abstainers and provided a rather more respectable expression of international concern than the US would like to admit. In fact, apart from Israel, American opposition was strangely partnered with Albania and Micronesia (a Pacific island nation used for US nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s). The nuclear weapon states were thoroughly divided. France voted with Russia and China in favour, while Britain abstained (assuring everyone that it expressed its concerns to the US privately, which it deemed more effective). Despite some furious arm-twisting, the United States did not succeed in getting NATO countries or even Japan to oppose the resolution. On the other hand, many felt that Russia had not achieved the resounding international endorsement that it needed, though this was partly ascribed to poor political management of the resolution and the disagreements over incorporating references to missile proliferation.

Nuclear Disarmament

Nuclear disarmament again provoked some of the most interesting and contentious debates. Four resolutions dealt directly with the subject - sponsored by the New Agenda Coalition, Malaysia, Japan and Myanmar (Burma). In its second year, the 'New Agenda' resolution (UNGA 54/54G), initiated by the seven members of the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden), was again the hardest fought, prompting parliamentary debates in several countries, including the Netherlands, Norway and Australia. Complementary strategies and actions by New Agenda governments and non-governmental organisations, working both internationally and on the ground in key countries, brought several governments, including Japan, Canada and the Netherlands, close to voting in favour. Yet again, however, NATO members did not feel brave enough to be the first to 'break Alliance ranks', and in the end they played it safe and abstained. Nevertheless, the cross-group, pragmatic approach and challenges to nuclear doctrine being raised by the New Agenda Coalition are likely to come up again in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) and at the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT, so the debates in key countries are likely to intensify over the next year.

Ambassador Clive Pearson of New Zealand introduced the NAC resolution as complementary to other nuclear disarmament resolutions, offering "a comprehensive way forward, contingent on an 'unequivocal undertaking' to speed up the pace of engagement". The New Agenda countries, who were joined by more than 60 co-sponsors, hoped their cross-group approach would "reinvigorate the way we should approach the nuclear disarmament agenda" and "galvanise the international community in a concerted push to move forward - in realistic and achievable steps - so that we can work to eradicate nuclear weapons once and for all." While the philosophy was the same as in 1998, the text took into account objections raised by NATO countries and used coded language to encourage NATO (and others) to consider giving up the option to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. In calling for a multistranded approach comprising unilateral, bilateral, five-power and multilateral steps, the resolution was more concrete in identifying possible measures such as the elimination of tactical nuclear weapons, de-alerting, and transparency.

In his statement, Pearson addressed the main criticisms used against the resolution in 1998. Making a nonsense of the claim that it undermined the NPT, the resolution and its proponents emphasised the importance of the NPT so strongly that India forced separate votes on two paragraphs calling for the universality of the NPT and supporting negotiations to give legally binding security assurances to non-nuclear NPT parties. Ambassador Savitri Kunadi complained that where New Delhi had endorsed the Dublin Declaration of June 1998 (from which the New Agenda initiative originated), India could not support the NAC resolution. In response to the argument that it was up to the NWS to determine the pace and steps towards fulfilling article VI, Pearson observed that "the NPT carries an explicit obligation to pursue the elimination of these weapons. And it calls for the cooperation of all states in the attainment of this objective. It follows then that non-nuclear weapon states have both the right and the responsibility to pursue this obligation... it is inherent in a Treaty based on mutual obligations that no one group of states can determine independently the pace with which the obligations of that Treaty are implemented."

Both the United States and Britain were more low key in their attempts to swing other countries against the New Agenda resolution than last year, though for different reasons. The United States judged that it needed its political capital more for the ABM resolution, and Britain was constrained by the fact that the resolution came very close to Labour Party policy, and politicians and activists were watching at home. It was left up to France, whose ambassador, Hubert de la Fortelle, gamely stepped into the role of rottweiler, calling the resolution "dangerous" and accusing the New Agenda sponsors of having a "forked tongue to get credulous delegations to yield to the siren call". France's outburst prompted complaints from some delegations and caused Ambassador Antonio de Icaza of Mexico to remark that it was fine not to vote for the resolution, but not to insult the co-sponsors.

After the dust settled, the General Assembly vote on the NAC resolution was 111 in favour, to 13 against, with 39 abstentions, split more starkly along nuclear/non-nuclear lines than any comparable resolution. In addition to Britain, France, the United States and Russia, who voted solidly against all the nuclear disarmament resolutions except Japan's, the main opponents included India, Israel and Pakistan. China abstained. Of NATO countries, even Turkey, which had voted against in 1998, and the Czech Republic, joined the majority in abstaining, leaving just 'new boys' Poland and Hungary in the NWS' camp.

This was also the third year for Malaysia's resolution (UNGA 54/54Q) linking the ICJ advisory opinion to a call for negotiations leading to a nuclear weapons convention (NWC). Although there is less and less debate on this each year, the resolution continues to garner a respectable 114 votes in favour, to 28 against, with 22 abstentions. This shows solid backing from the NAM, although under the circumstances, the support of China, India and Pakistan might be regarded with a degree of scepticism. One of the most interesting aspects of Malaysia's resolution was the breakdown of voting on two separate paragraphs. The first, endorsing the ICJ's unanimous opinion on the legal obligation to pursue and bring to conclusion negotiations on nuclear disarmament, drew 156 votes in favour, with 3 against (France, Russia and the United States) and 3 abstentions (Britain, Bulgaria and Israel). The paragraph calling for negotiations leading to a nuclear weapons convention attracted predictably fewer, but still a substantial number of supporters: 107 in favour, to 29 against, with 26 abstentions.

This year, Japan's NPT-based nuclear disarmament resolution (UNGA 54/54D) resulted in an unanticipated split among the nuclear powers, as well as abstentions over the wording of an operative paragraph which called for updated Principles and Objectives (P&O) at the 2000 NPT Conference. The offending paragraph, OP9, caused problems for a number of delegations. Whether they supported bringing out updated P&O or not, a number felt that it was inappropriate to ask the UNGA to make such a recommendation, as that pre-empted the debate for 2000. France, following on from its isolated stand at the Third Preparatory Committee meeting in May, voted against, while several others, including the New Agenda Coalition abstained. On the entire resolution, though there were 153 votes in favour with none against, Japan was disappointed to see France, Russia and China among the 12 who abstained.

Small Arms

Japan was in trouble again over its resolution on small arms, an issue which has become a priority concern in recent years. In presenting the Report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Small Arms, on which the resolution was based, Ambassador Mitsuro Donowaki drew attention to the decision last year to hold an international conference on the illicit arms trade no later than 2001. This conference is now scheduled for June/July 2001, with the first of at least three designated PrepComs to be convened in late February 2000. In noting the 27 new recommendations of the government experts, Donowaki highlighted the special needs of children in post-conflict situations and recommendations concerning mandatory markings on small arms and light weapons indicating the name of the manufacturer, country of manufacture, and a serial number. He also emphasised the addition of "brokering activities", arguing for new laws and regulations to cover re-transfer, brokering activities and end-user requirements and authentication.

There was widespread support for the resolution's substantive purpose and for the proposed UN Conference. The major problem, as expressed by Norway, South Africa, and other 'like-minded' states, was the emphasis on governmental experts to the practical exclusion of non-governmental experts, despite the significant contribution, expertise and initiatives already provided by civil society on this issue. Although the resolution in PP3 recognised the role of civil society, only UN specialised agencies and intergovernmental organisations received a "standing invitation" in OP4 to attend the relevant meetings as observers. Moreover, in OP14 the resolution requests the UN Secretary General to provide as background documentation for the Conference, a study "with the assistance of governmental experts... on the basis of equitable geographical representation". Some feel that this is a recipe for tip-toeing around national sensitivities and doing "too little, too late", while small arms continue to fuel wars and slaughter civilians in their hundreds of thousands around the world. Clearly the prominent role played by civil society, especially NGOs, in the Ottawa process is equally in the minds of those who want civil society expertise to be appropriately represented and those who seek to restrict participation to governments and agencies.

Donowaki noted "that much of the trade in small arms and light weapons consisted of legal transfers to meet the legitimate needs of states and that such legal trade should be fully respected at the conference" but also stressed that "since the conference is to address the question of illicit trade... 'in all its aspects', aspects of the issue of legal transfers should also be considered in so far as they are directly related to the illicit trafficking...". The complexity of this link was further compounded by obligatory references to the "inherent right to individual or collective self defence recognised in Article 51" of the UN Charter and "the right of self determination". Nevertheless, several delegations discussed the importance of not narrowing the scope of the Conference in such a way that it would fail to address the issue sensibly and effectively.


The First Committee conflicts and debates reveal but only superficially address the serious political developments that are responsible for the lack of progress in strengthening post-Cold War arms control and security. While some delegations expressed relief that the 54th UN First Committee was relatively calm, others were worried that this was symptomatic of hopelessness. On a wide range of issues now, the US lurch towards unilateralism and pre-eminence is undermining collective approaches and decision-making. A growing number of countries - including some American allies - see US policy and domestic political dysfunction as a primary factor and in some cases the root cause of a deterioration in international relations and concomitant inability to make better progress. At the same time, many states feel that it would be counterproductive to criticise or exert pressure on the United States in the United Nations, since that might fuel the neo-isolationists of the right who are already hostile to the UN. Trying to reconcile the two perceptions is making some governments schizophrenic and others passive.

Seeking to avoid unpalatable confrontation, the United States itself withdrew two resolutions it usually sponsors, on 'Compliance with Arms Limitation and Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Agreements' and on 'Bilateral Nuclear Arms Negotiations and Nuclear Disarmament', acknowledging that both resolutions "ran the risk of being subjected to a campaign of amendment designed to introduce contention over the ABM Treaty".

It is debatable whether the First Committee has made CD agreement on a work programme for 2000 more or less likely. China refused to go along with consensus on the draft resolution calling for the CD to commence negotiations on a ban on fissile materials for weapons purposes (fissban) early in 2000. China resisted the proposed language, which it regarded as tantamount to a call for a stand-alone agreement on convening the fissban committee, whereas China wanted the call for CD negotiations to be as part of a comprehensive work programme, i.e. including a subsidiary body on outer space issues. Canada and the co-sponsors decided to withdraw the resolution rather than lose the consensus obtained in 1998. China is currently pressing for an ad hoc committee on outer space issues, although last year it was understood to be willing to accept an ad hoc working group, providing the mandate was for more than talks about talks. Towards the end of the 1999 CD session, the United States, which had since 1995 held out against reconvening any subsidiary body on outer space, despite 'Prevention of an arms race in outer space' (PAROS) being a long-standing item on the CD agenda, indicated that it would agree to a working group with a woollier mandate than proposed by Ambassador Dembri when he was CD President.

The distance between the Chinese and American positions is bridgeable with political will and a little flexibility. Some observers consider that by forcing the withdrawal of the fissban resolution in the First Committee, China has signalled that it will block the fissban committee in the CD unless it gets what it wants on outer space. By an alternative, more hopeful, analysis, China may deem that its stance in the First Committee has sent an appropriately strong signal, allowing it to exercise more flexibility in the CD, providing the US meets it half way on the mandate for an outer space working group.

