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Nuclear Weapon States Must Cut Arsenals

Nuclear Weapon States Must Cut Arsenals, US And Russia Should Lead: UN Assembly Told

New York, Oct 17 2006 2:00PM

Despite significant reductions in nuclear arsenals, what remains is ample enough to destroy the planet, the head of an independent commission on weapons of mass destruction has warned the General Assembly, calling on nuclear weapon States to reduce their stockpiles and the United States and Russia to take the lead.

Lack of implementation by nuclear-weapon States of their commitments to work toward disarmament has also undermined their moral authority and left non-nuclear-weapon nations feeling frustrated and cheated, Hans Blix, the Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission told the Assembly's First Committee yesterday.

Had those commitments been kept, negotiations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Iran would be less difficult, he added, but said that despite such issues the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was not on the verge of collapse, although its safeguards needed strengthening.

Mr. Blix, a former UN arms inspector for Iraq and ex-head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also urged nuclear-weapon States to commit themselves to a policy of no first-use, and in particular for the United States and Russia to take their weapons off hair-trigger alert.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission was established on an initiative by the late Foreign Minister of Sweden, Anna Lindh, acting on a proposal by then UN Under-Secretary-General Jayantha Dhanapala. The Swedish Government invited Mr. Blix to set up and chair the Commission.

Also addressing the First Committee, which covers disarmament and international security issues, was John Barrett, Chairman of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Verification, and he spoke in relation to all forms of weapons: nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological and conventional.

Ends

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