Note: Owing to the liquidity crisis impacting our Organization, only a partial summary of statements made in today’s meeting of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) is available at this time. The complete summary will be issued later as Press Release GA/DIS/3640.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to take action on all draft resolutions and decisions before it. For background information, see Press Release GA/DIS/3624 of 10 October.
The representative of Austria introduced the draft resolution Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (document A/C.1/74/L.12), which would have the Assembly welcome those States which have signed, ratified or acceded to that Treaty and call upon all others to do so as early as possible. Complementing the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the historical instrument is also a key component of the disarmament regime. Introducing the draft resolution Humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/74/L.13), she said the Assembly would, by its terms, stress that in the interest of the very survival of humanity, atomic bombs shall never be used again, under any circumstances. Also by its terms, the Assembly would call upon States to prevent their use and proliferation and to achieve nuclear disarmament, and urge them to exert all efforts to eliminate the threat of these weapons of mass destruction. Expressing commitment to the Non Proliferation Treaty, she called on all States to vote in favour of L.12 and L.13.
The representative of the European Union, reaffirming its support for the establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East, considered the 1995 resolution stemming from the Non Proliferation Treaty’s 1995 Review Conference valid until its goals and objectives are achieved. Dialogue and confidence building measures among stakeholders is the only sustainable way to agree on a meaningful conference on this issue, with the participation of all States of the region. The European Union stands ready to facilitate dialogue and assist in the process leading to the establishment of such a zone. Meanwhile, he called on all regional States that have not yet done so to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and accede to and abide by the Non Proliferation Treaty, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, and to subscribe to The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.
The representative of Cuba said her delegation is co sponsoring a number of draft texts, including the draft resolution Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (document A/C.1/74/L.12).
The representative of Egypt said delegations voting today have a clear choice to make with every vote they cast, including with regard to the draft resolutions on Establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone in the region of the Middle East (document A/C.1/74/L.1) and The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/74/L.2). It is regrettable to see consensus blocked on L.1, which has enjoyed unanimous support for decades. The draft resolution Towards a nuclear weapon free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (document A/C.1/74/L.20), tabled by the New Agenda Coalition, is a genuine call for real progress on nuclear disarmament.
The representative of New Zealand, also speaking on behalf of Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa, introduced the draft resolution Nuclear weapon free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas (document A/C.1/74/L.22), which among other things underlines the important role of such zones in the context of non proliferation. The draft text Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (document A/C.1/74/L.24), which her country, Australia and Mexico have tabled for well over a decade, expresses deep regret that that instrument has not yet entered into force. It also calls on those States that have yet to sign and ratify the Treaty, particularly those whose ratification is required for it to enter into force, to adhere to it as soon as possible.
The representative of Japan introduced the draft resolution Joint courses of action and future oriented dialogue towards a world without nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/74/L.47/Rev.1), which among other things reaffirms the commitment of States to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and to identify concrete measures to put that goal into practice. Japan recognizes there are differences in reaching common ground on nuclear disarmament, but we must persevere and find a way forward. L.47/Rev.1 aims at identifying areas of common ground and increasing momentum for the Non Proliferation Treaty’s 2020 Review Conference.
Action on Draft Texts
The representative of France, also speaking on behalf of the United Kingdom and the United States, said the three delegations will vote against the draft resolutions Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons (document A/C.1/74/L.13) and Ethical imperatives for a nuclear weapon free world (document A/C.1/74/L.21). While the three countries are committed to working towards a world free of nuclear weapons, only by working together can all States reach that goal. He cannot vote on the draft resolution Follow up to the 2013 high level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.31) because convening such a conference will not consider the threat to international peace and security posed by nuclear proliferation alongside the non respect by some States of their obligations and the case of nuclear terrorism. L.31 also notes the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, he said, adding that progress on disarmament can only be possible through a multilateral, progressive and inclusive process that considers the current international security environment. Turning to the draft decision Treaty on the South East Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (Bangkok Treaty) (document A/C.1/74/L.41), he said it is contradictory to propose the creation of such an area that includes the high seas while also claiming it is in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Moreover, L.41 commends the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, he said.
