Magazine article UN Chronicle

Disarmament Issues, Especially Nuclear Matters, Acted on by General Assembly

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Disarmament Issues, Especially Nuclear Matters, Acted on by General Assembly

Article excerpt

The General Assembly on 3 and 4 December adopted 65 resolutions and 2 decisions relating to various disarmament matters, including more than 20 dealing with nuclear issues. The texts, summarized below, had been discussed and recommended for adoption by the Assembly's First Committee (Political and Security). Assembly votes appear in parentheses.

The Assembly, expressing concern at the continuing arms race "which aggravates international peace and security and also diverts vast resources urgently needed for economic and social development", decided (resolution 41/60 G) to convene its third special session on disarmament in 1988. Two previous special sessions of the Assembly devoted to disarmament have been held, in 1978 and in 1982.

The world body also decided that the International Conference on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development, which was to have been held in 1986 in Paris, would meet in New York from 24 August to 11 September 1987 (41/422).

The mandate of the Ad Hoc Committee on the World Disarmament Conference, a global meeting proposed by the Soviet Union in 1971 on which agreement among nuclear-weapon States has not yet been reached, was renewed for another year (41/61).

The Assembly noted the work of two important bodies dealing with disarmament issues-the 40-member Conference on Disarmament, the world's only multilateral negotiating body on arms control matters, and the Disarmament Commission, the Assembly's 159-member deliberative body created in 1978 by its first special session on disarmament.

The Conference on Disarmament, which has a permanent 10-item agenda known as "The Decalogue", was called on (41/86 P) to report in 1987 to the Assembly on its work (101-0-50). The Assembly also expressed "deep concern and-disappointment" (41/86 M) that the Conference had no been enabled to reach concrete agreements on any disarmament issues in 1985 and 1986 on issues given greatest priority by the United Nations and which had been considered for a number of years. The Conference, it said, should intensify its work, further its mandate more earnestly through negotiations, and adopt concrete measures on specific priority issues, in particular those relating to nuclear disarmament (133-3-17).

The Assembly also noted with regret (41/86 G) that despite the fact that the Conference had discussed the question of the prevention of nuclear war for several years, it had been unable even to establish a subsidiary body to consider appropriate and practical measures towards that end. Suitable steps to expedite effective action for the prevention of nuclear war had to be devised, it said (134-3-14).

The Assembly also decided to keep open the Conference agenda item on the "comprehensive programme of disarmament" in order to permit the Conference to submit a complete draft to the Assembly in 1987 (41/421).

The Assembly (41/86 F) also affirmed that the existence of bilateral negotiations on nuclear and space arms in no way diminished the urgent need to initiate multilateral negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on the cessation of the nuclear-arms race and nuclear disarmament, and asked that body to establish an ad hoc committee in 1987 to work towards that end (130-15-5).

The Disarmament Commission, which the Assembly described as "the specialized deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery which allows for in-depth deliberations on specific disarmament issues, leading to the submission of concrete recommendations on those issues", was asked (41/86 E) to continue work in accordance with its mandate and make every effort to achieve specific recommendations in 1987 on outstanding items on its agenda.

That body was also requested (41/59 O) to continue its consideration of the role of the United Nations in the field of disarmament as a matter of priority in 1987, with a view to elaborating concrete recommendations and proposals. …

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