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Disarmament focus on nukes, germs and gas

12 October 2001 Media Statement

Disarmament focus on nukes, germs and gas


"Whether faced with nuclear weapons, germ warfare, chemical weapons or the illegal trade of guns, all countries need to work together now to keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists," says Disarmament Minister Matt Robson.

Today in New York, the New Zealand Ambassador for Disarmament, Clive Pearson, delivered New Zealand’s statement to the United Nations Committee which deals with disarmament. On behalf of New Zealand he condemned the recent terrorist attacks in the United States, and voiced support for international action against terrorism.

He also called for members of the United Nations to make more progress on disarmament.

"The global security landscape is changing before our eyes. People are afraid of the potential not just for nuclear warfare, but for germ warfare too," says Matt Robson

"And yet those of us working within United Nations frameworks to introduce safe controls on existing weapons, and ultimately to eliminate weapons of mass destruction for good, have too little to be optimistic about.

"It is of particular concern that no agreement on a draft Compliance Protocol on Biological Weapons was reached this year.

"A Protocol would introduce effective compliance machinery, and make it much harder for terrorists to get their hands on these sorts of devastating weapons.

"New Zealanders are famous for their 'can-do' attitude, and we will not give up on attempts to persuade the Northern Hemisphere that it is possible to live without nuclear weapons. That is why this government will continue to work towards a totally Nuclear-Weapon Free Southern Hemisphere.

"No-one thought that the world could reach agreement to ban land mines, but we did. The Otawa Mine Ban Convention stands out as uniquely successful.

"We can build on that success. It is at least significant that the five nuclear weapon states agreed to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons last year. We must not lose sight of that milestone. As Ministers of the New Agenda countries made clear in their statement this week, we are determined to pursue the complete implementation of this agreement." says Matt Robson.

ENDS

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