|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, at Breakfast Meeting, Spells Out Steps to ‘Move Ball Forward’
on Nuclear Disarmament, Non-Proliferation Ahead of Review Conference
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the breakfast meeting on the Secretary-General’s Action Plan on Nuclear Disarmament and Nuclear Non-Proliferation, in New York today, 8 December:
Good morning. Thank you for gathering at this early hour. Let me extend my special thanks to Ambassador Jorge Urbina of Costa Rica for organizing this event. I welcome your strong commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
From my first days in office, I have worked to revitalize the United Nations work in disarmament and non-proliferation. That is why I decided to restructure the Department of Disarmament Affairs into the Office of Disarmament Affairs with a post of High Representative at the USG-level to strengthen our work and bring it closer to the Office of Secretary-General. I have consistently attended meetings of the Conference on Disarmament to push for action. And in October 2008, I presented my five-point plan to reawaken efforts for disarmament and non-proliferation that for too long had lain dormant.
Since then, we have seen encouraging progress: a renewed commitment by the leaders of the Russian Federation and United States; a breakthrough in the Conference on Disarmament. The historic Security Council summit in September. A coalition of support for my five-point plan from Governments and civil society worldwide.
We need to sustain this momentum and build on it. The NPT Review Conference is just a few months away. Now is the time. My Action Plan on Nuclear Disarmament and Nuclear Non-Proliferation is founded on a fundamental principle: nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are mutually reinforcing and inseparable. They should be pursued in tandem.
This requires strong follow-up. Let me offer some specific steps to move the ball forward. First, as we approach the 2010 NPT Review Conference next May, I will work to facilitate success of the Conference. This will include official statements, written advocacy and attendance at events such as the Summit meeting on Nuclear Security being organized by the United States in April. I urge like-minded States to facilitate the adoption of agreed measures on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In this regard, I encourage Member States to seriously consider the proposal by Costa Rica and Malaysia for a nuclear weapon convention.
Second, the Security Council can build on the historic September meeting. As I said at the time, the Summit should not be a one-time event. I encourage the Security Council to meet on an annual basis, at the foreign minister level, to discuss nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament in general and to address follow-up to the NPT Review Conference. The Council’s nuclear-weapon States might also wish to consider the adoption of a joint declaration for the 2010 NPT Review Conference addressing nuclear disarmament issues.
Third, we should do more to advance the rule of law in the field of disarmament. I will do my part to promote the universality of multilateral treaties dealing with all weapons of mass destruction [WMD]. I will also continue to support the immediate start of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a fissile material treaty, and the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty without further delay.
Fourth, there is a need to enhance transparency and accountability. In 2000, the NPT Review Conference agreed on several practical steps for advancing disarmament, including the preparation of “regular reports” on implementing Article VI. I will, therefore, call upon all States that support my initiative for such a registry to consider including it in the recommendations to be adopted at the forthcoming Review Conference. I also intend to explore ways to encourage greater involvement by civil society and parliamentarians.
Fifth and finally, while pursuing nuclear disarmament, I called for complementary measures. The world should pursue several related measures, including: eliminating other weapons of mass destruction; combating WMD terrorism; and bans on missiles and space weapons. We also must not lose sight of conventional weapons disarmament.
At the same time, we recall the complementary role of these issues in tackling other important global challenges, including poverty and climate change.
In all of these matters, the General Assembly plays a significant role. I would encourage Member States to consider convening a session to examine the impact of armed violence on development at the MDG Summit meeting next September.
I look forward to continuing to work with you. As Secretary-General, I will spare no effort in engaging with Governments and civil society. In January, I will attend the First Session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. In February, I will attend the Global Zero Summit in Paris. In April, I will attend the Summit on Nuclear Security in Washington. These events will help create momentum for the May Review Conference.
I remain open to any creative suggestions on how I, or the United Nations Organization, can do more to advance the goal of global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Thank you for your engagement.
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