Home / Politics / Approving 17 Drafts, First Committee Rejects Bid to Suspend Disarmament Commission until Resolution of Visa Issue

Approving 17 Drafts, First Committee Rejects Bid to Suspend Disarmament Commission until Resolution of Visa Issue

Opposing 'Hostile' Amendment, United States Warns 'It Will Spell the Beginning of the End of the United Nations'

Rejecting an amendment that would suspend the work of the Disarmament Commission until Host Country visa issues are resolved, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) also approved today 16 draft resolutions and 1 draft decision, including several aimed at reinvigorating the Conference on Disarmament and the wider United Nations disarmament machinery.

Taking up the draft decision 2020 session of the Disarmament Commission (document A/C.1/74/L.52/Rev.1), the Committee approved it without a vote. By the draft resolution's terms the Assembly would decide that the Commission, which meets in New York but, for organizational reasons, was unable to commence its 2019 substantive session, will meet from 6 to 24 April 2020 to continue its consideration of recommendations for achieving nuclear disarmament and non proliferation. It will also be tasked with preparing recommendations to prevent an arms race in outer space.

Prior to taking action on L.52/Rev.1 as a whole, the Committee considered two amendments contained in document A/C.1/74/L.62. The first proposed to replace preambular paragraph 8, whereby the Assembly would have welcomed the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country. The second proposed replacing operative paragraph (a) with a provision that would have the Assembly decide that the Disarmament Commission will hold a substantive session for a period not exceeding three weeks during 2020, namely from 6 to 24 April, if the issues raised in paragraphs 165 (j) and (p) of the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country have been resolved by that time, and submit a substantive report to the General Assembly at its seventy fifth session.

Before the Committee decided, by a vote of 21 in favour to 66 against, with 59 abstentions, to reject L.62, several representatives raised concerns.

The Russian Federation's delegate, who sponsored the amendments, said that while understanding there are several delegations who do not find it easy to move the work of the Committee and the Disarmament Commission elsewhere, his delegation has waited patiently for United States authorities to take concrete steps regarding Headquarters access for delegates from his country and others, with no progress to date. Over the years, some 60 Member States have been affected by the visa issue, he said, adding that it is correct for the Committee to take up the matter as part of its consideration of the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.

The representative of the United States said it is inappropriate to inject host country issues into L.52/Rev.1, and the Sixth Committee (Legal) is the correct body to consider the matter. It is unfortunate that the sponsors of the hostile amendments contained in L.62 held the international community hostage in the Disarmament Commission and then in the Committee. If hostile amendments like those contained in L.62 are tolerated, and if the Assembly's Main Committees are prevented from continuing their work, it will spell the beginning of the end of the United Nations, he said, urging all delegations to vigorously oppose the proposal.

The representative of Iran said his delegation supports L.62, adding that the 1947 Headquarters Agreement obliges the host country, the United States, to provide unfettered access to United Nations Headquarters. He called on members to consider the situation of the Russian Federation and others whose delegates have been denied entry visas to the United States. Today, it is the Russian Federation, tomorrow it can be someone else, he said, adding that the United States denial of entry visas of certain members is not acceptable.

Delegates from Malaysia and India regretted to note the non issuance of visas continues. Mexico's representative said that while his delegations stand in solidarity with Member States experiencing visa difficulties, the First Committee is not the right venue to address the issue. We are facing a polarized situation and more than ever the international community must recover a multilateral space to meet and build a policy framework for peace and security, she said.

Following the rejection of L.62, the Committee considered two operative paragraphs of L.52/Rev.1, first deciding, by a vote of 133 in favour to 1 against (Russian Federation), with 14 abstentions, to retain operative paragraph (a), which would have the Assembly decide that the Disarmament Commission will hold a substantive session for a period not exceeding three weeks during 2020, namely from 6 to 24 April, and submit a substantive report to the Assembly at its seventy fifth session.

By a vote of 133 in favour to 1 against (Russian Federation), with 15 abstentions, the Committee decided to retain operative paragraph (b), which would have the Assembly decide that the Disarmament Commission will hold its organizational session as soon as possible before the substantive session to elect its bureau and address other outstanding organizational matters.

