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GA/DIS/3678
3 November 2021
Seventy-sixth Session, 17th Meeting (AM)

First Committee Approves 60 Texts, Rejects 1, with Delegates Differing over Weapons of Mass Destruction, as Action Phase Concludes

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) took action on 61 draft resolutions and draft decisions today — approving 60 and rejecting 1 — as delegates expressed divergent views on weapons of mass destruction, while reaching consensus on a text addressing information and telecommunications in the context of international security.

It rejected a new draft resolution sponsored by the Russian Federation, which proposed to review the functioning of the Secretary General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons.

Divisions remained as the Committee took up a new draft resolution proposed by China, “Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security”, narrowly approving it by a recorded vote of 75 in favour to 55 against, with 43 abstentions.  By that text, the Assembly would urge all Member States to take concrete measures to promote international cooperation in materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes.  Before that action, the Committee voted to retain two paragraphs.

Viet Nam’s delegate expressed support for the draft in recognition of the right of all States to the transfer of technology for peaceful purposes.  While other delegations concurred, many others rejected its premises.

Switzerland’s representative said his delegation voted against the text, explaining that operative paragraphs 2 and 3 wrongly challenge the legitimacy of export control regimes.

China’s delegate, however, highlighted the “terrible” track record of the United States in fulfilling its obligations under disarmament and non-proliferation treaties, noting that it called on Member States to oppose the draft, and expressed hope that all delegations could work in a constructive manner going forward.

Brazil’s representative said he abstained on the resolution, noting that proposals by other delegations to balance out the text were not incorporated.

Also in that cluster, on other disarmament measures and international security, the Committee approved the following drafts without a vote:  “Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament”; “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, and advancing responsible State behaviour in the use of information and communications technologies”; “Relationship between disarmament and development”; “Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control”; and “Youth, disarmament and non-proliferation”.

Within the same cluster, the Committee approved the draft “Compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments” by a recorded vote of 166 in favour to 3 against (China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran), with 10 abstentions (Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe).  By that text, the General Assembly would urge all States to comply fully with their respective obligations.

The Committee also approved — by a recorded vote of 125 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, United Kingdom, United States), with 51 abstentions — the draft “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation”, by which the General Assembly would reaffirm multilateralism as the core principle in negotiations on disarmament and non-proliferation, and in resolving related concerns.

There was consensus on matters addressing the cluster on other disarmament measures and the disarmament machinery.  Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, and advancing responsible State behaviour in the use of information and communications technologies”.  By its terms, the General Assembly would recognize the adoption of the consensus final report of the Open-Ended Working Group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security.  It would also, by other terms, welcome the consensus final report of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on advancing responsible State behaviour in the context of international security.

Turning to items related to regional disarmament and security, the Committee approved the draft “Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region” by a recorded vote of 176 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 2 abstentions (Israel, Somalia).  By that text, the General Assembly would reaffirm that security in the Mediterranean is closely linked to European security, as well as to international peace and security.

Israel’s delegate said the draft does not reflect reality in the Middle East because it makes no mention of Syria’s ongoing use of chemical weapons, or the terrorism unleased by Iran.

Iran’s representative said his delegation voted in favour of operative paragraphs 2 and 5, but did not participate in the action on the entire text because it does not reflect realities in the region, including the continued killing of Palestinian civilians.

The Committee also approved the following two drafts in that cluster by consensus:  “Regional disarmament” and “Confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context”.  It further approved the draft “Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace” by a recorded vote of 135 in favour to 3 against (France, United Kingdom, United States), with 46 abstentions.  By a recorded vote of 179 in favour to 1 against (India) with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Russian Federation, Somalia, Zimbabwe), the Committee approved the text “Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels”.

In a show of consensus, the Committee approved, without a vote, the following seven draft resolutions and one decision relating to disarmament machinery:  “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific”; “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa”; “Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament”; “United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament”; “Disarmament Commission”; “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean”; “Report of the Conference on Disarmament”; and “Regional confidence-building measures:  activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa”.

Divergence returned, however, over the two remaining drafts in the combined clusters on nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.  The Committee rejected the draft “Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons”, as orally revised, by a recorded vote of 64 against to 31 in favour, with 77 abstentions.

