26 October 2005
Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones, Bolstering Global Non-Proliferation Regime, among Issues Addressed, as First Committee Approves 21 Draft Texts
Importance of Test-Ban Treaty, Risk of Middle East Nuclear Proliferation, Assurances for Non-Nuclear-Weapon States Also Highlighted
(Issued on 25 October 2005.)
NEW YORK, 24 October (UN Headquarters) -- Heading into the final phase of its substantive work for 2005, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) today approved 21 draft texts aimed at shoring up regional disarmament measures and reducing the global threat of the use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
Among other things, the draft resolutions highlighted the need for States to work towards the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, assure non-nuclear weapons States against the threat of use of nuclear weapons, and bolster the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. The Committee also considered the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament. The texts will be forwarded to the General Assembly for adoption.
According to a traditional draft resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, the Assembly, noting that Israel remained the only State in the Middle East that was not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), would call on it to: accede to the Treaty without further delay; not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons; renounce possession of nuclear weapons; and place all its un-safeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.
The Committee approved that text by a recorded vote of 149 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Ethiopia, India, Australia). (For details of the voting, please see Annex III).
Prior to acting on the draft as a whole, the Committee approved, in a separate vote, preambular paragraph 6, which recalls the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, which, among other things, called on those remaining States not parties to the Treaty to accede to it. Members voted to retain that paragraph by a vote of 145 in favour to 2 against (India, Israel), with 5 abstentions (Bhutan, Cameroon, Mauritius, Pakistan, United States). (Annex II).
Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the resolution on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Also without a vote, it approved a decision on including the issue of establishing such a zone in the Central Asia on the Assembly's provisional agenda for its sixty-first session. It similarly approved a draft on the consolidation of the regime established by the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco).
In three separate recorded votes, the Committee approved a draft resolution on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere. It voted to retain operative paragraph 5 as a whole, by which the Assembly would welcome steps taken to conclude further nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties, and call on all States to consider all relevant proposals, including those reflected in its resolutions on establishing such zones in the Middle East and South Asia. The vote was 141 in favour, to 1 against (India), with 9 abstentions (Bhutan, France, Israel, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Spain, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, United States). (Annex VI).
Prior to approving the paragraph as a whole, it voted to retain the three words "and South Asia" by a vote of 140 in favour to 2 against (India, Pakistan), with 7 abstentions (Bhutan, France, Israel, Russian Federation, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, United States). (Annex V).
The Committee approved the draft as a whole on ridding the entire southern hemisphere of nuclear weapons by a vote of 144 in favour to 3 against (France, United Kingdom, United States), with 6 abstentions (Bhutan, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Spain). (Annex VII).
By a vote of 98 in favour to none against, with 55 abstentions, the Committee approved a draft resolution by which the Assembly, convinced that nuclear weapons pose the greatest threat to mankind and to the survival of civilization, would reaffirm the urgent need to reach an early agreement on effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons (Annex X).
A draft on the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was approved by a vote of 103 in favour to 29 against, with 21 abstentions. (Annex XII). By it, the Assembly would call on States immediately to fulfil the obligation to pursue in good faith and to bring to a conclusion negotiations leading nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.
Prior to approving the draft as a whole, the Committee voted to retain operative paragraph 1 by a vote of 142 in favour to 3 against (Israel, Russian Federation, United States), with 5 abstentions (Belarus, France, Latvia, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan). (Annex XI).
Other nuclear weapons-related texts concerned: the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was approved by a vote of 149 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 4 abstentions (Colombia, India, Mauritius, Syria) (Annex VIII); nuclear disarmament, by a vote of 94 in favour to 42 against, with 17 abstentions (Annex IX); a convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, by a vote of 97 in favour to 46 against, with 11 abstentions (Annex XIV); a conference to identify ways of eliminating nuclear dangers in the context of nuclear disarmament, by a vote of 108 in favour to 5 against (France, Israel, Poland, United Kingdom, United States), with 39 abstentions (Annex IV); and reducing nuclear danger, by a vote of 94 in favour to 45 against, with 14 abstentions (Annex XIII). A draft decision on missiles was approved by a vote of 101 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 50 abstentions (Annex I).
Determined to prevent the emergence of new types of weapons of mass destruction that have characteristics comparable in destructive effect to those of weapons of mass destruction, as identified in the definition of weapons of mass destruction adopted by the United Nations in 1948, the Assembly would reaffirm that effective measures should be taken to prevent the emergence of new types of weapons of mass destruction, according to a draft banning the development and manufacture of new types of such weapons.
It approved that draft by a vote of 150 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 1 abstention (Israel) (Annex XV).
By a vote of 147 in favour to 1 against (India), with 1 abstention (Bhutan), the Committee approved a text by which the Assembly would decide to give urgent consideration to the issues involved in conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (Annex XVI).
A text on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament was approved by a vote of 88 in favour to 49 against, with 13 abstentions (Annex XVII).
Acting without a vote, the Committee approved drafts on: implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention; regional disarmament; confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context; dumping of radioactive waste; and on the report of the Conference on Disarmament.
General statements today were made by the representatives of Cuba; Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group; and Mexico, who also introduced two draft resolutions: a United Nations conference on eliminating nuclear dangers, and consolidation of the regime established by the Treaty of Tlatelolco.
Explanations of vote were delivered by the representatives of: United Kingdom, on behalf of the European Union; Spain; Cuba; China; Israel; Norway; Japan; France; Colombia; Canada; India; France; Australia; Iran; Switzerland; Republic of Korea; Pakistan; Ethiopia; Syria; United States; and Belarus.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 25 October, to continue taking action on all disarmament- and security-related draft texts.
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