Acting without a vote, it sent to the General Assembly the draft resolution Report of the Conference on Disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.39). Under its terms, the Assembly would call upon the Geneva based Conference � established in 1979 as the international community's premier forum for multilateral disarmament negotiations � to overcome two decades of deadlock by adopting and implementing a balanced and comprehensive programme of work as soon as possible during its 2020 session.

In the same vein, the Committee approved the draft resolution Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.34) by a recorded vote of 175 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (France, Israel, United States). That text would see the Assembly encourage Member States to continue consultations on the next steps for convening a fourth special session devoted to disarmament � an appeal it has made repeatedly since 1995.

Turning to other draft resolutions in its other areas of focus, the Committee approved, under its conventional weapons cluster, the draft resolution Problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (document A/C.1/74/L.53/Rev.1).

Under the nuclear weapons cluster, it approved the draft resolutions: Nuclear disarmament verification (document A/C.1/74/L.26/Rev.1); Follow up to the 2013 high level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.31/Rev.1); and Follow up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/74/L.40).

In the regional disarmament and security cluster, it approved the draft resolutions: Regional disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.5); Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (document A/C.1/74/L.7); Confidence building measures in the regional and subregional context (document A/C.1/74/L.8); Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/C.1/74/L.9); and Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/C.1/74/L.28).

In its disarmament machinery cluster, it approved the draft resolutions: United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (document A/C.1/74/L.23); United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.33); United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (document A/C.1/74/L.38); United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (document A/C.1/74/L.42); and Regional confidence building measures: activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (document A/C.1/74/L.61).

The First Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 8 November, to continue to take action on draft resolutions and decisions before it.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to take action on all draft resolutions and decisions before it. For background information, see Press Releases GA/DIS/3624 of 10 October, GA/DIS/3640 of 1 November, GA/DIS/3641 of 4 November, GA/DIS/3642 of 5 November and GA/DIS/3643 of 6 November.

Action on Draft Texts

The Committee first took up the following five draft resolutions in its cluster on regional disarmament and security: Regional disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.5); Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (document A/C.1/74/L.7); Confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context (document A/C.1/74/L.8); Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/C.1/74/L.9); and Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/C.1/74/L.28).

The Committee took up the draft resolution Regional disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.5), by which the Assembly would affirm that global and regional approaches to disarmament complement each other and should therefore be pursued simultaneously to promote regional and international peace and security. It would also call upon States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non proliferation, disarmament and confidence building measures at regional and subregional levels.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution.

Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels (document A/C.1/74/L.7), by which the Assembly would decide to give urgent consideration to related issues, and request the Conference on Disarmament to consider drawing up principles that can serve as a framework for regional agreements.

By a recorded vote of 149 in favour to 2 against (India, Russian Federation), with 3 abstentions (Indonesia, North Macedonia, Zimbabwe), it decided to retain preambular paragraph 7, which would have the Assembly note with particular interest the initiatives taken in this regard in different regions of the world, in particular the commencement of consultations among a number of Latin American countries and the proposals for conventional arms control made in the context of South Asia, and recognizing, in the context of this subject, the relevance and value of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which is a cornerstone of European security.

By a recorded vote of 107 in favour to 1 against (India), with 46 abstentions, it decided to retain operative paragraph 2, by which the Assembly would request the Conference on Disarmament to consider the formulation of principles that can serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control and looks forward to a report of the Conference on this subject.

It approved L.7 as a whole by a recorded vote of 168 in favour to 1 against (India), with 2 abstentions (Bhutan, Russian Federation).

The Committee then took up the draft resolution Confidence building measures in the regional and subregional context (document A/C.1/74/L.8). By its terms, the Assembly would call upon Member States to refrain from the use or threat of use of force in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. It would also call upon them to pursue confidence- and security building measures through consultations and dialogue and urge them to comply strictly with all bilateral, regional and international agreements, including arms control and disarmament agreements, to which they are party.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region (document A/C.1/74/L.9). By its terms, the Assembly would encourage countries in the region to build confidence, practice genuine openness and transparency on all military matters and cooperate in combating terrorism in all its forms.

Prior to taking action on L.9 as a whole, the Committee approved, by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions, the retention of operative paragraph 2. By its terms, the Assembly would express its satisfaction at ongoing efforts by Mediterranean countries to contribute actively to the elimination of all causes of tension in the region and to the promotion of just and lasting solutions to the persistent problems of the region through peaceful means. In addition, it would call for full adherence to the principles of non interference, non intervention, non use of force or threat of use of force and the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and relevant resolutions.