The Committee also approved the text “Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons”, by a recorded vote of 131 in favour to 33 against, with 17 abstentions.

Also speaking in explanation of position and making general remarks were representatives of the Russian Federation, Pakistan, Chile, United Kingdom, India, Indonesia, France, United States, Singapore, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay, Ghana, Philippines, Algeria, Malaysia, Slovenia (on behalf of the European Union and other States) and Iraq.

An observer for the European Union also delivered a statement.

The First Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Friday, 5 November, to hear final explanations of position as it concludes its work.

Explanation of Position

The Committee first heard explanations of position before taking up the following draft resolutions and draft decisions:  “Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament” (document A/C.1/76/L.6); “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, and advancing responsible State behaviour in the use of information and communications technologies” (document A/C.1/76/L.13); “Compliance with non‑proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments” (document A/C.1/76/L.16); “Relationship between disarmament and development” (document A/C.1/76/L.24); “Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control” (document A/C.1/76/L.26); “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non‑proliferation” (document A/C.1/76/L.27); “Youth, disarmament and non‑proliferation” (document A/C.1/76/L.36); and “Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security” (document A/C.1/76/L.55).

The representative of China said his delegation will vote against the draft “L.16”.  Having complied with all its obligations and commitments under non‑proliferation and arms control treaties, China continues to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, but while it supports the draft’s basic elements, major Powers must play a role in setting an example of compliance, he explained.  Highlighting “terrible” track record of the United States in terms of fulfilling its commitments under disarmament and non‑proliferation treaties, he said that country also possesses the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.  It should shoulder its responsibilities and reduce its arsenals, especially by destroying its enormous chemical weapons stockpile, instead of resorting to a cold war mentality, he emphasized.  Noting that the United States called on Member States to vote against “L.55”, he said China will vote against “L.16”, expressing hope that delegates can work in a constructive manner going forward.

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking on a point of order, requested that the Committee’s Bureau add an additional meeting this afternoon so it can conclude its work for the session today, as scheduled.  Noting that several delegations must leave New York today or tomorrow, he recalled that the Committee convened early on 2 November, when there was sufficient time to take action on drafts.

Omar Hilale (Morocco) Chair of the First Committee, said the meeting is expected to conclude on time, adding that it is possible to add another meeting, if necessary, to address concerns raised by some delegations whose members must leave New York.

The representative of Pakistan said his delegation will join the consensus around “L.6”, noting that science and technology help countries overcome such challenges as pandemics and climate change.

Action on Drafts

The Committee took up the following draft resolutions and decisions:  “Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament” (document A/C.1/76/L.6); “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, and advancing responsible State behaviour in the use of information and communications technologies” (document A/C.1/76/L.13); “Compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments” (document A/C.1/76/L.16); and “Relationship between disarmament and development” (document A/C.1/76/L.24).

Also before the Committee were the following drafts: “Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control” (document A/C.1/76/L.26); “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non‑proliferation” (document A/C.1/76/L.27); “Youth, disarmament and non‑proliferation” (document A/C.1/76/L.36); [“Secretary‑General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons” (document A/C.1/76/L.54), not taken up on 2 November]; and “Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security” (document A/C.1/76/L.55).

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution “Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament” (document A/C.1/76/L.6).  By that text, the General Assembly would invite Member States to continue to apply developments in science and technology for disarmament‑related purposes and call on them to remain vigilant in understanding new and emerging developments in science and technology that could imperil international security.   It would also encourage the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters to continue its discussions on current developments in science and technology and their potential impact on international security and disarmament efforts.

Again without a vote, the Committee approved the draft “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, and advancing responsible State behaviour in the use of information and communications technologies” (document A/C.1/76/L.13).  By that text, the General Assembly would recognize the consensus adoption of final report of the Open‑Ended Working Group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security.  It would also welcome the consensus final report of the Group of Governmental Experts on advancing responsible State behaviour in the context of international security.  The Assembly would, by further terms, call upon Member States to be guided by those reports in their use of information and communications technologies.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Compliance with non‑proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments” (document A/C.1/76/L.16).   By its terms, the General Assembly would, among other things, call upon all States to include and empower women, including through capacity‑building efforts, as appropriate, to be full, equal, and meaningful participants in the design and implementation of disarmament, non‑proliferation and arms control efforts.   The Assembly would also call upon all Member States to encourage and, for those nations in a position to do so, to appropriately help States that request assistance to increase their capacity to implement fully their obligations, and to support efforts aimed at resolving compliance questions by means consistent with such agreements and other applicable international law.  