Finally, the growing frustration with deadlock, delay and conflicting agendas on disarmament issues across the board show more clearly than ever the need to hold a fourth UN special session on disarmament (UNSSOD IV). If it reflects the political reality, it is unlikely to be easy or smooth, but the alternative to meeting the challenge is for international disarmament efforts to decline into dangerous irrelevance or be pursued outside UN disarmament machinery, as happened with the Ottawa Treaty.

Appendix: Summary of Resolutions


Voting is given as for:against:abstentions

'Consensus' is used when a resolution is adopted without a vote. Some countries are diplomatically absent while others may state that they have not participated in the consensus. The First Committee votes are shown first, followed by the votes in the UN General Assembly on December 1, 1999. Comments following the votes generally refer only to debate in the First Committee. The resolutions have been grouped according to subject, resembling but not corresponding exactly to the clusters used by the UN. A '*' on some resolutions is part of the identifying First Committee number. 'Rev' denotes an agreed revision incorporated before action was taken. Where possible we identify the introducing country, which has normally taken the lead in negotiating on the text, but we do not necessarily mention all the co-sponsors, statements or voting preferences. The aim of the appendix is to highlight resolutions and statements of political significance, based on country, representation or distinguishing characteristics.

Some resolutions were taken in parts. In this case, 'PP' refers to preambular paragraph and 'OP' refers to operative paragraph, which normally contain the requests and instructions. Occasionally, representatives informed the Committee that they had been absent or that their votes had been wrongly recorded, but this is not reflected in the First Committee figures given, which are from the immediate official records. A few votes may switch sides between the First Committee and General Assembly, but the main reason why numbers are higher in the UNGA votes is because a few delegations (usually from non-aligned states, whose resources are stretched by the number of parallel committee meetings) are not able to attend all of the First Committee. Countries that are in serious arrears with their payments to the UN are recorded as absent, whether or not they voted, which explains why the co-sponsors of some resolutions are not able to record their votes in favour. There may also be discrepancies in voting figures due to mistakes or absences during the electronic voting procedures.

The summary below identifies the major points of the resolutions rather than excerpts from proposing statements. More space has been given to significant or controversial debates. This does not necessarily reflect the priority given to an issue by the international community, but can indicate issues likely to come to the fore over the next year or be of special interest to Disarmament Diplomacy's readership. This appendix attempts to represent the 'flavour' of the debate and explanations of votes and is by no means a verbatim record. Statements were seldom issued in written form, so this summary is compiled from contemporaneous notes and the UN press releases, and from conversations and any statements obtained from delegations. Quotes are therefore indicative and may not be exact. The full list of co-sponsors, text of resolutions, summary of statements, and voting details can be obtained from the UN press releases at its website at: http://www.un.org/News

Nuclear Arms Control and


UNGA 54/54A (L.1/Rev.1)

Preservation of and Compliance with Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM)

Introduced by Russia and co-sponsored by Belarus and China

New resolution aiming to rally international support for the ABM Treaty and to thwart US attempts to weaken, amend or abrogate the Treaty in order to deploy missile defences. The resolution called for "continued efforts to strengthen the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and to preserve its integrity and validity" and reiterates that there should be no ABM systems for defence of territory, or transfers to other countries of any ABM systems or components limited by the Treaty. Considering that measures which undermine the purposes and provisions of the ABM Treaty also "undermine global strategic stability and world peace and the promotion of further strategic nuclear arms reductions", the resolution notes that the international community has a "strong interest" in "safeguarding the inviolability and integrity of the ABM Treaty" and supports further efforts by the international community "in the light of emerging developments".

France proposed an amendment (L.56), which added a reference to missile and WMD proliferation into the preamble and inserted a new operative paragraph urging all member States "to support efforts aiming at stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery". Russia had been prepared to accept the amendment into the resolution, but its co-sponsoring partner China would not.

First Committee, November 5:

French Amendment (L.56): 22:1:95

Whole resolution (including amendment, which was adopted): 54:4:73

UNGA (resolution as amended): 80:4:68

First Committee comments on the amendment: The United States gave the sole vote against the French amendment, with China, Russia, Britain and most of NATO abstaining. Those voting with France in favour included the Francophone and some NAM countries, plus Canada, Ireland, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.

The United States said it shared the concerns about missile proliferation but that the amendment did not fix the problem and did not belong in the ABM resolution, which the US opposed, with or without the amendments. South Africa, which said it would abstain on the amendments, but support the resolution if amended, stated that both the resolution and amendment were in line with national policy, but that the French amendments were not appropriate here. Germany, speaking on behalf of several western, central and eastern European countries after the vote, said they supported the substance of the amendment, but could not vote in favour because they could not support the resolution. By contrast, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iran, raised concerns about the appropriateness of the amendments to the resolution. Jordan felt that by including non-proliferation in the ABM resolution it diluted and blurred the issue. Syria considered the amendments "far removed" from the main objective of the resolution. Iran felt the amendment was against the spirit of the resolution, and would abstain on it but vote in favour of the resolution. Iran had considered putting its own amendment to the amendment to "rectify its shortcomings" but had decided that would be too complicated.

Those voting in favour of the whole resolution included France, China, Russia and a swathe of NAM countries, including South Africa, with Ireland, Singapore, India, Pakistan, and Egypt. Votes against were: United States, Latvia, Micronesia, and Israel. The rest of Europe and NATO abstained, including Britain.

First Committee comments on the resolution: Votes against in the First Committee were from the United States, Israel, Micronesia, and Latvia. In the GA, the votes against were the US, Israel, Micronesia and Albania. There had been a number of general statements expressing concern about the impact of missile defence plans and the problems of the ABM regime and underlining that the issue had multilateral implications and was therefore the business of the international community. Those voting in favour of the resolution generally viewed the UNGA as a proper forum for this and other disarmament questions. Several abstainers, including Argentina, Nigeria, Canada, Japan and Venezuela, as well as Latvia, which voted against, maintained that more could be done to resolve the ABM problems bilaterally, but stressed their complete support for the ABM Treaty.

The United States said that the ABM was the cornerstone of strategic stability and had been at the core of past nuclear reductions, but as circumstances changed, it was necessary to engage in "prudent adaptation" to reflect new situations. The Cologne statements reflected possible future changes to the treaty. If a 27 year-old treaty is obsolete it does not perpetuate stability, but merely creates an illusion of stability. The US argued that it must protect its own interests and cannot ignore the emergence of new threats or new technology. If the US determines that changes are necessary, then that is what it will do.

France, author of the amendments that passed, feared that breaching the ABM regime could revive the nuclear arms race, and said that because of one ABM state's actions and the subsequent 'new' circumstances, it was necessary to have a text including both the preservation of the ABM Treaty, and measures to combat the proliferation of ballistic missiles.

On behalf of most of the EU and several central and eastern European countries that abstained, Germany said they wholly supported the ABM, but felt that the manner in which the subject was raised was not effective because it did not have the support of both the US and Russian Federation. They regretted that it had not been possible to negotiate a consensus resolution on this issue, and underlined the importance of progress in bilateral nuclear disarmament talks and in other non-proliferation and disarmament efforts and called on the NPT states parties to redouble their efforts towards a successful Review Conference in 2000. Sweden aligned itself with the German speech, but wanted to add that the integrity of the ABM was of global concern as it was linked to the overall non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament agenda. Sweden regretted that the US and Russia could not submit the resolution together and called on states parties to exercise restraint and refrain from deploying systems that would undermine the Treaty. Sweden said it abstained because it did not want to interfere with the ongoing process of negotiations. New Zealand pointed out that the ABM Treaty was highlighted in the New Agenda resolution, and raised concerns about the "substance and context" of Russia's resolution.

Some countries, including Cuba, Iraq, Kenya and Pakistan, raised concerns about the negative impact of developments on peace and the possibility that a new arms race may be at hand. Kenya, which voted in favour, argued that the ABM Treaty was not the only one now under siege and argued for full international involvement. Iraq denounced the United State's "incipient aim to undermine" the Treaty, as well as US bilateral co-operation with Israel on missile defence. Pakistan said that though the NWS maintained that disarmament was a bilateral issue, their own actions were endangering the framework. Pakistan said it would have co-sponsored the resolution if OP1 had included "no transfer of systems to other states" and appealed to Russia to reconsider its re-supplying of India. India defended the ABM Treaty as the basis for reductions, said it must be allowed to stand until an alternative basis is in place, and agreed that it was no longer merely bilateral, because the 1997 Protocol made it into a matter for the wider international community. India voted against the amendments not because of disagreeing with their intent, but because they were not relevant to the aims of the resolution. Brazil mentioned that certain aspects of the resolution were not in line with the Law of Treaties. Ukraine raised concerns about US plans for missile defence and said that national security issues should not be solved "at the expense of international commitments". Ukraine considered that the proper forum for these proposals was the Standing Consultative Council, of which Ukraine was a member.

UNGA 54/54D (L.9/Rev.1)

Nuclear Disarmament with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons

Introduced by Japan

This is the latest version of the traditional Japanese resolution on nuclear disarmament and the NPT and underlines the "vital importance" of the NPT's 2000 Review Conference, but it ended up causing difficulties for the NWS and for some NPT members, as well as for the non-NPT members who normally abstain. The resolution notes the report of the Tokyo Forum and uses language from the 1995 NPT Principles and Objectives to call "for the determined pursuit by the NWS of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminated those weapons..." In that respect, the resolution identifies the need for a) early entry into force of the CTBT; b) CD negotiations on a fissile materials production ban, urging a moratorium pending the FMCT; multilateral discussions on possible future steps on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation (new); entry into force of START II and progress on START III and beyond; and "further efforts by the five nuclear weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally and through their negotiations". The first draft of the resolution called (in OP9) on NPT parties to reach agreement on a new set of principles and objectives for 2000. This was amended in the final draft to read "to intensify their efforts with a view to reaching an agreement on updated objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, based on the review of the achievements since 1995", but caused some confusion, as some NPT parties considered this a specific question for states parties in 2000, and not for the UNGA. There were three separate paragraph votes: on PP2 (referring to the South Asian nuclear tests as a 'challenge'; on OP1 (universality of the NPT); and on OP9.

First Committee, November 9:

PP2 (South Asian nuclear tests): 130:1:4

(India opposed, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sierra Leone and Israel abstained)

OP1 (reaffirming the importance of universality of the NPT): 134:2:3

(India and Israel opposed, Pakistan, Cuba and Bhutan abstained)

OP9 (reference to updated objectives for 2000 NPT): 103:1:27

(France opposed, a number of NPT members, including the New Agenda Coalition abstained. India and Israel did not register a vote)

Whole resolution: 128:0:12

China, France and Russia abstained, together with India, Israel, Pakistan, and Cuba, Bhutan, Algeria, DPRK, Mauritius, and Myanmar (Burma).

