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


Fifty-ninth General Assembly
First Committee
11th Meeting (AM)
GA/DIS/3281
20 October 2004

SECURITY FOR NON-NUCLEAR-WEAPON STATES, ACCELERATING NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
AMONG ISSUES, AS 19 TEXTS INTRODUCED IN FIRST COMMITTEE

(Issued on 20 October 2004.)


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Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to begin its thematic debate and hear introductions of draft resolutions and decisions.  The Committee was expected to hear introductions of drafts on the following topics:  missiles; a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia; a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East; measures to uphold the authority of the 1925 Geneva Protocol; and a United Nations conference to identify ways of eliminating nuclear dangers in the context of nuclear disarmament.

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Also:  ... risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East; ...

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A draft resolution on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East (document A/C.1/59/L.8), sponsored by Egypt, would have the Assembly urge all parties directly concerned to consider seriously taking the practical and urgent steps required for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly. To promote that objective, the Assembly would invite the countries concerned to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  It would also call on 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.

By further terms, the Assembly would invite all countries of the region, pending the establishment of the zone, to declare their support for establishing such a zone and to deposit those declarations with the Security Council.  It would also invite those countries, pending establishment, not to 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.  Additionally, the Assembly would invite nuclear-weapon States and all other States to render their assistance in the establishment of the zone and, at the same time, refrain from any actions that ran counter to both the letter and the spirit of the present resolution.

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According to a draft resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/59/L.37), the Assembly, noting that Israel remained the only State in the Middle East that had not yet become party to the NPT, would call upon it to accede to the Treaty without further delay and not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, and to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and to place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, as an important confidence-building measure among all States of the region and as a step towards enhancing peace and security.

The draft resolution is sponsored by Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

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Statements

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HEBA ELMARASSI (Egypt) introduced the draft resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/59/L.37). She said that the draft resolution reflected the concern of the countries of the Middle East and the international community as a whole over the continued existence of nuclear materials in the Middle East region that were not under the IAEA safeguards regime.  It also underlined the need to adopt a zone free of nuclear weapons in the region.  Additionally, it called on Israel, the only State in the region that had not joined the NPT, to do so.

Ms. Elmarassi also introduced the draft resolution on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middles East (document A/C.1/59/L.8), saying that the draft resolution stressed the need for the relevant parties to adopt and to ensure that all nuclear materials in the Middle East region were placed under the IAEA safeguards regime.

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SALEM MOUBARAK AL-SHAFI (Qatar) said the General Assembly had already called for the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  It had also said that, until the establishment of such a zone, States in the region should refrain from acquiring nuclear weapons and respect the authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Insisting upon the need for States to respect such calls, he said that Israel should join the NPT and abide by Security Council resolution 487 (1981), which had called on Israel to place its facilities under IAEA supervision.

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