By a recorded vote of 166 in favour to 3 against (China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran), with 10 abstentions, the Committee approved “L.16”.

Acting without a vote, it approved the draft “Relationship between disarmament and development” (document A/C.1/76/L.24), by which the General Assembly would urge the international community to devote part of the resources made available by implementing disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development, to reduce the ever-widening gap between developed and developing countries.  Also by that text, the Assembly would encourage the international community to make reference to the contribution that disarmament could provide in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

Again without a vote, the Committee approved the draft “Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control” (document A/C.1/76/L.26).  By that text, the General Assembly would reaffirm that international disarmament forums should take fully into account the relevant environmental norms in negotiating treaties and agreements on disarmament and arms limitation, and that all States should contribute fully to ensuring compliance with the aforementioned norms implementing treaties and conventions to which they are signatory.  It would also call upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures to help ensure the application of scientific and technological progress within the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres.

The Committee then took up the draft “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non‑proliferation” (document A/C.1/76/L.27), by which the General Assembly would reaffirm multilateralism as the core principle of negotiations in the area of disarmament and non‑proliferation, maintaining and strengthening universal norms and enlarging their scope, and as the core principle in resolving disarmament and non‑proliferation concerns.

By a recorded vote of 125 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, United Kingdom, United States), with 51 abstentions, the Committee approved “L.27”.

It then took up the draft resolution “Youth, disarmament and non‑proliferation” (document A/C.1/76/L.36), by which the General Assembly would call upon Member States, the United Nations and other organizations to consider developing and implementing policies and programmes for young people to increase and facilitate their constructive engagement in the field of disarmament and non‑proliferation.   The Assembly would further stress the importance of realizing the full potential of young people through education and capacity‑building.  It would also note the formal plenary meeting on youth and disarmament by the Conference on Disarmament, held on 12 August 2021, during which youth participants expressed their readiness to contribute to consideration of disarmament and non‑proliferation issues.

Before action on that draft, the Committee approved the retention of preambular paragraph 10, by a recorded vote of 168 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Djibouti, Iran, Russian Federation, Syria).  By its terms, the Assembly would note Action 38 of the disarmament agenda, put forward by the Secretary‑General, which describes the young generation as the ultimate force for change and proposes actions to promote youth engagement.

The Committee approved “L.36” without a vote.

It then took up the new draft resolution “Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security” (document A/C.1/76/L.55), by which the Assembly would, among other things, urge all Member States to take concrete measures to promote international cooperation in materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes.

Before the Committee was an eponymous draft resolution (document A/C.1/76/L.64) containing programme budget implications of the resolution.

Prior to voting on the entire draft, it approved the retention of operative paragraph 2 by a recorded vote of 68 in favour to 53 against, with 37 abstentions.  By that text, the General Assembly would request that the Secretary‑General seek the views and recommendations of all Member States on all aspects of promoting international cooperation on peaceful uses in the context of international security, including by identifying undue restrictions on the export to developing countries of materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes.

The Committee went on to approve the retention of operative paragraph 3 by a recorded vote of 69 in favour to 54 against, with 35 abstentions.  By its terms, the General Assembly would request that the Secretary‑General submit a report, with all the views and recommendations attached, for further discussions at its seventy‑seventh session.

By a recorded vote of 75 in favour to 55 against, with 43 abstentions, the Committee approved the draft “L.55” in its entirety.

Delegations then spoke in explanation of position.

The representative of Chile said his delegation abstained on “L.55” and will always support the multilateral non-proliferation export regimes that complement obligations by parties to the Non‑Proliferation Treaty, the Convention on Biological Weapons and the Convention on Chemical Weapons.

The representative of Switzerland said his delegation voted against “L.55”, as parties to those treaties must not help in the acquisition of such weapons.  He emphasized that operative paragraphs 2 and 3 wrongly challenge the legitimacy of export control regimes, saying he cannot support such a counter‑productive text.

