18 August 2008
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11751
DC/3128

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE, SAYS ACTIVITIES OF UNITED NATIONS REGIONAL CENTRE


FOR PEACE, DISARMAMENT IN ASIA, PACIFIC, AS VAST, DIVERSE AS REGION ITSELF


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the opening of the new office of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, as delivered today in Kathmandu, Nepal, by Vijay Nambiar, Chef de Cabinet:


It gives me great pleasure to send greetings to all who have gathered in Kathmandu to commemorate the opening of the new United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific.  I thank President Ram Baran Yadav and the Government of Nepal for their generous assistance in establishing this office.  I also commend the 43 member countries of Asia and the Pacific for their shared commitment to the Centre as it commences its work in this beautiful city.


The General Assembly established the Centre in 1987 to provide substantive support for peace and disarmament activities agreed upon by the Member States of the region.  Originally headquartered in New York, the Centre has promoted transparency and confidence-building in disarmament-related matters, while also serving as a forum for dialogue on regional security concerns.


The Centre’s activities span nuclear proliferation, the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, the hazards of landmines and explosive remnants of war, the costs of armed conflicts and the rise of organized crime and terrorism.  Each of these issues is as vast and diverse as the region itself.


Yet these challenges are hardly exclusive to the Asia and Pacific region.  That is why United Nations efforts to strengthen international peace and security have consistently stressed the importance of progress in disarmament and non-proliferation at all levels -- national, regional and international.  In particular, United Nations Regional Centres in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean are also actively involved in promoting these aims in their respective regions.


The United Nations is most effective when it acts in partnership with our Member States.  I therefore call on all countries in the Asia and Pacific region to work closely with the Regional Centre.  As we expand our cooperation, the United Nations will continue to promote dialogue and confidence-building initiatives in the region.  In addition, the Centre stands ready to assist States in undertaking practical disarmament measures, implementing legal obligations and for the training of personnel.


I believe that the Centre will live up to the high expectations we all harbour for it.  I am similarly confident that, by working together, we will succeed in making the entire Asia and Pacific region a centre of peace and disarmament.


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For information media • not an official record