Question of Palestine home
27 July 1988
Item 54 of the provisional agenda*
ESTABLISHMENT OF A NUCLEAR-WEAPON-FREE ZONE
IN THE REGION OF THE MIDDLE EAST
Report of the Secretary-General
REPLIES RECEIVED FROM GOVERNMENTS
1. On 30 November 1987, the General Assembly adopted resolution 42/28 entitled "Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East", the relevant operative paragraphs of which read as follows:
The General Assembly
the nuclear-weapon States and all other States to render their assistance in the establishment of the zone and at the same time to refrain from any action that runs counter to both the letter and spirit of the present resolution;
Extends its thanks
to the Secretary-General for his report containing the views of parties concerned regarding the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East;
of the above-mentioned report;
those parties that have not yet communicated their views to the Secretary-General to do so;
any further comments from those parties that have already communicated their views to the Secretary-General;
the Secretary-General to submit a report to the General Assembly at its forty-third session on the implementation of the present resolution;
to include in the provisional agenda of its forty-third session the item entitled 'Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East'.
2. Pursuant to paragraphs 8 and 9 of the resolution, the Secretary-General, in a note verbale dated 18 February 1988, requested all Member States to submit their views and further comments. To date, the Secretary-General has received replies from Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, and Oman. The replies are reproduced in section II of the present report.
II. REPLIES RECEIVED FROM GOVERNMENTS
[10 May 1988]
Burkina Faso considers that the explosive situation in this region is a real and permanent threat to international peace and that the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone is an urgent necessity for the achievement of lasting peace in the Middle East.
[18 May 1988]
1. Arising as it does from the desire of States to make gestures emblematic of détente, the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the the region of the Middle East is in keeping with developments affecting the regional and international environment of this part of the world. This initiative has been the subject of many General Assembly resolutions, as, for instance, in the relevant provisions of paragraphs 60 to 63, and in particular paragraph 63 (
), of the Final Document of the Tenth Special Session of the General Assembly (resolution S-10/2).
2. According to those provisions, the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East is one of the measures most apt to provide an effective guarantee for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and general and complete disarmament. The existence of such a zone would, moreover, shield from nuclear threat a region confronted with political tensions and incessant outbreaks of violence.
3. As a founding member of the Organization of African Unity and of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Chad has endorsed all the resolutions of those organizations calling upon the States concerned, and particularly the
nuclear-weapon States, to respond favourably to the establishment of non-nuclear-weapon zones in Africa and the Middle East.
6. In the Middle East and Africa, as is known, most States have no means of countering nuclear weapons aimed at them. The collusion between Israel, which is known to have dozens of nuclear devices developed with the help of its centre at Dimona, and South Africa, which secretly tested its atomic bomb at Prince Edward Island in the southern Indian Ocean on 22 September 1979, therefore constitutes a threat to international peace and security because of the possible use of nuclear weapons in a local conflict.
5. The permanent threat posed to Chad by the barbaric and expansionist Tripoli régime, whose leader continues to affirm his determination to acquire an "Islamic" bomb, prompts the Chadian Government to give its full support to the proposal to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East in conformity with General Assembly resolution 42/28/.
[27 April 1988]
1. Egypt has consistently and relentlessly been striving, individually, as well in the regional and international context for a nuclear-weapon-free world because of its strong conviction that such weapons pose a grave danger to the very existence of mankind.
2. The establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East is but one of the specific initiatives which Egypt has pursued towards a nuclear-weapon-free world. Egypt considers this measure, as well as the establishment of other such zones and the conclusion of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to be invaluable interim arrangements in the continuing international endeavour to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Such measures, in spite of their interim nature, can enhance the nuclear disarmament process by safeguarding areas in which nuclear weapons have not yet proliferated from dangers that emanate from them. These measures are also of particular and paramount importance in regions where regional conflicts exist, for the intrusion of the nuclear weapon factor in unstable, highly volatile areas cannot but have ominous implications to the detriment of any efforts aimed at diffusing precarious circumstances. It is with these views in mind that Egypt has sponsored the proposal to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. The precarious situation in the Middle East cannot sustain yet another exacerbating factor, particularly of this dimension, and thus Egypt shall continue to strive towards this goal.
3. For a number of years now the General Assembly has been adopting, without a vote, a resolution endorsing the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, a clear indication that the international community as a whole endorses and is committed to the realization of this goal. This is no doubt a positive development. However, there have been recurrent alarming indications that the region is threatened by the very emergence of such weapons in its midst. Egypt cannot but strongly caution against the introduction of such weapons in the Middle East, a development which would have dire consequences on the state of the region leading to developments threatening international as well as a regional peace and security. The international community is duty-bound to assure that such a development does not become a reality, for it constitutes a direct challenge to international nuclear disarmament efforts and to the proclaimed and universally endorsed commitment to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
4. Egypt believes that the time has come for practical measures aim at the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Egypt is of the firm belief that such a measure should not and cannot be held hostage to the
resolution of the conflict in the Middle East. Quite the contrary, the situation in the Middle East with its highly volatile nature should provide added impetus for the establishment of such a zone. Such an achievement cannot but foster progress towards the resolution of the regional conflict. Egypt calls upon all nations in the region, as well as the nuclear-weapon States beyond it, to implement and abide faithfully by the provisions of General Assembly resolution 42/28. Furthermore, Egypt believes that it is of paramount importance that immediate measures be taken to assure that nuclear weapons are not introduced in the Middle East, and that progress is made towards the realization of the nuclear-weapon-free zone in this region. In this regard unilateral measures as stipulated in the relevant provisions of Assembly resolution 42/28, particularly paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of that resolutions, would no doubt assist in countering the negative trends which seem to have surfaced in recent years, and would encourage members of the region to take further concrete steps towards the declared objective of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
5. Egypt would also like to avail itself of this opportunity to reaffirm its unwavering commitment to a nuclear-weapon-free world and to express its hope that the third special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament will give added impetus to the nuclear disarmament process and to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East in particular.
[28 March 1988]
1. The Sultanate of Oman, like other countries of the world which are members of the Organization and like all peace-loving countries, is conscious of the increasing importance of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East. While endorsing the proposal to make the Middle East region a zone of peace free of nuclear weapons, it would like to draw the attention of the international community to the fact that Israel's increased nuclear capacities and its refusal to place its nuclear installations under international control present a real threat to the security of the Middle East region and hinder the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone.
2. Oman, realizing the devastation and instability that can thus be brought to the region, stresses the need for the United Nations to redouble its efforts and considers that the international community is called upon today to give serious consideration to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East, which would greatly enhance international peace and security.