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NZ supports new Commission on WMDs

17 December 2003 Media Statement

NZ supports new Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction

The government very much welcomes the launch of the Independent Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Disarmament and Arms Control Minister, Marian Hobbs said today.

The minister was referring to the announcement in Stockholm of the membership of the new WMD Commission by its Chairman Dr Hans Blix, former UN Chief Weapons Inspector charged with investigating alleged WMD programmes in Iraq.

The commission will examine the full range of issues raised by WMD in today's security environment – nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their delivery vehicles. It is expected to produce a series of reports over the next two years.

The commission is the result of a Swedish initiative led by the late Foreign Minister Anna Lindh.

"Prior to her tragic death several months ago, I wrote to Anna Lindh to congratulate her on this very timely initiative," Marian Hobbs said.

"The security challenges facing the international community call for fresh thinking and responses. The existing disarmament and arms control treaty system has served us well but needs to be updated and strengthened. I believe that an independent Commission on WMD will help our efforts to find innovative multilateral solutions and to re-energise commitment by governments to practical action.

"It should also assist in raising public interest in the risks posed by WMD and the urgent need to address them.

"We are looking at practical ways to support the work of the Commission. I have invited it to hold a meeting in New Zealand towards the end of 2004."

(Commission details follow)
Members of the Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction


Dr Hans Blix, Sweden,

Dr Dewi Fortuna Anwar, Indonesia
Dr Alexei G Arbatov, Russian Federation
Ambassador Marcos de Azambuja, Brazil
Director Alyson Bailes, United Kingdom
Dr Thérèse Delpech, France
Mr Jayantha Dhanapala, Sri Lanka
Director Gareth Evans, Australia
Director Patricia Lewis, Ireland
Professor William Perry, USA
General (ret.) Vasantha Raghavan, India
Ambassador Cheikh Sylla, Senegal
Prince El Hassan bin Talal, Jordan
General (ret.) Pan Zhenqiang, China

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