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Progress Urged Toward Achieving Nuclear-Free World

Ban urges progress towards achieving nuclear-free world

1 July 2008 - A robust Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is essential to take steps towards checking nuclear proliferation and achieving disarmament, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, marking the 40th anniversary of the United Nations-backed pact's opening for signature.

"The Treaty has suffered serious setbacks and faces multiple challenges to its credibility, though it has also seen steady progress and significant measured success," Mr. Ban said in a statement.

He highlighted the efforts of some nuclear-weapon States towards decreasing their arsenals and speeding up dismantlement.

In spite of international backing for the objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the Secretary-General pointed out that tens of thousands of nuclear weapons still remain.

"Nuclear proliferation - whether by States or Non-State actors - threatens everyone, and therefore requires global cooperation in addressing non-compliance, in resolving concerns over nuclear programmes, and in ensuring the most reliable controls over nuclear materials," the statement said.

Characterizing the NPT, to which there are nearly 190 parties - as the "most effective multilateral instrument" to curb nuclear proliferation and realize disarmament, Mr. Ban said that "we must reinforce and strengthen it to meet the challenges of the day."

ENDS

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