The representative of the United Kingdom, also speaking on behalf of France and the United States, said “L.6” rightfully highlights the need for collective action.  Citing preambular paragraph 5, he said States must exercise their rights under the three pertinent treaties, but none of those instruments recognizes a right to technologies or sensitive materials.

The representative of India said “L.55” supports international cooperation for economic and social development, but she abstained.  However, she welcomed the consensus adoption of “L.13”, saying it ensures the preservation of the outcomes of the open-ended working group and the Group of Governmental Experts.

The representative of Indonesia said his delegation supports the draft “L.55”, which is in line with its own position.  Noting that his country is not a signatory to any arms control regime and will not make premature judgements, he expressed hope that a mutual understanding can be established to serve non‑proliferation efforts in a balanced manner.

The representative of France, also speaking on behalf of the United Kingdom, said the two delegations joined the consensus on “L.24”, but the notion of a “symbiotic relationship” between disarmament and development appears questionable.  Suitable conditions for effective arms control and disarmament are not necessarily dependent on development only, as seen with the growing military expenditure of some developing countries, he emphasized.  The idea that military expenditure directly diverts funding from development requirements would need to be nuanced because investment in defence is necessary to deliver the peace and security that facilitate development.  On “L.26”, he said the two countries operate under stringent domestic environmental impact regulations, but there is no direct connection, as the draft states, between general environmental standards and multilateral arms control.

The representative of Brazil said his delegation supports guaranteeing the inalienable right to technology resources, as outlined in “L.55”, but its abstention reflects its recognition of national regimes to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  He noted that proposals by other delegations to make the draft more balanced were not incorporated into the text.

The representative of the United States said her delegation did not participate in Committee deliberations on “L.24” or “L.26”, explaining that disarmament and development are separate issues and that those discussions were not germane to the Committee.

The representative of Singapore said her delegation supported “L.55” because it is compatible with non‑proliferation regimes, which must be robust without hampering legitimate trade between countries.

The representative of Viet Nam said his country is a signatory to all non‑proliferation treaties and voted in favour of “L.55”, recognizing the right of all States to technology transfers for peaceful purposes.

The representative of Argentina said his delegation abstained on “L.55” because arms control regimes concluded outside the United Nations are the result of the inability to conclude them within the Organization.

The representative of Mexico, noting that her delegation abstained on “L.55”, emphasized that developments in science and technology must be used for peaceful purposes.  Exchanges must be undertaken in accordance with existing conventions, she said, highlighting the progress made under the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual‑Use Goods and Technologies and other such agreements and mechanisms in the area of dual‑use goods and sensitive materials.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation abstained on “L.16” because the United States has failed to comply with the non‑proliferation architecture.  The only country to have used nuclear weapons violates its commitments under the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, she said, also citing that country’s imposition of unilateral coercive measures.  It remains the only State party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction yet to destroy its stockpiles, she added.

The representative of Uruguay said his delegation voted in favour of “L.55”, saying it considers the legitimate aspirations of States to access technologies for peaceful purposes.  Expressing support for balanced control of materials and technologies, he said he looks forward to further constructive discussions.

The representative of Ghana said her delegation voted in favour of “L.55” because the inalienable right of States parties to nuclear technology must not be diminished.  Emphasizing that peaceful use of technology should not be an opening for the development of new weapons, she said possession of nuclear weapons ensures neither peace nor international security.

The representative of the Philippines, referring to “L.55”, said the export control regime must not unduly restrict trade in technology for peaceful uses.  She emphasized that export control regimes do not unduly restrict international trade.  She went on to say that she abstained on “L.55” as well as operative paragraphs 2 and 3.  She added that her delegation co‑sponsored “L.13” and appreciates efforts by the United States and the Russian Federation to harmonize their actions.

The Committee then turned to general remarks on the following draft resolutions:  “Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/C.1/76/L.22); “Regional disarmament” (document A/C.1/76/L.30); “Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels” (document A/C.1/76/L.31); “Confidence‑building measures in the regional and subregional context” (document A/C.1/76/L.32); and “Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region” (document A/C.1/76/L.37).

