LATIN AMERICA’S TREATY PROHIBITING NUCLEAR WEAPONS ‘INSPIRING LANDMARK’
FOR DISARMAMENT, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL IN MESSAGE TO MEXICO MEETING
Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the Conference of States Parties and Signatories of Treaties that Establish Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones, in Tlatelolco, Mexico, 26-28 April:
A functioning system of collective security for the 21st century must have as urgent priorities the prevention of nuclear proliferation, the reduction of nuclear arsenals and advancement towards the goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons. As I have argued in my recent reform report, “In Larger Freedom”, non-proliferation and disarmament are in the interest of all States, and I have called for action to advance both these goals. This timely conference is an opportunity to examine the important contribution that nuclear-weapon-free zones make to these goals, and to explore how we can build upon the impressive record of progress to date.
Through information sharing, and verification and compliance mechanisms, nuclear-weapon-free zones build confidence among participating States that the obligations under the treaties creating such zones are in fact being implemented in good faith. Expanding membership in nuclear-weapon-free zones and facilitating implementation of their obligations will further strengthen the role of these instruments. The support of nuclear-weapon States -- particularly through ratification of relevant protocols -- is also essential. In that context, I call for renewed efforts to ensure the earliest entry into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty). It is also important to create new zones, especially in the Middle East and other parts of Asia. I therefore welcome the significant progress made towards a Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty by the five Central Asian States.
For its part, the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Tlatelolco Treaty) is an inspiring landmark in global efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. On the eve of the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, I hope that this meeting in Tlatelolco will remind all States not only of the strategic and moral value of nuclear-weapon-free zones, but also of the possibilities for progress on a range of fronts in our quest for a world free of nuclear weapons.
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