UNGA: whole resolution 153:0:12

PP2: 154:2:4

OP1: 158:3:2

OP9: 132:1:22

First Committee comments: Japan was disappointed not to get the P5 on board, as it had succeeded in doing in 1998. Not only did China and Russia abstain, but also France, after voting against OP9, which called for updated Principles and Objectives (P&O) at the 2000 NPT Conference. OP9 caused problems for a number of delegations. Whether they supported bringing out updated P&O or not, a number felt that it was inappropriate to ask the UNGA to make such a recommendation, as that could pre-empt the debate for 2000. Before the vote, New Zealand on behalf of the seven NAC countries, argued that the language was misleading and could be construed as raising questions about the consensus mandate reached in 1995 and prejudging the outcome of the 2000 Review Conference. NZ said the NAC believed "the imperative is to fulfill the 1995 decisions". The NAC position was supported by others including Jordan, Colombia and Algeria. France abstained, saying it had serious difficulties on two main counts: procedural - it was not up to the UNGA to decide what should be the result of the 2000 RevCon; and substantive - that the question of whether or not the 1995 P&O should be updated is subject to the work of the states parties in 2000. The United States said it supported the revised resolution, despite some reservations, because it offered a "more realistic vision" than other resolutions on the issue. India complained about the resolution's "extraneous" reference to the South Asian tests and to its call for a moratorium on fissile material production (OP 4b) and endorsement of the IAEA Model Protocol (OP8, referring to INFCIRC/540). China criticised the draft's "defects" in not placing most responsibility on the largest NWS, mentioning the ABM, or calling for the abandonment of first use nuclear doctrines. China said many elements of the Tokyo Forum report were "neither realistic nor reasonable". Russia said that although it supported most of the draft, apart from OP9, it abstained because the resolution had failed to address the "deep organic link" between the inviolability of the ABM Treaty and nuclear disarmament. India considered that the NPT had proved ineffective and did not agree with much of the Tokyo Forum report, referred to in the resolution. India abstained because it supported the goal, but believed that "essential elements" such as political will were lacking. Algeria regarded the resolution as a duplication, "even a contradiction" of the Myanmar (Burma) resolution on nuclear disarmament, while Cuba said it did not establish a minimum basis for universal nuclear disarmament, but - despite its title - was really about non-proliferation and the NPT, "a discriminatory instrument".

UNGA 54/54F (L.12/Rev.2)


Introduced by Iran

This new resolution argues for a "comprehensive approach towards missiles at the global and regional levels" and calls for the UN Secretary General to seek the views of member states on "the issue of missiles in all its aspects". Paragraphs in the first draft calling for work by "a panel of qualified governmental experts to be nominated by him on the basis of equitable geographical distribution" were dropped after objections.

First Committee, November 9: 65:0:58

UNGA: 94:0:65

First Committee comments: Those in favour were mostly NAM countries, including India, Pakistan, South Africa, Chile, plus Russia and China. Abstainers included Britain, United States, France, EU and NATO countries, Brazil, NZ, Australia. Cuba called the resolution "innovative and timely", but France regarded it as "ambiguous on missile proliferation". France said it was willing to help conduct a genuine debate on missiles and hoped the true seriousness of missile proliferation would soon be clearly acknowledged and dealt with. The US assumed that the main thrust was to prevent the proliferation of missiles, but the resolution did not say so. The US had problems with 'in all its aspects', considered that the most effective way to deal with missile proliferation was on a regional basis, and felt it was premature to bring the issue to the UN. Finland for the EU and associated countries recognised the topic's importance but found the resolution "vague". There was a general feeling among NATO delegations that this resolution was not genuinely intended to begin a process of opposing the proliferation of missiles, but masked an ulterior motive, probably to isolate Israel, although no-one was willing openly to say so. South Korea considered there was an "urgent need" for missile proliferation to be addressed by the UN, but abstained because Iran's resolution did not address the question adequately. Japan appreciated Iran's efforts to highlight the issue, but abstained because of its reservations.

UNGA 54/54G (L.18*)

Towards a nuclear weapon free world: the need for a new agenda

Introduced by New Zealand and co-sponsored by over 60, including Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Swaziland, Sweden, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia and Zimbabwe

In its second year, the 'New Agenda' resolution again seeks to challenge the nuclear weapon countries and their allies by proposing a multistranded approach for unilateral, bilateral, five-power and multilateral progress on nuclear disarmament. While the philosophy is the same as last year, some language has been changed to take into account objections raised by NATO countries last year, as well as the changing political environment. The resolution opens by asserting that the "existence of nuclear weapons is a threat to the survival of humanity" and calls on the NWS to make "an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the speedy and total elimination of their nuclear arsenals and to engage without delay in an accelerated process of negotiations, thus achieving nuclear disarmament, to which they are committed under article VI of the NPT". The preambular paragraphs recalled the 1996 ICJ advisory opinion and various treaties and obligations and stressed that "the international community must not enter the new millennium with the prospect that the possession of nuclear weapons will be considered legitimate for the indefinite future", also underlining "the imperative to proceed with determination to prohibit and eradicate them for all time".

In 22 operative paragraphs, the resolution urges further progress on START and calls upon all five NWS to become integrated into the nuclear disarmament process and for consideration of how to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in security policies. In particular, the resolution calls on the NWS to: reduce and move towards eliminating tactical nuclear weapons; develop steps on de-alerting and removing nuclear warheads from delivery vehicles; demonstrate transparency on nuclear arsenals and fissile material holdings; and place excess materials under IAEA safeguards. There is support for strengthening the effectiveness of the existing regime provided by the NPT, CTBT, IAEA,ABM Treaty, security assurances, Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, trilateral initiative and so on. The CD is enjoined to get on with fissban negotiations, pending which there should be a moratorium on fissile material production, and to establish a subsidiary body to address nuclear disarmament. The resolution supports nuclear weapon free zones, especially in regions of tension such as the Middle East and South Asia, and recognises that there would have to be a "universal and multilaterally negotiated legally binding instrument or a framework encompassing a mutually reinforcing set of instruments" to enable the world to abolish and eliminate nuclear weapons completely.

Two paragraph votes were required: on OP7, which called for unconditional adherence to the NPT by states which have not yet done so; and on OP18, which called for legally binding security assurances to be negotiated for NPT parties.

First Committee, November 9:

OP7 (NPT): 128:3:3

OP18 (NSA to NPT parties): 128:0:5

Whole resolution: 90:13:37

UNGA whole resolution: 111:13:39

OP7: 150:3:2

OP18: 149:0:4

First Committee comments: On OP7, as expected, India, Israel and Pakistan voted against. Bhutan, Cuba and Latvia abstained. On OP18, India, Israel, Pakistan, Cuba and South Korea abstained.

On the whole vote, four of the NWS, India, Pakistan and Israel, and two of the three newcomer NATO countries voted against, with a handful of NATO wannabes: Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Hungary, India, Israel, Monaco, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The 37 abstentions included China and 13 NATO members: Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Myanmar, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, FYR Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

France denounced many of the measures in this "dangerous" resolution and accused the co-sponsors of "constructive ambiguity". Wondering aloud if the resolution masked "ulterior motives", France said its "straight-talking delegation" would vote no, although it acknowledged the improvements from last year's text. France questioned why a "new" agenda was needed and why nuclear postures needed to be examined, saying that it would continue to implement the agenda set out in 1995 in the Principles and Objectives' Programme of Action. France raised concerns about "contradictions" and accused the NAC countries of using a forked tongue, because the resolution did not call for the CD fissban committee to be established without conditions. France expressed particular difficulty with the call for a reconsideration of policies and doctrines, and said it was adapting its doctrine to the emergence of potential new threats, evoking the UN Charter's stated right to self-defence, and arguing that French nuclear policy already embraced the lowest possible sufficiency compatible with its security. France disliked the concept of an international conference, regarding the NPT RevCon as the appropriate forum for discussing these issues, and argued that countries should not sign up just to "satisfy the pride of some" or because it happens to be the fashion. Some delegations objected that France's statement crossed onto the wrong side of the line between strong and offensive.

Britain, which also voted against, was more conciliatory. The UK said it welcomed the willingness of the New Agenda states to engage and incorporate other views into the text where possible and reiterated its commitment to nuclear disarmament and Article VI of the NPT, manifested in its 1998 Strategic Defence Review. Britain did not, however, like the reference to de-mating of warheads from delivery vehicles, as it deemed such a step incompatible with a "credible minimum deterrent". It shared the frustration over slow progress and wanted a faster bilateral process between the US and Russia, especially ratification of the CTBT and was impatient to begin negotiations on an FCMT in the CD. Britain acknowledged that the NAC resolution supported all such measures, but criticised it for going beyond the 1995 P&O, saying that anything further lacked consensus.

The United States asserted that it respected the motivations of the resolution, but opposed because it did not accept the fundamental premise that a "new" agenda was needed and because of its call on the NWS to make "speedy" efforts. Saying that "we already have one, even if the pace is frustratingly slow", the US advocated practical, incremental steps that take into account the international environment. The US argued that through the NPT, the NWS had already made the undertakings called for in OP1, "so what good would another do?" Like France, the US argued that the international conference was unnecessary, as there are already too many fora and another won't speed progress, and commented that "the current agenda is full enough" and would be best invigorated by getting FMCT discussions underway in the CD.

China, which abstained, gave its stock statement on how sincerely it embraced nuclear disarmament and said that it supported the goals and principles of the New Agenda resolution regarding a nuclear-weapon-free world, as well as some of the specific steps, such as the revision of nuclear doctrines, legally-binding NSAs, strengthened NPT and its universality and nuclear-weapon-free zones. However, addressing the ABM treaty was a key precondition for action, as well as stopping the proliferation of missiles and missile technology. China was disappointed that the NAC resolution failed to urge the NWS to declare a commitment to the non-use or threat of use policy and argued that under the "unsettling" international circumstances, the conditions were not ripe for de-alerting and de-mating nuclear weapons and for transparency of fissile materials inventories, which could only happen in an environment conducive to negotiations, which should be linked to nuclear disarmament.

Belgium spoke on behalf of 17 countries from NATO/EU/central Europe, which had abstained. They welcomed the NAC commitment to nuclear disarmament and attempts made to accommodate the concerns of many states. They acknowledged that the CTBT's lack of entry into force and differences over the ABM Treaty might "seriously hinder" progress, but endorsed a gradual process. They expressed concern over certain recent developments and acknowledged that momentum is needed to revitalise the process, but said that the answer was not new institutions or mechanisms, but through the NPT, especially the Principles and Objectives. They called for the fissban to be negotiated in the CD without delay, and called for the proposal put forward by the "NATO 5" (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway) in 1995 as laying the groundwork for discussions on nuclear disarmament. They argued for a shared responsibility for progress on nuclear disarmament and said that states would be judged not on declarations, but by their actions, especially the Review Conference in 2000 and CD negotiations on FMCT. Turkey, explained that it had been able to change its vote from a 'no' in 1998 to an abstention this year because of "better wording" in the resolution, but also insisted on locking nuclear disarmament into a "framework of general and complete disarmament", which is contrary to the New Agenda position. By contrast, new NATO member Poland, though saying it did not "disagree with the content of the resolution", voted no, as it had in 1998, arguing for a step by step process, with the participation of the P5. South Korea also abstained, regarding the CTBT and missile proliferation as serious concerns not adequately addressed in the resolution.