The Committee decided to retain operative paragraph 5, by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 1 abstention (Finland), by which the Assembly would call upon all States of the region that have not yet done so to adhere to all the multilaterally negotiated legal instruments in force related to the field of disarmament and non proliferation.

It then approved L.9 as a whole by a recorded vote of 172 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Israel, United States).

Next, the Committee considered the draft resolution Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/C.1/74/L.28). By its terms, the Assembly would take note of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean. It would also reiterate its conviction that the participation of all permanent members of the Security Council and the major maritime users of the Indian Ocean is important and would greatly facilitate the development of a mutually beneficial dialogue to advance peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean region.

It then approved L.28 by a recorded vote of 130 in favour to 3 against (France, United Kingdom, United States), with 44 abstentions.

The representative of Israel, explaining his delegation's vote against operative paragraphs 2 and 5 of L.9, said he abstained from voting on the draft resolution as a whole because the language does not truly reflect the reality of the Middle East. L.9 is also misleading because it fails to mention the use of chemical weapons by Syria or ballistic missile proliferation by the Iranian regime. Multilaterally negotiated legal instruments are useless if the countries signing them do not honour their commitments.

The representative of India said her delegation voted against resolution L.7. Regarding operative paragraph 2, she said the Conference on Disarmament is unique and has the potential to galvanize efforts and offer guidelines on disarmament. However, security concerns extend beyond regions, and the notion of preserving a balance at regional and subregional levels is unrealistic and unacceptable. Instead, balance should be pursued on the global context.

The representative of Iran said his delegation voted in favour of L.9 and its operative paragraphs 2 and 5. Citing several reasons, he said Iran supports the call to withdraw foreign forces of occupation and demonstrate respect for people's right to self determination. Reiterating that operative paragraph 5 calls on all States from the Mediterranean region for adherence to all multilateral legal instruments related to disarmament and non proliferation, he said Israel is the only State yet to accede to the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Indeed, L.9 does not factually reflect the entire situation in the region, including the occupation of Palestine and the imposition of a severe blockade in Gaza.

The representative of Syria said his delegation voted in favour of L.9, as most delegations did, because of a belief that the content and legality of the draft resolution is in line with the Charter of the United Nations. However, he had reservations that it does not reflect the terrorism committed by the Israeli entity, who is not able to comply with United Nations resolutions and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), nor is capable of joining the Non Proliferation Treaty.

Turning to its disarmament machinery cluster, the Committee then took up the draft decision 2020 session of the Disarmament Commission (document A/C.1/74/L.52/Rev.1) and an eponymous amendment to it, contained in document A/C.1/74/L.62, and the following seven draft resolutions: United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (document A/C.1/74/L.23); United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.33); Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.34); United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (document A/C.1/74/L.38); Report of the Conference on Disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.39); United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (document A/C.1/74/L.42); and Regional confidence building measures: activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (document A/C.1/74/L.61).

The representative of Peru, speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean region, introduced L.42, emphasizing the Lima based Regional Centre's contribution to peace and security, including its promotion of the role of women in disarmament efforts.

The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking on behalf of Member States from the Central African subregion, introduced L.61, explaining that it calls for strengthening the Advisory Committee's capacity in the context of the peace and security agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Among other things, the draft calls for a high level conference to be held to discuss issues relating to pastoralism and cross border transhumance.

The representative of Australia, speaking also on behalf of Hungary, introduced L.52/Rev.1, recalling that the Disarmament Commission was unable to send its report to the Committee in 2019 due to unresolved organizational issues. Procedural concerns prevented delegations from speaking or listening to each other, creating an unprecedented situation for that body. L.52/Rev.1 is the product of months of consultations and represents the best prospect for preserving consensus, he said, calling on Member States to vote against the proposed amendment, L.62.

The representative of Nepal, introducing L.23, noted that his country hosts the Regional Centre and highlighted the manner in which regional and global approaches to disarmament and non proliferation complement each other.

