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NZ given responsibility at Disarmament Conference

New Zealand given mantle of responsibility at Disarmament conference

New Zealand is chairing the important Negotiating Committee on Nuclear Disarmament, Minister of Disarmament Matt Robson announced today on his return from the NPT conference in New York.

"This shows us just how highly New Zealand is thought of in the world when it comes to nuclear disarmament.

"The conference unanimously agreed to ask New Zealand to chair this committee. Our job will be to manage the process of writing the resolutions on new steps for nuclear disarmament which will be announced when the conference finishes on May 19th.

"It was particularly productive to meet with our colleagues in the New Agenda who like us are all opposed to nuclear weapons. They are very are positive about the prospect of a disarmament conference in New Zealand.

"I will be reporting back to cabinet on the progress made towards a disarmament conference.

"In my discussions with New Agenda members we all agreed that we need to wind up the pressure on the nuclear states, and one way of doing that is to go all out to recruit key new members. New Zealand can play a substantial part in that recruitment drive.

"Finally I can report that I had friendly meetings with Madeleine Albright's principal adviser on nuclear issues, John Holum from the US, and that the Honorable Peter Haine from the British government showed particular interest in the New Agenda coalition.

"Despite the recent alarm over the disarmament stalemate I am convinced that the five nuclear weapon states, as well as the four countries who remain outside the NPT, are feeling the pressure from the 182 non nuclear states who want a nuclear weapon free world," said Matt Robson.

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