At the outset, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations on your unanimous election and to pledge my delegation’s full cooperation and support. We also congratulate all other fellow members of the Bureau as well as the chairmen of the Working groups. I also join the previous speakers in expressing the gratitude of my delegation to Mr. Maged Abdelaziz of Egypt for his contribution to the work of the last session. My delegation would also like to thank Mrs. Angelica Arce de Jeannet of Mexico for her efforts in preparing for this session.
The Mongolian delegation, since the earliest stage of founding the UNDC, has been attaching great importance to this body as an important international deliberative body in promoting the goals of arms control and disarmament at the regional as well as global levels. The fact that “the total world military expenditure increased by 2.1 per cent in real terms in 1999 and amounted to roughly $780 billion representing 2.6 per cent of the world gross national product (GNP)”, referred to by Under-Secretary-General Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala yesterday, in this Hall, reinforces the need to make concrete progress in the field of disarmament. In this connection, my delegation believes that UNDC is called upon to play an increasing role.
This year, the UNDC has an important role to play, especially in the quest for agreements on two important topics: 1) ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament; 2) practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms.
Nuclear disarmament with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons is the heart of the whole range of disarmament and non-proliferation issues. The pressing issues are: bringing the CTBT into force as soon as possible, strengthening the non-proliferation regime and further implementation of the NPT, preservation of the spirit of the ABM Treaty, the cornerstone of the strategic balance, conclusion of a universal and verifiable Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty as well as working out an effective verification regime for the Biological Weapons Convention. My delegation joins the other delegations in urging member States and the Parties concerned not to spare any effort to achieve the aforementioned objectives.
In the above context, Mongolia has welcomed, as a promising sign for promoting nuclear disarmament, the recent ratification by the Russian Duma of the CTBT and the START II treaties. This gives an important impetus to further nuclear arms reduction. Implementation of the START II would lead not only to a considerable reduction of deployed strategic warheads of the two countries, but would also facilitate the next phase - START III negotiations.
Still on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues, I would like to stress the positive outcome of the recent 2000 NPT Review Conference. Among its positive results, I would like to emphasize in particular the consensus reached by the States Parties on new efforts toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons and curbing the spread of such weapons, as well as the unequivocal undertaking by all nuclear- weapon States to make further efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals and non-strategic nuclear weapons.
Mongolia attaches great importance to the question of establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones as an important and valuable component of non-proliferation. It is in this context that my country welcomed last year’s adoption by the UNDC of the principles and guidelines on the establishment of NWFZs, which would, in our view, further consolidate the existing zones and facilitate the establishment of new ones.
Mongolia is doing its part to contribute to strengthening the non-proliferation regime. In 1992 it declared its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Today, Mongolia is working to strengthen its international security and nuclear-weapon-free status in the light of the UN General Assembly resolution 53/77D, adopted in December 1998. A clearly defined and internationally recognized status over a territory almost the size of Western Europe, would be Mongolia’s practical contribution to promoting the goal of strengthening the non-proliferation regime.
In order to clearly define and institutionalize the status at the national level, our Parliament last February has adopted a special legislation. The nuclear-weapon-free status as well as the adoption of the national legislation have been welcomed and supported by the Secretary-General and by the Non-Aligned Movement at its recent ministerial meeting in Cartagena. At present, my country is working with the P5 on the form and content of a security assurance that could be provided by the P5 to Mongolia.
The second important current mandate of the UNDC is to identify and discuss practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms. There are a number of issues of international concern.
First of all, my delegation shares the legitimate concerns over the increase in arms trade and the spread of conventional weapons, small arms and light weapons, especially in areas of armed conflict. It is estimated that 90 per cent of all conflict-related deaths and injuries is caused by small arms. The majority of victims is the civilian population, surprisingly, 80 per cent of them are women and children. My delegation, therefore, welcomes holding an international conference on the illicit arms trade in all its aspects in year 2001, the preparations for which are already underway.