Statement by South Africa in the Subsidiary Body on Regional Issues, including the Middle East, New York, 2 to 27 May 2005

Chairperson,

My delegation, like others, is glad to see you presiding over this subsidiary body on regional issues, including the Middle East. The problems faced on the issues surrounding the Middle East have not been resolved since we last met. In addition, the overall situation concerning the non-States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Treaty's universality remain extremely important issues for us to address. This has been exacerbated by the actions undertaken by States that still pursue the nuclear weapons option and who continue to refuse to join the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States.

Chairperson,

South Africa participated actively in the formulation and in building support for the Resolution on the Middle East adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, which recalled that "the proliferation of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction constituted a threat to international peace and security". The South African delegation remains concerned over the continued existence of weapons of mass destruction programmes, and in particular the existence of unsafeguarded nuclear facilities in this sensitive region. We would, today, again reiterate our call upon Israel to accede to the NPT and to place, without delay, those nuclear facilities under IAEA full-scope safeguards, as an integral step to reducing the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, and in particular nuclear weapons, in the region.

In this context, we also call on all States in this region to exert their utmost efforts with a view to ensuring the early establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of nuclear weapons, as well as other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. We note that important progress has been made in the establishment of the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Africa. We believe that the establishment of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the Middle East will contribute to international peace and security, including the African continent. South Africa supports the pursuit of a comprehensive solution to the difficulties and dangers facing the Middle East region. Our own experience has shown that the possession of nuclear weapons provides only an illusion of security.

Chairperson,

South Africa fully associates itself with the positions on the Middle East taken by the Non-Aligned Movement and underlines the importance of the language contained in the Working Paper presented by the members of the NAM, including those circulated as NPT/CONF.2005/WP.8 and WP.19. NPT State parties need to adequately address this important issue in the outcome of this Review Conference.

I thank you.


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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa