Ban cites ‘window of opportunity’ to advance disarmament


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledged to continue his efforts to advance the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world, noting that a number of events over the next few months offer an opportunity to build on the “encouraging” developments of last year.

“There is a new window of opportunity in disarmament and non-proliferation,” Ban said in remarks at a roundtable meeting at UN Headquarters with the heads of international organizations dealing with disarmament. “I am convinced there is much we can do to achieve our common goal of a world free of weapons of mass destruction.”

The Secretary-General reiterated that disarmament and non-proliferation will continue to be one of his top priorities, and highlighted major events in the months ahead.

I pledge to continue to do everything in my power to advance the goal of a world free of weapons of mass destruction.

These include the upcoming session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva this month, the Global Zero Summit in Paris and the Munich Security Conference, as well as April’s Summit on Nuclear Security in Washington followed by the Review Conference slated for May on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Noting that the NPT is facing “a number of challenges,” Ban said that a successful outcome at the Review Conference would strengthen confidence not only in the Treaty but also for the collective global effort to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

He also said he will continue to build support for his Action Plan for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as the universality of the relevant treaties and conventions.

Presented in October 2008, the Secretary-General’s five-point action plan begins with a call for the parties to the NPT to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament, either through a new convention or through a series of mutually reinforcing instruments backed by a credible system of verification.

In all of these efforts, the UN and the various disarmament bodies had a role to play, he stressed. “I strongly believe in the mutual benefits of strengthened cooperation among our organizations, while fully respecting our distinct mandates and relationship agreements,” he said.
“I pledge to continue to do everything in my power to advance the goal of a world free of weapons of mass destruction. I look forward to working with all of you to make this a reality,” he told the gathering.

Among those participating in today’s meeting were the heads of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), and the Conference on Disarmament.

The participants stressed the need for renewed multilateralism in dealing with a breadth of challenges facing the disarmament and non-proliferation regimes related to nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a read-out of the meeting.