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


Fifty-ninth General Assembly
Plenary
66th Meeting (AM)
GA/10310
3 December 2004

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS 55 TEXTS RECOMMENDED BY FIRST COMMITTEE
ON A WIDE RANGE OF DISARMAMENT, SECURITY MATTERS
Also Approves $21.8 Million for Sudan Advance Team

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According to texts on nuclear-weapon-free zones adopted without a vote, the Assembly:  included in the provisional agenda for its sixtieth session an item on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia; invited Member States to continue to cooperate with Mongolia in consolidating and strengthening that country’s nuclear-weapon-free status; and urged all parties directly concerned to consider seriously taking the practical and urgent steps required for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

Related to that last text was a resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, which the Assembly adopted by a recorded vote of 170 in favour to 5 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 9 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, India, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu) (Annex XXVI).

By the terms of that resolution, the Assembly, noting that Israel remained the only State in the Middle East that had not yet become party to the NPT, would call upon it to accede to the Treaty without further delay and not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, and to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and to place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

Prior to action on the text as a whole, the Assembly adopted its sixth preambular paragraph, by which it recognized with satisfaction that, in the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, the Conference undertook to make determined efforts towards the universality of the NPT, called upon those remaining States not parties to the Treaty to accede to it, and underlined the necessity of universal adherence to the Treaty and of strict compliance by all parties.

That paragraph was approved by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to 6 against (Federated States of Micronesia, India, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Mauritius, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea) (Annex XXV).

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Background

The General Assembly met this morning to take action on 15 reports of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).  Those reports contain 52 draft resolutions and three draft decisions.

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A draft resolution contained in the report on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East (document A/59/456) would have the Assembly urge all parties directly concerned to consider seriously taking the practical and urgent steps required for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly.  To promote that objective, the Assembly would invite the countries concerned to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  It would also call on countries of the region that had not done so, pending the establishment of the zone, to agree to place all their nuclear activities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

By further terms, the Assembly would invite all countries of the region, pending the establishment of the zone, to declare their support for establishing such a zone and to deposit those declarations with the Security Council.  It would also invite those countries, pending establishment, not to produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or permit the stationing on their territories, or territories under their control, of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.  Additionally, the Assembly would invite nuclear-weapon States and all other States to render their assistance in the establishment of the zone and, at the same time, refrain from any actions that ran counter to both the letter and the spirit of the present resolution.

The Committee approved the draft resolution on 26 October without a vote.

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According to a draft resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/59/462), the Assembly, noting that Israel remained the only State in the Middle East that had not yet become party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, would call upon it to accede to the Treaty without further delay and not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, and to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and to place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, as an important confidence-building measure among all States of the region and as a step towards enhancing peace and security.

The Committee approved the draft resolution on 27 October following a separate vote on preambular paragraph 6, which reads:  “Recognizing with satisfaction that, in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Conference undertook to make determined efforts towards the achievement of the goal of universality of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, called upon those remaining States not parties to the Treaty to accede to it, thereby accepting an international legally binding commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices and to accept International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on all their nuclear activities, and underlined the necessity of universal adherence to the Treaty and of strict compliance by all parties with their obligations under the Treaty”.  The Paragraph was approved by 154 votes in favour to 3 against (India, Israel, United States), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Mauritius, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea).

The draft as a whole was approved by 157 votes in favour to 4 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, and United States), with 8 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Ethiopia, India, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, and Trinidad and Tobago).

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Action on Texts

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Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the resolution contained in the report on establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East (document A/59/456).

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Then, the Assembly adopted the resolution contained in the report on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/59/462) by a vote of 170 in favour to 5 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 9 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, India, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu) (Annex XXVI).

Prior to that action, it adopted, in a separate recorded vote, preambular paragraph 6 by 169 in favour to 6 against (Federated States of Micronesia, India, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Mauritius, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea) (Annex XXV).  By its terms, the Assembly recognized with satisfaction that, among other things, the 2000 NPT review conference called on those remaining States not parties to the NPT to accede to it, thereby accepting an international legally binding commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons and to accept IAEA safeguards on all their nuclear activities.

Speaking after the vote on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, the representative of Canada said it was important to ensure that his country’s position on that text was neither misunderstood nor misrepresented.  In April 2004, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1540 (2004) on the non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons.  That resolution called on all States to promote the universal adoption and full implementation and, where necessary, the strengthening of multilateral treaties to which they were parties, whose aim was to promote the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Recalling that Canada had been an original State party to the NPT, he had judged today’s resolution on its merit and had concluded that it was consistent with Canada’s policy.  The text was firmly grounded in the consensus achieved by the NPT States parties and fully reflected in the 2000 NPT review process.  He, meanwhile, urged Israel, in the crucial months leading to the 2005 NPT Review Conference, to take the necessary first steps to adhere to that Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon State.  He further called on all States in the region to comply fully with their NPT obligations, and he urged all those who had not yet done so to sign and fully implement all safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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ANNEX XXV

Vote on Preambular Paragraph 6/Middle East

Preambular paragraph 6 of the draft resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/59/462) was retained by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to 6 against, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Federated States of Micronesia, India, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States.

Abstain:  Bhutan, Mauritius, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea

Absent:  Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kiribati, Mauritania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles.

(END OF ANNEX XXV)

ANNEX XXVI

Vote on Middle East Nuclear Proliferation

The draft resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/59/462) was adopted by a recorded vote of 170 in favour to 5 against, with 9 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Against:  Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States.

Abstain:  Australia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, India, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu.

Absent:  Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Kiribati, Mauritania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis.

(END OF ANNEX XXVI)

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For information media - not an official record