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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 50, September 2000

UN Millennium Summit

United Nations Millennium Summit, New York, September 6-8, 2000.

Note: the summit was attended by 190 states. For comprehensive coverage, including full texts of all statements, see the UN's special website, http://www.un.org/millennium.

Millennium Declaration

'United Nations Millennium Declaration', unanimously adopted by the General Assembly (A/54/L.89), final day of its 54th Session, September 5, 2000.

"II. Peace, Security and Disarmament

8. We will spare no effort to free our peoples from the scourge of war, whether within or between states, which has claimed more than 5 million lives in the past decade. We will also seek to eliminate the dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction.

9. We resolve, therefore:

  • To strengthen respect for the rule of law, in international as in national affairs and, in particular, to ensure compliance by member states with the decisions of the International Court of Justice, in compliance with the Charter of the United Nations, in cases to which they are parties.
  • To make the United Nations more effective in maintaining peace and security by giving it the resources and tools it needs for conflict prevention, peaceful resolution of disputes, peacekeeping, post-conflict peace building and reconstruction. In this context, we take note of the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations and request the General Assembly to consider its recommendations expeditiously.
  • To strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter.
  • To ensure the implementation, by states Parties, of treaties in areas such as arms control and disarmament, and of international humanitarian law and human rights law, and call upon all states to consider signing and ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
  • To take concerted action against international terrorism, and to accede as soon as possible to all the relevant international conventions.
  • To redouble our efforts to implement our commitment to counter the world drug problem.
  • To intensify our efforts to fight transnational crime in all its dimensions, including trafficking as well as smuggling in human beings and money laundering.
  • To minimize the adverse effects of United Nations economic sanctions on innocent populations; to subject such sanctions regimes to regular reviews; and to eliminate the adverse effects of sanctions on third parties.
  • To strive for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons and to keep all options open for achieving this aim, including the possibility of convening an international conference to identify ways of eliminating nuclear dangers.
  • To take concerted action to end illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons, especially by making arms transfers more transparent and supporting regional disarmament measures, taking account of all the recommendations of the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons.
  • To call on all states to consider acceding to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, as well as the Amended Mines Protocol to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
10. We urge member states to observe the Olympic Truce, individually and collectively, now and in the future, and to support the International Olympic Committee in its efforts to promote peace and human understanding through sport and the Olympic ideal."

Note: a number of countries placed reservations on their approval of the Declaration's endorsement of the possibility of convening an international conference on eliminating nuclear dangers. For France, Yves Doutriaux noted: "We recall our preference for convening a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament." For the US, Betty King drew attention to Washington's "strong and oft-repeated reservations to such a conference." For Russia, Gennadi Gatilov argued that "the process of the elimination of the nuclear threat should take place in the context of the strengthening of strategic stability." Chinese delegate Dhongua Wang, while expressing sympathy with the call for such a conference, urged that it "be convened under the existing disarmament framework." (Statements kindly provided by Jim Wurst, UN Coordinator, Middle Powers' Initiative and Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy.)

Statements on Arms Control

Note: please see the website of the Acronym Institute for a comprehensive compilation of statements, as well substantial extracts from the General Debate of the 55th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (September 12-22).

China (President Jiang Zemin, September 6): "To build common security is the prerequisite to the prevention of conflicts and wars. The Cold War mentality must be abandoned once and for all, and a new security concept based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation should be established. All international disputes and regional conflicts should be resolved through peaceful means. Effective disarmament and arms control should be realized according to the principle of fair, reasonable, comprehensive and balanced reduction. All countries should take part in the discussion and settlement of the question of disarmament as it bears on the international security."

France (President Jacques Chirac, September 6): "[P]eace is our peoples' most precious possession: peace that needs to be strengthened unceasingly through greater efforts to achieve non-proliferation and disarmament, with universal ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and new negotiations on biological weapons, ballistic weapons and small arms."

India (Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, September 8): "The continued existence of nuclear weapons is a threat to global security in this new century, as in the century gone by, which not only saw the development but also the tragic use of weapons of mass destruction. The international community has successfully diminished, if not entirely removed, the threat posed by chemical and biological weapons. But not so with nuclear weapons. In fact, despite all the talk of nuclear disarmament from various forums, the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, in the custody of those who were the first to build up such a deadly arsenal, remain virtually untouched. It would seem that we are still far away from achieving a goal that can assure the survival of humanity in the new millennium.

