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The meeting was called to order at 9.35 a.m.
Agenda items 85 to 105 (continued )
Action on all draft resolutions submitted under all disarmament and international security agenda items
Mr. Shamaa (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic ): The States members of the League of Arab States wish once again to set out their position on transparency in armaments, in particular with respect to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.
The members of the Arab League have made their position known with respect to transparency in armaments for several years now, stressing their commitment to the Register. That position is firm, clear and based on a general orientation in favour of international disarmament, which is based in turn on the specific situation in the Middle East. The States of the Arab League support transparency in armaments in order to strengthen international peace and security and believe that, if transparency mechanisms are to succeed, they must be based on balanced, transparent and non-discriminatory fundamental principles that strengthen peace for all States at the national, regional and international levels and in conformity with international law.
The United Nations Register of Conventional Arms represents the international community’s first, albeit a belated attempt, to address the issue of transparency at the international level. While its value as an international instrument for enhancing early warning and confidence is beyond doubt, it does suffer from several problems. The most serious is the fact that more than half of the States of the United Nations refuse to provide it with the necessary information. The States of the Arab League also believe it essential to broaden the Register’s scope, and recent experience has persuaded a number of us that the Register, which addresses only seven types of conventional weapons, is inadequate to our security needs, given its present limited coverage. The Register’s future will therefore depend on the international community’s resolve to further enforce transparency and to build confidence.
Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 46/36 L of 6 December 1991, whereby the Register was established, we believe that the Register’s scope should be broadened to encompass all information related to sophisticated conventional weaponry and weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons, and advanced technology that could give the Register a more comprehensive, balanced and non-discriminatory nature, thus allowing for increased systematic involvement in its activities.
The Middle East region, where the lack of qualitative equilibrium in armaments is obvious, represents a special case in that regard. We cannot guarantee transparency and confidence unless we take a comprehensive and balanced approach. The status of transparency in the seven categories of conventional weapons, including sophisticated weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons, is neither comprehensive nor balanced and will not lead to the desire results, particularly given the current situation in the Middle East.
Israel is still occupying Arab lands, possesses the most destructive types of weapons of mass destruction and is the only State of the region that is not a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). It persists in disregarding the international community’s numerous calls to accede to the NPT and to submit its nuclear facilities to the comprehensive safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency. That situation led the States parties to the NPT to insist, at their recent 2000 Review Conference, on the need for Israel to take those steps.
The States members of the Arab League express their deep regret at the failure of the former group of governmental experts to implement the provisions of resolution 46/36 L, which established the Register, and to extend the Register’s coverage to national military warehouses or to weapons of mass destruction , nuclear weapons in particular. Evidence of that failure is the fact that, in its current form, the Register does not effectively serve the purposes for which it was created — to strengthen confidence and provide early warning.
In light of all this, the States members of the Arab League express their reservations about the draft resolution’s methodologies and the proposal to create a group of governmental experts. If the Register is to be an effective and reliable confidence-building and early-warning instrument, our concerns and those of the States of the Middle East must be addressed with respect to universal involvement in the Register.
Mr. Atieh (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic ): My delegation would like to express its full support for the position of the countries members of the League of Arab States with regard to draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.50/Rev.1, on transparency in armaments, as set out earlier by the representative of Egypt.
We fully support the goal of creating a world free from the threat or use of force — a world where the principles of peace, equality and justice prevail. We are ready to participate in any sincere international effort to achieve that goal. I would, however, like to draw the attention of the First Committee to the fact that the draft resolution entitled “Transparency in armaments” does not take into consideration the special situation of the Middle East, where the Arab-Israeli conflict is still raging as a result of Israel’s continued occupation of Arab territories and its refusal to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions.
Israel possesses and has the ability to manufacture the most sophisticated types of weapons, including nuclear weapons, and it is acquiring other sophisticated and deadly weaponry as well. Thus, the transparency that Israel claims in the field of armaments applies to only a small portion of its sophisticated and lethal arsenal.
The meeting rose at 12.30 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.