Conference on Disarmament Opens Second Part of 1986 Session

UN Chronicle, August 1986 | Go to article overview
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Conference on Disarmament Opens Second Part of 1986 Session


Conference on Disarmament opens second part of 1986 session

The Conference on Disarmament opened the second part of its 1986 session on 10 June in Geneva, hearing a call for the "new spirit of Geneva' to be developed and enriched.

Both the Soviet Union and United States should demonstrate political will and readiness to take concrete steps in their ongoing bilateral disarmament talks, stated Bulgarian President Todor Zhivkov in a message read to the Conference by its President for June, Konstantin Tellalov of Bulgaria.

"Nowadays, security is exclusively a political problem. It is only through the achievement of a new political thinking and in the politicial means and dialogue that the way out can be found--a way capable of guaranteeing the future of human civilization', Mr. Zhivkov said.

The "peoples of the entire world follow with hope' the work of the Conference, he went on. "We believe that it can contribute substantially to limiting the danger of war, and limiting a nuclear catastrophe.'

The Conference agenda, he said, "includes all major issues on whose solution the success of this great human endeavour depends'. The problem of nuclear disarmament and space weapons in all its various aspects could not be solved through the efforts of the leading nuclear-weapon States only, although their special responsibility was commonly acknowledged. The cessation of all nuclear-weapon testing--along with a ban on tests-- "is a top priority task,' he said.

The 40-member Conference-- consisting of the five nuclear-weapon States and 35 other countries--is the world's only multilateral negotiating body on disarmament issues. Its 1986 session is scheduled to conclude in August.

Spring session ends: The Conference on Disarmament concluded the first part of its 1986 session on 25 April after agreeing to re-establish its Ad Hoc Committee on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space, and appointing Luvsandorjiin Bayart (Mongolia) Committee Chairman. The session began on 4 February (see UN Chronicle, Vol.XXIII, No. 3).

Reviewing the Conference's work, Celso Antonio de Souza e Silva (Brazil), President for April, noted that during the month subsidiary bodies on chemical weapons, radiological weapons and a comprehensive programme of disarmament had continued their work. However, during the three-month period, the Conference was not able to set up such bodies on the four nuclear items on its agenda--the nuclear test ban; cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters; and security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States.

Mr. Souza e Silva hoped that the Soviet Union and the United States would agree on the need to halt testing at the earliest possible date. "In the absence of such an understanding, our multilateral efforts seem doomed to failure, despite their urgency and earnestness', he said.

Nuclear test ban: No consensus was reached on a mandate for an ad hoc committee on a nuclear test ban. Alternative texts were put forward by western countries (CD/521) and by the Group of 21 (CD/520/Rev. 2), the latter also supported by socialist States.

Several delegations condemned the nuclear test conducted by the United States on 10 April. On 15 April, the USSR, in a message to the 40-member body (CD/690), said the United States intended to keep the world "in fear of universal annihilation', and once again had placed the "egoistic, imperial ambitions of the United States military-industrial complex above the interests of mankind'. United States invitations to observe its nuclear explosions could be compared to "inviting a person opposed to the death penalty to attend an execution', the USSR stated.

Recalling its unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing proclaimed in August 1985, the Soviet Union said it would be forced to resume such testing if the United States continued to carry out nuclear explosions.

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