Nuclear threat can be combated through international cooperation: UN

Friday, September 28, 2012
Washington: The consolidation of strong international mechanisms is vital to combat nuclear terrorism, senior United Nations officials stressed on Friday, warning that countries must urgently act to tackle one of today's most serious global threats.  

Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon told a high-level meeting on countering nuclear terrorism, held on the margins of the 67th session of the General Assembly that "the prospect of terrorists acquiring nuclear materials is one of the most unnerving threats imaginable."

Ban said "all our tools" must be used to contain "this nuclear genie" and not allow "these arms to proliferate to non-State actors or terrorists."  

The Secretary-General noted that countries have already taken steps to address this threat, namely through the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and Security Council resolution 1540.  

The Director General of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, said international cooperation is vital, and reiterated the IAEA's readiness to help countries improve nuclear safety and its role in coordinating international efforts on nuclear security.  

Amano said "terrorists will exploit the weakest link in any security system" and added "the challenge is global, so the response must be global."

The IAEA Director General encouraged countries to work with the IAEA to establish networks of nuclear security support centres and improve nuclear security. In addition, he urged countries to take part in the International Conference on Nuclear Security, which will take place in Vienna next July.  

Marty M. Natalegawa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, which recently ratified the nuclear Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) told the meeting that "the ultimate guarantee against the misuse of nuclear energy is actually the realization of a nuclear weapon free world," adding that "without nuclear weapons there can be no nuclear terrorism."

At a panel discussion on the same issue, the Foreign Minister of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, said "measures and initiatives aimed at strengthening nuclear safety and nuclear security must not be used as a pretext or leverage to violate, deny or restrict the inalienable right of developing countries to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination."

The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which has been ratified by 82 States, enhances international cooperation to prevent nuclear terrorism and to prosecute and punish perpetrators of such acts. Resolution 1540 imposes binding obligations on all States to establish controls preventing the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and their means of delivery.   
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