Excerpts from the Statement by
Ambassador J. Enkhsaikhan on nuclear issues
In the General Debate of the First committee
/53rd Session of UNGA, New York, 27 October, 1998/
In this second phase of the First Committee’s work, the thematic discussion, my delegation would like to touch upon a subject that, in its view, is very important for promoting nuclear disarmament - the role of individual States, including small States. As I have already pointed out in my earlier intervention, promoting disarmament and international security are not the exclusive prerogative of the big and the powerful. The role of medium and even small States should not be underestimated. They are playing, collectively or individually, a more active role in the disarmament and confidence-building processes. One such area is nuclear disarmament. Though these States do not possess nuclear weapons, they could play more active and positive role, either collectively or otherwise, in promoting nuclear disarmament. Therefore the international community, including the United Nations, should encourage and support them in every way possible.
Today more than half of the world is covered by a network of nuclear-weapon-free zones, both operating and emerging, as a result of the Antarctic treaty and the treaties of Rarotonga, Bangkok, Tlatelolco and Pelindaba. The positive trend of creating additional NWFZs should be further encouraged in every way in the spirit of the decision of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. It is in this very spirit that Mongolia welcomes and supports the efforts of the Central Asian States to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in their sub-region and believes that the recent consultative meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, was instrumental in providing the opportunity for the States of the sub-region and nuclear-weapon-States to exchange views on the basic elements of the future treaty. It is our hope that the Central Asian NWFZ would be created before the year 2000. Bearing in mind the importance of the region, we believe that the Middle East should also be turned into a NWFZ, and pending creation of such a zone, all States of the region should refrain, on a reciprocal basis, from producing, acquiring or in any other way possessing nuclear weapons and taking other appropriate commitments and practical steps in that direction. Likewise, Mongolia supports the proposal to establish a NWFZ in South Asia, duly reflecting the existing realities.
My delegation believes that even if the above mentioned NWFZs are created, there are still other sub-regions, including in Europe, as well as many individual States that could also opt for creating NWFZs or otherwise acquiring other forms of nuclear-weapon-free status, depending on the specific regional or sub-regional characteristics and the security concerns of those and other concerned States. My country, Mongolia, is an example thereof.
Because of its geographical location, it does not border on any third country but two nuclear-weapon-states, with all the ensuing geo-political realities and complexities, including even the safety of their nuclear installations. Having been fully dependent on one side in the Sino-Soviet dispute, it sided with that power, forming in fact its forward base against the other, incurring thus political, military and other forms of pressure from that other power. The potential danger of the outbreak of conflict on its territory was constantly hanging over it, in which Mongolia itself had no control.
It is for this reason and driven by the desire to contribute to the cause of promotion of nuclear disarmament in the post Cold war period, that in 1992 Mongolia declared its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone. The initiative enjoys widespread international support, as reflected in the Final Document of the XII summit of the Non-Aligned Movement as well as of its two neighbors and other nuclear-weapon States. However, when it comes to the question of actual creation of such a zone, the hitherto accepted formula of creation of NWFZs does not seem to be fully applicable. There are many reasons. Thus one reason is that Mongolia stands alone in creating such a zone. In this respect it is in fact a pioneering State, since no State has acquired single State nuclear-weapon-free status. Moreover, at this stage the nuclear-weapon States have difficulties to accept the notion of single- State zones, although many States are voicing their support for such zones.
Another reason is that Mongolia is sandwiched between two nuclear-weapon States, affecting thus directly their interests. A third reason is that nuclear security for Mongolia, however important, is but one of the essential elements of its over-all security. Today, when its relations with the two neighbors are good and cooperative, the nuclear-weapon-free status serves more as an additional factor of stability and predictability than a preemptive policy. Logically, this fact in itself should be conducive to genuine and constructive cooperation. Last, but not least, for a small State like Mongolia, its nuclear-weapon-free status would be stronger if its over-all security is ensured.
My delegation has been conducting consultations on this question with the States concerned since the summer of 1997. In the course of these consultations, the above specific features of Mongolia have been well understood and recognized by all sides concerned. At this stage, we believe, it is in itself a big achievement. However, still much is yet to be done. But we are optimists. We believe, that once there is such an understanding, with necessary political will, we can arrive quite soon at some arrangement that could accommodate the particular needs and interests of Mongolia, including strengthening of its nuclear-weapon-free status, the legitimate interests of its neighbors as well as the interests of stability in this region in general. Since we enjoy good-neighborly relations with the two neighbors, we believe that our arrangement could be looked at more as an insurance policy rather than as a form of preventive diplomacy. It is expected to strengthen both our international security and the nuclear-weapon-free status. Moreover, mindful of the role and importance of our two neighbors not only in the region but also in the world, we believe that the future arrangement could be of tremendous importance for international peace and security. Thus it could, in the long-run, form basis of an important factor in strengthening stability and predictability in the sub-region and even perhaps form part of a wider regional network of arrangements, connected with North East Asia, Central Asia or even the ARF.
Mr. Chairman, We believe that the United Nations, its appropriate departments and disarmament centers, their enormous wealth of experience could play a positive role in this endeavor. We are looking forward to such cooperation.
Bearing in mind the quite advanced stage of negotiations on Mongolia’s initiative, my delegation, in consultation with some other delegations, has submitted a draft resolution, contained in document A/C.1/53/L.10, which will be introduce in the Committee in due time.