Excerpts from the Statement by
Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations
In the General Debate of the First committee

/52nd Session of UNGA, New York, October 1997/

The First Committee deliberates this year amidst major international and regional developments one way or another connected with promoting disarmament, strengthening non-proliferation, pursuing arms control in certain areas, regulating some international arms transfers and bringing some transperancy in disarmament. The signing by the overwhelming majority of States of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the establishment of additional nuclear-weapon-free zones in Africa and South-East Asia, the adoption by the International Court of Justice of the advisory opinion on the legality of the threat and use of nuclear weapons which stipulates that there exist an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament are but a few positive dividents of the end of the Cold War on the threshold of a new millenium.

Other positive changes have also taken place, namely, the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the strengthening of the prohibition of biological weapons, the adoption of the Second Modified Protocol and Fourth Protocol of the Convention on the prohibition or restriction on the use of certain conventional weapons and, last but not least, the elaboration of the Oslo treaty text on the ban of anti-personnel landmines. My delegation hopes that deliberations in the First Committee at its current session would further contribute towards the advancement of the goals of disarmament and strengthening international security.

From Mongolia's perspective, that of a non-nuclear-weapon state, nuclear disarmament should remain a highest priority on the international disarmament agenda. Certainly, we do acknowledge the primary importance of the bilateral US-Russian agreements reached in Helsinki earlier this year, aimed at reducing the existing nuclear weapon stockpiles through the START process. In this regard we welcome the declared intention of the Russian Federation to ratify the START-2 agreement and to start the START-3 negotiations as soon as possible.

We believe that parallel substantive multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament should be pursued within the Conference on Disarmament, the single multilateral negotiating forum, which would lead to a global and legally binding ban on nuclear weapons. As for the question of dealing with the nuclear weapons issues, Mongolia takes a practical and pragmatic position, flexible and open enough to initiate negotiations where progress is possible and feasible. In this regard my delegation concurs with the statement made earlier in the debate by the representative of Japan to the effect that "idealism that pays little attention to reality cannot advance disarmament, but neither can realism which is not grounded on ideals". Thus we have no unsurmountable difficulty to start with a fissile materials cut-off treaty negotiations and concurrently move to further other nuclear disarmament objectives.

The Mongolian delegation regrets that the General Assembly was not able to agree on the convening of the Fourth Special session devoted to disarmament due to lack of consensus on its objectives and agenda. We express the hope that the Assembly would be in a position to take a decision on this important issue in the nearest future. Like others, Mongolia also attaches major importance to the forthcoming Second Prepom of the Review Conference of the states parties to the NPT.

Mongolia, located between two nuclear-weapon states, promptly fulfilled its treaty obligation by ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty on 3 July this year, thus becoming one of the 7 states to have ratified the Treaty. We urge all states that have not yet done so to sign and ratify it at an early date. We are pleased that the Provisional Technical Secretariat, which was established earlier this year, began to put in place the treaty implementation mechanism. My delegation looks forward to the first phases of International Monitoring System being established and installed. I wish to place on record that Mongolia has submitted its 2 seismological and radionuclide stations, established with the assistance of the Government of France to the International Monitoring System and to this end it now is making all the necessary arrangements with the Provisional Technical Secretariat.

We are gratified to see the increasing trend towards establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones around the globe. Mongolia sees the establishment of these zones as important regional or sub-regional initiatives conducive to the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free world. To-date, more than half of the world is covered by nuclear-weapon-free zones thanks to the Antarctic Treaty as well as the treaties of Rarotonga,Bangkok, Tlatelolco and Pelindaba.

Mongolia welcomes the bold initiative taken by the five Central Asian states, its close, though not contiguous, geographical neighbours, to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Central Asian sub-region and actively supports such a block-building, parallel approach to nuclear disarmament.

On its part, Mongolia is endeavoring to make its modest contribution to logical development of the nuclear-weapon-free zone concept by advancing a concept of a single state NWFZ, reflecting the evolving reality. We hope that similar continued efforts, however modest they may be, collectively or individually alike, would be made by others towards realising the goals of nuclear disarmament. As for Mongolia's own nuclear-weapon-free zone status, that already enjoys the support of all 5 nuclear weapon states - permanent members of the Security Council and the entire Non-Aligned Movement, it intends, at some stage, to ask the General Assembly to recognize it, like other zones, as such, as envisaged by UNGA resolution 3472 B (XXX) of 11 December 1975.

The Mongolian delegation notes with satisfaction the recent entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention as an important event of 1997. We are pleased that it has been possible to establish the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons quickly and that it has started to function smoothly. This is a tribute to the work done by the Convention's Preparatory Commission and its Provisional Secretariat. At present Mongolia is preparing to make all the necessary notifications, declarations and communications under the CWC, since the compliance with the treaty obligations remains a vital objective for Mongolia.

The issue of landmines, understandibly, has attracted a hightened attention of the international community because of the thousands of deaths and untold sufferings they are causing to the civilian population. Mongolia remains committed to the ultimate goal of banning this type of cruel and indiscriminate weapons. We believe that a comprehensive solution could be found through a phased approach that would command international consensus by reaching a broad agreement on humanitarian concerns as well as legitimate security interests of states.

We must continue to keep a focused attention on the disarmament agenda and to exert every effort to benefit from the rare historic opportunity which might not present itself any time soon. In this regard my delegation welcomes the efforts of the Secretary-General to reform and revitalise the work of the United Nations in the disarmament field. We support his proposal to reconstitute the Centre for Disarmament Affairs into the Department for Disarmament and Arms Regulation. However, we would urge that the Geneva based Conference on Disarmament and other disarmament related structures be kept intact and continue to play a vital role in serving disarmament negotiation processes and keeping the issue of disarmament at the centre of UN activities.