India said that it had welcomed the June 1998 statement of the New Agenda nations, but could not support the resolution, accusing NAC of "redrafting some key paragraphs to make them more palatable to the established NWS" and questioning the need for a "new" agenda, when "the most important element of the existing agenda remains yet to be accomplished". India had problems with the paragraphs that mentioned the NPT and called for its universality, and with "extraneous elements" and language from other fora, arguing that "a new agenda cannot succeed in [the] old framework of the NPT". India rejected references to "nuclear-weapons-capable" states, which is "analytically hollow" and "divorced from reality", since India's "option has been exercised". India regarded the reference to a NWFZ in South Asia as "bordering on the absurd", calling into question that such arrangements must be "freely arrived at" by the states of the region. India regarded it as surprising "given the omnibus nature of this resolution" that there was no mention of doctrines of first use, noting that NATO's security policy was predicated on nuclear weapons and first use. India also criticised the resolution for ignoring efforts in some countries to modify and refine existing nuclear weapons, and said that building missile defences could erode the climate for disarmament. Syria and Algeria both announced their votes in favour, though Syria expressed reservations about the CTBT. Mauritius said that it abstained because of the call to sign the CTBT, which Mauritius had not joined because it failed to provide a timetable for eliminating nuclear weapons.

Japan said it shared the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world and appreciated the enthusiasm of the NAC to lay out an "extended series of concrete measures to reach the goal", but considered that a step by step process with the co-operation of the NWS was better than a "confrontational attitude". While Japan considered the pace of nuclear disarmament far from satisfactory, it thought that an attempt to short-cut the process out of frustration would not be productive.

Australia characterised this year's national and international debate on the resolution and its eventual abstention as "difficult", characterising the resolution as measured and even-handed. Overall, it regarded the resolution as positive, but overshadowed by the premise that the NWS are not committed to the nuclear disarmament process. Australia had few specific reservations on the resolution and its measures, except for the international conference which it regarded as unnecessary, but it did not think that the old agenda wasn't working and wondered what new insights the resolution offered.

Canada explained its abstention, not in response to the text of the resolution (the concerns and assessments of which it largely shared), but because this initiative will require broad support and "partners and alliances" need to be engaged. Recalling that the 1999 NATO Washington Summit had given a mandate to discuss nuclear issues further in an arms control working group within the alliance, Canada said that NATO needed to develop an agenda for the next decade, not the last. Commenting that the NPT RevCon will be put to a big public test when it meets in 2000, Canada hoped it would "restore momentum" to fulfilment of its process and goals.

UNGA 54/63 ( L.23*)

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Introduced by Mexico with over 50 co-sponsors

This resolution endorses the final declaration of the Article XIV Conference on Entry Into Force, held in Vienna (October 1999), and calls on all states which have not yet signed or ratified to do so and to "refrain from acts which could defeat" the CTBT's object and purpose. It urges states to maintain a moratorium on conducting nuclear explosions and welcomes continuing support for the CTBTO's verification regime. There had been hope that the CTBT resolution, traditionally sponsored by Mexico, New Zealand and Canada, would utilise more of the language from the Special Article XIV Conference, and go forward in the names of all the countries which had ratified the CTBT, but in the end governments decided to stick with past practice. Although some countries had urged stronger language with respect to the rejection of US ratification by the US Senate and the 1998 nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan, no-one wanted a re-run of 1998's polarised debate on nuclear testing.

First Committee, November 8: 137:0:5

UNGA: 158:0:6

First committee comments: Abstainers were India, Bhutan, Mauritius, Syria and Tanzania, (joined by Lebanon in the GA), countries which had either opposed or abstained when the CTBT was adopted by the UN on September 24, 1996. Syria made a long statement objecting to the CTBT's "inequality", including laboratory testing and other kinds of loopholes and feared that the inspections regime could be used for "political purposes". Syria was "surprised" that the resolution allowed CTBT signatories to take action against non-signatory states and opposed the Treaty's listing of Israel as part of the Middle East (for the purposes of appointing the Executive Committee). Iran said that it had decided against tabling amendments arising from the negative vote against the CTBT by the US Senate, but raised concerns about this. Pakistan said that it was "an ardent supporter" of the CTBT, but could not sign until there was an "atmosphere free from interpretation". In this regard, Pakistan interpreted the words 'as soon as possible' in the resolution to include in its meaning the removal of all sanctions against Pakistan.

L.30 (withdrawn)

The Conference on Disarmament Decision to Establish, Under Item 1 of its Agenda Entitled "Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and Nuclear Disarmament" an Ad Hoc Committee to Negotiate, on the Basis of the Report of the Special Coordinator (CD/1299) and the Mandate Contained Therein, a Non-Discriminatory, Multilateral and Internationally and Effectively Verifiable Treaty Banning the Production of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices (Fissban)

Introduced by Canada with a large number of co-sponsors

First Committee: withdrawn on November 9.

This resolution, another attempt to get a UNGA resolution backing CD negotiations on banning fissile materials for weapons (fissban, FMT or FMCT), was withdrawn after China insisted on a vote. China wanted the call for CD negotiations to be as part of a comprehensive work programme, i.e. including a subsidiary body on outer space issues. Canada and the co-sponsors decided to withdraw the resolution rather than lose the consensus obtained in 1998. There were a number of expressions of concern and regret.

UNGA 54/54K (L.31/Rev.1)

Reducing nuclear danger

Introduced by India

The second year for this resolution, which emphasises the need for NWS to assure NNWS against the threat or use of nuclear weapons and raises the dangers of hair trigger alert, and unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons. India's resolution calls for a "review of nuclear doctrines and in this context, immediate and urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons" and requests the five NWS to undertake measures on this, calling at the same time on UN member states to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and promote nuclear disarmament. The UN Secretary General is requested to seek input from the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters and report to next year's UNGA on "specific measures that significantly reduce the risk of nuclear war".

First Committee, November 4: 90:42:14

UNGA: 104:43:14

First Committee comments: In favour was most of the NAM. No's included Russia, France, Britain and the United States, the EU, NATO and NATO wannabes. Israel and China were among the abstentions. This resolution, which started in 1998 as an Indian initiative to take the moral high ground on de-alerting nuclear weapons, has prompted ambivalence among some of the countries which voted against or abstained. Despite their support for measures to reduce nuclear dangers and de-alert in other contexts, many feared that this was a cosmetic exercise by India to deflect attention from its nuclear tests and ambitions, with corridor speculation about whether the purpose was to promote de-alerting or sabotage it. In 1999, there was less debate, as the resolution appears already to have became marginalised as rhetoric. This is a pity, as the issue of reducing nuclear dangers and taking nuclear weapons off alert deserves serious attention from the international community, especially the NWS.

UNGA 54/55D (L.33)

Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons

Introduced by India, with around 20 co-sponsors

India's recurring resolution against the use of nuclear weapons refers to the 1996 ICJ advisory opinion, the final document of UNSSOD I (1978) and the objective of a nuclear weapons convention, this is misleadingly referred to in UN press releases and some statements as a resolution on a 'nuclear weapon convention'. It is not. This resolution relates to use, whereas a nuclear weapon convention (NWC), as called for by a growing number of governments and NGOs would abolish nuclear weapons, eliminate existing arsenals and prohibit the possession and deployment as well as use. India's resolution, by contrast, calls on the CD to commence negotiations on an international convention prohibiting the use or threat of nuclear weapons under any circumstances, arguing that this would be an "important step in a phased programme towards the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, with a specified framework of time".

First Committee, November 4: 89:40:18

UNGA: 103:42:17

First Committee comments: The NAM mostly voted in favour, while NATO and EU voted against. Russia and China were among the abstainers. As this is regarded as a traditional resolution, with little political attention, there was minimal discussion, The United States said it had no intention of "detouring down the dead end approach" represented in the text. Japan abstained, arguing instead for a step by step process and for strengthening the NPT regime.

UNGA 54/52 (L.36)

Conclusion of Effective International Arrangements to Assure Non-Nuclear-Weapon States Against the Use or Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons (Negative Security Assurances)

Introduced by Pakistan with co-sponsorship from several NAM states

Pakistan's annual resolution on negative security assurances (NSA) recalls various statements and previous resolutions and notes that the CD had 'no objection, in principle' to the idea of an international convention on such security assurances. It appeals for further intensive efforts to find a common approach or formula to overcome the acknowledged difficulties and recommends the CD to continue 'intensive negotiations' with a view to reaching early agreement and concluding effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

First Committee, November 1: 77:0:50

UNGA: 111:0:53

First Committee comments: This is another stock resolution which generally prompts a straight split between China and the NAM in favour and NATO/EU abstaining, joined by Russia and some NAM members, including South Africa. The countries who abstain do so primarily because the resolution does not relate the right to security assurances to adherence to the NPT. The fundamental difference of opinion, as expressed by South Korea, was of "who should receive security assurances and in what form should they be given". South Korea, Australia, and South Africa argued for many that NPT parties which had fully complied with their obligations had a legitimate right to such assurances. This view that NSA were part of the "NPT bargain" was not the position of the resolution's main sponsor, Pakistan, a non-NPT party. India used the opportunity to emphasise its NWS claims after the 1998 tests and offer Pakistan bilateral agreements on no-first-use. Arguing that "conscious of its responsibility" as a NWS, India had stated it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons against a NNWS, India also proposed multilateral negotiations on a global no first use agreement.

UNGA 54/54P (L.41)

Nuclear Disarmament

Introduced by Myanmar (Burma) and over 40 NAM states

Recurrent and ever-lengthening omnibus resolution which utilises NAM decisions to call for the CD to convene an ad hoc committee to 'commence negotiations early in 2000 on a phased programme of nuclear disarmament and for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework through a nuclear weapons convention'. As with last year, this resolution, which is taken less seriously than others in part because of its content, in part because of the nature of its sponsorship, has sought greater popularity by adopting some of the language from both the Malaysian and the NAC resolutions. For example, it calls "as a first step" for a "universal and legally binding multilateral agreement committing states to the process of nuclear disarmament..." It recognises the need to de-emphasise the role of nuclear weapons and to "review and revise nuclear doctrines". It calls for the NWS to halt the qualitative improvement and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems, and to de-alert and de-activate their nuclear weapons. Backs the START process, CTBT, CD committees on FMT and security assurances and step-by-step reductions, though regarding them as insufficient. Notes the ICJ opinion, the relevant references from the Durban Conference of NAM Heads of State and the August 1996 programme of action on nuclear disarmament and subsequent proposals by various non-aligned members of the CD and calls for a treaty on no-first-use. There is also a call for an international conference on nuclear disarmament to be convened "with the objective of arriving at an agreement or agreements on a phased programme of nuclear disarmament and for the eventual total elimination of nuclear weapons through a set of legal instruments, which may include a nuclear weapons convention".

