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Hobbs to open New York disarmament conference

2 March 2004 Media Statement

Hobbs to open New York disarmament conference

The threat posed by weapons of mass destruction will be one of the pressing issues to be debated at a New Zealand-sponsored disarmament conference in New York this week, Disarmament Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has accepted an invitation to address the meeting, which will be opened by Marian Hobbs.

The conference, "Weapons of mass destruction and the United Nations", is convened by the International Peace Academy, a leading think tank on the global peace and security issues facing the United Nations.

"Weapons of mass destruction are one of the most pressing issues before the international community," Marian Hobbs said. "They are at the forefront of so many flashpoints, from the conflict in Iraq to the tensions on the Korean peninsula.

"We hope this conference will provoke debate and stimulate fresh thinking on how the international community can best respond to these challenges."

Participants in the conference will include senior UN officials, diplomats, and members of think tanks and NGOs. Discussion will be under 'Chatham House rules' to encourage free-flowing debate.

The conference will be held on Friday March 5 (Saturday morning NZ time) at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel.

Marian Hobbs leaves for New York tomorrow afternoon and returns to New Zealand on Monday morning.


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