The representative of Algeria introduced “L.37”, saying it addresses human rights issues in the region, and was adopted by consensus until 2018.  Describing the requests for votes on operative paragraphs 2 and 5 and on the entire text as an unfortunate setback, he said his delegation tried to insert amendments to balance the paragraphs, but his call to restore consensus was not heard.

The representative of Malaysia, while emphasizing the importance of nuclear‑weapon‑free zones, noted that nuclear-weapon States have not yet signed the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon‑Free Zone (Treaty of Bangkok), an important instrument in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

The representative of the Philippines, expressing support for “L.30”, said global and regional approaches to disarmament complement each other and should be pursued simultaneously to promote peace and security in the regions and globally.  That complementarity, however, is a two‑way street, and regional measures must be complemented by adherence to global norms and frameworks.  Concerning nuclear weapons, she emphasized that the Non‑Proliferation Treaty remains the cornerstone of the global disarmament and non‑proliferation regime.

An observer for the European Union delegation, noting the changes in the current version of “L.37”, emphasized that promoting the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear‑Test-Ban Treaty is among the bloc’s top priorities alongside taking concrete actions in this direction.  He called upon all nations, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to establish moratoria on nuclear‑weapon testing, which undermines the global non‑proliferation regime, adding that only the Test‑Ban Treaty’s entry into force will outlaw testing in a verifiable way.

The Committee then took up the draft “Implementation of the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (document A/C.1/76/L.22), by which the General Assembly would take note of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean.  Also by the text, it would reiterate its conviction that the participation of all permanent members of the Security Council and the major maritime users of the Indian Ocean in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee is important and would greatly facilitate the development of a mutually beneficial dialogue to advance peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean region.

By a recorded vote of 135 in favour to 3 against (France, United Kingdom, United States), with 46 abstentions, the Committee approved “L.22”.

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft “Regional disarmament” (document A/C.1/76/L.30).  By that text, the General Assembly would affirm that global and regional approaches to disarmament complement each other and should therefore be pursued simultaneously to promote regional and international peace and security.  It would call upon States to conclude, wherever possible, agreements on nuclear non‑proliferation, disarmament and confidence‑building measures at the regional and subregional levels.

The Committee then took up the draft “Conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels” (document A/C.1/76/L.31), by which the General Assembly would decide to give urgent consideration to issues involved in conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels.  It would also request that the Conference on Disarmament consider drawing up principles that can serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control.

Before taking action on that draft, the Committee decided ‑ by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 2 against (India, Russian Federation), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Guinea‑Bissau, Somalia, Zimbabwe) — to retain preambular paragraph 7, by which the Assembly would note with particular interest initiatives taken in that regard around the world, in particular the start of consultations among Latin American countries and proposals for conventional arms control made in the context of South Asia.  It would recognize the relevance and value of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe as a cornerstone of European security.

By a recorded vote of 116 in favour to 1 against (India), with 55 abstentions, the Committee decided to retain operative paragraph 2, by which the Assembly would request that the Conference on Disarmament consider formulating principles that can serve as a framework for regional agreements on conventional arms control.

The Committee then approved “L.31” in its entirety by a recorded vote of 179 in favour to 1 against (India), with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Russian Federation, Somalia, Zimbabwe).

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft resolution “Confidence‑building measures in the regional and sub-regional context” (document A/C.1/76/L.32).  By that text, the General Assembly would call upon Member States to refrain from the use or threat of use of force, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.  It would also call upon them to pursue confidence- and security‑building measures through consultations and dialogue, and urge them to comply strictly with all bilateral, regional and international agreements — including arms control and disarmament agreements — to which they are party.

The Committee next considered the draft “Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region” (document A/C.1/76/L.37), which would have the General Assembly reaffirm that security in the Mediterranean is closely linked to European security and to international peace and security.  Also by the text, the Assembly would invite Mediterranean countries to consolidate efforts to eliminate all causes of tension in the region and promote just and lasting solutions through peaceful means, thereby ensuring the withdrawal of foreign forces of occupation and respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries therein.  The Assembly would, by other terms, further highlight the importance for all countries of the Mediterranean region adhering to the relevant multilaterally negotiated legal instruments relating to disarmament and non-proliferation.

