Conference on Disarmament Resumes 1989 Session

UN Chronicle, September 1989 | Go to article overview

Conference on Disarmament Resumes 1989 Session


Conference on Disarmament resumes 1989 session

The Conference on Disarmament opened the second part of its 1989 session on 13 June in Geneva, with its President expressing hope that the remainder of the session might benefit from improved relations between Eastern and Western countries, particularly between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Alfonso Garcia Robles of Mexico, Conference President for June, recalled that the Conference had been asked to redouble its efforts to resolve remaining issues so that a convention to ban or destroy all chemical weapons could be concluded. He said such a convention would not threaten the security of any State; rather it would reinforce the security of all States.

During June, subsidiary bodies continued work on chemical weapons, radiological weapons, prevention of an arms race in outer space, a comprehensive programme of disarmament, and security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States. However, the Conference remained unable to set up similar bodies on the three nuclear items on its agenda--a nuclear test ban; cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; and prevention of nuclear war.

President Garcia Robles recalled that the Conference had been asked to give highest priority to negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear test ban. He also appealed for completion of a Comprehensive Programme of Disarmament, as called for by the first special session of the General Assembly on disarmament in 1978.

The Netherlands in June introduced two documents--"The declaration of the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels (29-30 May 1989)" and a report entitled "A Comprehensive Concept of Arms Control and Disarmament", adopted by the North Atlantic Council at the same meeting.

Those documents, the Netherlands said, reflected how increased security could be achieved at substantially lower levels of armaments and underscored the Western commitment to a total ban on chemical weapons.

Sweden proposed the body add to its agenda a new item on a multilateral agreement to prevent incidents at sea.

In April, the German Democratic Republic transmitted to the Conference the texts of three documents adopted by the Committee of Foreign Ministers of the Warsaw Treaty States at its April session in Berlin. In the Declaration on Tactical Nuclear Weapons, the socialist countries proposed to the NATO States the start in the near future of separate talks on those arms in Europe. The negotiations would have to consider measures of effective international verification of tactical nuclear arms reduction and elimination and a set of confidence- and security-building measures in regard to such systems, the Declaration said. They could also examine the possibility of establishing an international control commission.

The 40-member Conference is the world's only multilateral negotiating body on disarmament issues. Its 1989 session is scheduled to conclude in August.

A solid foundation

The Conference concluded the first part of its 1989 session on 27 April after hearing a progress report on the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Chemical Weapons.

Committee Chairman Pierre Morel of France said work had continued on such issues as a verification system; routine and challenge inspections; the relationship of the future convention with the 1925 Geneva Protocol and other international agreements. …

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