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


Fifty-eighth General Assembly
Plenary
71st Meeting* (PM)
GA/10217
8 December 2003

PROLIFERATION OF ‘NON-STRATEGIC’ NUCLEAR WEAPONS, NEW AGENDA FOR DISARMAMENT AMONG ISSUES, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS 52 FIRST COMMITTEE TEXTS

Calls for 2004 Review Conference of Mine-Ban Convention;
Also Debates UN Information and Communication Technologies Strategy

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Background

The General Assembly met this morning to take action on 19 reports of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security). Those reports contain 46 draft resolutions and seven draft decisions.

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Under the terms of the draft resolution contained in the report on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East (document A/58/459), the Assembly would urge all parties directly concerned to consider seriously taking the practical and urgent steps required to implement that proposal, and, as a means of promoting that objective, invite the countries concerned to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

It would call on the countries of the region that had not done so, pending the establishment of the zone, to agree to place all their nuclear activities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. It would also note the importance of the ongoing bilateral Middle East peace negotiations and the activities of the multilateral Working Group on Arms Control and Regional Security in promoting mutual confidence and security in the Middle East, including the establishment of the zone.

The Committee approved the draft resolution on 27 October without a vote.

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Noting that Israel remained the only State in the Middle East that had not yet become party to the NPT, the Assembly would call upon it to accede to the Treaty without further delay, to not develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons, and to place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope IAEA safeguards, according to the draft resolution contained in the report on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/58/465).

The Committee approved the draft resolution on 3 November by a vote of 146 in favour to 3 against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, United States), with 10 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Canada, India, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu).

Prior to that, the text’s sixth preambular paragraph was approved by a vote of 142 in favour to 2 against (India, Israel), with 11 abstentions. That paragraph, would have the Assembly recognize with satisfaction that, among other things, the 2000 NPT review conference called on those remaining States not parties to the NPT to accede to it, thereby accepting an international legally binding commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons and to accept IAEA safeguards on all their nuclear activities.

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Action on Texts

MIGUEL CARBO (Ecuador), Rapporteur, introduced the reports of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

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Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the resolution contained in the report on establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East (document A/58/459).

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Then, it adopted the resolution contained in the report on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/58/465) by a vote of 162 in favour to 4 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 10 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Ethiopia, India, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu) (Annex XXX).

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ANNEX XXIX

Vote on Sixth Preambular/Middle East

The sixth preambular paragraph on the draft resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/58/465) was retained by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 2 against, with 10 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: India, Israel.

Abstain: Bhutan, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Vanuatu.

Absent: Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Kiribati, Liberia, Palau, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan.

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* Press Release GA/10215 of 5 December should have included the 70th Meeting (PM). Pages 2-4 of this press release should be (PM).
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