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        General Assembly
1 April 2003

Official Records
General Assembly
Disarmament Commission
253rd meeting
Tuesday, 1 April 2003, 10 a.m.
New York

Chairman:Ms. Maiolini ........................................................................(Italy)

The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.

General debate


Mr. Ali Ahmad (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic ): ...


With respect to nuclear disarmament, my country believes that it is necessary to give priority attention to nuclear disarmament in accordance with the Final Document of the tenth special session of the General Assembly, devoted to disarmament, which set the goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons through universal adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones throughout the world.

Here, my delegation reaffirms the need to take into account the specific nature of the political situation in the Middle East. Along with my country, other countries of the region and numerous countries throughout the world have called for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. All countries of the region have acceded to the NPT and have placed their nuclear installations under the comprehensive scope safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), with the exception of Israel, which is the only country of the region that possesses a destructive nuclear arsenal. It has refused to accede to the NPT and has refused to place its nuclear installations under comprehensive IAEA safeguards, employing baseless pretexts incompatible with the current international situation.


Mr. Udedibia (Nigeria): I speak on behalf of the Group of African States and in my capacity as the Coordinator of the African Group on Disarmament and International Security Matters of the First Committee. ...


The African Group strongly supports the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. The Group calls on countries in the region to take practical and urgent steps for the implementation of proposals for the establishment of such a zone. Pending and during the establishment of the zone, it urges the countries of the Middle East to refrain from producing, acquiring or in any way possessing nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices, and to also refrain from permitting the stationing of nuclear weapons on their territories by any third party; and to agree to place their nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.


Mr. Issa (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic ): ...


There is no doubt that the Middle East region deserves special mention. For more than 25 years Egypt has sought to achieve progress in the General Assembly towards ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons. In doing so we have also sought to emphasize the dangers of nuclear proliferation in the region. We are making similar efforts with regard to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). During the 1990s we also worked to make progress in the area of regional negotiations in the Middle East. However, that work was not crowned with success. The Egyptian delegation would therefore like to reaffirm its intention to pursue its efforts during this session of the Disarmament Commission in order to build upon the Commission’s 1999 recommendations with regard to nuclear-weapon-free zones, foremost among which is the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.

With regard to agenda item 5, which pertains to practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms, the Egyptian delegation believes that confidence-building measures cannot be a substitute for disarmament measures. However, complementary confidence-building measures are conducive to fostering an atmosphere leading to the strengthening of disarmament efforts. Confidence-building measures should therefore be impartial, objective and transparent in order that the countries concerned may agree on them voluntarily and in order for them to produce the intended effect. When used as complementary measures, confidence-building measures can indeed contribute to establishing security arrangements that are based on cooperation and transparency and the rejection of the use or the threat of use of force. Nevertheless, our experience in the Middle East during the 1990s confirmed that confidence-building measures are insufficient in the absence of a strategic and political commitment to the principle of equal security for all that takes into account the legitimate security concerns of all countries involved.

In conclusion, the delegation of Egypt would like to reaffirm its full support to the Chairman in arriving at effective recommendations on practical confidence-building measures and on ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament. We pledge our full cooperation to that end.

The meeting rose at noon.

This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.

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