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        General Assembly
24 October 2003

Official Records
General Assembly
Fifty-eighth session
First Committee
15th meeting
Friday, 24 October 2003, 10 a.m.
New York

President:Mr. Sareva ....................................................(Finland)
The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.

Agenda items 62 to 80 (continued )

Thematic discussion on item subjects and the introduction and consideration of all draft resolutions submitted under all disarmament and international security items

The Chairman: Delegations are invited today to make statements on related matters of disarmament and international security, as well as on international security. They are also invited to continue introducing draft resolutions.

Mr. Al-Shamsi (United Arab Emirates) (spoke in Arabic): The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones has been given universal recognition for its importance in confidence-building between States and in achieving regional and international peace and security. Such zones have gained wider recognition, especially after the adoption of a number of guidelines and recommendations by the Disarmament Commission for the purpose of promoting those objectives and for maintaining the zones that are contained in the relevant international treaties and conventions on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons free from such weapons, in accordance with international law.

The Middle East should not be an exception to this rule even if Israel, the only State in the region to possess this type of dangerous weapons, intransigently refuses to accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and other relevant international treaties.

We therefore call on the international community, through this important Committee, to reiterate the importance of the following.

First, we must condemn Israel’s repeated violations of relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, including Council resolutions 487 (1981) and 687 (1991), the resolutions on the Middle East adopted by the two NPT Review and Extension Conferences held in 1995 and 2000, as well as other resolutions addressing the threat of Israel’s nuclear weapons to the Middle East.

Secondly, the United Nations and the major Powers must fulfil their responsibilities and exert all possible pressure on Israel’s Government to compel it to dismantle its nuclear weapons arsenal, accede to the NPT without delay and place all its nuclear facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) comprehensive safeguards regime, in order to achieve the goal of universal adherence to the NPT in the Middle East and enhance measures for confidence-building, security and peace among the States in the region.

Thirdly, all States must refrain from extending any kind of assistance to Israel — including scientific, technological and financial assistance — that could be used to produce, develop and modernize its nuclear weapons programmes and that could lead to environmental, health and security catastrophes in the region as a whole.

Our ability to confront, without discrimination, those parties that do not abide by international legality will determine the future of this Committee.

We also hope that the draft resolutions contained in documents A/C.1/58/L.22 and A/C.1/58/L.23 will receive your support.


Mr. Maandi (Algeria) (spoke in French): It is a great honour for me to introduce in the First Committee the draft resolution entitled, “Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region”, which is to be found in document A/C.1/58/L.42, and I do so on behalf of the following sponsors: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritania, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as Zambia and Zimbabwe, two countries that have been kind enough to lend their valuable support to our draft resolution.

This draft resolution is regularly introduced here, and it reflects our commitment to strengthening cooperation and security in the Mediterranean region. It also bears witness to our joint resolve to cooperate through constructive dialogue in establishing a genuine partnership and building a stable, peaceful and prosperous Mediterranean region for the benefit of all the peoples of the region.

This is our fundamental goal, and it derives quite legitimately from the many deep ties that have been woven over the centuries by us, for we belong to the same geographic area, and there is a strong tradition of trade among our peoples. This is also a strategic choice that responds to the concerns and legitimate hopes of the peoples on both shores of the Mediterranean. We seek to make the Mediterranean a true lake of peace and cooperation, and to make use of the enormous reserve of complementarity that exists there for the true mutual interests of all of our peoples.

The 1995 Barcelona Conference laid the foundation for a new relationship based on partnership and community of interests. It recognized the nature of Euro-Mediterranean relations and underlined the need for collective action to give true content to cooperation that can reduce development inequalities and gaps that do separate the two shores of the Mediterranean, and also establish an atmosphere of understanding and fertile and constructive dialogue between the cultures and the people of the Mediterranean.

Other frameworks for dialogue and reaching agreement, as well as various ministerial meetings have been held subsequently, and they have given a new impetus to the Euro-Mediterranean dynamics by giving it a global and balanced approach.

The draft is similar to resolution 57/99, adopted last year, and deals with a large range of issues related to strengthening security and cooperation in the Mediterranean. In the preamble, the draft recalls all of the initiatives taken by Mediterranean countries to strengthen peace, security and cooperation in the Mediterranean. It also reaffirms all States’ duty to contribute to stability and prosperity of the Mediterranean region, as well as their commitment to respect the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the provisions of the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States.

While stressing the indivisibility of security in the Mediterranean, the draft notes that peace negotiations in the Middle East, which should be global, are an appropriate framework for the peaceful settlement of disputes in the region. In its operative part, the draft states in paragraph 2, the fundamental principles underlying efforts by Mediterranean countries to eliminate all causes of tension in the region, and resolve in a peaceful, just and lasting way, problems that do exist.

In operative paragraph 4, the draft reiterates the view that eliminating economic and social disparities relating to unequal development, promoting mutual respect and better understanding among the cultures of the Mediterranean region help to strengthen peace, security and cooperation among the countries there.


Mr. Vasiliev (Russian Federation) (spoke in Russian ): I should like to make a brief statement on two items on the agenda of the fifty-eighth session: agenda item 70, “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East”, and item 76, “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East”.

The Russian Federation is seriously concerned at the alarming turn of events in the Middle East. Mounting tension in the region is seriously harming all parties to the conflict and efforts at a Middle East settlement. It is our view that to ensure stability in the region we must have a comprehensive approach. In that context, we support the proposal to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the area of the Middle East. We also take the view that adoption of that proposal will contribute to ensuring the universalization of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and contribute to Israel’s becoming a party to it.

On the whole, we believe that the international community must act more forcefully to prevent the worst-case scenario from being realized, while also taking practical steps to further a process designed to bring about a peaceful settlement. We consider the most urgent and important task at hand to be the earliest possible implementation of the road map elaborated by the Quartet and its adoption by both sides. In accordance with that view, at a ministerial-level meeting of the Quartet in New York held on 26 September, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Mr. Ivanov, presented an initiative for the adoption of a special Security Council resolution endorsing the road map. We intend to carry out that initiative in the very near future.


The meeting rose at 12.25 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.

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