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Outgoing president of UN Disarmament Conference sees no early accord on work plan

Outgoing president of UN Disarmament Conference sees no early accord on work plan

The outgoing President of the Conference on Disarmament today told the Geneva-based body that he saw no minimal conditions for agreement among its members on a programme of work - an obstacle which has held up substantial discussions for several years in succession.

Ambassador Carlos Amat Fores of Cuba made his assessment following weeks of intensive consultations involving a majority of delegations. While stressing that he did not wish to point fingers or lay blame, he said certain countries were playing a "significant role" in the lack of agreement on a programme of work.

The outgoing President noted that while many delegates wished to preserve the Conference as the sole international forum for multilateral disarmament negotiations, some had also pointed out that its prospects for the immediate future were not very encouraging. He warned that if the Conference remained unable to conduct substantive work, its credibility would be seriously affected.

The Cuban Ambassador emphasized that all possible efforts must be made to advance the substantive issues, which constituted the main reason for the Conference's existence. Progress required political will and flexibility on the part of all members.

The Conference on Disarmament was of vital importance and should be preserved until it was ready to act when the right conditions emerged, he stressed, adding that the current climate of pessimism should not be allowed to prevail.

Established in 1979, the 66-member Conference on Disarmament works strictly on the basis of consensus on matters that touch the national security interests of States. It reports to the United Nations General Assembly, while defining its own rules and agenda.