Global perspective Human stories

Annan welcomes seven-nation nuclear-non-proliferation initiative

Annan welcomes seven-nation nuclear-non-proliferation initiative

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed an "encouraging" seven-nation initiative which he said could lead to General Assembly consensus on strengthening adherence to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament agreements.

The political declaration was announced today by the foreign ministers of Australia, Chile, Indonesia, Norway, Romania, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

According to a statement issued by a UN spokesman in New York, Mr. Annan had been deeply troubled by the failure of the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), held at UN Headquarters in May, to achieve substantive agreement to strengthen collective security against the many nuclear threats to which all States and peoples are vulnerable.

He is therefore "deeply encouraged" by the agreement announced today by the ministers, who represent a diverse group of States, the statement said, adding that Mr. Annan thanked Norway's Foreign Minister, Jan Petersen, for spearheading the initiative.

"The political declaration they have adopted and the input for the 2005 World Summit they have submitted to the President of the General Assembly provide the basis, the Secretary-General expects, for a wide-ranging consensus," the statement said, referring to the Assembly's upcoming September summit, where world leaders are expected to renew their commitment to the implementation of agreed development targets and take decisions on UN reform.

"The Secretary-General hopes that leaders will use the opportunity offered by the World Summit, and the added impetus which these seven foreign ministers have provided, to make bold commitments and address the pressing challenges to the nuclear non-proliferation regime," Mr. Annan said.