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        General Assembly
13 November 1991


Fifty-sixth session
Official Records

24th meeting
held on
Wednesday, 30 October 1991
at 3 p.m.
New York


Chairman: Mr. MROZIEWICZ (Poland)

later: Mr. ALPMAN (Turkey)


- General debate on all disarmament items (continued)

The meeting was called to order at 3.25 p.m.
AGENDA ITEMS 47 AND 65 (continued)


Mr. KOROTURK (Turkey): ...


The radical transformation of the nature of East-West relations is at the root of the metamorphosis of the world political order. The most striking manifestation of this has been the spirit of cooperation displayed by the international community during the Gulf crisis.


... the International Middle East conference that opened today in Madrid is yet another political event of historical significance testifying to this new spirit of cooperation. We hope that the conference will yield positive results so as to initiate a genuine peace process in the region after more than 40 years of constant conflict and tension.


In the aftermath of the Gulf Way international concerns have focused on halting the proliferation of all kinds of weapons in the Middle East while supporting the legitimate need of every State to defend itself.

The search for new security structures and measures in the Middle East with a view to promoting peace in the region should aim at establishing stability and security at the lowest possible level of military forces. Nevertheless, given the complexities of the region's political landscape, an arms control agreement would be a difficult undertaking. However, the prospects for achieving it are now better than ever. In this context, recent initiatives by the United States, France and Canada seeking to reach a comprehensive arms control and disarmament regime in the Middle East are welcome since they will complement the broader efforts being made to promote peace and to defuse tensions in the region. Those initiatives represent a two-track approach in attempting to tackle issues on both the political and security fronts. It is our conviction that the essential principle for the viability of such initiatives is that any arms control and disarmament regime in the Middle East should be built on the principle of the sovereign equality of the States in the region and should lead to stability and security for all.


Mr. Awad (Syrian Arab Republic) (interpretation from Arabic): ...


The Five permanent members of the Security Council viewed the problem in a way to that in which they saw the disarmament process in the Middle East: as a problem of the stockpiling of conventional and non-conventional weapons. But such stockpiling is often a consequence, not the cause, of the problem. Very often, regional conflicts are the reason why the parties acquire weapons for the sake of legitimate self-defence in the face of expansionist policies of the other party such as Israel, as is the case in the Middle East.

We in the Middle East have had to live alongside Israel, which has been assisted to acquire arsenals that are excessive both qualitatively and quantitatively, including nuclear weapons. That has enabled Israel to pursue its expansionist policies and forces the victims of Israeli aggression, in the absence of peaceful solutions, to acquire available weapons in order to regain their usurped rights.

In its second paragraph, the Paris communiqué states that the participants considered arms control initiatives put forward by a number of Heads of State or Government and other initiatives which address arms control globally and as a matter of urgency, in the Middle East. The participants agreed to support continued work in the United Nations on an arms-transfer register to be established under the aegis of the Secretary-General, on a non-discriminatory basis, as a step towards increased transparency on arms transfer.

They stressed that the ultimate response to the threat of proliferation is verifiable arms-control and disarmament agreements amongst the parties concerned.

They also strongly supported the objective of establishing a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone in the Middle East through the full implementation of Security Council 687 (1991) and adoption by the countries in the region of a comprehensive programme of arms control for the region, including: a freeze and the ultimate elimination of ground-to-ground missiles in the region; submission by all nations in the region of all of their nuclear activities to the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); a ban on the importation and production of nuclear-weapons useable materials; and agreements by all States in the region to undertake to become parties to the chemical-weapons convention as soon as it is concluded in 1992.

The proposed arms transfer register under the aegis of the Secretary-General, as a step towards greater transparency in this sphere, appears to be worthy of support. But with respect to our region, I would note that Israel will always be in a better position than any Arab State to obscure transparency: Israel manufactures weapons of all kinds, including nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, the arms reduction programme proposed to the States of the region is not a balanced one. Indeed it contains no provision that would rid the region of Israel's nuclear stockpiles. It leaves the Israeli arsenal alone and does not even contain an undertaking with regard to the non-use or threat to use nuclear weapons. Such a situation leaves Israel with a potent weapon it can use to retain all the expansionist territorial gains it has made through aggression and which would tempt her to make further gains in the future.

In complete contrast to this leniency in addressing the question of Israel's nuclear arsenal, the proposed programme deals very strictly indeed with ground-to-ground missiles and their final elimination. As regards chemical weapons, the programme stipulates accession to the convention on such weapons as soon as it is concluded in 1992 and we know that that convention would provide for the total and final elimination of such weapons.

The implementation of this convention by all States in the region would entail the perpetuation of the serious regional imbalance which results from the fact that Israel would keep its stockpiles whereas no Arab State possesses such weapons.

It should also be noted that the programme has not dealt with air-to-ground missiles while it is known that warplanes and air-to-ground missiles are no less dangerous than ground-to-ground missiles. Indeed, they are much more lethal. It is known to all that Israel enjoys overwhelming superiority in such weapons over every other State in the region.

We also note that the programme prohibits transfer of technology in the areas of nuclear and chemical weapons and the manufacture of missiles. Given the fact that Israel is the only country in the region that possesses this technology of which the Arab States are deprived, the ban on the import of technology would have no impact on Israel's capacity to use that technology for military purposes.

Thus, the idea of the proposed register turns out to be one more injustice as far as countries that do not manufacture the weapons are concerned. This holds true for most third world countries, in particular the Arab countries because of the special circumstances prevailing in the Middle East.

We do hope that the peace conference that has just opened in Madrid will succeed in putting an end to this injustice and bring about a global, just and lasting peace in the region.

The meeting rose at 5.45 p.m.

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of the publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, Room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.

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