The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation has waited patiently for the United States authorities to take concrete steps regarding Headquarters access for delegates from his country and others. He also understands that several delegations do not find it easy to move the work of the Committee and the Disarmament Commission elsewhere. While no positive developments on the visa issue have been seen to date, the Russian Federation has decided to adjust its position and, unlike the United States authorities, demonstrate a constructive and incremental approach. The visa issue has nothing to do with bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington, D.C., as others are claiming. Over the years, some 60 Member States have been affected by the visa issue, he said, adding that it is correct for the Committee to take up the matter as part of its consideration of the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.

The representative of the United States said it is inappropriate to inject host country issues into L.52/Rev.1. Noting that the Sixth Committee (Legal) discussed the issue on 6 November, he said the appropriate body is working on this issue in the appropriate way. It is unfortunate that the sponsors of the hostile amendments contained in L.62 held the international community hostage in the Disarmament Commission and then in the Committee. Such obstructionism is spreading, with profound implications for the United Nations disarmament machinery and the institutional integrity of the Organization itself. If hostile amendments like those contained in L.62 are tolerated, and if the Assembly's Main Committees are prevented from continuing their work, it will spell the beginning of the end of the United Nations, he said, urging all delegations to vigorously oppose L.62.

The representative of Iran, referring to L.62, said one Member State, who has the right to participate in all United Nations meetings, has legitimate concerns. As such, his delegation will vote in favour of the amendment, presented by the Russian Federation. The Headquarters Agreement obliges the host country, the United States, to provide unfettered access to United Nations Headquarters. He called on members to consider the situation of the Russian Federation and others whose delegates have been denied entry visas to the United States. Today, it is the Russian Federation, tomorrow it can be someone else, he said, adding that the United States denial of entry visas of certain members is not acceptable.

The representative of Syria said the disarmament machinery is facing pressure and the First Committee should be operating on the basis of consensus. However, the United States representative has impeded sessions and taken the Committee hostage. As the host country, the United States is violating the Headquarters Agreement, he said, adding that some nations are targeted now, but perhaps tomorrow it will be other delegations that are targeted.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (document A/C.1/74/L.23). By its terms, the Assembly would appeal to Member States, especially those within the region and international governmental and non governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions to the Regional Centre to strengthen its programme of activities and its implementation.

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft resolution.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.33), by which the Assembly would commend the three regional centres for peace and disarmament for their sustained support provided to Member States for over 30 years and appeal to Member States and others to make voluntary contributions to those entities in their respective regions.

The Committee Secretary delivered an oral statement on programme budget implications.

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft resolution.

Next, the Committee turned its attention to the draft resolution Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.34), by which the Assembly would encourage Member States to continue consultations on the next steps for convening the special session.

It approved that text by a recorded vote of 175 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (France, Israel, United States).

The Committee then took up the draft resolution United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (document A/C.1/74/L.38). By its terms, the Assembly would commend the work of the centre and urge all States, particularly member States of the African Union, and others to make voluntary contributions its trust fund. It would also request the Secretary General to continue to provide it with the support necessary for greater achievements.

The Committee Secretary delivered an oral statement on programme budget implications.

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft resolution.

The Committee took up the draft resolution Report of the Conference on Disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.39). Under its terms, the Assembly would call upon the Conference on Disarmament to overcome its ongoing deadlock of two decades by adopting and implementing a balanced and comprehensive programme of work as soon as possible during its 2020 session.

The Committee Secretary delivered an oral statement on programme budget implications.

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft resolution.

The Committee then turned its attention to the draft resolution United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (document A/C.1/74/L.42). By the terms of that text, the Assembly would encourage the centre to develop activities in all regional countries in the areas of peace, disarmament and development and to support Member States in the national implementation of relevant instruments, such as the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and the Arms Trade Treaty.

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft resolution.

The Committee then considered the draft decision 2020 session of the Disarmament Commission (document A/C.1/74/L.52/Rev.1). By its terms, the Assembly would decide that the Commission � which, for organizational reasons, was unable to commence its substantive session in 2019 � will meet from 6 to 24 April 2020 to continue its consideration of recommendations for achieving nuclear disarmament and non proliferation of nuclear weapons. It will also prepare recommendations to promote the practical implementation of transparency and confidence building measures in outer space activities with the goal of preventing an arms race in outer space.

