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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/C.1/60/PV.18
24 October 2005

Sixtieth session


Official Records

First Committee
14th meeting
Monday, 24 October 2005, 3 p.m.
New York

President:Choi Young Jin....................................................................................(Republic of Korea)



The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.


Agenda items 85 to 105 ( continued)


Action on all draft resolutions submitted under all disarmament and international security agenda items

...

The Chairman: The First Committee will now proceed to take a decision on the draft resolutions contained in cluster 1, “Nuclear weapons”, beginning with draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.3, entitled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East”. I should like to remind delegations that the Committee will take action on all draft resolutions contained in revised informal working paper number 1, one after another, without interruption. Before doing so, I shall call upon those delegations wishing to explain their position or make statements or general comments on all draft resolutions and decisions contained in cluster 1 of the revised informal working paper number 1.

Mr. Freeman (United Kingdom): The European Union, on whose behalf I speak, would like to explain its position with respect to draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.6, entitled “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East”.

We support the objective of the Middle East becoming a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction. But we are concerned that the draft resolution does not cover some relevant recent developments, with respect to nuclear proliferation in the region.

The European Union will vote in favour of the draft resolution, and calls on all States in the region to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). We also call on all States in the region that have not yet done so, to conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement and to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol. The European Union shares the concerns of the international community over Iran’s nuclear programme, reflected in the relevant resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors.

...

Mr. Bar (Israel): I take the floor in order to explain our vote on the draft resolution contained in A/C.1/60/L.6, entitled “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East”.

Once again, the First Committee is called upon to vote on the draft resolution entitled “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East”. The title is important. This draft resolution is blatantly one-sided, contentious and divisive and it undermines rather than enhances confidence among the States of the region.

There is no doubt that the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East indeed exists. In recent years we have seen public evidence that States in our region have repeatedly acted in non-compliance with their obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Surprisingly enough, the draft resolution does not reflect any of the facts and realities stated above. It chooses to ignore the internationally acknowledged evidence regarding States that join international arrangements but do not comply with them. This draft resolution also overlooks the profound hostility of States in the region towards Israel, as well as their refusal to maintain any form of peaceful reconciliation and coexistence with my country. Furthermore, this draft resolution focuses entirely and by name on one country, a country which has never threatened its neighbours nor abrogated its obligations under any disarmament treaty. It singles out Israel as no other United Nations Member State is being singled out in the First Committee.

Singling out Israel and ignoring the real risk of proliferation in the Middle East does not lend the First Committee any credibility. Adopting such a draft resolution will not serve the greater objective of curbing proliferation in the Middle East, but could rather compromise it. Draft resolutions regarding the complex arms control problem in the Middle East should focus on objective ways to address them as they emerge. The First Committee should not once again become a venue for political discrimination. We would like to call upon the distinguished delegates to reconsider their vote and vote against this draft resolution.

...

Ms. Vatne (Norway): Norway would like to align itself with the explanation of vote given by the representative of the United Kingdom, on behalf of the European Union, regarding draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.6, entitled “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East”.

Mr. Bugallo (Spain) (spoke in Spanish ): This being the first time I am taking the floor in this Committee, I should like to congratulate you, Sir, upon your election to the chairmanship and on the skill and leadership you have demonstrated.

I would like to make an explanation of vote on behalf of Spain with regard to the draft resolution entitled “Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas”, contained in A/C.1/60/L.12.

Spain fully supports the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones in accordance with arrangements freely worked out and consensually arrived at between and among States in any region.

Spain has consistently stated unequivocally its support for the objectives of treaties establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones, on the understanding that such zones represent a significant contribution to the strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and to the promotion of efforts leading to nuclear disarmament.

Our delegation therefore believes that the draft resolution that has just been adopted is important to the consolidation of such zones and to cooperation among them. Indeed, Spain has in the past supported the provisions of the draft resolution and voted in favour of preceding ones, including resolutions 53/77 Q and 54/54 L at the fifty-third and fifty-fourth sessions, respectively.

However, this time around the Spanish delegation has decided to abstain in the voting on draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.12, as we did at the fifty-fifth, fifty-sixth, fifty-seventh, fifty-eighth and fifty-ninth sessions. We are doing so because an issue is involved about which my country has always had, and continues to have, reservations: the holding of an international Conference of States Parties and Signatories to Treaties that Establish Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones to reaffirm the common objectives set out in those treaties, as contained in the eighth preambular paragraph and in operative paragraph 8.

The seventh preambular paragraph of the draft resolution just adopted also contains a reference to the possibility of holding, among other kinds of exchanges, joint meetings of States parties and signatories to treaties that establish nuclear-weapon-free zones in order to enhance cooperation among such zones — a concept to which Spain has no objection whatsoever.

However, as pointed out earlier, the text of the draft resolution just adopted states, in the eighth preambular paragraph and operative paragraph 8 alike, something that delegation has consistently viewed as a new concept: an international conference that is qualitatively different, and, what is more, one that represents a departure from the consensus agreements reached in the area of nuclear-weapon-free zones. The concept of an international conference such as the one mentioned in the eighth preambular paragraph and in operative paragraph 8 does not appear in the April 1999 report of the Disarmament Commission on the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones in accordance with agreements freely entered into among the States of the region, nor is it mentioned in the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference in paragraphs relating to nuclear-weapon-free zones.

