Irish Nuclear Resolution Passed at UN
A resolution tabled at the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly by the New Agenda Coalition, comprising Ireland together with Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden and a further fifty six co-sponsoring states from all regions of the world has been adopted in New York by an overwhelming majority at the United Nations. 90 states supported the resolution, 13 including 4 of the Nuclear Weapon States voted against the text, while 37 abstained, principally other NATO Member States.
The resolution sets out an agenda for achieving nuclear disarmament through a series of realistic steps. It also calls for specific interim measures which lessen the role of nuclear weapons in security policies while the process of disarmament is taking place.
The resolution also calls on the five Nuclear Weapon States to make "an undertaking to the speedy and total elimination of their nuclear weapons". This undertaking should be manifested through an accelerated process of negotiations, geared towards achieving nuclear disarmament to which the five Nuclear Weapon States are committed under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
In his statement to the General Assembly in September, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr David Andrews T.D., set out his reasons for bringing together the New Agenda Coalition. He stated that: "We could no longer remain complacent at the absence of progress towards the early elimination of nuclear weapons. The limited steps taken to date do not amount to a determined process of elimination."
On the eve of the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT there is a growing concern among states parties at the lack of determined action on the part of the Nuclear Weapon States to make the elimination of nuclear weapons an immediate objective rather than an ultimate goal. Recent events in South Asia, including nuclear testing by India and Pakistan have heightened this worry.
Ireland launched the NPT process in 1958 and all but four states, including the three nuclear weapons capable states - India, Israel and Pakistan - are party to the Treaty. The Treaty is an international norm and the foundation for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Failure by the Nuclear Weapon States to energetically pursue nuclear disarmament in the aftermath of the Cold War is progressively raising concern that the international community's confidence in the Treaty may be harmed.