18 July 2007


18 July 2007
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Stalemate on ‘life and death matters’ of disarmament, non-proliferation

simply unacceptable, says Secretary-General in new york remarks


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, in New York, 18 July:

Let me first congratulate you on your appointment.  Let me also welcome all Board Members to this forty-eighth session of the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters.  Thank you for making the time to attend this meeting in New York, and for offering both your energy and experience to this important process.

As you know, revitalizing the international disarmament agenda, and the United Nations’ own effectiveness in this area, has been a personal priority of mine from my very first day in office.  That is why I proposed a new Office for Disarmament Affairs and the new position of High Representative to lead it.

Following the General Assembly’s welcome support for my proposals, I recently appointed Mr. Sergio Duarte as my High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.  I am delighted that he is here with us today.  Indeed, these sessions represent Sergio’s first official meetings since assuming office.

I know that he has found your discussions extremely helpful in his early days in office.  Like him, I, too, look to this Board for some of the ideas and initiatives that can help reinvigorate the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda, especially with regard to nuclear issues.  The existing stalemate on these life and death matters is simply unacceptable.  We need to break it through far-reaching ideas and a renewed political will that would propel us forward.

I know that all of you are up to this challenge.  In fact, I firmly believe your guidance and Sergio’s leadership can help us re-energize the entire disarmament and non-proliferation agenda.

That is why I am encouraged by the topics chosen for your current session, especially your examination of ways to advance the disarmament agenda.  Progress towards disarmament yields obvious security dividends.  But it could have myriad other benefits.  Just consider that world military spending now exceeds $1.2 trillion.  Even if 1 per cent of it was redirected towards development, the world would be much closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

I also look forward to hearing your advice on the subject of emerging weapons technologies, including those that utilize outer space.  In light of the fortieth anniversary of the Outer Space Treaty, I am heartened by your discussion of this subject.  As I told the Conference on Disarmament earlier this year, the prevention of an arms race in space must remain a high priority for all of us; any such contest would prove a grave blow to the preservation of space for peaceful purposes.

As you debate these important issues, let me assure you of my full cooperation and support.  I also await your views and advice, which will receive my highest consideration.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.