World must seize on new momentum for nuclear disarmament: UN official

The international community must seize the momentum created by last week’s Security Council summit on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament chaired by United States President Barack Obama, a senior United Nations official said.
“The international community needs to act firmly to counter the dangers that additional countries and even terrorists might one day acquire weapons of mass destruction,” UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Sergio Duarte told a news briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.
“We have been witnessing a new wave of interest in disarmament talks, the advancement of these talks,” he said of the Council meeting, which unanimously called on countries to sign and ratify the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and created additional deterrence for withdrawal from the treaty.
It further called on all States to refrain from conducting a nuclear test explosion and to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), thereby bringing it into force as soon as possible.
“The summit has opened a new chapter in the efforts of the Council to address non-proliferation,” Duarte said. “I think its main result, its main impact is that it brought disarmament and non-proliferation to the forefront of the international agenda and brought it also back to the United Nations.
“The international community should seize and build on this momentum towards achieving nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in general,” he added, declaring that the meeting showed the commitment of the US and other Council members to contain proliferation and rededicate themselves to the goal of nuclear disarmament.
UN reviews efforts to keep nuclear weapons out of terrorists` hands
A three-day comprehensive review of United Nations efforts to prevent nuclear, biological, chemical and other weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) from falling into the hands of terrorists and other so-called non-State actors opens in New York.
At least 35 nations and 19 organizations will participate in the meetings convened by the Security Council`s 1540 Committee, named after the 2004 resolution which calls on all States to take every necessary domestic, legal and other step to prevent the diversion of WMDs or materials that could facilitate their development and means of delivery.
“The review in general is a process to assess the evolution of risks and threats, to address specific critical issues and to identify possible new approaches for the implementation of the resolution,” Committee Chairman and Ambassador of Costa Rica Jorge Urbina told a news briefing.
Nations and organizations will share their experiences and express their views and a final document on the issues is scheduled to be issued by 31 January, although Mr. Urbina said he hoped to have it ready before the end of this year.
The Committee does not act as an international policing body to go after those who buy or sell WMDs or their materials, but rather deals with the legal framework such as legislation and export and customs controls that member countries can use to help stop WMD proliferation to non-State actors.
Among the challenges it faces are the lack of capacity in many countries and the building of cooperative relationships with regional organizations.

Pic: Bravo nuclear blast