Before action on that draft, the Committee decided to retain operative paragraph 2 of the text by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions.  By its terms, the Assembly would invite Mediterranean countries to consolidate their efforts in order to contribute actively to the elimination of all causes of tension in the region and to the promotion of just and lasting solutions to the persistent problems of the region through peaceful means, thus ensuring the withdrawal of foreign forces of occupation while respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries of the Mediterranean and the right of their peoples to self‑determination.  The Assembly would therefore call for full adherence to the principles of non‑interference, non-intervention, non-use of force or threat of use of force, and inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force.

By a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 1 abstention (Ireland), the Committee retained operative paragraph 5, which would have the Assembly highlight the importance for all countries of the Mediterranean region adhering to the relevant multilaterally negotiated legal instruments relating to disarmament and non‑proliferation, thus creating the conditions necessary for strengthening peace and cooperation in the region.

The Committee then approved “L.37”, in its entirety, by a recorded vote of 176 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 2 abstentions (Israel, Somalia).

The representative of Iran, referring to “L.37”, said his delegation voted in favour of operative paragraph 2 based on its call for the withdrawal of foreign forces of occupation and for respecting the territorial integrity of all countries in the region.  He added that he also voted in favour of operative paragraph 5 in support of adherence to all multilaterally negotiated legal instruments on disarmament.  However, Iran did not participate in the action on the entire text as it does not reflect realities in the region, including the continued killing of Palestinian civilians.

The representative of India said her delegation voted against “L.31” and operative paragraph 2, as there is no need for the Conference on Disarmament to formulate principles on the same topic as the Disarmament Commission.  Conventional arms control does not need to be pursued at the regional and subregional levels, she emphasized, noting that she also voted against preambular paragraph 7.

The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation abstained on “L.31” and disagreed with the formulation of preambular paragraph 7, as the 1990 conventional arms treaty formulated in Europe has long been obsolete.  Noting that North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member States rejected the Russian Federation’s proposals, he said his delegation stands ready to work on a new conventional arms treaty in Europe.

The representative of Israel said “L.37” does not reflect reality in the Middle East.  Citing operative paragraph 2, he said peace in the Mediterranean is the goal, but it makes no mention of the ongoing use of chemical weapons by Syria, or the terrorism unleashed by Iran.  Turning to operative paragraph 5, he said joining arms control treaties is not a goal in itself, adding that it is time to face reality as it is.

Turning to items relating to the disarmament machinery, the Committee took up the draft decision “Disarmament Commission” (document A/C.1/76/L.33) and the following draft resolutions:  “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific” (document A/C.1/76/L.18); “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa” (document A/C.1/76/L.21); “Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament” (document A/C.1/76/L.25); “United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament” (document A/C.1/76/L.28); “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean” (document A/C.1/76/L.38); “Report of the Conference on Disarmament” (document A/C.1/76/L.48); and “Regional confidence‑building measures: activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa” (document A/C.1/76/L.61).

Delegates first spoke in explanation of position.

The representative of the Russian Federation emphasized the need to avoid politicizing disarmament and non‑proliferation matters and to safeguard and strengthen supporting measures, including in the First Committee, the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission, cautioning that otherwise consensus on related issues would not be possible.  He said that lately, a troubling trend has seen a diversion from the issues at hand to secondary concerns, noting that nearly half of the meetings of the Conference on Disarmament in 2021 concerned matters not on its agenda.  Stressing that Member States must have the necessary tools to effectively tackle questions on the agenda of the parties to the Conference on Disarmament, he said the rule of consensus is inviolable.  States must seek mutually acceptable solutions, he added.  He went on to describe the Disarmament Commission as a unique platform for reaching consensus.

The representative of the Philippines, referring to the draft “L.28”, said substantive issues that must be addressed in the Disarmament Commission are inordinately important in pursuing that body’s mandate to resolve issues of disarmament and international peace and security, including the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.  Reiterating that there is a legitimate reason to question the non-issuance of visas to certain Disarmament Commission delegates considering the relevant provisions of the 1947 Headquarters Agreement, she noted that visa issuance is also a sovereign right.  Ultimately, the work of the Disarmament Commission must proceed and not be impacted by that bilateral consular issue.