First Committee, November 8: 90:40:17

UNGA: 104:41:17

First Committee comments: China plus most of the NAM voted in favour. NATO and NATO wannabes voted against. Abstentions included Russia, Sweden, Ireland and New Zealand, plus NAM members Chile and South Africa. Chile emphasised its commitment to nuclear disarmament and the ICJ ruling, but abstained because it was not convinced of the arguments for a timebound framework. China voted in favour, as it argued that "like chemical and biological weapons, nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited". In keeping with its main theme of the year, China argued that the political conditions for such measures were "not yet there", and highlighted that the ABM Treaty should not be weakened or repudiated. Japan emphasised the NPT and the step by step approach. Japan abstained because of OP5, which called for a treaty on no first use, which Japan regarded as "not realistic" to place as a first step, and the call for an international conference, which could duplicate ongoing efforts.

UNGA 54/54Q (L.43)

Follow-up to the Advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons

Introduced by Malaysia, with co-sponsorship from over 40 NAM countries

The third year for this resolution, which underlines the July 8 1996 advisory opinion of the ICJ on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, especially the unanimous recognition of the legal obligation to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons. Malaysia's resolution calls for multilateral negotiations to commence in 2000 'leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination.' The resolution also requested all states to report back to the UN on 'the efforts and measures they have taken on the implementation of the present resolution and nuclear disarmament'. Paragraph votes were requested on OP 1, which underlined the unanimous conclusion of the ICJ regarding the existence of a legal obligation "to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control" and on OP2 which calls for the commencement of multilateral negotiations in 2000 on a nuclear weapon convention.

First Committee, November 4:

OP1 (ICJ opinion): 137:2:3

OP2 (Nuclear Weapon Convention): 94:25:22

Whole resolution: 98:27:21

UNGA whole resolution: 114:28:22

OP1: 156:3:3

OP2: 107:29:26

First Committee comments: As before, there was a wide divergence between the paragraph vote endorsing the ICJ opinion and that supporting negotiations on a nuclear weapon convention. The ICJ endorsement was opposed only by the United States and Russia (France did not record a vote in the First Committee but voted against the ICJ paragraph in the GA). Britain, Bulgaria and Israel abstained. China, India, Pakistan and all the non-nuclear weapon members of NATO were in favour. This is a very significant acceptance by the international community of the July 1996 ICJ opinion.

On OP2, calling for a nuclear weapon convention, most of the NAM, including South Africa and Chile, voted in favour, as did New Zealand. There was a straight vote against by NATO and Russia. Japan, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Argentina, South Korea, Malta, Finland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Cyprus were among the abstainers. China did not record a vote.

On the whole resolution, China voted in favour, with most of the NAM, Ireland Sweden and New Zealand. The other four NWS voted against, with almost all NATO and NATO wannabes. Abstentions included Canada, Japan, South Korea, Finland, Norway, Austria, Iceland, Cyprus, Bosnia, Macedonia, Croatia.

Chile noted the unanimous view of the ICJ on the legal obligation to pursue, in good faith, nuclear weapons negotiations, and argued that there was a "solid doctrinal basis" for the ICJ advisory opinion, including that there was no precedent for the threat or use of nuclear weapons. Chile emphasised that the ICJ had required that any use of nuclear weapons would have to be compatible with international humanitarian law and that the "mere possession of nuclear weapons in regions of great instability could be construed as the use of force". Cuba lamented that none of the ICJ rulings had yet led to concrete action, ascribing this to a "lack of political will" by certain political powers.

Britain opposed the resolution, accusing its proponents of quoting selectively from the ICJ opinion and making an "unrealistic call" for multilateral negotiations in 2000 leading to a nuclear weapons convention. Britain reiterated its policy and said that "when satisfied with verified progress" it would ensure that British nuclear weapons were included in multilateral negotiations. The United States said the resolution had "misrepresented and distorted" the ICJ findings and "mischaracterised" the NPT obligations by omitting the references to general and complete disarmament, thereby relieving the NNWS of any responsibilities. The US feared that the resolution attempted to turn the ICJ opinion, which was "simply not binding" into a legal edict, requiring immediate and rapid negotiations in a legal form. The US preferred a step by step process, starting with resumption of fissban negotiations in the CD, which were not even mentioned in the draft. Belgium, on behalf of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain and Greece, said they "attached great importance" to the ICJ opinion but opposed the resolution because it had given a "selective reading". Germany advocated a step-by-step approach. Japan had supported the unanimous opinion of the Judges on the legal obligation to pursue nuclear disarmament and conclude negotiations in good faith, but preferred a step-by-step process, prioritising the CTBT and fissban, to jumping to negotiations on a NWC.

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones

UNGA 54/51 (L.7/Rev.1)

Establishment of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the Region of the Middle East

Introduced by Egypt

A revised and updated version of an annual resolution, with 12 operative paragraphs, including calls for serious consideration of "the practical and urgent steps" required to implement a nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East and invites 'all countries concerned' (without naming Israel) to adhere to the NPT. The resolution also notes the importance of the ongoing Middle East peace negotiations. It calls on "the only country which has not yet done so" to place all its nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards and invites all countries in the region not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or permit them to be stationed on their territory.

First Committee, November 8: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee comments: Israel said that it would like to see the eventual establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, as determined by the parties themselves, but not when some countries maintain a "state of war and continuing threat" against one state in the region. Lebanon, which recalled how it had been ravaged by war, said it was keen to save the region from weapons of mass destruction and wanted the peace process to be reactivated. Nigeria considered that states in the Middle East could learn "valuable lessons" from the African states which had established the Treaty of Pelindaba.

UNGA 54/57 (L.8/Rev.1)

The Risk of Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East

Introduced by Egypt on behalf of the League of Arab states

The tradition is to seek consensus on the previous resolution on a NWFZ in the Middle East, and to use this resolution to draw specific attention to Israel's nuclear capabilities. Refers to the resolution and decisions adopted by NPT parties in 1995 and calls on 'the only State in the region that is not party to the NPT' to accede without delay, renounce possession of nuclear weapons and place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope IAEA safeguards.

First Committee, November 8: 125:3:11

UNGA: 149:3:9

First Committee Comments: Britain, France, Russia and China joined the votes in favour. Israel, the United States and Micronesia voted against. Abstentions included Canada, Singapore, Kazakhstan, and Norway. As no separate vote was called on the preambular references to the NPT, India abstained on the resolution. Israel said the resolution was "discriminatory, unjustified, politically motivated and counter-productive" and called on all those who supported the peace process, which "needed nurturing and support", should vote against the resolution. The United States considered it inappropriate to single out one state for criticism for non-compliance with the NPT. Syria and Iraq used the opportunity for tirades against Israel.

UNGA 54/48 (L.17)

The African nuclear-weapon-free-zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba)

Introduced by Burkino Faso on behalf of the Group of African States

This resolution endorses the Treaty of Pelindaba, opened for signature in Cairo in April 1996, and calls upon all African states to sign and ratify so that the Treaty can enter into force. Appreciation is given to the NWS who have signed the relevant Protocols, with calls to ratify as soon as possible. The resolution also calls on France and Spain, to whom Protocol III applies, to take the necessary measures to apply the Treaty to territories for which they are responsible.

First Committee, November 4: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First committee comments: Spain, which is having problems with Protocol III, due to territorial claims and confusions (the Canaries), said that it had not joined consensus on OP3. Spain considered that though the Canary Isles were included on the map showing the area covered by the African nuclear weapon free zone, the Treaty did not apply because they "belonged to the EU" and were covered by other treaties and commitments "which went beyond those of the Treaty of Pelindaba". Israel disassociated itself from the references to the Middle East in the text.

UNGA 54/60 (L.24)

Consolidation of the Regime Established by the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco)

Introduced by Mexico with co-sponsorship from the countries covered by the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

Notes that the Treaty is now in force for 32 states in the region, welcomes the steps taken to consolidate the regime and urges countries of the region that have not yet done so to deposit their ratification of the amendments to the Treaty as soon as possible.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

UNGA 54/54L (L.34)

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Southern Hemisphere and Adjacent Areas

Introduced by Brazil with support from a large number of African, Latin American and Pacific countries, including New Zealand and South Africa.

Fifth year for this resolution, which calls for full ratification of the treaties and relevant protocols of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Bangkok and Pelindaba, welcomes initiatives on further NWFZ, and stresses the 'value of enhancing cooperation' among the NWFZ treaty members by means such as joint meetings of states parties, signatories and observers to those treaties. Calls on states within the region to facilitate adherence to the protocols to NWFZ treaties by relevant states that have not yet done so, and to 'promote the nuclear-weapon-free status of the southern hemisphere and adjacent areas' and to explore and implement further cooperation among themselves. Stresses the role of NWFZ in 'strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and in extending the areas of the world that are nuclear free' and (referring especially to the NWS) calls for support for 'the process of nuclear disarmament, with the ultimate goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons'.

France, Britain and the United States dislike this resolution, arguing that the purpose appears to be to create a new zone, covering the high seas, since the resolution would otherwise add nothing to existing NWFZ. Three votes were taken, as India and Pakistan wanted to remove the words 'and South Asia' from OP3, which welcomed steps to conclude further NWFZ treaties, and when the offending three words were adopted, required a separate vote on OP1, which was also resoundingly adopted.

First Committee, 4 November:

OP3 vote on three words 'and South Asia': 128:1:10

OP3 (further NWFZ) as a whole: 128:1:10

Whole resolution: 136:3:5

UNGA whole resolution: 157:3:4

OP3: 147:2:9

First Committee comments: In both votes on OP3, India voted against. Pakistan, Israel, Britain, and US joined the abstainers. France did not record a vote. On the whole resolution, Britain, France and the United States voted against; Russia, India, Israel, and Micronesia abstained. India, after voting against OP3, abstained on the resolution, arguing that the sponsors needed to take into account the "new realities" in the region. Pakistan said it had abstained on the words 'and South Asia' but had voted for the resolution as a whole. Pakistan had supported the concept of a South Asian NWFZ prior to the nuclear tests in May 1998, when the region had become "nuclearised", but had to recognise that it was now too late.

L.35 (no UNGA number yet)

Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia (draft decision)

Introduced by Uzbekistan

Unlike last year, in which there was consensus supporting the establishment of a NWFZ in Central Asia, as sought by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the UN this year decided only to place the issue on next year's agenda.

First Committee, November 4: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

Other Weapons of Mass Destruction

UNGA 54/54C (L.6)

Prohibition of the Dumping of Radioactive Wastes

Introduced by Burkino Faso on behalf of the Group of African states

Expresses concern about radiological warfare and the dumping of nuclear or radioactive wastes and calls on the CD to include radwastes as part of any convention on the prohibition of radiological weapons, which it is encouraged to negotiate.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee comments: India pointed out that while the international community needed to remain vigilant about the dangers of nuclear waste, India attached importance to the complete fuel cycle and viewed spent fuel not as a waste, but as a valuable resource. This statement is understood to refer to plutonium production, which since neither the economics nor technology of breeders have met criteria for practical energy production, is valuable primarily for nuclear weapons.

