Worldwide momentum must continue for nuclear disarmament: UN chief

08:38, April 20, 2010      

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Worldwide momentum must continue to build surrounding the long-standing goal of the United Nations for nuclear disarmament, UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said Monday as he urged the international community to seize the moment with renewed multilateralism.

"By accelerating disarmament, we can liberate the resources we need to combat climate change, address food insecurity and achieve the Millennium Development Goals," Ban said in remarks at the one- day thematic debate of the General Assembly on disarmament and world security.

"Now is the moment to build on that momentum--and that is what brings us here today," Ban said.

Looking at the relationship between disarmament and other global challenges, Ban took stock of the worldwide spending of weapons, which amounts to above one trillion U.S. dollars a year, and urged for these priorities to be reversed.

"Let us recognize that disarmament efforts can help strength international cooperation and move the world towards a renewed multilateralism," he said.

He expressed a need to further enhance the partnership between the General Assembly and Security Council, noting that their collaborative efforts are crucial.

In addition, Ban underscored that the work on disarmament needs to address both weapons of mass destruction and the regulation of conventional armaments.

"Small arms in the wrong hands destroy lives and livelihoods, impede peace efforts, hinder humanitarian aid, facilitate the illicit trade in narcotics and obstruct investment and development, " Ban said.

He took note of the "encouraging momentum" around the world, particularly with the "milestone" of last week's Washington summit on nuclear security, which allowed leaders to join with the U.S. and Russia in a pledge to secure vulnerable nuclear material in four years.

"I hope this new political momentum contributes to a successful outcome to the upcoming Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," Ban said.

"Now, more than ever, a concerted effort on all fronts is needed to achieve this long-standing goal of the United Nations," Ban added.

With the General Assembly President Ali Treki convening the one- day thematic debate, UN officials, academia and representatives of civil society are expected to take the floor towards the advancement of nuclear disarmament non-proliferation.



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