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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. Al-Shamsi (United Arab Emirates) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
While many regional and subregional efforts in recent decades succeeded in establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones — thanks to the cooperation of States that understand the inevitability of peaceful and secure coexistence, and thus serve the common interests of their peoples — we find that the Middle East is still unable to realize this hope. This is because the Israeli Government continues to possess nuclear military reactors outside the framework of the international safeguards system so as to guarantee its military superiority and the continuation of its occupation and illegal utilization of Palestinian and Arab lands, in disregard of the principles of international law and legitimate international resolutions that prohibit all these hostile acts and policies that threaten regional and international peace and security.
The United Arab Emirates, which joined the NPT, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), in order to reinforce its international position, believes that establishing zones free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is the key to establishing balances in international and regional strategic relations. We again call upon the international community, and the super-Powers in particular, to put pressure on the Israeli Government to unconditionally join the NPT, as it is the only State in the area that has not yet done so, and to call for it to abandon the possession of such dangerous installations and work towards complete submission to the safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in accordance with the relevant legitimate international resolutions and other resolutions issued by the sixth NPT Review Conference, in 2000. In this framework, we also call for the discontinuation of all financial, technological and scientific aid used in developing Israel’s dangerous nuclear installations, which threaten not only the peace efforts and attempts to find a solution to the Palestine question and the Middle East problem, but also the security, stability and real interests of the peoples in the area and their natural, economic and environmental resources.
My country, which supports the international efforts to establish peace in the hot spots of the world and provides all kinds of relief, aid and reconstruction assistance to national establishments destroyed by
wars — for example, in the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Kosovo and
Somalia — calls upon the international community to enhance dialogue and the mechanisms for conflict resolution and confidence-building, and to establish preventive diplomacy, combat the illegal trafficking of small arms and strengthen efforts to resolve the problems of anti-personnel mines and other obstacles to peace. But at the same time we reiterate that establishing international and regional peace, security and stability is the joint and complete responsibility of the nuclear States. Therefore, we urge those States to start serious multilateral negotiations in order to enhance their political will to finally and completely eliminate their nuclear arsenals and stockpiles. This will contribute to the creation of an international environment that is free of all forms of threats, where all human, economic and environmental resources are conducive to the full use of development plans, human interests and prosperity.
Mr. Issacharoff (Israel): ...
In the realm of diplomacy, Israel continues to view the regional context as a primary and essential framework to forward critical arms control measures predicated on a comprehensive and durable peace in the area of the Middle East. Indeed, after the Madrid Conference in 1991, a working group for arms control and regional security was established and quickly became an important regional forum for addressing security issues. Unfortunately, these activities were discontinued by 1995 by other countries in the region.
In recent years, Israel has sought to lay the enduring foundations of peace in our region based on an historic reconciliation embodying the notions of compromise, mutual trust and respect, open borders and good-neighbourliness. The basis for coexistence between Israel and its neighbours was laid in the bilateral peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and we still hope to widen this process to encompass the Palestinians, Lebanon and Syria.
Relations of peace will put an end to arms races in our region and lead to reductions, to the minimal levels required for national self-defence, of standing military forces, defence expenditures and conventional arms. Effective arms control measures can only be achieved and sustained in a region where wars, armed conflicts, terror, political hostility, incitement and non-recognition are not features of everyday life.
Accordingly, the political reality in our region mandates a practical step-by-step approach, culminating in a comprehensive peace and the eventual establishment of a mutually verifiable zone free of ballistic missiles and of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. This zone should emanate from and encompass all the States of the region by virtue of free and direct negotiations between them. It is in this spirit that Israel has been part of the consensus in the First Committee for over 20 years on the resolution regarding the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. We hope that this consensus will be preserved once again this year. In any event, I would like to emphasize that Israel has not weakened in its overall resolve to realize this vision of peace and stability through diplomatic means.
Notwithstanding the lack of progress at the regional level, Israel attempted during the past decade to become more involved in the normative framework of international arms control efforts. It was in this spirit that Israel signed the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1993 and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996 and ratified the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1995.
Israel has adhered to the provisions of the Missile Technology Control Regime, respected the other supplier regimes and participated in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. Over the past year, Israel was an active participant in the international effort in the United Nations and in other international forums to reduce the proliferation of ballistic missiles and their related technology. We also attach importance to the recent United Nations deliberations on the illicit trafficking of small arms and hope that the implementation of the Programme of Action will contribute to the global fight against terror.
Israel has taken these steps in parallel with its efforts to advance the peace process with its Arab neighbours. This has also been at a time when existential threats to Israel in the Middle East are emerging from other countries seeking to develop long-range ballistic missiles and capabilities in other weapons of mass destruction, in conjunction with their extreme political hostility and antagonism to my country. We cannot forget that the use of chemical weapons by countries in the Middle East against civilian populations is a matter of historical record.
In that context, we would point out that Iraq has yet to comply with all the relevant resolutions of the Security Council. Indeed, the prevention of Iraq’s reconstituting its weapons of mass destruction and missile capabilities will remain a critical strategic factor in the quest for any regional stability in the Middle East.
In addition, Iran has done nothing to conceal its unconditional hostility towards my country’s existence or the fact that it is procuring ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel and beyond. I would recall that, in this Committee last year, I stated that Israel has no dispute with the Iranian people and seeks no conflict with the Iranian Government. Iran, for its part, has continued to develop its weapons of mass destruction and missile programmes, to assist and encourage the terrorist group Hezbollah’s attempts to destabilize our border with Lebanon and actively to oppose any attempt to further peace between Israel and its neighbours.
