UN disarmament commission fails to reach consensus in 2003 session

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The outcome was a departure from the Commission’s usual practice of completing consideration of two items in three years, with the consensus adoption of guidelines and recommendations.The Commission, whose membership is universal, is a deliberative body mandated to make recommendations in the field of disarmament and to follow up the decisions and recommendations of the UN General Assembly’s first special session devoted to disarmament, in 1978.It focuses on a limited number of agenda items each session to allow for in-depth discussion. At its latest session, which ended last Thursday, it considered two items: ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament, in working group I; and practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms, in working group II.Working group II Chairman Mario Maiolini of Italy said the unsatisfactory conclusion should draw attention to the reasons why consensus had been elusive. Progress had been made, he added, but it had not been possible to draw positive conclusions. Members should ask themselves why, despite the call to advance the proposals, that had not been possible.

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