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        General Assembly
15 October 2001

Official Records
General Assembly
Fifty-sixth session
First Committee
9th meeting
Monday, 15 October 2001, 10 a.m.
New York

President:Mr. Erdös .......................................................................(Hungary)

The meeting was called to order at 10.05 a.m.

Agenda items 64 to 84 ( continued)

General debate on all disarmament and international security items


Mr. El Kadiri (Morocco) (spoke in French ): ...


The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones helps strengthen regional and international peace and security, contributes to the achievement of nuclear disarmament and bolsters the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The 2000 NPT Review Conference supported the establishment of new zones where they do not yet exist, such as in the Middle East.

While welcoming the initiatives that have led to the establishment of such zones, such as the Treaty of Pelindaba for Africa, Morocco is committed to making the Middle East a nuclear-weapon-free zone. The establishment of such a zone would be both a disarmament and a nuclear non-proliferation measure. This requires that the only State of the region that has yet to accede to the NPT — Israel — should become a State party to the Treaty and submit its nuclear installations to the safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Here, Israel must shoulder its historic responsibility and be aware of the fundamental importance of the creation of such a zone. So, too, the nuclear Powers, which undertook clear commitments on this matter during the 1995 Conference, which indefinitely extended the NPT, must make maximum efforts to achieve an objective as basic as that of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.


Despite the indivisible nature of Euro-Mediterranean security and despite the promises of partnership that have been reiterated on many occasions, the Mediterranean, as a recent declaration of the European Parliament declared, has become a zone that is a microcosm of the principal contradictions of the twenty-first century and is likely to produce irreversible demographic, economic, political and cultural divisions.

At the crossroads of three continents, the Mediterranean is in a state of constant tension and must cope with major political, economic, ecological and demographic challenges, let alone a host of global social scourges that affect this region. To meet those challenges, the countries of the Mediterranean basin have no choice other than to coordinate their policies within a framework of collective, cooperative approaches taken in solidarity. The social ills with which the Mediterranean region is saturated should not be seen as giving rise to a major strategic risk between the two shores of the Mediterranean, thereby justifying highly defensive policies or a retreat to isolationism for security reasons. Quite the contrary — in order to pinpoint the causes and reduce the effects of this entire set of phenomena that threaten the region’s security, they must be considered as a result of poverty and of the development gap between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Indeed, there are numerous security problems that now appear as security issues but began as a result of the economic and social divisions and political or cultural intolerance. In this context, it is important to recall the message of His Late Majesty King Hassan II, who said it would be an illusion to believe that, even when peace was once again restored to the Middle East and the Balkans, this would suffice to allow the Mediterranean to regain its historic mission of trade, interpenetration and movement of all kinds, things which have contributed to its historic legacy. There must also be parallel efforts to deal with the economic and social disparity, these difficult and growing disparities that exist throughout the Mediterranean region.


Mr. Al-Malki (Bahrain) (spoke in Arabic): ...


My delegation attaches great importance to the issue of peace and stability in the Middle East, which will be achieved only through confidence-building measures, mutual respect, non-interference in the internal affairs of States and arms control measures intended to avoid imbalances in the region. Israel’s possession of excessive quantities of weapons, its stupendous arsenal of highly destructive and unconventional weapons and its categorical refusal to place its nuclear installations under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards constitute a flagrant challenge to the international community. They also pose a serious threat to regional security in the Middle East, thereby jeopardizing international security as a whole.

My country closely monitors the daily tragedies Israel visits on defenceless civilians, as well as its use of its military machines, aircraft, tanks and missiles against Palestinian towns and villages. Its actions cause scores of injuries and deaths among innocent defenceless civilians whose only goal and aspiration is to enjoy peace and security on their territory, just like the rest of humankind. My country therefore calls for reason to prevail over force. In order to save the region from the vicious cycle of terrorism and violence, we call for an end to terrorist acts and the use of excessive force, for a return to the negotiating table and for Israel’s full compliance with all its agreements with the Palestinian Authority.


We would also like to reaffirm here the importance of the inherent right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves and recover their territories. We must therefore distinguish between terrorism and the legitimate struggle by a people under the yoke of foreign control.


The meeting rose at 12.05 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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