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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Fifty-ninth General Assembly
First Committee
7th Meeting (PM)
GA/DIS/3277
12 October 2004

‘TENSION BETWEEN NUCLEAR LEGALITY AND NUCLEAR REALITY’ CAUSE OF CRISIS
IN NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION REGIME, DISARMAMENT COMMITTEE TOLD
(Issued on 13 October 2004.)

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Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue its general debate on the whole range of arms limitation and security arrangements.  (For background, see Press Releases GA/DIS/3271 and 3272.)

Statements

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ALI HACHANI (Tunisia) ...

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He said that proliferation in the Middle East remained a tense issue, because Israel, which had not declared its nuclear weapons, refused to become a party to the NPT and to place its nuclear installations under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards regime, without conditions.  That was despite appeals by the Member States of the region and by the General Assembly, which had adopted numerous resolutions on the subject.  The Israeli position constituted an obstacle to disarmament efforts, in general, and to the achievement of durable peace in the region.  Tunisia called on the international community, and particularly major Powers, to take credible measures to force Israel to comply with its international obligations.

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SALEM AL-SHAFI (Qatar) ...

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The Middle East had been an inflamed region because of Israel’s occupation of Syria and Lebanon, he stated.  That situation had led to an imbalance of power.  The General Assembly had urged all parties to consider and support the proposal to create a region free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.  All the countries or the region had responded positively to that call, with the exception of Israel, which had remained outside the relevant framework.

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SHAUKAT UMER (Pakistan) ...

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Turning to the Middle East, he said the Arab-Israeli conflict was aggravated by the threat of the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction.  Declaring that no one could ignore the fact that nuclear weapons already existed in the region, he added that the “current controversy relating to the nuclear programme of a country in the region” should be addressed in a cooperative framework.  Voicing support for the fulfilment of international obligations by all States, he also backed the creation of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.  ...

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SALAH ALI HASAN HELAL AL-MALKI (Bahrain) ...

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... Turning to nuclear-weapon-free zones, they had been a major factor in encouraging peace and security, by alleviating tensions and conflicts in regions throughout the world.  Therefore, one should exist in the Middle East, where currently only Israel possessed nuclear weapons.  He added that Israel’s possession of such arms was a source of instability.

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