The Committee then approved, without a vote, the draft “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific” (document A/C.1/76/L.18).  By its terms, the General Assembly would appeal to Member States, in particular those within the Asia‑Pacific region, as well as to international governmental and non‑governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions to strengthen its programme of activities and the implementation thereof.  It would further reaffirm strong support for the role of the Regional Centre in promoting United Nations activities to strengthen regional peace, stability and security.  The Assembly would also underline the importance of the Kathmandu process for region‑wide security and disarmament dialogues.

Acting without a vote, the Committee next approved, as orally revised, the draft “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa” (document A/C.1/76/L.21).  By its terms, the General Assembly would commend the Regional Centre for the support and assistance it provided to African States, upon request, on the Arms Trade Treaty, including through by organizing subregional and regional seminars and workshops.  The Assembly would urge all States, as well as international, governmental and non‑governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions to enable the Regional Centre to carry out its programmes and activities while meeting the needs of African States.  It would urge, in particular, States members of the African Union to make voluntary contributions to the trust fund for the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, in conformity with the decision taken by the Executive Council of the African Union, in Khartoum in January 2006.

Acting again without a vote, the Committee approved the draft “Convening of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament” (document A/C.1/76/L.25).  By that text, the Assembly would recall the consensus adoption of recommendations on the objectives and agenda of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament by the Open-ended Working Group.  It would also encourage Member States to continue consultations on the next steps for convening the fourth special session devoted to disarmament.

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved, as orally revised, the draft “United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament” (document A/C.1/76/L.28).  By its terms, the Assembly would reaffirm that it is useful for the three regional centres to carry out dissemination and educational programmes that promote regional peace and security, aimed at changing basic attitudes on peace and security and disarmament.  The Assembly would also appeal to Member States in each region that are able to do so to make voluntary contributions to the regional centres in their respective regions in order to strengthen their activities and initiatives.

The Committee then approved, without a vote, the draft decision “Disarmament Commission” (document A/C.1/76/L.33), by which the General Assembly would decide that the body will hold a substantive session from 4 to 22 April 2022.  It would also decide that the Disarmament Commission will submit a substantive report to the General Assembly at its seventy‑seventh session.

It went on to approve, without a vote, the draft resolution “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean” (document A/C.1/76/L.38).  By its provisions, the General Assembly would reiterate its strong support for the role of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean in the promotion of activities of the United Nations at the regional and subregional levels to strengthen peace, disarmament, stability, security and development among its Member States.

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft “Report of the Conference on Disarmament” (document A/C.1/76/L.48), by which the General Assembly would call upon the Conference on Disarmament to further intensify consultations and explore possibilities for overcoming its ongoing deadlock of two decades by adopting and implementing a balanced and comprehensive programme of work at the earliest possible date during its 2021 session, bearing in mind the decision on the programme of work adopted by the Conference on 29 May 2009, as well as other relevant present, past and future proposals.  The Assembly would, by other terms, request that the current President and successive presidents of the Conference on Disarmament cooperate with its States members in the effort to guide the Conference to the early commencement of its substantive work, including negotiations, at its 2022 session.

Without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution “Regional confidence‑building measures: activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa” (document A/C.1/76/L.61), by which the General Assembly would, among other things, reaffirm its support for confidence‑building efforts in Central Africa and encourage States members of the Standing Advisory Committee to pursue discussions on conflict prevention initiatives.

Delegates then delivered statements in explanation of position on the above drafts.

The representative of Malaysia said his delegation joined the consensus around all drafts on the disarmament machinery.  Emphasizing that the Conference on Disarmament must reassert its relevancy as the sole forum on the subject, he asserted that said Member States must demonstrate flexibility in rejuvenating it.  He went on to express disappointment that the Disarmament Commission could not hold substantive sessions in 2019 and 2020, voicing hope that it will be held from 5 to 22 April 2022.

The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation joined the consensus on “L.33”, reaffirming the ongoing need for the Disarmament Commission and praising its work in 2018.  However, he expressed regret over organizational problems, including the non‑issuance of a visa to the head of the Russian Federation’s delegation in 2019 and 2020.

Turning to the remaining items on its agenda relating to nuclear and other weapons, the Committee took up the draft resolutions “Follow‑up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/76/L.58) and “Secretary‑General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons” (document A/C.1/76/L.54).

