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        General Assembly
9 October 2001

Official Records

General Assembly
Fifty-sixth session
First Committee
4th meeting
Tuesday, 9 October 2001, 3 p.m.
New York

Chairman: Mr. Erdös...................................................................................(Hungary)

The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.

Agenda items 64 to 84 (continued)

General debate on all disarmament and international security items


Mr. Benmehidi (Algeria) (spoke in French): ...


In our view, my delegation salutes the laudable efforts undertaken by the Central Asian countries in order to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone, as well as the efforts of Mongolia, which has adopted nuclear-weapon-free State status.

We hope that similar efforts will be agreed to in other regions, particularly the Middle East, in order to achieve a world fully free of weapons of mass destruction.

The lack of progress in creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East is a grave concern for us. The achievement of this objective depends quite clearly on the acceptance of Israel — the only nation at the regional level that is not a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) — of the need to eliminate its nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction that it has and to submit its nuclear facilities to the comprehensive safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


Mr. Nejad Hosseinian (Islamic Republic of Iran): ...


In this context, I would like to emphasize the critical importance of the commitment of all States to advance the initiative of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. The establishment of such a zone in the Middle East, which has been endorsed and called for by the General Assembly for the last 25 years, is now only impeded by Israel’s intransigent policy of refraining from committing itself not to use and develop nuclear weapons. The 2000 NPT Final Document, adopted by consensus, called Israel on to adhere to the NPT and place its nuclear facilities under the IAEA full-scope safeguards. This international call needs to be pursued with vigilance and in all seriousness.

Israeli policy today is the only source of tension and conflict in the region, and its nuclear capability has produced no less than terror, instability and insecurity. The continuing daily bloodshed of the innocent Palestinian people in the occupied territories is only one of the manifestations of such policies in the region. The international community should make every effort to stop these violent acts against civilians.


The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is also suffering from the lack of universality. Every effort should be made to encourage the accession of more parties to the Convention, particularly in the Middle East region. Furthermore, new resources need to be provided to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague to enable it to engage in a full-scale humanitarian medical operation should any chemical attack be carried out against innocent people. In this respect, my country, based on its particular sad experience as a victim of these inhumane weapons, has continuously presented specific initiatives and provisions within the framework of the CWC and the OPCW aimed at strengthening the Organization’s capability and capacity to assist and protect countries against such attacks. We believe basically that the OPCW needs more resources and logistics for the purpose of ensuring assistance and protection for innocent people against chemical weapons.


The meeting rose at 6.05 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-178. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.

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