Ban hails Latin American nuclear weapon-free zone on 45th anniversary

14 February 2012

On the 45th anniversary of the treaty that created a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today hailed the pact as an example of how regional initiatives can advance global norms on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of atomic energy.

“The Treaty of Tlatelolco has earned international recognition as one of the most historic achievements in the history of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts,” said Mr. Ban in a message delivered on his behalf in Mexico City by Sergio Duarte, the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

Latin America and the Caribbean was the first region in the world to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone with the Treaty of Tlatelolco – named for an area within Mexico City – in 1967.

Mr. Ban said the treaty also broke new ground by establishing the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) as a regional nuclear verification agency with the unique mandate to verify compliance with the obligations of the pact.

“Even more remarkably, it achieved all of this at the height of the Cold War, thereby challenging the notion that nuclear weapons were indispensable in maintaining security,” he said. “These great achievements were the result of unprecedented cooperation among States at the regional level, reinforced by support they received from the world community, in particular the United Nations.”

Building on the success of Treaty of Tlatelolco, the UN has actively promoted the establishment of other such regional nuclear-weapon-free zones around the world, the Secretary-General noted.

“It is my hope that today’s commemoration will inspire new efforts from both within and outside this region to achieve the greatest disarmament and non-proliferation goal of all, a nuclear-weapon-free world,” he added.


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