Statement By

 

H.E. Ambassador Rastam Mohd Isa

Permanent Representative Of Malaysia

To The United Nations On Behalf Of The Non-Aligned Movement

 At The Open Debate Of The Security Council

 Concerning The Non-Proliferation Of Weapons Of

 Mass Destruction Among Non-State Actors

New York, 22 April 2004

 

Mr. President,

 

I should like to thank you on behalf on the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM),  for convening this open debate on a question that is very important to all Member States of the United Nations and the international community at large.  The position of NAM on the question of the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery by non-state actors, in particular terrorists, is encapsulated in paragraph 100 of the Final Document of the XIII Conference of Heads of State or Government of NAM held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2003.  The paragraph reads as follows:

       

“The Heads of State or Government expressed their satisfaction with the consensus among states on measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD.  They welcomed the adoption by consensus of the General Assembly Resolution 57/83 entitled “Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD” and underlined the need for this threat to humanity to be addressed within the United Nations framework and through international law.  While stressing that the most effective way of preventing terrorists from acquiring WMD is through the total elimination of such weapons, they emphasized that progress was urgently needed in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation in order to help maintain international peace and security and to contribute to global efforts against terrorism.  They called upon all member states to support international efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD and their means of delivery.  They also urged all member states to take and strengthen national measures as appropriate, to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD, their means of delivery and materials and technologies related to their manufacture.”

 

2.         It is clear from this statement that the NAM Member Countries welcome international efforts to prevent terrorists and other non-state actors from acquiring WMD and their means of delivery.  The draft resolution presently under discussion in the Council is one of those efforts.  While we do not dispute its intent, we still have questions, doubts and our own views and comments regarding its content.

 

3.         I should like to convey the sincere appreciation of NAM to the sponsors of the draft resolution for their initiative as well as their preparedness to engage the larger membership of the United Nations in consultations on this very important question and not just confining discussion to only among members of the Security Council.  We found the informal consultations between the NAM members and the co-sponsors held on 6 April 2004 to be a very useful effort.  We would welcome further consultations on this issue before the Council takes a decision on it. 

 

4.         We would also welcome consultations between Council members and NAM on other issues of global concern and interest in future in the spirit of promoting dialogue, transparency and accountability in the work of the Security Council.

 

5.         The Non-Aligned Movement sincerely hopes that the sponsors and Council members would continue to take into consideration the views and concerns expressed by NAM member countries.  We believe that it is important to ensure that the final product is realistic, generally acceptable and implementable.  After all, in this regard governments, national legislatures and for that matter the private sector in all member countries are expected to cooperate and take appropriate measures, including the enactment of new legislation and the streamlining or amending of existing ones where applicable.   The Council must give ample time and opportunity for governments to cooperate fully in ensuring the implementation of the resolution.

 

6.         While fully recognizing the importance and urgency of dealing with the issue of the threat of use of WMD by non-state actors, NAM also feels that the manner in which the international community responds to this threat should be equally important.  Therefore, we would counsel the need for further consultations and request that the Security Council not rush into making a decision.

 

Mr. President,

 

7.         I now wish to highlight specific points, as follows:-

 

§          First, NAM firmly believes that non-proliferation should be addressed together with disarmament and the continued possession of any type of WMD which is in fact a threat to international peace and security.  This should be adequately reflected in the draft resolution, not only in the preambular section but also in other parts to provide the necessary balance.  There could also be references to the establishment of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East in line with relevant resolutions already adopted by the Council.

 

§          Secondly, NAM hopes that the definitions of terms could be made clearer, such as, but not exclusively confined to, “means of delivery” and “related materials”.  There may be other important terms identified as appropriate that require defining.  A clearer definition of terms could help avoid unnecessary difficulty for Member States to implement the provisions of the resolution once it is adopted.

 

§          Thirdly, lack of clarity and vague definitions could result in time-consuming and painstaking interpretation at the national level, especially when legislation and national action are required.

 

§          Fourthly, the text of the resolution should conform to Article 25 of the Charter of the United Nations.  While NAM agrees that preventing non-state actors from acquiring WMD is an issue of paramount importance and is in accordance with efforts to address threats to international peace and security, NAM believes that this objective can still be achieved without resort to Chapter VII of the Charter.

 

§          Fifthly, in view of the importance of all provisions stipulated in the draft resolution, the proposed follow-up mechanism to monitor the implementation of the resolution should be provided with a clearly-defined mandate and terms of reference, including its time-frame.

 

§          Finally, we are of the view that the substance of the resolution, once adopted by the Council, should form a useful basis for Member States of the United Nations to consider formulating in due course a comprehensive multilaterally-negotiated legal instrument to address the specific question of preventing the acquisition of WMD by non-state actors in all its aspects.

 

Mr. President,

 

8.         The Non-Aligned Movement is convinced that the draft resolution as intended, could help to fill the lacunae currently existing in international non-proliferation regimes concerning the actions of non-state actors relating to WMD.  We urge the Security Council to take into consideration our concerns in view of the far-reaching and wide-ranging implications of the decision which the Council proposes to take.

 

Thank you, Mr. President.