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The meeting was called to order at 10.05 a.m.
The Chairman: This morning, the First Committee will continue its general debate on all disarmament and related international security agenda items. Before we start, may I once again take this opportunity to remind delegations to kindly limit their statements to 10 minutes for those speaking in their national capacity and to 15 minutes for those speaking on behalf of several delegations.
Agenda items 57, 58 and 60 to 73
General debate on all disarmament and international security agenda items
Mr. Al-Bader (Qatar) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
With respect to weapons of mass destruction, let me cite the dangers facing the Middle East region and the inequity in the balance of power that results from Israel’s possession of undeclared nuclear weapons. All countries in the region have acceded to the NPT and have assumed their obligations under that Treaty. However, Israel has refused outright to accede to that Treaty. It clings to its nuclear arsenal, flouting all international treaties and agreements, as well as appeals by the international community to join the international coalition, to sign the relevant treaties, to place its nuclear installations under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system and to destroy its stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
It is regrettable that some Israel-friendly States continue not only to tolerate Israel’s behaviour but are even cooperating in offering facilities and enabling Israel to develop its nuclear technology and to increase its production of weapons of mass destruction.
We are concerned at the double standard that is being applied by the international community in dealing with nuclear-weapon issues. While international pressure is mounting on a certain country that has been accused of acquiring weapons of mass destruction, we are witnessing complete and flagrant tolerance vis-à-vis Israel. This logic is unacceptable and adversely affects the credibility of the United Nations. Such danger confronts us primarily in the Middle East region. We call on the international community and on those countries that have influence on the State of Israel to bring pressure to bear on that State in order to induce it to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction and to work to secure permanent peace.
Mr. Baali (Algeria) ( spoke in French ): ...
The creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones effectively contributes to strengthening the non-proliferation regime, to efforts to eliminate the nuclear threat and to the maintenance of international peace and security. We therefore welcome the creation of such zones by the four Treaties of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Pelindaba and Bangkok. We hail the efforts made to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia. The 27 September 2002 acceptance by a group of experts from Central Asian States of the text of a draft treaty establishing a denuclearized zone in that region was an important step forward and therefore deserves our full support. We express the fervent wish that similar concrete actions will be undertaken in areas of tension such as the Middle East and South Asia.
The lack of progress on the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East deeply worries us. It is due to the refusal of Israel, the only country in the region not to have acceded to the NPT, to eliminate the nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in its possession and to submit its nuclear installations to the comprehensive safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency. That lack of progress highlights — if this were needed — the importance of making the NPT universal and the extent of the selectivity and discrimination to which that principle is subjected. It should also prompt us to demand that Israel accede to the treaties on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.
Furthermore, making the Mediterranean a lake of peace and cooperation has always been a basic objective of Algeria’s international policies. Indeed, our desire to make the Mediterranean basin a haven of peace, security and cooperation is evident in our support for the Barcelona Declaration, a manifestation of the new perception of the Euro-Mediterranean area, and for other mechanisms for cooperation that have clearly shown that there is recognition of the special historic nature of relations among the countries on both shores. The commitment expressed by my country to the process of building a Euro-Mediterranean space is based on its profound conviction that only common and concerted action can consolidate stability and security in that region and, as part of a comprehensive approach, to lay the basis of solidarity and cooperation based on common interests and a mutually advantageous partnership.
The signing in Madrid, on 22 April 2002, between Algeria and the European Union, of the historic Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement, which establishes a new framework for cooperation between the two parties is the achievement of our shared determination to deepen and widen cooperative relations in the Euro-Mediterranean space.
The meeting rose at 12.20 p.m.
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.