Ban calls for stepped up efforts to achieve nuclear-weapon-free world

20 January 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on nations to build on the momentum generated by recent progress made towards disarmament to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

“From conventional weapons and small arms to weapons of mass destruction, the risks are clear,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

He stressed the need to revitalize the international disarmament agenda and boost the United Nations’ effectiveness in the field. “I remain committed to using every opportunity, in my meetings with government leaders and my outreach to civil society, to forge partnerships and mobilize action.”

Given the current global financial turmoil, “advancing the disarmament agenda could produce a tangible peace dividend when the world needs it most,” the Secretary-General said in an address delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director General of the UN Office at Geneva and the Secretary-General of the Conference.

He pointed to “promising signs” in the past few months, including initiatives by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, the European Union, non-aligned countries and other governments.

“The United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament should seize this moment and be in the vanguard of efforts towards a world free of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Ban stated.

Established in 1979 as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community, the Conference currently has over 60 Member States.


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