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        General Assembly
5 November 1999

Official Records

General Assembly
Fifty-fourth session
First Committee
24th meeting
Friday, 5 November 1999, 10 a.m.
New York

Chairman: Mr. Gonzalez.........................(Chile)

The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.

Agenda items 64, 65 and 67 to 85 (continued)

Introduction of revised draft resolutions

The Chairman (spoke in Spanish): I call on the representative of Egypt to introduce revised draft resolution A/C.1/54/L.7/Rev.1.

Mr. Zahran (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic): I am pleased to introduce revised draft resolution A/C.1/54/L.7/Rev.1, entitled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East”.

Draft resolutions on this subject as we stated when introducing it in its original version, have been adopted yearly since 1974, and by consensus since 1980. Thus, today we will be witnessing the twentieth consecutive year of this consensus.

During the 1999 substantive session of the Disarmament Commission, the Working Group on the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, under the chairmanship of our dear and constant friend, Mr. Emilio Izquierdo of Ecuador, was able to reach principles and guidelines on the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned.

In our assessment, these guidelines, which were reached by consensus, are essential, major additions conducive to promoting the resolution concerning the region of the Middle East. However, it seems that reaching guidelines was for some another smokescreen for the continuation of their secret nuclear programmes and policies. We entered into protracted negotiations with the Israeli delegation in order to draw attention to the importance of the twelfth preambular paragraph, which was added to the draft resolution this year. That paragraph indeed reflects the spirit of what was agreed upon by the Israeli delegation in the Disarmament Commission.

It is indeed bizarre that one delegation would enter into negotiations with another to convince it of what that very delegation had agreed earlier in another forum during the same year, namely, this year. However, we indeed regret that intransigent and rigid positions characterize some delegations. Such positions only raise doubts about genuine positions on essential issues that have significant implications for the situation in the Middle East. However, as many of my colleagues here have mentioned to me, omitting the reference to the guidelines in the draft resolution is illogical. We cannot understand it. It makes us wonder. At the same time, we also wonder whether this situation would be heeded by some delegations that seem to be indifferent to the reality of the situation.

At any rate, and to maintain consensus on the draft resolution, after conducting protracted negotiations with several different parties, the Egyptian delegation is introducing the amended version of the draft resolution as contained in document A/C.1/54/L.7/Rev.1, in which the twelfth preambular paragraph has been deleted. Otherwise, the revised draft resolution is the same as the original. We hope that this draft resolution will once again enjoy consensus.


The meeting rose at 1.25 p.m.

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