15 May 1998

Press Release



(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 14 May (UN Information Service) -- The Conference on Disarmament this afternoon heard further statements of condemnation of the underground nuclear tests conducted by India earlier this week.

Delegates from 11 countries urged India to cease further test explosions and to adhere to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Participants also called on India's neighbours to exercise utmost restraint in their reactions to the tests in order to prevent a regional arms race.

Also this afternoon, Conference President Taher Al-Hussami (Syria) said Antonio de Icaza (Mexico) had been appointed Chairman of the ad hoc committee on effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. The decision to create the ad hoc committee was taken on 26 March.

In accordance with that decision the following special coordinators were also appointed this afternoon: John Campbell (Australia), on the most appropriate way to deal with the questions related to anti-personnel land mines taking into account, inter alia, developments outside the Conference; Hewa Palihakkara (Sri Lanka), on "prevention of an arms race in outer space"; Pavel Grecu (Romania), on "transparency in armaments"; Javier Illanes (Chile), on improved and effective functioning of the Conference; Peter Naray (Hungary), on review of the agenda, and Erwin H. Hofer (Switzerland), on expansion of the membership.

This afternoon representatives of Finland, the Slovak Republic, Malaysia, Chile, Romania, Poland, Republic of Korea, Argentina, Colombia, Bulgaria and Mongolia took the floor.


MARKKU REIMAA (Finland) said Finnish Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen had yesterday expressed shock to hear that India had conducted two further nuclear weapon test explosions. Together with the international community, Finland urged India to announce now that no more explosions would take place and that it would join the CTBT. The Foreign Minister had also appealed to other countries in the region to exercise utmost restraint in their reactions to India's test explosions in order to prevent a regional arms race.

JAIME ACUNA (Chile) said his Government had expressed its total rejection of the nuclear tests conducted by India, which constituted a threat to international peace and security. With the tests, India also contravened undertakings agreed at the eleventh summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Cartagena, Colombia, regarding nuclear disarmament.

GUSTAVO CASTRO GUERRERO (Colombia) said his country deeply regretted India's nuclear tests, as they dissipated the atmosphere necessary for the attainment of a world free of nuclear weapons. The Colombian Government was dutybound to deplore the fact that the nuclear-weapon States had failed to show a real commitment to achieving in the near future a world free of such weapons. Colombia firmly supported Mexico's proposal for the establishment of an ad hoc committee on agenda item 1 concerning the cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament.

MANUEL BENITEZ (Argentina) said the Argentinian Government regretted the series of tests conducted by India. Argentina had called on the Government of India to join the international consensus in favour of the CTBT and thus demonstrate its commitment to non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.

KRZYSZTOF JAKUBOWSKI (Poland) said his country was gravely concerned over the negative consequences of the nuclear tests conducted by India for security in South Asia -- that situation might pose a threat to global peace and security. Out of sense of co-responsibility for international peace and security, Poland urged the Government of India to refrain from further nuclear weapons tests and to accede to the CTBT without any conditions.

AHMAD JAZRI MOHD JOHAR (Malaysia), reading a statement from his country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the action by India was a serious setback to efforts to keep the region free of nuclear weapons. It also undermined the efforts of the international community towards attaining a complete ban on nuclear testing. Malaysia was particularly disappointed that India had taken such a step in the light of the overwhelming adoption of the CTBT.

MARIA KRASNOHORSKA (Slovak Republic) said her country's Foreign Ministry had stated that India's nuclear testing was not conducive to peace and stability in the region. The explosions represented an obstacle to international efforts for nuclear disarmament.

PAVEL GRECU (Romania) said his country regretted India's attitude, which went against the moratorium on nuclear testing and represented a threat to peace in the region and in the world. Romania could not overemphasize the importance of the CTBT; it urged India to adhere to that treaty and to the NPT.

CHANG MAN-SOON (Republic of Korea) said his country was concerned over the nuclear tests conducted by India on 11 and 13 May. Korea's Foreign Ministry had stated that the tests were all the more regrettable for coming at a time when international efforts to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world had advanced with the adoption of the CTBT.

KONSTANTIN ANDREEV (Bulgaria) said his country deplored the nuclear tests conducted by India earlier this week and associated itself to the statement on the subject by the Presidency of the European Union. The new tests would not contribute to stability in the region or to peace in the world. It was hoped India would join the countries that sought to strengthen the non-proliferation regime by adhering to the CTBT and by committing itself to a treaty banning the production of fissile materials.

The representative of Mongolia, said his country joined the rest of the international community in condemning the tests by India. Mongolia's Foreign Ministry had expressed regret that the tests had taken place at a time when the five nuclear powers were abstaining from nuclear testing. Mongolia asked India to sign and ratify as soon as possible the NPT and the CTBT.

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For information media. Not an official record.