13 April 2010

Secretary-General Says ‘Urgent Global Action’ Required in Several Priority Areas to Secure Nuclear Materials, Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, at Washington Summit

13 April 2010
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Says ‘Urgent Global Action’ Required in Several Priority Areas

to Secure Nuclear Materials, Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, at Washington Summit

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks as delivered at the Nuclear Security Summit on “International Actions to Secure Nuclear Materials and Prevent Illicit Trafficking”, in Washington, D.C., 13 April:

Securing nuclear materials and preventing nuclear terrorism are global challenges.  I would like to suggest five areas where urgent global action is required.

First, preventing nuclear terrorism.

I am pleased that today’s communiqué highlights the need to strengthen global norms and to achieve universality at preventing terrorist groups and non-State actors from gaining access to the most lethal weapons and materials.

Today marks five years since the adoption of the landmark International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism by the United Nations General Assembly.  Yet only 65 countries have ratified it.  This is far from satisfactory.

As depository for the Convention, I am willing to convene a conference at an appropriate time to facilitate further ratifications.

Second, securing nuclear fissile materials.

There is an urgent need for accurate accounting and transparency of all stockpiles of fissile materials, including historical production.

It is also imperative to have a reliable international instrument.  Without a verifiable and legally binding fissile material cut-off treaty, other efforts will amount to only half-measures.

This is why I have repeatedly urged the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to immediately start negotiations on the FMCT [a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.]  To spur this process along, I will consider convening a meeting of CD at the Ministerial level in September in New York.

Third, strengthening the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

I welcome the overwhelming support for the IAEA expressed today.

Last year I launched a Biotechnology Initiative with the participation of various stakeholders in the field.  This initiative recognizes the risks associated with negligent or deliberate misuse of dangerous pathogens, while nurturing biotechnology’s potential benefits.  We can apply this partnership building initiative to the nuclear area.

Fourth, increasing the engagement of the Security Council.

Two years ago, I proposed that the Security Council hold a summit on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  Thanks to the leadership of President [Barack] Obama, a Summit meeting was held last year, to great effect.

This kind of engagement should not be a one-time event.  I encourage the Council to meet on an annual basis, at the ministerial level, to follow up on the landmark resolution it adopted last year.

Fifth, achieving tandem progress on both nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.

One week ago today, I visited the former nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.  It was a sobering experience.  I commend President [Nursultan] Nazarbayev's leadership in closing the site and freeing Kazakhstan from nuclear weapons.

I urge all states that have not yet ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to do so promptly.

I welcome and applaud the signing of the new START treaty between President [Dmitry] Medvedev of the Russian Federation and President Obama of the United States.  This is a genuine milestone.

It also strengthens good momentum in advance of the NPT Review Conference in two weeks from now at United Nations headquarters.

Attendance at the highest possible level would send a strong message to the world’s people.  We cannot fail.

Thank you again to all the leaders for your commitment.  Thank you.

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