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Secretary-General sees political will for nuclear disarmament

Secretary-General sees political will for nuclear disarmament

Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs) under construction at a nuclear power plant
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said he perceives an increased political will for disarmament, calling on the international community to seize the momentum and take decisive action to ban nuclear testing worldwide.

The 25 May underground nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was “in clear violation of Security Council resolutions,” Mr. Ban said in a video message to a meeting in Vienna of International Scientific Studies Conference, which is working on verification aspects of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

He added that the DPRK’s recent test is a “direct challenge to international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts [and] underscores the urgency of ensuring the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty,” which outlaws all nuclear explosions and establishes a verification regime to monitor compliance.

According to the website of the CTBT’s Preparatory Commission, 148 nations have ratified the pact to date.

Despite the recent DPRK test and “other recent events, I sense increased political will for disarmament,” the Secretary-General said in today’s message.

Next year’s Review Conference of the UN-backed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which forms the foundation of the world’s nuclear non-proliferation regime, “is an important step on gauging our ability and readiness to detect nuclear explosions worldwide,” he said. “I believe we are well on track.”

Last month, the Conference on Disarmament – the world’s sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations – adopted a Programme of Work for its 2009 session, ending a 12-year stalemate.

The move will allow the body to negotiate and substantively discuss strategic disarmament and non-proliferation, Mr. Ban said.