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        General Assembly
19 December 1991


36th meeting
held on
Friday, 15 November 1991
at 10 a.m.
New York


Chairman: Mr. MROZIEWICZ (Poland)


- Consideration of and action on draft resolutions under all disarmament agenda items (continued)

The meeting was called to order at 11.25 a.m.
AGENDA ITEMS 47 AND 65 (continued)


The CHAIRMAN: The Committee will now proceed to take action on draft resolution A/C.1/46/L.24/Rev.1.


The CHAIRMAN: A recorded vote has been requested.

I call on the representative of Israel for an explanation of vote before the voting.

Mr. YATIV (Israel): Once again this Committee is dealing with a draft resolution - A/C.1/46/L.24/Rev.1 - that should not have been on its agenda. This year, more then ever before, this pernicious ritual is casting doubt on the sincerity of the workings of the United Nations. This draft resolution is out of tune with the developments that have occurred on the international scene in general and in the Middle East in particular.

First and foremost, the Gulf war has revealed that threats to peace in our area emanate from Iraq's aggressive posture. The international community chose to ignore Israel's apprehensions and to castigate Israel for putting the Iraqi reactor out of action in 1981. Israel cannot but contemplate its situation in the light of the facts as they stand starkly revealed. It was the contingency of the Gulf crisis, and unfortunately not Israel's warnings, that unmasked Iraq's clandestine nuclear activities.

Furthermore, it is evident that today Israel is the threatened party. For its part, it has never threatened a neighbouring country. Iraq successfully sponsored similar draft resolutions in the past, thereby diverting attention to a non-existent threat. It is in the face of such threats that for the past 11 years Israel has been proposing the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, following free and direct negotiations and on the basis of mutually satisfactory assurances.

During the Committee's general debate I gave an elaborate presentation of the principles on which Israel bases this concept. The Secretary-General, in his report on the Establishment of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the Region of the Middle East, stresses the need to establish such a zone in that region. According to that report, in the conditions prevailing in the Middle East a nuclear-weapon-free zone would be even more effective than the non-proliferation Treaty. The validity of that concept is borne out by Iraq's aggression and threats. The non-proliferation Treaty has not prevented a single local war, and manifestly it did not prevent Iraq from developing its nuclear-weapon potential. Israel believes - as it has always believed - that in the absence of regional dialogue and understanding between the countries most immediately involved, international dispositions concerning resolutions such as this draft resolution cannot contribute to the promotion of regional détente.

I should like to draw the Committee's attention to the incipient face-to-face talks which, we may hope, will be conducive to a peaceful settlement of the problems that divide the States of the region. It is preposterous that during this process Israel should be subjected to continued bashing, supposedly as a means of promoting peace. The adoption of this draft resolution will not contribute to the ongoing peace process. It will not enhance Israel's confidence in those parties outside the region that have done so much to secure its participation in the present process on the basis of their realistic and constructive approach. Therefore, if Israel is to be assured of this Organisation's impartiality in the process towards securing peace in the Middle East, the First Committee should stop this action against Israel and vote against this draft resolution as a whole.

The CHAIRMAN: The Committee will now vote on draft resolution A/46/L.24/Rev.1.

A recorded vote was taken.

Draft resolution A/C.1/46/L.24/Rev.1 was adopted by 65 votes to 3, with 64 abstentions.*

* Subsequently the delegation of Congo advised the Secretariat that it had intended to vote in favour.

The PRESIDENT: I shall now call on those representatives who wish to explain their position on the draft resolution just adopted.

Mr. WAGENMAKERS (Netherlands): I wish, an behalf of the European Community and its member States, to explain the Twelve's collective abstention in the vote on draft resolution A/C.1/46/L.24/Rev.1, entitled "Israeli nuclear armament".

The Twelve agree with the call, contained in the draft resolution, that Israel should put all its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, but they believe that such a call should not be focused exclusively on Israel while there are other States that have not yet placed their facilities under IAEA safeguards. Indeed, the Twelve have said so repeatedly.

This year the opening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East offers interested parties the opportunity of direct dialogue, which in also an appropriate means of furthering disarmament in the Middle East. All States should appreciate the delicacy of that process and should refrain from hurling accusations at one another. There should be a call for cooperation and for the necessary political will to discuss all items of mutual interest. The Twelve support efforts towards progress on nuclear disarmament in the Middle East. To that end, they call upon all States in the region to accede to the son-proliferation Treaty and to place all their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.

In this context, the Twelve recall their support for the initiative of President Mubarak to have the Middle East turned into a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. That should have been the message of draft resolution A/C.1/46/L.24/Rev.1.


Mr. O'SULLIVAN (Australia): My delegation has a number of reservations concerning draft resolution A/C.1/46/L.24/Rev.1, which has just been adopted. Australia's abstention, however, should not be interpreted as less than full and strong support for calls on Israel to accede to the non-proliferation Treaty and to accept full-scope safeguards on all its nuclear activities.

