The UN Disarmament Commission's 1999 session ended without
agreement on the convening of a fourth special session on disarmament. In previous years,
the United States blocked the necessary consensus for holding an SSOD IV. This time it was
While the US said it could live with the paper prepared by the Chair of the working group,
India objected to language that appeared to downgrade the Final Document of SSOD I (and
thus its statement that nuclear disarmament is the priority issue). India, and other
developing nations, wanted language along the lines of "reaffirming the principles
and priorities of SSOD I"; but the paper says "bearing in mind"
the principles and priorities of the Final Document. India also objected to NATO's
reaffirmation of nuclear deterrence, as spelled out in the Alliance's Strategic Concept
issued a few days before, saying nuclear disarmament was impossible as long as deterrence
was an accepted strategy.
Like last year's working paper, the Chair's paper listed objectives and possible agenda
items, but not a proposed date. This failure does not mean the end of SSOD IV. It will
probably be on the agenda of the First Committee this autumn where another attempt at a
consensus decision will be made.