Thursday, September 26, 2013

UN Officials Urge New Efforts to Rid the World of Nuclear Threat

Senior United Nations officials have called on Member States to take renewed steps to rid the world of nuclear weapons, during what was the first high-level meeting ever held by the General Assembly devoted to this issue. “Some might complain that nuclear disarmament is little more than a dream. But that ignores the very tangible benefits disarmament would bring for all humankind,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon  said at the meeting, held on the margins of the Assembly’s high-level General Debate.

“Its success would strengthen international peace and security. It would free up vast and much-needed resources for social and economic development. It would advance the rule of law.  It would spare the environment and help keep nuclear materials from terrorist or extremist groups.  And it would remove a layer of fear that clouds all of human existence.”

In particular, Mr. Ban appealed to nuclear-weapon States to intensify their efforts to cooperate with the international community and move towards disarmament. “Today, I once again call upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to demonstrate its commitment towards verifiable de-nuclearization,” he said. “I urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to fulfil its pledge to enhance the transparency of its nuclear programme.”

The Secretary-General also urged countries that have not yet done so to accede to the UN-backed Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as well as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Having entered into force in 1970, the NPT aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament. The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. It was adopted by the General Assembly in September 1996 but has not yet entered into force.

Mr. Ban stressed that he would continue to explore ways to advance disarmament efforts and support existing ones, including the five-point plan he put forward in 2008 that includes recommendations on increasing security, verification, establishing a legal framework for nuclear disarmament, transparency and conventional weapons.

Adapted from a UN press release)

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