Australia has consistently enjoined Israel and other States not parties to the non-proliferation Treaty - particularly those that operate unsafeguarded nuclear facilities - to take such action. ...


Mr. NEAGU (Romania) ...


Romania, in keeping with this position, supported the proposal for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East region.

We have noted that Israel also is in favour of the establishment of such a zone; we have also taken note of Israel's commitment not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East.

As is well known, as a result of the dramatic changes that have occurred in the world, parties confronting each other in the Middle East have finally sat down at the same table to discuss their problems in order that mutual condemnation may be replaced with mutual confidence. Our vote on the draft resolution to which I have referred takes these developments into consideration, and we view our vote as a constructive effort, in keeping with the spirit which prevailed at the Madrid conference. Romania, by voting in this manner, wished to make its contribution to seeking and promoting new language for the dialogue on the quest for a constructive and lasting solution to the Middle East conflict.

Mr. KRASULIN (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) (interpretation from Russian): The Soviet delegation wishes to explain the reasons for its vote on draft resolution A/C.1/46/L.24/Rev.1.

The Soviet Union has consistently supported strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and has been an active advocate of making the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) universal. We favour uniting all the efforts the whole international community is making at both the global and regional levels. We are convinced that accession to the non-proliferation Treaty by those Middle Eastern States that have not already done so, subjection of all the nuclear activities of the States in the region to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, and the adoption or practical steps to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East will provide a significant boost to progress towards solving the problems of nuclear non-proliferation and of strengthening peace and international security. In this regard, much, of course, depends on the position of Israel, and we hope that Israel, for its part, will take steps which will be in harmony with the currently evolving positive tendencies in the world in respect of the limitation and elimination of nuclear weapons.

At the same time, we believe that this time of favourable changes for humankind and the ever more powerful spirit of cooperation and interaction in international relations these days require of us, the States Members of the United Nations, that our decisions should be carefully weighed and balanced. Only if there is total renunciation of an unjustified spirit of confrontation, on a basis of reciprocity and common agreement, can we move ahead. We believe that this is particularly relevant today in so far as the Middle East is concerned because of the process towards a peaceful settlement which has now begun and the opportunities which are opening up for real movement to break the log-jam in the longest-running conflict of the twentieth century.

Taking into account today's realities, the Soviet delegation abstained in the vote on draft resolution A/C.1/46/L.24/Rev.1.


Mr. FUJITA (Brazil): My delegation wishes to explain its vote on draft resolution A/C.1/46/L.24/Rev.1, concerning Israeli nuclear armament, which has just been adopted.

Although Brazil has traditionally voted in favour of draft resolution on this subject, this year - in the light of the developments under way in the political picture of the Middle East - my delegation decided to abstain. We did so in the expectation that this gesture will be interpreted as a signal that we are in favour of the much-needed relaxation of tensions between the parties involved and as an incentive to further the peace process in the region.

In this connection, Brazil strongly supports the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and welcomes the adoption of draft resolution A/C.1/46/L.35/Rev.1 without a vote.

My delegation reaffirms its support for all resolutions and initiatives which contribute to fostering confidence and understanding between the parties in the Middle East. We do so in the belief that through these resolutions and initiatives the United Nations is helping to establish the prerequisites for a just and lasting solution to the problems of the region.


Mr. Arria (Venezuela) (interpretation from Spanish): On behalf of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, my delegation wishes to explain our vote on draft resolution A/C.1/46/L.24, entitled "Israeli nuclear armament".

The swift and profound changes occurring in the world today show that the international community must work towards strengthening a process in which dialogue, openness, cooperation and negotiation replace the rigid positions and confrontation that have characterized the long-standing conflicts, threatening international peace and security.

We therefore believe that the solution to the situation in the Middle East should be based on the premise that it should be solved by peaceful means. Hence, all States should undertake to adopt means that would guarantee security in that region, in order to remove the threat posed by the existence of nuclear weapons there.

Accordingly, we support the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

The beginning stage, in Madrid, of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, which we trust will initiate a process leading to definitive peace in the region, offers a promising scenario in which understanding and negotiation can prevail.

In the light of those new, important realities, we felt that it would be more appropriate and more positive to abstain in the voting. However, we assure the Committee that we shall follow the development of the attitudes and policies of the parties involved in the negotiations and, if necessary, we shall reconsider our position.


Mr. GURECKAS (Lithuania): The delegation of Lithuania abstained in the voting on draft resolution A/C.1/46/L.24/Rev.1, on Israeli nuclear armament. My delegation shares the reasons for abstaining on this draft resolution outlined in the statement made by the representative of the Netherlands on behalf of the 12 States of the European Community.

The meeting rose at 1 p.m.

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