Spain participated actively hand in both negotiating processes and welcomes the fact that they led to satisfactory though hard-won consensus agreements. Spain’s view is that the foundation laid down in both documents is sufficient and that there are no additional juridical or political elements that could justify the holding of such an international conference.

For all those reasons, my delegation is not in a position to endorse such a proposal and, as a consequence, it cannot support this resolution.

The Chairman : The Committee will now proceed to take action on all draft decisions and draft resolutions contained in revised informal working paper 1, beginning with draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.3, entitled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East”.

I give the floor to the Secretary of the Committee to conduct the voting.

Ms. Stoute (Secretary of the Committee): The Committee will now proceed to take action on draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.3, entitled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East”. The draft resolution was introduced by the representative of Egypt at the Committee’s 14th meeting, on 18 October 2005. The sponsors of the draft resolution are listed in documents A/C.1/60/L.3 and A/C.1/60/INF/2. In addition, Bangladesh has now become a sponsor.

The Chairman : The sponsors of the draft resolution have expressed the wish that the draft resolution be adopted by the Committee without a vote.

If I hear no objection, I shall take it that the Committee wishes to act accordingly.

Draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.3 was adopted.

...

The Chairman : The Committee will now proceed to take action on draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.6.

A recorded vote has been requested. A separate vote has also been requested on the sixth preambular paragraph. Thereafter, the Committee will vote on the draft resolution as a whole. I call on the Secretary of the Committee to conduct the voting.

Ms. Stoute (Secretary of the Committee): The Committee will now proceed to take action on draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.6, entitled “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East”. The draft resolution was introduced by the representative of Egypt at the Committee’s 14th meeting, on 18 October 2005. The sponsors are listed in the document. In addition, Bangladesh has become a sponsor.

The Committee will now proceed to take a separate vote on the sixth preambular paragraph, which reads as follows:

“Recognizing with satisfaction that, in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Conference undertook to make determined efforts towards the achievement of the goal of universality of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, called upon those remaining States not parties to the Treaty to accede to it, thereby accepting an international legally binding commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices and to accept International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on all their nuclear activities, and underlined the necessity of universal adherence to the Treaty and of strict compliance by all parties with their obligations under the Treaty”.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) , Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia

Against:

India, Israel

Abstaining:

Bhutan, Cameroon, Mauritius, Pakistan, United States of America

The sixth preambular paragraph of draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.6 was retained by 145 votes to 2, with 5 abstentions.

Ms. Stoute (Secretary of the Committee): The Committee will now proceed to take action on draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.6 as a whole.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia

Against:

Israel, United States of America

Abstaining:

Australia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, India

Draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.6 as a whole was adopted by 149 votes to 2, with 4 abstentions .

...

Mr. MacLachlan (Australia): I take the floor in relation to draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.6, entitled “Risk of non-proliferation in the Middle East”.

Australia supports the establishment of an effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. We strongly support the universality of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and we have been consistent in our support for the General Assembly resolution on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East freely arrived at among the States of the region.

Regrettably, however, we continue to have substantive difficulties with the draft resolution entitled “The risk of non-proliferation in the Middle East”, notably its emphasis on the State of Israel, with no reference to other Middle Eastern States of nuclear proliferation concern.

In September, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors, reflecting continuing international concern about Iran’s nuclear intentions, found Iran in non-compliance with its NPT Safeguard Agreement. The Board urged Iran to re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related activity, including conversion and reprocessing activity, and to implement the transparency measures requested by the IAEA Director General.

It is regrettable that the proposed draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.6 makes no reference to the international community’s serious concerns about this matter. Australia is committed to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world. We will continue to promote those objectives within the NPT and in all other relevant international forums.

Mr. Najafi (Islamic Republic of Iran): I am taking the floor to explain the position of my delegation with respect to draft decision A/C.1/60/L.3 on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and on draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.6 on the risk nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

The idea of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone as an important disarmament and confidence-building measure in the region of the Middle East, first initiated by Iran in 1974, was followed by the adoption by the General Assembly of numerous resolutions on that question. Since 1980, the General Assembly has annually adopted by consensus a resolution on this issue. The repeated adoption of this resolution by the General Assembly is a manifestation of global support for the promotion of peace, security and stability in the Middle East through the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region.

But, unfortunately, due to Israel’s non-adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and, more importantly, the refusal of that regime to place its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verification system, the realization of such a zone, a lofty and long-sought aspiration of the countries in the region, has yet to materialize.

