Senior UN official set to discuss treaty on nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia

Senior UN official set to discuss treaty on nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia

Jayantha Dhanapala
A senior United Nations disarmament official is set to visit five Central Asian countries to discuss a draft treaty on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region that is currently being negotiated.

Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala is scheduled to visit Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan from 14 to 26 August, according to a UN spokesman.

The five countries originally launched the idea of a nuclear-free-zone in the region in 1997 and the UN General Assembly has adopted three resolutions in support of the initiative, and asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to provide assistance to them in their efforts to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone, spokesman Fred Eckhard said. A UN-sponsored expert group has been providing substantive and technical advice to the countries.

During his visit, Mr. Dhanapala will also address issues of small arms and light weapons, transparency in armaments, and the threat of terrorism, Mr. Eckhard added.