Political and Security Committee holds special meeting to observe Disarmament Week to highlight need for arms control
"The massive and competitive build-up of arms, particularly nuclear weapons . . . far from promising greater security for any State or any group of States, has actually placed humanity on the precipice of self-extinction', Ali Alatas (Indonesia), Chairman of the First (Political and Security) Committee, declared at a special 31 October meeting in observance of Disarmament Week (24-31 October). "Without common security for all, there may well be a future for none.'
It was the eighth annual celebration of Disarmament Week. In their statements, the speakers--the Secretary-General, General Assembly President and representatives of five regional groups, as well as the First Committee Chairman--recalled the purpose of the Week--to publicize the urgent need for disarmament measures--and urged a recommitment by the international community to end the arms race.
"What is the purpose of observing a Disarmament Week and paying homage to a goal in word when nothing is being done in deed?' asked Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar. "The answer is that the nonfulfillment of the goal provides no justification for abandoning the effort.'
For arms limitation to have any chance, Mr. Perez de Cuellar said, it was vital that the public mind "not settle in a fatalistic stance vis-a-vis the present disastrous course'. International relations must be based on common interest rather than fear and competition in arms, and that end must be pursued "with a force and conviction that neither partial successes nor temporary setbacks can diminish'.
Assembly President Jaime de Pinies (Spain) called for renewed efforts by nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon States together to find ways to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and curb the conventional arms race. Although the world community was anxiously awaiting the results of the forthcoming meeting between the leaders of the two major nuclear Powers, Mr. de Pinies observed, "that should not make us forget the primary responsibility and central role of the United Nations' in disarmament affairs.
Michael O. Ononaiye (Nigeria), on behalf of the African Group, said Africa had been the first region to support nuclear non-proliferation. Unfortunately, South Africa had frustrated that aim. African States had called on the United Nations to pressure the apartheid regime to renounce nuclear capability, become a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and place its nuclear installations under International Atomic Energy Agency safe-guards. …