Resolution tabled by Minister Andrews on a Nuclear Weapon Free World adopted at UN
A resolution calling for a Nuclear Weapon-Free World tabled by Ireland in November was adopted by a substantial majority today in the General Assembly of the United Nations. This resolution follows the Joint Ministerial Declaration of 9 June in which the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. David Andrews, and the Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia and South Africa, called for a new international agenda to achieve a Nuclear Weapon-Free World.
In his statement to the General Assembly on 23 September, Minister Andrews said that the occasion provided a unique opportunity to give substance to the proposals set out in the Ministerial Declaration. "We cannot enter the third Millennium with the prospect that nuclear weapons will be considered legitimate for the indefinite future", he said.
The resolution calls on the Nuclear Weapon States (France, UK, USA, Russia and China) to "demonstrate an unequivocal commitment to the speedy and total elimination of their respective nuclear weapons". They are asked to conclude negotiations leading to the elimination of their nuclear weapons arsenals. The Declaration and Resolution were under preparation when India and Pakistan began a series of nuclear tests in May. The Resolution specifically calls on the countries that have shown themselves capable of developing and testing nuclear weapons to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to renounce their nuclear weapons option.
It was an initiative of Ireland at the United Nations in the late 1950s that produced the NPT. The Resolution adopted today reinforces the NPT, which has become the cornerstone of nuclear non-proliferation efforts in the world and remains the foundation for international nuclear disarmament efforts.
The Resolution sets out a series of concrete and mutually reinforcing measures to be taken by the five Nuclear Weapons States, by certain other States which have remained outside the NPT regime, and by the international community as a whole. These measures provide a realistic approach to allow for real progress towards the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons.
The initiative which Ireland has led at the United Nations has been warmly welcomed by a large number of Irish and international non-governmental organisations.