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        General Assembly
6 March 2003

Original: ENGLISH

Disarmament Commission
2003 substantive session
31 March-17 April 2003
Agenda item 4

Ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament
Chairman’s working paper

At the 2001 session of the Disarmament Commission, Working Group I on “Ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament”, at its 10th meeting, on 26 April 2001, requested the Chairman to conduct intersessional consultations based on the discussions, suggestions, oral and written proposals and materials submitted during the session and to present a revised version of his paper some time before the 2002 substantive session of the Disarmament Commission. Subsequently, at its organizational meeting (249th meeting) on 10 and 17 April 2002, the Commission requested the chairpersons of the two working groups to continue to conduct intersessional consultations based on the discussions, suggestions and oral and written proposals and materials submitted during the previous two years of deliberations and, if possible, to submit revised versions of their papers some time prior to the 2003 substantive session of the Commission.

The present paper is submitted pursuant to that request.


A. Achievements and developments at the unilateral and bilateral levels


49. In its resolution 57/97 of 22 November 2002, the General Assembly called upon Israel to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty without further delay — which it reaffirmed as important in realizing the goal of universal adherence to the Treaty in the Middle East — not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons, and to place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope IAEA safeguards as an important confidence-building measure among all States of the region and as a step towards enhancing peace and security.


B. Achievements and developments at the regional level


58. A proposal for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East was first inscribed in the agenda of the General Assembly in 1974. Since 1980, the General Assembly has annually adopted without a vote a resolution on the subject. The 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference also addressed the issue of the Middle East and adopted a resolution, co-sponsored by the depositary States of the Treaty (Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States). The resolution reaffirmed the importance of the early realization of universal adherence to the Treaty and called upon all States in the Middle East to take practical steps in appropriate forums aimed at making progress towards, inter alia, the establishment of an effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems, and to refrain from taking any measures that preclude the achievement of that objective. The 2000 Review Conference reaffirmed the importance of the 1995 resolution and recognized that it remained valid until the goals and objectives expressed therein were achieved.


C. Achievements and developments at the multilateral level

59. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in 1970, was indefinitely extended at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty. At the same Conference, States parties also adopted decisions on “Strengthening the review process for the Treaty” and on “Principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament”, as well as a resolution on the Middle East (see para. 58 above). At the 2000 Review Conference, States parties agreed on practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement article VI of the Treaty, including an unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament, to which all States parties are committed under article VI of the Treaty. States parties further reaffirmed that “the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons”. With a total of 188 States parties, the Non-Proliferation Treaty is the most widely adhered to multilateral treaty in the area of disarmament.



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