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


GA/DIS/3152
25 October 1999

Fifty-fourth General Assembly
First Committee
15th Meeting (AM)

NEGOTIATIONS ON CONVENTION TO PROHIBIT USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
CALLED FOR IN TEXT INTRODUCED IN DISARMAMENT COMMITTEE

Texts Also Introduced on Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone,
Mediterranean Security, Landmine Convention, Science and Security

The General Assembly, stressing that an international convention prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons would be an important step towards their elimination, would reiterate its request to the Conference on Disarmament to begin negotiating an international agreement banning the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances, according to one of five draft resolutions introduced this morning in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

The other texts introduced dealt with: the role of science and technology in the context of international security; establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East; strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region; and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention).

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By the terms of a draft resolution introduced by the representative of Egypt, on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, the Assembly would urge all parties directly concerned to consider seriously taking the practical and urgent steps required for the implementation of the proposal to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East and, as a means of promoting that objective, invite concerned countries to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Pending the zone's establishment, it would invite those countries not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or permit the stationing on their territories, or territories under their control, of nuclear weapons or nuclear-explosive devices.

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Committee Work Programme

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its thematic discussion and consideration of all disarmament- and security-related draft resolutions. It is expected to hear the introduction of draft resolutions concerning: a convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons; the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East; the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament, strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region; and the treaty banning anti-personnel mines.

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By the terms of a draft resolution sponsored by Egypt, on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East (document A/C.1/54/L.7), the Assembly would urge all parties directly concerned to consider seriously taking the practical and urgent steps required for the implementation of the proposal to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East, in accordance with the relevant General Assembly resolutions, and as a means of promoting that objective, invited the countries concerned to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

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Introduction of draft resolutions

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MOTAZ ZAHRAN (Egypt) introduced the draft resolution on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East (document A/C.1/54/L.7). He said that such a zone had been unanimously anticipated for over 18 years, testifying to the overwhelming support for it. However, the objective had been elusive. No concrete measures, operational measures and no serious talks had yet been held, formally or informally, among the regional parties with a view to putting that aspiration into practice.

Despite general frustration over the stagnation, however, he said that his country firmly supported implementation of the resolution. That endorsement, though, should not be misconstrued as tacit acquiescence. His Government continued to be committed to the earliest establishment and implementation of the principles and provisions for a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East and, indeed, a zone free from all weapons of mass destruction. In a region fraught with such tension, such a zone could not be looked upon as a peace dividend, but as an essential confidence-building measure that helped facilitate and led the way towards a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.

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