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


Fifty-eighth General Assembly
First Committee
4th Meeting (AM)
GA/DIS/3250
8 October 2003

FIRST COMMITTEE, ‘CUSTODIAN’ OF INTERNATIONAL DISARMAMENT STRUCTURE, MUST ENSURE INTEGRITY, RELEVANCE, DELEGATES TOLD


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Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its general debate on all disarmament and related international security items.

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Statements

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JAMAL NASSER AL-BADER (Qatar) said it was natural for the international community to look forward to a world free of weapons of mass destruction and arms races, in which generations lived in security, unthreatened by terrorist groups.  Nevertheless, such a world was difficult to achieve, given the fact that some States still insisted on possessing and developing nuclear weapons.  In that regard, he criticized certain major powers, which wanted to monopolize such weapons without sharing important technology.  Declaring that such States should voluntarily abandon their nuclear weapons, as South Africa had done, he stated that the possession of weapons of mass destruction by any State was a blatant act of “muscle flexing.”

Turning to his own region, the Middle East, he expressed support for a nuclear-weapon-free zone there.  In that context, he noted that all regional players had been encouraged by the General Assembly to establish such a zone and subject their nuclear facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.  Nevertheless, one State had not cooperated in that regard, and that was Israel.  Criticizing the fact that Israel seemed to be untouched by international pressure, he warned delegates that the power imbalance in the Middle East, exacerbated by Israel’s weaponry, threatened the stability of the entire region.

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