Today, we are facing, as are many other States within the region and beyond, a more comprehensive and almost overwhelming security challenge than we have known to date. This occurs at a time when it is clear that there are insufficient regional mechanisms to contend with and reduce the overall array of threats, either in their physical or political sense.
In this context, one of the resolutions of the First Committee that serve no useful or constructive purpose is submitted under the agenda item entitled “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East”. This resolution seeks to single out Israel on a matter that is central to its national security, totally ignoring the immense security problems and the inherent instability of the Middle East. It also chooses to ignore the profound hostility to Israel of certain countries that continue to reject any form of peaceful reconciliation and coexistence. If anyone supports this resolution believing that it in any way alleviates the acute and pressing security needs of the region, they are doing themselves and the peoples of the region a grave disservice.
An alternative and far better approach would be to consider ideas and initiatives that actually improve the situation on the ground. We hope that our neighbours will become partners to rebuilding a regional mechanism for consultation on arms control and regional security matters and also view the adoption of confidence-building measures in a more positive light. Confidence-building measures are not a prize for one side, but rather an essential means of reducing tensions and misunderstandings, particularly in times of crisis. They most definitely have a role to play today.
While we by no means have all the answers and solutions, we believe that the international community must do more to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, particularly to those States that seek these capabilities and actively sponsor and support terrorist groups. We must spare no effort to exclude this proliferation and the terrorist use of such weapons. We are at a juncture where the proponents of proliferation, terror and weapons of mass destruction could seek to combine their resources in a fusion between mass destruction and fanaticism. We must prevent them from achieving this ultimate evil.
Terrorism at any level can never be tolerated in any political process or as part of diplomacy. The fight against terror is indivisible. Those who seek to justify terror in one form or another will have the effect of perpetuating it. Any such justification will also undermine the unity of action needed to defeat this affliction of the modern age. The terrorist has chosen this absolute war and it is the terrorist who must accept the absolute response.
Furthermore, as countries that may tend to disagree on a range of diverse issues, we must for once join together in acknowledging that this new array of threats endangers the entire fabric of global stability and all countries that pursue moderation, coexistence and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. We regard Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) as an important first step in this regard. We cannot ignore the potential of these threats to change the nature of societies. We have already seen their intense impact on critical aspects of international life over the last weeks.
Recently I have thought much of how Raymond Aron described the human condition in the first two world wars. He observed that
“Man, without being in uniform, was defending his soul. The victory of either side signified, or seemed to signify, a conversion of souls by force”.
Those words recall the darkest hours of the last century and are a testament of what is at stake today. In this battle between souls, there can be no neutral ground.
Mr. Aldouri (Iraq) (spoke in Arabic): ...
Our Arab region suffers from a great imbalance in armaments. The Zionist entity that occupies Palestine possesses all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. The same entity is developing these weapons with direct support from and the cooperation of the United States of America and other countries in violation of the commitments they made under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This racist entity is number six on the list of those who possess nuclear weapons. Its possession of weapons of mass destruction is coupled with its expansionist policy at the expense of Arab land in Lebanon and Syria and its continued aggression against the Palestinian people, thereby subjecting the whole area to great danger.
Security and stability in the Middle East requires the removal of the weapons of mass destruction that are possessed by the Zionist entity and requires that its nuclear facilities be subjected to the IAEA safeguards regime in application of paragraph 14 of Security Council resolutions 687 (1991) and 487 (1981). The continuation of the Zionist entity’s nuclear programme outside the international system of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the refusal by this entity to accede to the NPT and subject its nuclear facilities to the IAEA safeguards regime constitute a threat to the national security of the Arab nations and jeopardizes the security and stability of the area. It will limit the credibility and universality of the NPT, because this entity is the only one in the region that has not acceded to the Treaty.
Thus, the Security Council, as the organ responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, should guarantee the universality of all the provisions related to non-proliferation without any double standards and should take the measures required to achieve this goal, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, as well as the provision of effective and comprehensive guarantees to the non-nuclear States that there will be no use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against them. Iraq proceeds from the fact that it has been a victim of the use of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons and depleted uranium.
Mr. Baeidi Nejad (Islamic Republic of Iran): Today, in this room, the Israeli representative made false and totally hostile accusations against my country. Such a statement, of course, was only to be expected, since Israel, which suffers from a lack of legitimacy, is now feeling isolated and is rightly being placed under pressure. It is therefore trying to shift the blame for its difficulties to sources other than its own extremist and aggressive policies.
Since its inception, Israel has pursued a policy of terror and intimidation in the region and, on the basis of such a policy, has developed weapons of mass destruction on a large scale. Accordingly, it has developed short-, medium- and long-range missiles to enable it to carry weapons of mass destruction across the whole of the region of the Middle East and beyond.
Today, Israel is continuing to develop nuclear weapons, against the will of the international community as reflected in consensus General Assembly resolutions and as expressed during the recent 2000 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which asked Israel to renounce nuclear weapons and place its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
In the same spirit, Israel has developed chemical and biological weapons and has, accordingly, declined to adhere to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention. In complete contrast, my country has adopted a fundamental defence policy based on renouncing weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. My country is among the very few examples of countries in the Middle East that was an original party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention since the inception of these international treaties, although it could justifiably have not done so. My country believes that the essential benchmark for increasing and promoting security in the region is the adherence of all States to all treaties on weapons of mass destruction and thus banning the development and the production of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
Furthermore, in the recent regional context, we believe that every effort needs to be made to stop Israel from continuing its criminal policy in the region consisting of the massacre of innocent people in the occupied territories and the targeting of innocent people who fight only for their freedom and for an end to the occupation of their territory by Israel. On this issue, I am sure that an appropriate agenda item is and will be under consideration by other General Assembly Committees.
The meeting rose at 5.40 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.