Disarmament Commission Chairman Says 'Excessive Time' Spent on Procedure

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Disarmament Commission Chairman says 'excessive time' spent on procedure

At the conclusion of the 1985 session of the Disarmament Commission, Chairman Mansur Ahmad of Pakistan stated that the "excessive time" spent by the body on devising procedural formats amounted to "a negation of the Commission's responsibilities".

Mr. Ahmad recalled that the 159-member Commission, the Assembly's deliberative body on disarmament matters, had a mandate to issue guidelines and its decisions did not represent irrevocable positions on the part of delegations.

The Chairman noted that in considering the six substantive items on its agenda, the only concrete recommendation to emerge from the session, held from 6 to 31 May at Headquarters, concerned a review of the United Nations role in disarmament.

Other items considered at the session related to: the arms race and nuclear disarmament; reduction of military budgets; South Africa's nuclear capability; curbing the naval arms race; and a review of the implementation of the declaration of the 1980s as the Second Disarmament Decade. Deliberations took place in plenary, the Commission's Contact Group and its three Working Groups.

Although unable to reach a consensus on a complete set of recommendations regarding the arms race and nuclear disarmament, as well as a general approach to negotiations disarmament, the Commission's Contact Group did each agreement on several suggestions for recommendations, one of which would call upon all Member States to observe strictly the principles of the Charter as well as other principles of international law relating to the maintenance of international peace and security.

The Disarmament Commission, composed of all United Nations Member States, was reconstituted by the General Assembly under the terms of the Final Document of its first special session on disarmament held in 1978. The original Commission was established in 1952.

In 1978, the Assembly defined the Commission as a deliberative body, subsidiary to the General Assembly, to which all Member States could belong. The reconstituted Commission was established "to consider and make recommendations on various problems in the field of disarmament and to follow up on relevant decisions of the special session devoted to disarmament."

In addition to Chairman Ahmad, officers include eight Vice-Chairmen: from the Bahamas, the Byelorussian SSR, Cameroon, German Democratic Republic, Greece, Iran, Mexico and Morocco. Commission Rapporteur is Arturo Laclaustra (Spain).

Reports: The Contact Group, reporting on issues relating to the arms race and nuclear disarmament, as well as a general approach to negotiations on nuclear and conventional disarmament, also agreed that all States, particularly nuclear-weapon States and especially those which possessed the most important nuclear arsenals, should urgently negotiate to fulfil the priority tasks set forth in the Programme of Action of the 1978 first special session devoted to disarmament; that negotiations should proceed without delay on an international instrument to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons; that the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in different parts of the world should be encouraged; and that all States should co-operate to achieve the goal of nuclear non-proliferation. …