8 June 2000

Press Release



Proposed Programme Addresses Fissile Material, Nuclear Disarmament, Prevention of Outer Space Arms Race

GENEVA, 8 June (UN Information Service) -- The Conference on Disarmament this morning heard its President who said that during his consultations with members of the Conference he had proposed a programme of work in three parts, addressing the issue of a ban of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament and the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

Jean Lint, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations Office at Geneva, President of the Conference for period of four weeks, stated that to find an acceptable compromise was not an easy task, and called for a spirit of flexibility and compromise. He hoped he would be able to submit a programme of work before the next plenary meeting of the Conference.

Pakistan, the coordinator of the Group of 21 (non-aligned members of the Conference) and Mexico regretted that they were not consulted concerning the Chairpersonís proposals. Pakistan said that the discussion should include the issue of negative security assurances. Germany also made a statement.


JEAN LINT (Belgium), President of the Conference. stressed the need for a sense of urgency and transparency. He said the international community would not understand that for the second consecutive year, the Conference was not able to agree on a programme of work. Belgium valued the existing structure and considered that the Conference on Disarmament was the only forum where these issues could be resolved or at least negotiated.

The President of the Conference, reiterating the need for transparency, said he had been holding consultations with a member of delegations during this week, particularly with the coordinators of regional groups to whom he had submitted a text dealing with a programme of work. He said that the proposed programme of work addressed a ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament and the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

The President recognized that seeking an acceptable compromise by all was not an easy task; however, he recalled that without a spirit of flexibility and compromise, it was impossible to come to an agreement. He said he hoped to arrive by next week at a text which could be submitted to the regional groups. He expressed the hope that there would be no delays because of procedural arguments.

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ANTONIO DE ICAZA (Mexico) underlined that his delegation was not among those consulted and indicated that he did not exclude having to consult his Government before taking any position on the issue.

MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) welcomed the desire for transparency expressed by the President. As coordinator of the Group of 21 non-aligned members of the Conference, he underlined that he did not receive the document referred to by the President. He stressed that transparency should be followed by equitable and equal treatment of members of the Conference. He noted that the Chairperson had spoken of three issues, omitting an issue which the Conference had much discussed: the establishment of an ad hoc committee on negative security assurances. He asked if that issue would be part of the negotiations and if it was included in the Presidentís proposals. He added that if the issue of negative security assurances was not part of the discussions, his delegation would reconsider its position on the other issues.

Mr. LINT (Belgium), Conference President, assured that there would be equality in information and that he would distribute a text "which would have a chance to be accepted." He said that a programme of work in three parts was quite an ambitious programme. He said there was no reason to exclude the issue of negative security assurances, and he would take Pakistan's remarks into consideration.

The representative of Germany expressed support for the President's proposal and stressed that the three elements to be included in the programme of work were those which were already agreed to at the present stage.

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