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Goff – New Momentum Needed for Nuclear Disarmament


Hon Phil Goff
Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control


3 June 2007
Media statement

Goff – New Momentum Needed for Nuclear Disarmament

President Putin’s pronouncement that Russia and the United States are now engaged in a new round of the nuclear arms race is a warning to the world of the need to take disarmament seriously, says Disarmament and Arms Control Minister, Phil Goff.

Phil Goff challenged the 25 nations attending the Shangri-La Conference on Regional Security, including seven states possessing nuclear weapons, to seriously address the question of nuclear disarmament.

“The world must go beyond the challenge of stopping proliferation of nuclear weapons, which is a grave threat, to nuclear weapons states also reducing and ultimately eliminating their stocks of nuclear weapons.

“There are already 27,000 nuclear warheads in existence, enough to destroy humanity many times over.

“The non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2000 saw nuclear weapons states unequivocally commit themselves to the elimination of nuclear weapons as part of a 13 step programme.

“Instead we have seen the world since then move in the wrong direction, with President Putin’s admission of a new arms race.

“The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has not yet been ratified nor has agreement been reached on the control of fissile material.

“The Conference on Disarmament in Geneva has been stalemated for more than a decade.

“The world becomes complacent about the risk posed by nuclear weapons at its peril”, Mr Goff said.

“New Zealand shares with other nations at this conference concern about nuclear proliferation.

“We participate in and strongly support the Proliferation Security Initiative and the G8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.

“We have vigorously opposed North Korea’s possession and testing of nuclear weapons and Iran’s presumed efforts to acquire such weapons.

“We share with others concern about weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorist groups and the nightmare scenarios which might follow from this.

“But we also need to give more than just lip service to the pressing need to free the world from the threat posed by a huge stock pile of nuclear warheads”, Mr Goff told the Conference.

ends

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