Secretary-General urges seminar to seek bold response to recent nuclear setbacks

2 November 2006

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged participants at an international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation seminar to find bold responses to recent setbacks in the field, including concerns over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear test and Iran’s nuclear programme.

“A world without weapons of mass destruction remains a distant dream,” Mr. Annan said in a message to the seminar, Strengthening Global Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, in Bali, Indonesia. “Yet, even the more immediate aims of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation have suffered recent setbacks.”

He stressed that the nuclear test by the DPRK continuing concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme have underscored the urgent need for the international community to re-energize efforts to contain and reverse the spread of nuclear weapons.

He added that twice in 2005, Governments failed to strengthen the foundations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in May at the NPT Review Conference, and again at the UN World Summit in September.

“Governments could have agreed on energetic steps to meet disarmament requirements and strengthen the non-proliferation regime,” he said. “Both times they failed.”

Despite setbacks, Mr. Annan said the timely seminar, convened by the Governments of Indonesia and Norway, “can help chart a way back to the path of non-proliferation and disarmament” and can bolster consensus around a bold response, propose immediate and practical steps on both fronts.

 

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