The irresponsible behaviour of that regime, supported by certain nuclear-weapon States in this respect, has put the establishment of such a zone in the region in the near future in serious doubt. As the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference indicates, all countries in the Middle East region, except for the Israeli regime, have become States parties to the Treaty. The risk of Israel’s nuclear facilities therefore make it necessary for the international community to exert enough pressure on Israel so that it accedes to the NPT and places all its nuclear facilities under IAEA full-scope safeguards, in order to pave the way for the long-sought goal of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

As a State party to the NPT, the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully committed to its international undertakings and believes that this international instrument is the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Universal adherence to this Treaty, in particular in the region of the Middle East, would effectively ensure the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region.

Mr. Streuli (Switzerland ) (spoke in French ): I should like to explain Switzerland’s vote on draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.6, entitled “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East”.

Switzerland this year once again voted in favour of draft resolution L.6. The draft calls for universal adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and is aimed at the only State in the region that has not yet ratified the Treaty.

Switzerland supports those efforts and attaches great importance to the better implementation of existing obligations. We will continue to defend that position also in the area of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.

In that context, full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is imperative.

My country is concerned at the situation that led to the resolution on Iran, which was adopted on 24 September 2005 by the Agency’s Board of Governors.

Switzerland views the text of the draft resolution entitled “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East” as a political appeal against nuclear proliferation in the region as a whole. To ensure the broadest possible support, it is critical that the authors of the draft resolution take into account the current context and all the events that affect the countries in the region.

Mr. Bar (Israel): I am taking the floor to explain Israel’s vote on the draft resolution entitled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East”, contained in document A/C.1/60/L.3.

Israel joined the consensus on this draft resolution, as it has done for more than 20 years, but with substantive and important reservations regarding certain elements of the draft resolution. This action was taken, since Israel continues to support the eventual establishment of a mutually verifiable nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East that should also be free of chemical and biological weapons, as well as ballistic missiles.

The policy of Israel, as it has always maintained, is that the nuclear issue, as well as all regional security issues — conventional and non-conventional — should be addressed within the regional context. Experience in other regions has shown that a regional nuclear-weapon -free zone should emanate from within the region. Such a zone cannot be imposed on the parties from the outside, nor can it emerge before the conditions for it have ripened. Moreover, since the ultimate goal in the Middle East, as in other regions, is regional peace and security , arms control efforts should adequately address the threat perception of all participating States and must not hamper the security of any given party.

Israel believes that the political realities in the Middle East mandate a practical step-by-step approach. The first step should be agreements on modest confidence-building measures, followed by the establishment of peaceful relations.

The next steps would include a process of reconciliation, and good-neighbourliness, to be followed when ripe by negotiation on regional security arrangements that would be complemented by conventional and non-conventional arms control measures. This process could eventually lead to more ambitious goals, such as establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone. As the international community has recognized, the establishment of a nuclear-weapon -free zone should be based on an arrangement freely arrived at among all the States and the regions concerned.

Israel believes that such a zone can only be established through direct negotiations among the States in the region, and those directly concerned. Mutual recognition and peaceful relations are, of course, a necessary first step for the initiation of the process. It clearly cannot begin in a situation where some of the parties concerned still maintain a state of war with one another, refusing on principle to maintain peaceful relations with Israel, or even to recognize its right to exist. As a matter of fact, we had one State recently that could not even express the name “Israel”, but rather, used the term “Israeli regime”.

In that context, it should be recalled that in the Middle East — unlike other regions in the world where nuclear-weapon-free zones have been established — there are continuing threats in the region and beyond, against the existence of one State — Israel. Those threats are significantly increased by the irresponsible behaviour of certain States concerning the export of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and WMD-related technologies, and the discrepancies between their commitments and their actual behaviour. Those circumstances, and the acknowledged record of non-compliance with international obligations by States of the region, have a critical impact on the ability to embark on a joint process of regional security-building, that could eventually lead to a nuclear-weapon -free zone in the Middle East.

Let us bear in mind that out of four recognized cases of non-compliance with the NPT, three have taken place in the Middle East. Therefore, mutual verification arrangements and effective enforcement measures would be indispensable for guaranteeing that States’ commitments are not breached.

Israel has reiterated its vision of promoting regional peace and stability that should facilitate, among other things, the eventual establishment of a nuclear-weapon -free zone in the Middle East. Recently, Israel has reacted positively to direct initiatives, learning from the experiences of other regions, as a part of a gradual process of confidence-building . Unfortunately, not all parties in the region agree with the very concept of gradually building confidence.

We harbour no illusions. Progress towards realizing that vision cannot be made without fundamental change in regional circumstances, and not least, without significant transformation in the attitude of States in the region towards Israel. Just as an illustration — out of eight delegations that took the floor on the thematic debate, calling for the immediate establishment of a nuclear-weapon -free zone in the Middle East, six do not have diplomatic relations with my country, and two of them still publicly call for the destruction of Israel.

It is therefore our view that efforts in that context should be directed towards the creation of a stable environment of peace and reconciliation in our part of the world. The disengagement from the Gaza strip by Israel has been motivated by that objective, and therefore was implemented despite enormous internal difficulties. Israel will continue to dedicate all its efforts to achieve that goal. We call upon our neighbours to do the same.

...

The meeting rose at 5.45 p.m.


This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.



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