Prior to taking action on L.52/Rev.1, the Committee decided, by a vote of 21 in favour to 66 against, with 59 abstentions, to reject an amendments contained in document A/C.1/74/L.62, to replace preambular paragraph 8 whereby the Assembly would have welcomed the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country, and to replace operative paragraph (a) with a provision that would have the Assembly decide that the Disarmament Commission will hold a substantive session for a period not exceeding three weeks during 2020, namely from 6 to 24 April, if the issues raised in paragraphs 165 (j) and (p) of the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country have been resolved by that time, and submit a substantive report to the General Assembly at its seventy fifth session.

Taking up two operative paragraphs of L.52/Rev.1, the Committee first decided, by a vote of 133 in favour to 1 against (Russian Federation), with 14 abstentions, to retain operative paragraph (a), which would have the Assembly decide that the Disarmament Commission will hold a substantive session for a period not exceeding three weeks during 2020, namely from 6 to 24 April, and submit a substantive report to the Assembly at its seventy fifth session.

By a vote of 133 in favour to 1 against (Russian Federation), with 15 abstentions, the Committee decided to retain operative paragraph (b), which would have the Assembly decide that the Disarmament Commission will hold its organizational session as soon as possible before the substantive session to elect its bureau and address other outstanding organizational matters.

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft resolution as a whole.

Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution Regional confidence building measures: activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (document A/C.1/74/L.61). By its terms, the Assembly would, among other things, reaffirm its support for confidence building efforts in Central Africa and encourage States members of the Standing Advisory Committee to pursue discussions on conflict prevention initiatives.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution.

The representative of Malaysia said it joined consensus and voted in favour of L.39, adding it appreciates efforts by sponsors to preserve consensus. He underlined the role of the Conference of Disarmament as the sole forum to achieve general and complete disarmament and hoped for it to enjoy consensus in the future. His delegation voted in favour of L.52/Rev.1 because it signifies the importance of enhancing the Disarmament Commission. The visa issue that has affected some delegations should be addressed by the Sixth Committee, which is why his delegation voted against L.62.

The representative of Mexico said that while she regrets the difficulties some Member States have with visas and stands in solidarity with them, the First Committee is not the right forum to register complaints about the matter. The solution is in another organ. Mexico also have reservations about language in L.62. We are facing a polarized situation and more than ever the international community must recover a multilateral space to meet and build a policy framework for peace and security, she said.

The representative of India said her delegation has great confidence in the Disarmament Commission and hopes it will deliver in an effective, efficient and inclusive manner. Regretting to note that the issue with visas has not been resolved, she said her delegation abstained on L.62 and voted in favour of both operative paragraphs of L.52/Rev.1.

The Committee then considered three draft resolutions in its nuclear weapons cluster: Nuclear disarmament verification (document A/C.1/74/L.26/Rev.1); Follow up to the 2013 high level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.31/Rev.1); and Follow up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/74/L.40).

The representative of Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement, introduced a technical update to L.31/Rev.1, pertaining to the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review of the United States.

The representative of Malaysia introduced L.40, an annual resolution that his delegation first introduced in 1996 to build on the International Court of Justice's advisory opinion. The current draft resolution contains technical updates and no substantive changes.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation will vote in favour of L.31/Rev.1 because the current version includes strengthened language that reflects concerns about the development of new types of nuclear weapons and the Nuclear Posture Review of the United States. Cuba will also support L.40, she added, calling on nuclear weapon States to demonstrate political will vis A� vis disarmament.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution Nuclear disarmament verification (document A/C.1/74/L.26/Rev.1). By its terms, the Assembly would request the Secretary General to establish a group of governmental experts of up to 25 participants, chosen on the basis of equitable geographical representation and equitable representation of women and men, to meet in Geneva for four sessions of one week each in 2021 and 2022, to further consider nuclear disarmament verification issues. It would also request the Secretary General to seek the views of Member States on the report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Nuclear Disarmament Verification, and report back to the General Assembly at its seventy fifth session.

The Committee Secretary delivered a statement on programme budget implications.

The Committee then approved L.26/Rev.1 by a recorded vote of 173 in favour to 1 against (Russian Federation), with 4 abstentions (China, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe).

The Committee then turned its attention to the draft resolution Follow up to the 2013 high level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament (document A/C.1/74/L.31/Rev.1). By its terms, the Assembly would endorse the wide support expressed at its high level meeting on nuclear disarmament, held on 26 September 2013, for a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons. It would call for the urgent start of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on effective measures to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons, including a comprehensive convention. It would also decide to convene, in New York on a date to be decided, a United Nations high level international conference on nuclear disarmament to review the progress made in that regard.

