Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated his call for a world free of nuclear weapons and called for the strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty as the cornerstone for global disarmament, and the bringing into force of the agreement banning nuclear arms tests.
“All Member States share a common interest in building a world in which the use of nuclear weapons is not simply improbable, but impossible,” Mr. Ban said when he addressed the Conference on Promoting the Global Instruments of Non-Proliferations and Disarmament, whose theme was “the United Nations and the Nuclear Challenge.”
“I pledge my full commitment to liberating humanity from the terror of weapons of mass destruction,” Mr. Ban told the conference, which was hosted in New York by Japan, Poland and Turkey.
He said the UN has consistently been promoting the key goals of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) relating to disarmament, non-proliferation, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The Secretary-General said he was encouraged by the entry into force of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (known as the New START Treaty) between Russia and the United States.
“If ‘global instruments’ are to truly deserve this designation, they must not only achieve universal membership, but full compliance by States Parties with their commitments,” said Mr. Ban.
“The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty [CTBT] should be brought into force without further delay. I have suggested next year, 2012, as a target date when we will be able to see the effect of the CTBT come into force,” he added.
The Secretary-General said he will convene the Seventh Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT in New York in September to sustain the current political momentum.
He called for additional legal instruments to address the grave challenges posed by fissile materials and assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States that such arms will not be used against them.
“The international rule of law must also extend to conventional arms. And, of course, we cannot address rule of law issues without touching on the work of the Conference on Disarmament,” said Mr. Ban, urging the conference to reach agreement on a programme of work, including immediate negotiations of a fissile material cut-off treaty, without delay.
Mr. Ban said the Security Council should build on its September 2009 summit on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament and discuss the topic every year, noting that sanctions imposed by the Council play a significant role in non-proliferation efforts.
The General Assembly, for its part, could forge closer links between disarmament and other challenges on its agenda, Mr. Ban said, adding that disarmament complemented efforts to tackle other important global challenges, including poverty and climate change.