Magazine article UN Chronicle

Disarmament Conference Concludes First Part of 1985 Session

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Disarmament Conference Concludes First Part of 1985 Session

Article excerpt

Disarmament Conference concludes first part of 1985 session

The 40-member Conference on Disarmament concluded the first part of its 1985 sessionon 23 April, continuing its work on a chemical weapons convention, radiological weapons and a comprehensive programme of disarmament. The second part of its annual sessionis to begin 11 June.

During the 12-week session, which began on 5 February, the Conference for the first time established a subsidiary body on prevention of an arms race in outer space. It took that action by consensus on 29 March.

Continuing efforts were made during the session to establish ad hoc committees on the agenda items dealing with a nuclear test ban, cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament and prevention of nuclear war, but agreement was not reached.

Conference President for April, Kazimir Vidas of Yugoslavia, said at the concluding meeting that the Conference had made "further efforts" during the month towards reaching results in negotiations on some issues on its agenda. It had been able to broaden areas of consensus which would enable it to proceed with more determination in the future, he said.

On assuming the Presidency on 2 April, he had noted that the Conference was continuing its work under "somewhat more favourable conditions." All participants in the general debate had invariably underscored the importance of the resumption of bilateral talks between the United States and the Soviet Union, in view of their possible contribution to halting the arms race, in particular the nuclear arms race.

The unanimous opinion had been expressed, he said, that bilateral and multilateral negotiations should facilitate and complement each other. Because of the unabated arms race, he said, an active role of the Conference was more imperative than ever. A spirit of confidence and mutual cooperation should prevail and be further promoted and no opportunity should be missed to initiate negotiations for which conditions were ripe.

No consensus: On 18 April, mandates for a group on cessation of the nuclear arms race put forward by a group of socialist countries (CD/523) and by the Group of 21 neutral or nonaligned countries (CD-526) were placed before the Conference for decisions.

The socialist proposal called for a body to begin negotiations on practical measures for cessation of the nuclear arms race and for nuclear disarmament, in accordance with Paragraph 50 of the Final Document of the 1978 special session of the General Assembly on disarmament. The Group of 21 proposal called for such a committee to elaborate on Paragraph 50 of the Final Document.

(Paragraph 50 calls for initiation as a matter of high priority multilateral negotiations on agreements, with adequate measures of verification, on: cessation of the qualitative improvement and development of nuclear weapons systems; cessation of production of all types of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery and production of fissionable material for weapons purpuses; and substantial reduction in existing nuclear weaons with a view to their ultimate elimination.)

The United States, speaking on behalf of the Western group, said those countries could not join in a consensus on either proposal because they were not convinced the establishment of such a body would contribute to the cause of cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament. …

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