The representative of the United States said his delegation will vote against L.1 because, while Washington, D.C., supports the objective of such an area in the region, it cannot turn a blind eye to the advancement of separate initiatives with different approaches. Expressing hope for consensus in the future, he called for direct dialogue among regional States. The United States will also vote against L.2, because some provisions are detrimental to achieving the goal of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. In addition, it is politically motivated, singles out one State, drives nations further apart and undermines confidence while diverting attention from the real threats, Iran, with its ballistic missile programme, and Syria, with its use of chemical weapons.
The representative of Israel said the Arab Group broke a consensus by convening a conference on establishing a Middle East nuclear weapon free zone. Israel will vote against L.2 because the language diverts attention from the region’s real threats and undermines attempts to face these challenges. He called for a constructive dialogue in the region that recognizes the real challenges, including instability, displacement, terrorism and violations carried out by States such as Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria, which have in the past violated their obligations, treaties and agreements. Israel will also vote against L.12, because his delegation did not participate in negotiating the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and has deep reservations and concerns. While Israel is in favour of the Test Ban Treaty, it is unable to support language in certain paragraphs of the related draft resolution L.24.
The representative of Algeria said his delegation would abstain on L.47/Rev.1 because the current language is unbalanced when compared to previous versions of the draft resolution.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said L.24 severely distorts the essence of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and fuels confrontation. His delegation also rejects L.47/Rev.1, as Japan is in no position to poke its nose into the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, having committed war crimes against the Korean people, he said, also rejecting Security Council resolutions concerning his country cited in the draft.
The representative of Iran said his delegation will vote in favour of L.1, although it contains paragraphs referring to Middle East peace negotiations that do not in fact exist. Iran will also support L.2, which reflects the concern of a majority of States that Israel is the source of regional nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Regarding the draft decision Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (document A/C.1/74/L.11), he said his delegation will abstain, as any such instrument should be comprehensive and non discriminatory and provide for the total and verifiable elimination of such stocks worldwide by a fixed date.
The representative of Pakistan, referring to L.2, said his country is not a party to the Non Proliferation Treaty and its delegation will vote against preambular paragraphs 5 and 6. Pakistan will also abstain from voting on the draft resolution Follow up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed to at the 1995, 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (document A/C.1/74/L.4), both as a whole and on preambular paragraph 6. Pakistan will abstain from voting this year on the draft resolution Reducing nuclear danger (document A/C.1/74/L.17), as the text’s sponsor continues to expand and modernize its nuclear and conventional arsenals while also nuclearizing the Indian Ocean. Turning to L.11, he said that a treaty on fissile material would freeze the status quo to the advantage of a select few. In South Asia, this would exacerbate the strategic imbalance, he added. On L.12, he said that like other nuclear armed States, Pakistan did not participate in negotiations on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and it is not bound by its obligations. As such, his delegation would vote against it.
Action on Draft Texts
The Committee took up the draft resolution Establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone in the region of the Middle East (document A/C.1/74/L.1). By its terms, the Assembly would urge all parties directly concerned to seriously consider taking practical and urgent steps to establish a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East, and, as a means of promoting that objective, invite the countries concerned to adhere to the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It would call upon all countries of the region that have not yet done so, pending the establishment of the zone, to agree to place all their nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards. It would also invite countries of the region, pending the establishment of the zone, not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or to permit their stationing on their territories or territories under their control. Additionally, it would invite nuclear weapon States and all other nations to assist in establishing the zone while also refraining from taking any action that runs counter to the letter and spirit of the draft resolution.
By a recorded vote of 172 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (Cameroon, United Kingdom), the Committee approved the draft.
Source: United Nations