UNGA 54/54E (L.11)

Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (CWC)

Introduced by Canada, with Poland

Supports the CWC, appreciates the ongoing work of its implementing organisation, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and stresses the importance of all possessors of chemical weapons or chemical weapons production or development facilities to adhere to the Convention. Endorses full and effective implementation of all provisions of the CWC, urges all States Parties to meet in full and in a timely manner their obligations under the convention and calls on states which have not yet done so to becomes parties to the CWC without delay.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee comments: Egypt expressed reservations over OP5, which called for universal adherence to the CWC, arguing that regional concerns kept it from signing the CWC. In advocating a complete prohibition of WMD in the Middle East, Egypt cited Israel's continued possession of nuclear weapons as grounds for declining to join the CWC until Israel signs the NPT. Cuba, Iran and Pakistan raised concerns about the relationship between the UN and the OPCW, which Cuba feared could create "a dangerous legal vacuum". India raised concern over some states not supplying full information, thereby hindering verification, and said that "ad hoc control regimes" created two categories of states parties within the CWC. Israel said that it supported the CWC and joined consensus on the resolution, having signed but not yet ratified the Treaty because of its regional concerns, in which two chemical weapon producers had stayed outside the CWC and "continued to improve" their weapons.

UNGA 54/61 (L.19/Rev.1)

Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC)

Introduced by Hungary with over 60 co-sponsors

Notes increases in BWC members, calls on the rest to ratify, and welcomes the progress achieved so far in negotiating a protocol to strengthen the BWC. Reaffirms the decisions of the Fourth Review Conference urging conclusion by the Ad Hoc Group of negotiations on a protocol to strengthen the Convention, if possible before the Fifth Review Conference. Calls for these negotiations to be accelerated to conclude an "efficient, cost-effective and practical regime" and calls on all states parties to participate in the exchange of information and data, as agreed.

First Committee, November 4: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee comments: There were no dissenting comments after the resolution was adopted, but a number of the co-sponsors had paid special importance in their general statements to the necessity for concluding an effective verification protocol to the BWC and their hope that the remaining difficulties would be resolved during the forthcoming year of negotiations.

UNGA 54/44 (L.26)

Prohibition of the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons

Introduced by Belarus

This new resolution recalls previous resolutions on new types of "weapons of mass destruction", the most recent being 1996. It calls for effective measures to prevent the emergence of new types of WMD and requests the CD "to keep the matter under review, ... with a view to making ... recommendations" on possible negotiations. It also asks the Secretary-General to transmit relevant UNGA54 documentation to the CD, and requests the CD to "report the results of any consideration" to the UNGA.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

Outer Space

UNGA 54/53 (L.22)

Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS)

Introduced by Sri Lanka with co-sponsorship by a number of NAM countries and China

Recognises the "common interest of all mankind in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes" and affirms the importance and urgency of preventing an arms race in outer space. Emphasises the "paramount importance" of strict compliance with existing arms limitation and disarmament agreements, including bilateral agreements, relevant to outer space and considers that "wide participation in the legal regime applicable to outer space" could enhance its effectiveness, while recognising that the existing legal regime "by itself does not guarantee the prevention of an arms race in outer space" and that there is a need to "consolidate and reinforce" the regime. Raises concern that the growing use of outer space increases the need for greater transparency and better information. Calls especially upon states with major space capabilities to contribute to the peaceful uses of outer space and the prevention of an arms race in space, and "to refrain from actions contrary to that objective and to the relevant existing treaties in the interest of maintaining international peace and security and promoting international cooperation".

Reiterates that the CD has the "primary role" in negotiating multilateral agreements and invites the CD to "complete the examination and updating" of the February 13, 1992 mandate, and to establish an ad hoc committee "at the earliest during the 2000 session of the Conference on Disarmament".

First Committee, November 1: 138:0:2

UNGA: 162:0:2

First Committee comments: Only the United States and Israel abstained. This vote sustains the big breakthrough in 1999, when most of NATO, with Britain and France, shifted from abstentions to votes in favour. Iran raised concerns that the US hoped to control outer space through anti-satellite laser weapons and missile defences, which, if executed, would violate the Outer Space Treaty, which stipulated that the exploration of space should be for peaceful purposes as part of humanity's common heritage. The United States expressed its agreement with some elements of the text, but abstained because some provisions were "overstated" or "unwise", and it was "almost incontestable" that there was "no arms race in outer space". The US considered that there had been unprecedented peaceful cooperation in space and provided examples to support its contention that the military uses of outer space would enhance international peace and security. The US regarded the issue as non-urgent, but said that in order to get the CD working, it had shown flexibility on this matter. As it did last year, the UK spoke on behalf of itself and Germany to say that although they supported the resolution and recognised the validity of the subject, they did not want this misconstrued as support for any particular model for discussions in the CD or to imply that they regarded the issue as a high priority. France had voted in favour and considered that constructive activities were possible on this, although it joined the UK and Germany in their support for putting the FMCT at the top of next year's CD agenda.

Conventional Weapons

UNGA 54/54B (L.2*)

Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Treaty)

Introduced by Mozambique with over 100 co-sponsors from all groups

Welcomes the March 1, 1999 entry into force of the Ottawa Treaty and urges further accessions and ratifications to the Treaty. Notes "with regret that anti-personnel mines continue to be used in conflicts around the world, causing human suffering and impeding post-conflict development". Invites and encourages all interested states, the UN, ICRC and NGOs to participate in the Convention's programme of intersessional work established by the first meeting of the States Parties scheduled in Maputo and requests the UN to make preparations for convening the second meeting in Geneva, September 11-15,2000.

First Committee, November 8: 122:0:19

UNGA: 139:1:20

The abstainers included the United States, Russia, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, Burma (Myanmar), Azerbaijan, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Latvia, Libya, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Morocco, South Korea, Syria, Viet Nam.

First Committee comments: China abstained because it considered that the Ottawa Treaty had not taken into account security concern, and that the correct approach would have been "reasonable and appropriate restrictions" without impinging on a state's sovereign right to protect its borders. Egypt made a lengthy statement calling for international assistance in de-mining, criticising the Ottawa Treaty for containing no binding legal framework for states to remove the mines they had laid and for not recognising the right of states to self defence and the importance of mines for protecting borders against terrorists, bandits, drug traffickers, etc. Libya also castigated the Treaty for failing to put responsibility on warring countries for planting mines in others' territories and for failing to mention assistance to countries afflicted with landmines planted during the Second World War. Morocco agreed in principle, but said it could only abstain on the resolution due to concerns in its southern region. Sri Lanka and Turkey argued that they were not in a position to accede to the Ottawa Convention, but had voted in favour of the resolution because of its humanitarian objectives. For the same reason, Israel and South Korea abstained, while sharing the humanitarian concerns and condemning the "irresponsible and indiscriminate use" of landmines. They argued that their particular security situations meant that they were unable to accede to the Treaty for the present. Israel announced that it had ceased production of APL and both declared a moratorium on exports. South Korea, Turkey and others expressed the wish that the CD would negotiate a ban on the transfer of landmines. India abstained because it believed a "phased approach" would bolster confidence and allow states with long borders to safeguard their security. Cuba emphasised that it was against the use of mines in internal conflicts or ways that would harm civilians, but cited the "right of self defence" as enshrined in the UN Charter to argue that the military use of landmines should not be limited.

UNGA 54/54J (L.25)

Assistance to States for Curbing the Illicit Traffic in Small Arms and Collecting Them

Introduced by Mali

Principally concerns the Saharo-Sahelian subregion of West Africa. Basing itself on the statement on small arms made by the president of the UN Security Council on September 24, 1999, the resolution welcomes the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs' coordinating work and related initiatives, and encourages further work, with the support of the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa and in close cooperation with the Organisation of African Unity. Welcomes the declaration of a Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa, and expresses its "full support for the convening of the international conference on the illicit arms trade in all its aspects no later than 2001".

First Committee, November 4: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

L.42/Rev.1* (vote pending)

Small Arms

Introduced by Japan, with over 40 co-sponsors from across the groups

Raising concern about the "wide range of humanitarian and socio-economic consequences", especially to civilians, this resolution follows on from the Report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Small Arms, chaired by Ambassador Mitsuro Donowaki. It seeks international action to control and reduce small arms and light weapons and decides to convene the UN conference on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in June/July 2001. The resolution establishes a preparatory committee for the conference, to be held in New York, February 28 to March 3, 2000, and requests the Secretary General to carry out a study using governmental experts on the basis of equitable geographical representation, from which it would produce a background document "on the feasibility of restricting the manufacture and trade of such weapons to the manufacturers and dealers authorised by states, which will cover the brokering activities, particularly illicit activities, relating to small arms and light weapons, including transportation agents and financial transactions". As it has done in previous years, France called for a separate vote on PP8, which referred to "the right of self determination of all peoples, in particular peoples under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation" and abstained on this.

First Committee, November 8:

PP8 (self determination): 127:1:14

Whole resolution: 143:0:3

UNGA: Action on the draft resolution on small arms, concerning the convening of an international conference in 2001, is to be taken at a later date because of budgetary implications.

First Committee comments: Russia voted against PP8 and then abstained on the whole resolution, together with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Abstentions on PP8 included France, Britain, United States, Spain, India, Israel, Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Monaco, and Myanmar (Burma). Russia argued that PP8 could be used as a cover for those dealing in illicit weapons, and "watered down" the resolution. Israel considered that the subject matter of PP8 should be dealt with in the UN Third Committee, not First.

This year, the small arms resolution caused more contention than in previous years, as the issue is attracting increasing attention. Japan struggled to negotiate a text that would retain the support of the non-aligned, many of whom wanted to emphasise sovereignty, national security and self defence, and other -- predominantly, but not exclusively western -- countries working more and more with NGOs to find direct ways to address small arms and light weapons. The central dispute revolved around the preparations and participation envisaged for the UN conference on small arms scheduled for June/July 2001. In particular, some delegations feared that the resolution intended to support an approach that pandered to those governments that opposed the Ottawa process and would seek to exclude the valuable input that civil society and non-governmental experts have been making in highlighting and addressing the issues of small arms and light weapons. South Africa, while supporting the resolution, said that "the important role of civil society" in the successful outcome of th conference should have been better highlighted. Norway agreed, and pointed out that "non-governmental organisations possess knowledge and useful expertise" and argued that "disarmament, human rights, humanitarian and developmental expertise should... be involved in the preparatory process and the conference itself." Norway, South Africa and others criticised OP14 of the resolution, which requested the UN to prepare a background document based on a study by governmental experts. Norway called this "inconsistent with the objective" and argued that the preparatory committee for the conference should decide on background information and studies, rather than a parallel process. South Africa considered that such a "parallel mechanism" as the study proposed in OP14 would be costly and unrepresentative. Pakistan raised concerns that the working process of the panel of governmental experts envisaged in OP14 would be "non-transparent" and unrepresentative.

UNGA 54/54R (L.44*)

Illicit Traffic in Small Arms

Introduced by South Africa and co-sponsored by over 50 delegations from all groups

Recognising the "human suffering caused by illicit trafficking in small arms" and the "interface between violence, criminality, drug trafficking, terrorism and illicit trafficking in small arms", the resolution requests the UN Secretary General to continue his "broad based consultations" and to submit to the Conference in 2001 "information on the magnitude and scope of illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons, measures to combat illicit trafficking in and circulation of small arms and light weapons, and the role of the United Nations in collecting, collating, sharing and disseminating information on illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons". Also encourages regional and subregional initiatives, assistance from member states, and appropriate national measures to destroy surplus small arms and light weapons.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee comments: Cuba said it was right to give priority attention to the problem of illicit traffic in small arms, but that concrete measures should respect the "unique" features of each region and country.