India was forced to acquire these weapons in 1998 because the principal nuclear-weapon states refused to accept the almost universal demand for nuclear disarmament. Moreover, the spread of nuclear weapons in our neighbourhood made us especially vulnerable. Nevertheless, our policy is based on responsibility and restraint and we continue to press for universal, verifiable nuclear disarmament with undiminished commitment, even while safeguarding our strategic space and autonomy in decision-making. International peace cannot be divorced from the need for equal and legitimate security for all. We support the Secretary General's proposal for an international conference to address nuclear dangers.

In the interregnum, India continues with its voluntary moratorium on further underground nuclear test explosions. India remains committed to working for the successful conclusion of her security dialogue with key interlocutors on the CTBT. I reiterate our position that we will not prevent the entry into force of the CTBT. At the same time, all other countries which must ratify the CTBT under Article XIV of the Treaty, should do so without condition. India also remains committed to participate in negotiations on a Treaty that will prohibit the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. We will participate in these discussions in good faith and in order to ensure a Treaty that is non-discriminatory and meets India's security imperatives."

Ireland (Bertie Ahern, Taoiseach, September 6): "Ireland's commitment to disarmament is well known, with a broad consistency of position running from our NPT initiative forty years ago to our current activities in the New Agenda Coalition. We are deeply concerned that the post-Cold War opportunities are not being fully grasped; we will continue to avail of every opportunity to push for greater progress."

Japan (Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, September 7): "The issues of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation must not be forgotten as we think about the twenty-first century. At the 2000 NPT Review Conference held this spring, a great step-forward toward realizing the elimination of nuclear weapons was made, with the unanimous agreement among participating states, including nuclear-weapon states, on practical steps toward nuclear disarmament, including 'an unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination' of their nuclear arsenals. Japan, as the only country to have suffered nuclear devastation, earnestly desires that all countries join hands to free the twenty-first century from the fear and danger of nuclear weapons, and to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In accordance with that desire, Japan will submit at the Millennium Assembly a new draft resolution on the elimination of nuclear weapons."

New Zealand (Prime Minister Helen Clark, September 6): "Our passion for nuclear disarmament is well known. In the 1980s we declared ourselves nuclear free because of our belief in the immorality of nuclear weapons and because we knew that nuclear war would be a catastrophe for our planet. We have also dedicated ourselves to the hard, slow, painstaking work of advancing disarmament at the multilateral level. Years of working with others for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty paid off. Now our goal, working with our partners in the New Agenda grouping, is nothing less than the total elimination of nuclear weapons."

Pakistan (Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf, September 6): "Pakistan is located in the world's most volatile region where one-fifth of humanity lives in a state of economic deprivation. While the global trend is for economic progress through regional cooperation, South Asia is embroiled in conflict. Why this tragedy? Only because the people of Kashmir remain deprived of justice. The consequence of this injustice has been four wars. The region stands heavily militarized, even nuclearized. This situation is certainly not of Pakistan's making. We have been obliged to respond to the compulsions of our security and have merely acted in self defence. ... Pakistan stands for peace and is prepared to take bold initiatives to change the status quo through a dialogue with India at any level, at any time and any where. Let me commit at this World Forum, that we desire a No War Pact; we are ready for a mutual reduction of forces; and we also seek a South Asia free from all nuclear weapons. Pakistan shall not be drawn into an arms race, nuclear or conventional, irrespective of provocation."

Russia (President Vladimir Putin, September 6): "The new century of the United Nations should prolong itself into a millennium of effective stability. It has to enter the annals of history as the period of real disarmament. Today we have already succeeded in creating an efficient mechanism for disarmament. Its foundation comprises the 1972 ABM Treaty, regimes of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and means for their delivery, dozens of the most important agreements on limitation and reduction of different armaments.

We should reliably block the ways for spreading nuclear weapons. We can achieve this by, inter alia, excluding usage of enriched uranium and pure plutonium in world atomic energy production. This is technically quite possible to implement. But more important is that incineration of plutonium and other radioactive elements creates prerequisites for the final solution of the radioactive residues problem. It opens fundamentally new horizons for secure life on the planet. In this connection Russia proposes to work out and put into practice a relevant mechanism with the participation of the IAEA.

Particularly alarming are the plans for the militarisation of outer space. In spring of 2001 we shall celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first flight of man to the outer space. That man was our compatriot, and we suggest to organize on that date, under the umbrella of the UN, an international conference on prevention of outer space militarisation. I think that the most proper place for it shall be Moscow."

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.