The representative of the Russian Federation, making a general statement in reference to “L.54”, said the international community needs a tool to enhance the existing Mechanism.  Since its functions are based on a General Assembly resolution adopted in 1990, updates are needed, he said.  As such, the Russian Federation has proposed that the ideas of Member States are taken into consideration, he added.

Delegates then spoke in explanation of position.

The representative of Switzerland said his delegation would vote against “L.54”, explaining that all updating procedures are already contained in the guidelines and there is no need for the draft.  He added that several operative paragraphs were “problematic”.

The representative of the United States said “L.54” would weaken the Secretary‑General’s Mechanism.  Recalling recent efforts by the Russian Federation and China, as well as calls for alternative mechanisms, he said the United States will oppose the draft.

The representative of Slovenia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the bloc does not support the draft “L.54”, noting that it fails to mention the fact that the Secretary‑General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons were reviewed in 2007 and their technical appendices updated the same year.  Furthermore, the Guidelines and Procedures worked adequately in a real‑world situation in 2013, when the Mechanism was launched for the purpose of the investigations by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.  It is, therefore, unclear why there would be a pressing need at this time to start a process leading to a review the Guidelines and Procedures, she said.  Questioning the motives of the proposal, she said the ulterior motive behind the supposed need to review the Guidelines and Procedures is to subordinate the Mechanism, and more specifically the Secretary‑General’s ability to make decisions as to whether to launch an investigation into alleged use of biological weapons.

The representative of Iran said his delegation would vote in favour of “L.54” attaching great importance to the independence of the Secretary‑General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons.  He emphasized the need to resume multilateral negotiations on a non-discriminatory legally binding protocol.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Follow‑up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/76/L.58).  By that text, the General Assembly would call upon all States to immediately engage in negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament under strict and effective international control, including under the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  The Assembly would underline once again the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there exists an obligation to pursue such negotiations in good faith.

Before action on “L.58”, the Committee decided ‑ by a recorded vote of 138 in favour to 2 against (Russian Federation, United States), with 30 abstentions ‑ to retain preambular paragraph 9, by which the Assembly would note continued efforts towards nuclear disarmament, including through the Secretary‑General’s disarmament agenda, Securing Our Common Future:  An Agenda for Disarmament.

The Committee then approved the retention of preambular paragraph 17 by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 36 against, with 19 abstentions.  By its terms, the Assembly would recall the adoption, and welcome the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which have contributed to the objective of a legally binding prohibition of the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, threat or use of nuclear weapons and their destruction under effective international control.

It went on to retain, by a recorded vote of 111 in favour to 36 against, with 17 abstentions, operative paragraph 2, which would request that the Assembly call once again upon all States to immediately engage in multilateral negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control, including under the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The Committee then approved “L.58” by a recorded vote of 131 in favour to 33 against, with 17 abstentions.

It then took up the new draft resolution “Secretary‑General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons” (document A/C.1/76/L.54).  By that text, the Assembly would recognize that there have been developments in the field of science and technology and that the situation relating to disarmament has evolved since the mechanism was created in 1987 and its technical guidelines and procedures were endorsed in 1990.

Also before the Committee was an eponymous draft resolution (document A/C.1/76/L.63) containing programme budget implications of that text.

Before voting on “L.54” in its entirety, the Committee rejected the retention of operative paragraph 3 by a recorded vote of 58 against to 26 in favour, with 68 abstentions.  By the terms of that paragraph, the Assembly would have encouraged Member States to determine which provisions of the guidelines and procedures contained in annex I to the 1989 report of the Secretary‑General may need to be updated and to share their ideas and suggestions with regard to modifications.

By a recorded vote of 58 against to 25 in favour, with 68 abstentions, it also rejected the inclusion of operative paragraph 4, by which the Assembly would have requested that the Secretary‑General seek the views of Member States on the above‑mentioned issues.

The Committee then rejected “L.54” in its entirety, as orally revised, by a recorded vote of 64 against to 31 in favour, with 77 abstentions.

Delegates then spoke in explanation of position.

The representative of Iraq said his delegation did not abstain from the vote on the preamble to “L.58” but voted in favour.  Iraq did not ask to co‑sponsor “L.54”, he added.

For information media. Not an official record.