Magazine article UN Chronicle

Third Special Session on Disarmament Set for May-June in New York: Assembly Adopts Record Number of Texts by Consensus

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Third Special Session on Disarmament Set for May-June in New York: Assembly Adopts Record Number of Texts by Consensus

Article excerpt

Third special session on disarmament set for May/June in New York

Assembly adopts record number of texts by consensus

The disarmament debate in the First Committee (Political and Security) took place against a diverse, even contradictory backdrop: encouraging developments in Soviet-American relations and disarmament negotiations, yet concern over the continuing arms race and the need to give a new impetus to the disarmament process.

During its five-week debate, the Committee had had a constructive dialogue on all disarmament questions ranging over a broad spectrum of international issues, reported Kazimierz Tomaszewski, First Committee Rapporteur. Particular focus was placed on issues relating to halting the nuclear arms race, nuclear-test ban, preventing an arms race in outer space, a ban on chemical weapons, conventional disarmament and verification.

At the conclusion of the Committee's work, Chairman Bagbeni Adeito Nzengeya (Zaire) declared that the United Nations, as a universal forum on international problems, had a central role to play in the sphere of disarmament. He also stressed the importance of the Soviet-United States bilateral negotiations on various priority disarmament issues, which should be carried out in parallel with multilateral disarmament negotiations and deliberations in the special framework of the United Nations.

Sixty-two resolutions were approved in plenary on 30 November following the First Committee debate, of which 26 -- a record number -- were adopted by consensus.

The lone decision -- on bilateral nuclear-arms negotiations -- approved by the world body on 21 October, urged the Soviet Union and the United States to conclude a treaty on elimination of their intermediate and shorter-range missiles. (Such a treaty was signed by United States President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on 8 December at a summit meeting in Washington, D.C.) The two countries were also urged to make a "similarly intensive effort" to achieve a treaty on 50 per cent reductions in their strategic offensive arms within the framework of the Geneva Nuclear and Space Talks.

The Assembly decided to hold the third special session devoted to disarmament at United Nations Headquarters from 31 May to 25 June 1988. Two previous special sessions were held in 1978 and 1982. It decided to establish a Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia, with headquarters at Kathmandu.

The Assembly called for further work by the Conference on Disarmament, the "single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community", and the Disarmament Commission, "the specialized deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery".

The Assembly asked the Ad Hoc Committee on the World Disarmament Conference to continue to explore the possibility of convening such a global meeting as proposed by the Soviet Union in 1971.

General disarmament

The Assembly called on Member States to increase efforts towards achieving agreements on balanced, mutually acceptable, comprehensively verifiable and effective arms limitation and disarmament measures. States with verification expertise were urged to consider how they could contribute to and promote inclusion of effective verification measures in disarmament agreements.

All States were invited to strive actively for meaningful disarmament negotiations on the basis of reciprocity, equality, undiminished security and the non-use of force in international relations to prevent the qualitative enhancement and quantitative accumulation of weapons, as well as the development of new types and systems of weaponry, especially weapons of mass destruction. The Assembly appealed to States members of military groupings to promote the gradual mutual limitation of their military activities as well as the reduction of their armed forces and armaments, thus creating conditions for their dissolution. …

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