19 May 2009 Calling on nations to seize the current momentum, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed for a new multilateral approach to ensure sustainable progress in disarmament.
“We live in an age of interdependence,” Mr. Ban said in his address to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, pointing to the food, energy and economic crises.
The solutions to such problems lie in a “new multilateralism,” he stressed, where “cooperation replaces confrontation, where creativity replaces stalemate.”
The Secretary-General said he has seen signs of optimism emerging from recent announcements by the leaders of the United StatesThese signs of greater political will represent an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. and Russia to begin talks to replace a Cold War-era nuclear arms control treaty.
He added that was encouraged by the Third Preparatory Committee of the 2010 review conference of the UN-backed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which forms the foundation of the world’s nuclear non-proliferation regime, having wrapped up its session “in a refreshingly positive tone, marking a distinct shift from previous years.”
Currently, there are several initiatives from both nuclear and non-nuclear States which seek eliminate divisions and paralysis marking the past to spur dialogue and progress, Mr. Ban said. “These signs of greater political will represent an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.”
He reiterated his appeal to the Conference – the world’s only multilateral disarmament negotiating forum – to break its 10-year deadlock, emphasizing that the body represents “a global partnership that can weave… disparate threads into comprehensive political agreements.”
The Secretary-General acknowledged that “differences run deep,” but noted that “they are not insurmountable. Nor are they an excuse for paralysis.”
The Conference has the ability to drive progress towards achieving the ultimate goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons, he said. “However, this can only be realized if all States, nuclear and non-nuclear alike, are prepared to abide by their disarmament and non-proliferation commitments and nurture an international climate conducive to disarmament.”
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