UNGA 54/58 (L.52)

Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW)

Introduced by Sweden, with co-sponsorship from a large cross-group of states, including France, Russia, US, UK, Canada, South Africa and Finland, as in previous years.

This annual resolution supports the CCW, welcomes the entry into force of the amended Protocol II (mines, booby traps etc.) on December 3, 1998 and of Protocol IV (blinding laser weapons) on July 30, 1998, and urgently calls on all states which have not yet done so to adhere to the CCW and its protocols. Welcomes the calling of the annual conference of contracting parties to the Protocol December 15-17, 1999 and hopes for a further conference in 2000, to be followed by a Review Conference of the CCW in 2001.

First Committee, November 4: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee comments: France argued that it was possible to co-sponsor different resolutions and approaches on curbing landmines and called for long term goals and the interests of mine victims to be placed above technical aspects. Cuba said it attached the highest priority to sending a signal supporting Optional Protocol II, which was "potentially the most effective instrument the international community had" regarding AP landmines. Stressing that a balance must be found between humanitarian and security concerns, Israel called on all states in the Middle East to accede to the CCW.

Regional Disarmament and Security

UNGA, 54/54M, (L.37)

Conventional Arms Control at the Regional and Subregional Levels

Introduced by Pakistan with several co-sponsors from all groups, including Bangladesh, Nepal, the Czech Republic and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

This resolution, which in past years has been aimed rather obviously at India, notes the importance of conventional arms control at regional and subregional levels and various initiatives in this regard, including the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) and proposals made in the context of Latin America and South Asia. Refers to the need for balance in defence capabilities "at the lowest level of armaments" and the "special responsibility" of those states with larger military capabilities in promoting arms control and regional security. Calls for urgent consideration of these issues and for the CD to consider "the formulation of principles, that can serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control".

First Committee, November 1: 133:1:2

UNGA: 159:1:1

First Committee comments: India voted against, arguing that it had security concerns that were not confined to the "so-called region of South Asia" cited in PP6, and wondering whether the request to the CD had any productive value. Benin and Bhutan abstained (only Bhutan in the GA). Norway withdrew its co-sponsorship on the day of the First Committee vote.

UNGA, 54/54N, (L.38)

Regional Disarmament

Introduced by Pakistan with a few co-sponsors

Gives generalised support to proposals for disarmament and confidence-building at global, regional and subregional levels, supports and encourages confidence-building measures and stresses that "sustained efforts are needed", within the framework of the CD and UN to make progress on disarmament issues.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

Confidence-Building Measures

Including Transparency-In-


UNGA 54/55A (L.5)

Regional Confidence-Building Measures: Activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa

Proposed by Cameroon on behalf of the members of the Economic Community of Central African States

Long, detailed resolution which supports the work of the standing advisory committee, particularly activities aimed at confidence-building measures, the promotion of peace, and the prevention, management and settlement of political crises and armed conflicts in Central Africa at regional and sub-regional levels. Appeals for voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund for implementing the standing advisory committees work and requests continued assistance from the UN for continuing its work.

First Committee, November 5: Consensus

UNGA (as amended): Consensus

First Committee comments: Algeria said it had joined consensus out of solidarity, since this was an African text, but recalled its difficulties from last year regarding PP11 and OP9 (the Brazzaville and Bata Declarations on promoting lasting democracy, peace and development and references to setting up a subregional centre for human rights for human rights and democracy in Central Africa), saying that such matters should be considered in another committee.

L.13 (no UNGA number yet)

Compliance with arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements (draft decision)

This decision replaces the usual US-sponsored resolution on the subject and ensures that the issue appears on next year's UN agenda. The US did not introduce its resolution because it wanted to avoid amendments and discussion likely to be critical of the US position on the ABM Treaty, rejection of CTBT ratification by the US Senate, and even the US stance on verifying the CWC and BWC, which some regard as protecting commercial interests at the expense of international and collective security agreements.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First committee comments: This year's draft decision can be seen as a placeholder for the debate to continue next year. China wanted to highlight the vital nature of compliance, arguing that any abrogation would harm existing agreements, including the ABM Treaty. The US in the thematic debates preceding the voting explained that it would not be presenting its traditional resolutions on compliance with arms agreements and on bilateral non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament efforts. It explained that although these resolutions would have been especially timely this year, they would have undoubtedly been opened up to the amendment process with states attempting to inject the subject of the ABM Treaty.

UNGA 54/54I (L.21/Rev.1)

Transparency in Armaments (including WMD)

Introduced by Egypt

Recognises that the UN Register of Conventional Arms "constitutes an important first step towards the promotion of transparency in military matters" but calls for the Secretary General "with the assistance of the Group of Governmental Experts to be convened in the year 2000 and taking into account the views submitted by member states to report on a) the early expansion of the scope of the Register" and b) "the elaboration of practical means for the development of the Register in order to increase transparency related to weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons, and to transfers of equipment and technology directly related to the development and manufacture of such weapons". Separate votes were called for PP8, which stressed the need for universality of the NPT, the CWC and the BWC, and for OP4b, relating to practical means for expanding the Register to include nuclear and other WMD.

First Committee, November 9:

PP8 (universality of NPT etc): 132:2:2

OP4b (expanding Register to include WMD): 77:45:16

Whole resolution: 81:45:13

UNGA whole resolution: 97:48:15

PP8: 156:3:3

OP4(b): 93:50:17

First Committee comments: As expected, votes against PP8 were India and Israel (with Turkey opposing in the GA). Pakistan and Cuba (plus Libya in the GA) abstained. (Canada abstained in error in the first committee and retracted later.) On expanding the register (OP4b), Britain, France, Russia, the United States and various NATO and European countries opposed. Abstainers included China, Japan, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Kazakhstan. On the whole resolution, most of the NAM, including South Africa, voted in favour; NATO and NATO wannabes plus Israel and Russia opposed, while China joined India, Pakistan, Japan, and a few others in abstaining.

Finland, on behalf of the EU and associated nations said they would vote against the resolution because it was unrealistic to link "transparency in armaments", which traditionally has dealt with conventional weapons, with transparency on WMD, as if they were on a par. South Africa supported the resolution, arguing for exploring how to make the principles of transparency apply to nuclear weapons and related technology, but it abstained on OP4, on grounds that the existing register should focus on conventional arms and not be linked with the wider goal. Argentina expressed a similar argument. China said that the goal should be the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, and in the interim transparency was needed. China again used the opportunity to link a future nuclear weapons convention to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention and accused the NWS with first-use policies of also threatening the ABM Treaty and condoning the use of force in international relations. Israel spoke against expanding the existing Register, as it would "impair its functioning" and noted "with surprise" that some of the Middle Eastern countries calling for expansion had not even filed a report with the Register.

UNGA 54/43 (L.27)

Objective Information on Military Matters, Including Transparency of Military Expenditures

Introduced by Germany

Second year for this resolution supporting the guidelines on reporting military expenditure, as reported by the UN Secretary General (A/54/298). Calls on states to report to the UN annually, by April 30, on their military expenditure and encourages international bodies and regional organisations to promote transparency in military matters, support education on these issues and dissemination of the reports. Calls for further ideas to broaden, develop and strengthen participation in the standardised reporting of military expenditure.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

UNGA 54/46 (L.29)

Verification in all its aspects including the role of the United Nations in the field of verification

Introduced by Canada

Short resolution noting "the critical importance of, and the vital contribution that has been made by, effective verification measures in arms limitation and disarmament agreements and other similar obligations" and reaffirming support for "the sixteen principles of verification drawn up by the Disarmament Commission".

First Committee, November 5: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee comments: Iraq complained about the violation of confidentiality regarding sensitive information during international inspections and accused UNSCOM of making "the verification process a 'cover' to implement... the policies of one or two States..."

UNGA 54/54O (L.39)

Transparency in Armaments

Introduced by the Netherlands with over 100 co-sponsors

This annual TIA resolution backs the UN Register of Conventional Arms, calls for universal participation and invites members to provide additional information on procurement from national production and military holdings, including types and models. Refers to its previous request for a group of governmental experts to be convened in 2000 to prepare a report on the continuing operation of the Register and its further development, taking into account the work of the CD (OP4b) and invites the CD to consider continuing its work on TIA (OP6). Also calls for cooperation among states at the regional and subregional levels and for the UN to ensure sufficient resources to operate and maintain the Register. As in previous years, paragraph votes were called for OP4b and OP6.

First Committee, November 1:

OP4b (experts and CD): 121:0:12

OP6 (CD): 120:0:15

Whole resolution: 128:0:13

UNGA whole resolution: 150:0:12

OP4(b): 140:0:16

OP6: 139:0:17

First Committee comments: This resolution was strongly supported, although some were less keen to see the CD continue work on TIA. In favour were all NATO/EU states and wannabes, Russia, and most of the NAM states, including India. The abstainers included those which pushed for the Register to be expanded to include WMD and states unhappy with the principle of transparency and the Register's requirements, including China, Pakistan, Myanmar (Burma), and several Middle Eastern states, such as Algeria, Iran and Egypt.

China abstained because of US arms sales to Taiwan. Egypt, the main sponsor for the second TIA resolution (calling for expansion to include WMD) abstained because it believed that the Register should provide a broad degree of transparency in all fields of armaments in a non-selective manner. Libya, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Kuwait made similar points, while Syria gave a tirade against Israel and said it had abstained because the draft had not taken into account the special situation in the Middle East. Mexico abstained, saying that in its view, OP6 was unrealistic and that the non-aligned group (G-21) in Geneva considered that the CD had fulfilled its mandate on TIA, and that this was no longer a priority for CD work. Cuba, which voted in favour, echoed Mexico's questions regarding TIA work in the CD. Myanmar (Burma) regarded it as "premature" and "unnecessary" to develop the Register further and wanted the CD to concentrate on nuclear disarmament and banning fissile materials.

Disarmament Machinery

UNGA 54/56A (L.3)

Report of the Disarmament Commission

Proposed by Mexico with co-sponsors from all groups

Pledges support for the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) to continue to work according to the mandate in UNSSOD I (1978) and relevant UN decisions and urges enhanced dialogue and cooperation among the First Committee, UNDC and the Conference on Disarmament. Notes "with regret" that the Commission was not able to reach a consensus on the question of whether to hold a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (UNSSOD IV).

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

UNGA 54/55B (L.10)

United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa

Introduced by Burkino Faso on behalf of the Group of African states

Commends the revitalisation of this African Regional Centre to promote confidence-building and sustainable development, emphasises the need for resources to strengthen its activities and carry out its programmes and appeals for continued UN support and for voluntary contributions to strengthen the Regional Centre's programmes and activities.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

UNGA 54/55C (L.14)

United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific

Introduced by Nepal on behalf of most of the Asian and Pacific states

Supports the Regional Centre's activities and meetings and the "Kathmandu process" for enhancing openness, transparency and confidence building in the Asia-Pacific region. Appeals for continued UN support and for government and NGO voluntary contributions to support the Centre's work.

