Ban Ki-moon welcomes new agreement to defeat nuclear terrorism

13 June 2007 –

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the start of a new international treaty which aims to prevent acts of nuclear terrorism, bring perpetrators to justice and promote cooperation among countries.

Mr. Ban’s spokesperson issued a statement after Bangladesh became the 22nd country to ratify or accede to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, allowing it to enter into force on 7 July, almost two years after it was adopted by Member States.

Mr. Ban “congratulates the States that have already ratified or acceded to the Convention for making it possible for it to enter into force with such speed,” his spokesperson said.

Calling nuclear terrorism “one of the most serious threats of our time,” he observed that “even one such attack could inflict mass casualties and create immense suffering and unwanted change in the world forever.”

“This prospect,” he cautioned, “should compel all of us to prevent such a catastrophe.”

Not only will the new Convention thwart terrorists from attaining “the most lethal weapons known to man,” but it will be the 13th international instrument on terrorism, bolstering existing global mechanisms against the menace, he said. The Convention will also promote cooperation among nations, which is key in tackling terrorism.

The Secretary-General appealed to all States to ratify or accede to the treaty “without delay,” noting that last September, the General Assembly adopted the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy which also calls for universal adherence to anti-terrorism conventions.

Originally proposed by Russia, the Convention was adopted on 13 April 2005, and outlaws specific and concrete acts of nuclear terrorism. It is intended to protect against attacks on a range of targets, including nuclear power plants and reactors. It is also applicable to threats and attempts to commit such crimes.

The Convention, which has been signed by 115 countries, also promotes cooperation among countries through the sharing of information and the providing of assistance for investigations and extraditions.

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