UN General Assembly passes resolutions on security, disarmament issues

9 December 2003

The United Nations General Assembly yesterday passed 52 resolutions on security and disarmament issues, mostly nuclear, ranging from an attempt to outlaw non-strategic nuclear weapons to a call for a review conference next year on the international convention banning landmines.

While 29 of the resolutions - all had emerged from the Assembly's First Committee, which handles disarmament and international security issues - were adopted without a vote, 23 others were put to a formal vote on the floor of the Assembly.

The consensus texts mainly covered the fields of disarmament machinery, confidence-building and related matters, while the disputed texts reflected international disagreement on how to achieve disarmament and non-proliferation goals.

Resolutions passed by the General Assembly, which has 191 Member States, are not binding on States, unlike those of the Security Council.

A resolution calling for the reduction of "non-strategic" nuclear weapons was adopted with a vote of 128 nations in favour, four against (France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States) and 43 abstentions.

Another resolution, calling on all States to refrain from acting in a way that could lead to a new nuclear arms race and to fulfil all their obligations regarding nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation under international law and treaties was approved 133-6, with 38 abstentions. The countries against were France, India, Israel, Pakistan, the UK and the US.

The General Assembly was also examining a number of legal issues yesterday, including the cloning of human beings.


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