First Committee comments: Bangladesh explained its withdrawal of its co-sponsorship because of the shift away from New York to Kathmandu. It joined consensus, although it did not feel the wording was strong enough.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

UNGA 54/56B (L.16)

Report of the Conference on Disarmament

Introduced by Australia, as current President of the CD.

Considers the report (A/54/27) and work of the Conference on Disarmament and reaffirms its role as the "single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community" and urges the CD to "fulfil that role in the light of the evolving international situation, with a view to making early substantive progress on priority items of its agenda". Welcomes the decision to admit five new members. Welcomes also the CD's "strong collective interest in commencing substantive work as soon as possible during its 2000 session" and hopes the presidential consultations will enable this to happen. That was about as close as the resolution got to acknowledging that the CD was deadlocked and hadn't done any real work since concluding the CTBT in 1996.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee comments: Several statements agreed with the outgoing CD President, Ambassador Les Luck of Australia, who presented the resolution by acknowledging disappointment that the 1999 sessions "was not a productive one if measures in terms of progress made in tackling items on its agenda". In drawing attention to the strong collective interest in starting work, Luck was also supported in his assessment that the Conference had nevertheless given "serious and substantive consideration" to important questions of security and disarmament" and remained "a vital and unique forum for an expchange of views on evolving positions on, and attitudes to, arms control and disarmament...[which may be seen as a necessary step in defining new priorities and forging the requisite consensus to launch negotiations". Non-CD members Portugal, speaking also on behalf of EU countries Denmark, Greece and Luxembourg, said that they attached "major importance" to becoming members of the Conference and called for a special coordinator in 2000 to address the further expansion of CD membership.

L.28 (no UNGA number yet)

Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (draft decision)

Introduced by France

The purpose of this draft decision was to support the work of the Secretary General's advisory board on disarmament, especially its proactive advisory role on disarmament matters. In relation to the Board's improved functioning, the decision contained the Secretary General's endorsement for GA approval of changes in the language of the 1982 mandate so as to "reflect its actual functions as they have been performed for more than a decade" i.e. current practice. The Board's function as trustees for UNIDIR would remain unchanged, and it would keep its role of advising on the implementation of the UN Disarmament Information Programme.

First Committee, November 5: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee comments: Iraq complained that the Advisory Board's report had ignored "acts of spying and falsification" exercised by UNSCOM inspectors and said that the report's "non-objectivity" on this undermined the credibility of the UN in the field of disarmament.

UNGA 54/54U (L.48)

Convening of the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament (UNSSOD IV)

Proposed by South Africa on behalf of the NAM.

Similar to the previous two years' resolution, decides "subject to the emergence of consensus on its objectives and agenda", to convene UNSSOD IV, but mentions no date.

First Committee, November 5: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee comments: There was very little debate on SSOD IV this year, and the resolution is viewed as a place holder to keep the concept alive until political conditions are deemed ripe for agreement on a mandate and agenda. Many disarmament discussions hark back to the consensus document from UNSSOD I in 1978 and a growing number of states now consider it necessary to take account of the fundamental changes since then and develop an agenda relevant for pushing disarmament objectives forward more effectively and invigorating UN disarmament machinery, including the CD. Though some are concerned that international political relations have deteriorated so far that reaching agreement on such a disarmament agenda would be impossible, most consider that a fourth special session is long overdue and should at least be attempted. The principal obstacles have been first the United States, then India.

UNGA 54/55E (L.49)

United Nations Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament

Introduced by South Africa on behalf of the NAM

Reiterates the importance of UN activities at the regional level to increase stability and security, backs the work of the three regional centres in carrying out educational programmes on these issues, and appeals for UN, governmental and NGO support.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

UNGA 54/55F (L.51)

United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean

Introduced by Peru on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean states

Notes with satisfaction and support the reinitiating of the activities of the regional centre, headquartered in Lima, Peru, and appeals for voluntary contributions to strengthen its programme. Also urges states in the region to make "greater use of the potential" of the Centre regarding peace, disarmament and development and requests the UN to provide the Centre with support, within existing resources.

First Committee, November 1: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

Other Disarmament Measures

UNGA 54/49(L.4)

Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security

Introduced by the Russian Federation

The second year for this resolution, which raises concerns about the "misuse or exploitation of information resources or technologies for criminal or terrorist purposes". Calls for promotion of information security, prevention of unauthorised interference or misuse and the development of "international principles" to "enhance the security of global information and telecommunications systems and help combat information terrorism and criminality".

First Committee, November 2: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee comments: This resolution has not yet worked out what it is wanting to do, beyond waving a coded flag of warning about the implications of US technology dominance, the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and the potential for information and high tech warfare.

UNGA 54/50 (L.32)

Role of Science and Technology in the Context of International Security and Disarmament

Introduced by India with several NAM co-sponsors

Relates to dual (military-civilian) use goods and technologies, emphasises that transfers of high technology with military applications should take account of States' "legitimate defence requirements", and criticises restrictions on exports to developing countries. Calls for greater efforts to apply and share science and technology "for disarmament-related purposes" and "to promote the sustainable economic and social development of all states and to safeguard international security", and urges multilateral negotiations for "non-discriminatory" guidelines for the international transfer of dual use goods and technologies.

First Committee, November 2: 84:45:15

UNGA: 98:46:19

First Committee comments: This annual NAM-based resolution had the backing of China, but South Africa, Uruguay and Brazil abstained, as did Russia. NATO, the EU and associated states oppose this resolution, which is viewed as hostile to the export control regimes, providing too broad a justification for seeking to develop hi-tech weapons. Concerns were raised that the resolution did not recognise the contribution of control regimes to enhancing cooperation.

UNGA 54/47 (L.45)

Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace

Introduced by South Africa on behalf of the NAM

This NAM resolution backs the ad hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean and calls for UN resources and the participation of the NWS and major maritime users of the Indian Ocean to "greatly facilitate the development of a mutually beneficial dialogue to advance peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean region". Sri Lanka had earlier submitted the 1999 Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean, hoping that it might be adopted by consensus, and noting that though implementation of the objectives of the 1971 Declaration was difficult, the countries concerned believed that "the objectives of the Declaration should continue to be preserved by the General Assembly… as an ideal towards which all concerned… continue to strive".

First Committee, November 2: 105:3:36

UNGA: 120:3:41

First committee comments: Britain, France and the United States voted against. They rightly see this resolution as enshrining opposition to the retention of British control over Diego Garcia, which is leased to the United States as a military-nuclear base, and also of the use of the Indian Ocean for nuclear armed submarines. NATO and NATO wannabes abstained, while Russia, China and the NAM voted in favour. The United States complained that the resolution failed to recognise navigational rights and the freedom of the seas and considered the issue a waste of UN money.

UNGA 54/54S (L.46)

Observance of Environmental Norms in the Drafting and Implementation of Agreements on Disarmament and Arms Control

Introduced by South Africa on behalf of the NAM

Raises concerns about the 'detrimental environmental effects' of the use (without mention of the production and testing) of nuclear weapons and calls for measures to 'ensure the application of scientific and technological progress' in international security, disarmament and related areas without harming sustainable development or the environment.

First Committee, November 2: 138:0:4

UNGA: 159:0:4

First Committee comments: As in previous years, Britain, France, the United States and Israel abstained. The United the United States who questioned the resolution's relevance to the First Committee, as well as its purpose and utility, saying that although disarmament agreements should be carried out in compliance with environmental protection, there was no direct connection with arms control negotiations. Iraq accused Britain and the US of intentionally violating UN commitments on environmental protection through their use of depleted uranium against Iraq and Yugoslavia.

UNGA 54/54T (L.47)

Relationship between Disarmament and Development

Introduced by South Africa on behalf of the NAM

Stresses the 'growing importance of the symbiotic relationship between disarmament and development' and urges resources from arms limitation and disarmament agreements to be put towards economic and social development, in order to reduce the widening gap between developed and developing countries.

First Committee, November 2: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

First Committee Comments: The United States said it rejected the link, had not participated in the consensus and would not be bound by resolutions on this issue. Finland, on behalf of the EU and associated states, said that while the EU gave more international aid than anyone else, they did not accept the linkage between disarmament and development.

Disarmament and International


UNGA 54/54H (L.20)

Consolidation of Peace through Practical Disarmament Measures

Introduced by Germany with over 70 co-sponsors from all the groups

This fourth year resolution supports arms control, especially of small arms and light weapons, confidence building measures, demobilisation and the reintegration of former combatants, demining and conversion. It welcomes the adoption of the UNDC 'Guidelines on conventional arms control/limitation and disarmament' and notes the report of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms and the Secretary-General's report on "consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures" and encourages member states, agencies etc. to help implement the recommendations. Encourages member states to collect and destroy small arms and light weapons in post-conflict situations and invites the Group of Interested States which formed in New York in 1998 to continue "to analyse lessons learned from previous disarmament and peace-building projects" and to "promote new practical disarmament measures to consolidate peace".

First Committee, November 2: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

UNGA 54/59 (L.15)

Strengthening of Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean Region

Introduced by Algeria, with co-sponsorship from almost all the countries bordering the Mediterranean

The premise for this resolution, as stated in OP1, is that "security in the Mediterranean is closely linked with European security". It raises concerns about "persistent tension and continuing military activities" in parts of the Mediterranean region, castigates economic and social disparities, and reaffirms the responsibility of all states to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region. Notes the peace negotiations in the Middle East, "which should be of a comprehensive nature". Calls on all states to adhere to the multilaterally negotiated legal instruments related to disarmament and non-proliferation (this covers those holding out on the BWC and CWC as well as NPT and arguably covers also the CCW and even the Ottawa Treaty). Calls for greater transparency on all military matters, including the UN Register of Conventional Arms, and for cooperation to deal with problems and threats such as terrorism, international crime, arms and drug trafficking.

First Committee, November 2: Consensus

UNGA: Consensus

UNGA 54/62 (L.40/Rev.1)

Maintenance of International Security: stability and development of South-Eastern Europe

Introduced by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

This is a follow on to the previous years' resolutions relating to "the violent disintegration of States" such as occurred this decade in the Balkans, updated following the war over Kosovo. It notes the "direct negative repercussions of the Kosovo crisis" on neighbouring countries which hosted large numbers of refugees and stresses the importance of regional efforts for preventing bilateral conflicts. Welcomes the Stability Pact of July 30, 1999 and stresses the "crucial importance of its adequate and timely implementation". It stresses the need for "good neighbourliness" and the normalisation of relations, full observance of the UN Charter regarding sovereign equality, territorial integrity and inviolability of international borders and underlines the need for international cooperation and solving disputes by peaceful means.

First Committee, November 5: 137:0:2

UNGA: 155:0:2

First Committee comments: China and Belarus abstained.

This report and appendix was written and compiled by Rebecca Johnson, with valuable assistance from Nicola Butler, Sharon Riggle and Sean Howard, whom the author would like to thank for help finding elusive documentation and cross checking votes and details.

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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