Maintain momentum towards nuclear disarmament, Ban tells Security Council

24 September 2009

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Security Council to make the most of its historic meeting today on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and find ways to build on growing international momentum towards the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Security Council to make the most of its historic meeting today on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and find ways to build on growing international momentum towards the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.

For the first time, the Council held a summit-level meeting on non-proliferation and disarmament – chaired today by United States President Barack Obama – and Mr. Ban told the 15-member body that it can help offer “a fresh start toward a new future.”

In a resolution adopted unanimously at the outset of the meeting, the Council called on all States that are not parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to accede to it as non-nuclear-weapon States so as to achieve its universality at the earliest.

The text also called on all States to refrain from conducting a nuclear test explosion and to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), thereby bringing it into force as soon as possible.

Stressing that “nuclear disarmament is the only sane path to a safer world,” Mr. Ban said that “nothing would work better in eliminating the risk of use than eliminating the weapons themselves.”

In his address yesterday to the opening of the annual General Debate at the General Assembly, he called on Member States to “let us make this the year we agreed to banish the bomb.”

Today he praised the examples of Russia and the United States, which earlier this year committed themselves to cutting their arsenals of strategic warheads.

“I urge the Security Council to make the most of this moment. This should not be a one-time event. We must sustain the momentum.”

Last year Mr. Ban unveiled a five-point nuclear disarmament plan that included a stronger role for the Security Council in non-proliferation matters.

Today the Secretary-General called for new ways to boost the transparency of the weapons programmes of those countries that are recognized as having nuclear weapons.

He also urged greater use of the UN’s disarmament machinery, including existing negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty, and for more resources to be given to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Secretary-General added that he would spare no effort to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and achieve success for the sake of global peace and security, in a statement issued following the summit, in which he welcomed the resolution adopted today.

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei told delegates of the current fragility and many shortcomings of the global non-proliferation regime and of the need to strengthen and empower the Agency if it is to play a role in nuclear disarmament.

“Our verification mandate is centred on nuclear material. If the Agency is to be expected to pursue possible weaponization activities, it must be empowered with the corresponding legal authority,” he said.

He also highlighted the links between nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, calling on nuclear-weapon States to demonstrate their irreversible commitment to achieving a world free from nuclear weapons.

“I am gratified to see nuclear disarmament back at the top of the international agenda, as well as recognition of the intrinsic link between nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,” he said.

Coinciding with the Council’s meeting is a two-day conference that began at UN Headquarters today to try to promote the CTBT and its entry into force. The treaty has been signed by 181 countries and ratified by 150. However, it needs to be ratified by nine others – China, Egypt, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States – before it can enter into force.

 

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Ban exhorts world to seize momentum to reach disarmament goals

Recent “encouraging” developments in the disarmament arena have provided a crucial window of opportunity for the international community to achieve its non-proliferation goals, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.