Prior to taking action on the draft as a whole, the Committee decided, by a recorded vote of 115 in favour to 35 against, with 18 abstentions, to retain preambular paragraph 14, by which the Assembly would express its concern that improvements in existing nuclear weapons and the development of new types of nuclear weapons, as provided for in the military doctrines of some nuclear weapon States, violate their legal disarmament obligations and the commitments made to diminish the role of atomic bombs in their security policies, and contravene the negative security assurances provided by the nuclear weapon States.

The Committee then approved L.31/Rev.1 as a whole by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to 33 against, with 10 abstentions (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Finland, Georgia, Japan, North Macedonia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine).

The Committee then took up the draft resolution Follow up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/74/L.40). By its terms, the Assembly would call upon all States to immediately engage in negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament under strict and effective international control. The Assembly would also recall the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, issued on 8 July 1996.

Prior to voting on L.40 as a whole, the Committee held separate recorded votes on three paragraphs.

By a recorded vote of 135 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 30 abstentions, the Committee then approved the retention of preambular paragraph 9, which would have the Assembly note continued efforts towards realizing nuclear disarmament, including through the Secretary General's disarmament agenda, Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament.

By a recorded vote of 116 in favour to 36 against, with 14 abstentions, the Committee then approved the retention of preambular paragraph 17, by which the Assembly would welcome the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

By a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 36 against, with 15 abstentions, the Committee then approved the retention of operative paragraph 2, by which the Assembly would call once again upon all States to immediately engage in multilateral negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control, including under the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Taking up the draft as a whole, the Committee approved it by a recorded vote of 132 in favour to 32 against, with 17 abstentions.

The representative of Egypt, in an explanation of position after the vote, said his delegation voted in favour of L.26/Rev.1 and appreciates the constructive manner in which Norway has conducted negotiations, adding that it puts the international community on a path towards complete disarmament. However, his delegation had reservations about the Group of Governmental Experts.

The representative of Switzerland said his delegation abstained on L.31/Rev.1, despite having supported it in previous sessions. There is a clear need to develop new legally binding norms on disarmament to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, said his delegation voted against L.31/Rev.1. While sharing the long term goal of the draft resolution and having participated constructively in the 2013 high level meeting, his delegation's concerns are not reflected in L.31/Rev.1.

The representative of India, noting that her country was the only nuclear weapon State to have co sponsored L.40, regretted to note that substantial changes have been made and references to a new nuclear weapon convention have been dropped, leaving its objective ambiguous. As such, India has withdrawn sponsorship and abstained from voting on it.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation voted in favour of L.26/Rev.1 because Havana is committed to a world free of nuclear weapons. However, the draft resolution contains significant changes, and previous paragraphs on the humanitarian concerns of nuclear weapons were eliminated, as were others recalling disarmament commitments of nuclear weapon States.

The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation cannot agree with the verification approach set out in L.26/Rev.1. In his country's experience, developing verification mechanisms requires considering the entire set of factors. Focusing on verification distracts the international community's attention away from primordial security issues, having a direct impact on nuclear disarmament.

The representative of France, speaking also on behalf of the United Kingdom and the United States, reiterated their joint position on L.31/Rev.1, presented at a previous meeting.

Turning to its cluster on conventional weapons, the Committee then considered the draft resolution Problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus (document A/C.1/74/L.53/Rev.1). By its terms, the Assembly would request the Secretary General to convene a group of governmental experts in 2020 on problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus, taking into account the exchanges in the open, informal consultations held in 2018 and 2019 on matters of conventional ammunition management within the United Nations system and beyond.

The Committee the approved the draft resolution without a vote.

The representative of Pakistan, in an explanation of position after the vote, said the major military Powers, with their large arsenals, should take the lead on the issue, supplementing their efforts at regional and subregional levels.

Right of Reply

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said remarks made by the United States were a textbook example of cynicism and the manipulation of public opinion. He asked his colleagues from the United States to reject faulty logic. It is not the Russian Federation, but the United States that is violating obligations set out in the 1947 Headquarters Agreement and undermining the authority of the United Nations.

Source: United Nations

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