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NZ-led nuclear weapons resolution succeeds at UN


Hon Phil Goff
Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control


2 November 2007
Media statement

New Zealand-led nuclear weapons resolution succeeds at UN

“A New Zealand-led resolution which aims to reduce the high alert status of thousands of nuclear weapons has won strong support at the United Nations General Assembly,” Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Goff announced today.

“The New Zealand-led initiative has been the highest profile new resolution on disarmament at the United Nations this year. It was carried by a vote of 124 to three, with 34 abstentions, at the General Assembly in New York earlier today.”

The resolution calls for practical steps to decrease the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems, with a view to ensuring that all nuclear weapons are removed from high alert status.

“A significant number of the world’s 27,000 remaining nuclear weapons are on high alert which means they could be launched within minutes. The New Zealand resolution asks those countries with nuclear weapons to recognise the risks posed and catastrophic consequences of a nuclear war,” Mr Goff said.

“This could be sparked by accident or technical malfunction as well as by a deliberate act. With nuclear weapons on high alert and likely if launched to hit targets within 20 to 30 minutes, little time exists for dialogue to avoid such a situation.

“Our co-sponsors and the countries that voted with us want states with nuclear weapons to act to reduce the risks. The strongly positive vote is a wake up call for those with nuclear weapons to know the rest of the world believes they need to move faster to reduce and eliminate weapons from high alert.

“We now need to make strong efforts to persuade them to act in compliance with the resolution, including during the current review cycle of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.

“New Zealand is a small country but has the ability to work with others to lead international opinion on disarmament. We will continue to press for a world free of weapons of mass destruction because there is no guarantee of the world’s survival unless we achieve this,” Phil Goff said.

ENDS

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