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


DCF/440
13 May 2004


CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT OPENS SECOND PART OF 2004 SESSION


Hears Statements by Israel and Myanmar


(Reissued as received.)


Geneva, 13 May (UN Information Service) -- The Conference on Disarmament this morning started the second part of its 2004 session, hearing an address from Israel on a new Israeli law on export control of goods, technology and services which can be used in weapons of mass destruction programmes, and from Myanmar which praised the plan to hold a structured informal plenary meeting to discuss substantive issues following the public plenary.

Israel said that on 29 April 2004, the Israeli Knesset had adopted a new Export Control Order which would enter into force on 1 July 2004. The new Order strengthened Government control over transfers of chemical, biological and nuclear items and consolidated existing practices in this field. The new Order intended to prohibit exports of goods, technology and services designed to be used in weapons of mass destruction programmes; and to establish a licensing system for export of dual-use goods, technology and services.

Myanmar supported the initiative of the President of the Conference to convene structured informal plenary meetings devoted to substantive issues. These structured informal meetings and consultations on the programme of work were not mutually exclusive, rather they were mutually reinforcing. He supported these informal meetings and endorsed the proposed timetable for them.

The President of the Conference, Ambassador Pablo Macedo of Mexico, said that in accordance to his proposal presented on 24 March on the holding of informal plenaries, the first such informal plenary would be held immediately after the public plenary closed, and it would discuss item one of the agenda: cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament.

Ambassador Macedo also noted that as next Thursday, 20 May was a day off, consultations would be conducted to decide when the next public plenary would be held.

Statements

YAAKOV LEVY (Israel) said that today, it was clear that the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction did not only emanate from States but also from non-State actors. It seemed that there was also a growing threat that terrorists and other non-State actors might be able to obtain sensitive weapons of mass destruction material, technology and know-how.

As one of the countries that faced these threats, Israel appreciated international efforts to identify concrete and effective steps against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Israel especially welcomed resolution 1540 on weapons of mass destruction adopted unanimously on 28 April 2004 by the Security Council. This resolution emphasized once again national responsibility to ensure that sensitive material would not fall or be transferred to the wrong hands. Implementing this longstanding policy, Israel had recently adopted legislative measures for the export control of material, technology and know-how that could be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction.

Ambassador Levy said that on 29 April 2004, the Israeli Knesset had adopted a new Export Control Order which would enter into force on 1 July 2004. The new Order strengthened Government control over transfers of chemical, biological and nuclear items and consolidated existing practices in this field. The new Order intended to prohibit exports of goods, technology and services designed to be used in weapons of mass destruction programmes; and to establish a licensing system for the export of dual-use goods, technology and services. Additionally, the new legislation included a wide and relatively advanced catch-all provision which forbade the exportation of any good, technology and service if it was intended to promote the development or manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction. In order to ensure compliance, it had been decided that violation of any substantial provision of the new order, or violation of any condition included in export licenses issued according to the new Order, would be a criminal offence carrying with it a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment.

In the conventional field, Israel attached importance to the global attempt, including in the United Nations, to combat and eradicate illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons. Israel’s policy in this regard was one of participation in and contribution to international efforts to address global threats to peace and security.

In conclusion, Mr. Levy said that by issuing its new Export Control Order, together with other measures, Israel was exercising its duty to improve and strengthen the struggle against proliferation. Moreover, the Order reflected Israel’s strong support for international efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

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