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Homeland Security

General Assembly adopts treaty on nuclear terrorism; Annan hails it as 'vital step'

13 April 2005 ? The United Nations General Assembly today adopted by consensus an international treaty against nuclear terrorism which Secretary-General Kofi Annan hailed as "a vital step forward" in multilateral efforts to prevent terrorists from gaining access to "the most lethal weapons known to humanity."

The Nuclear Terrorism Convention, which will open for signature on 14 September at the high-level plenary meeting scheduled for the Assembly's sixtieth session and enter into force after 22 States ratify it, strengthens the global legal framework to combat the scourge, requires the extradition or prosecution of those implicated and encourages the exchange of information and inter-state cooperation.

Mr. Annan called on all States to become parties to the Convention without delay, noting that it was one of the key recommendations contained in his recent report on overall UN reform called "In Larger Freedom."

"The adoption of this Convention, after many years of negotiations, is a vital step forward in multilateral efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism," he said in a statement on the treaty, which had been seven years in the making by a special Assembly committee.

"The Convention will help prevent terrorist groups from gaining access to the most lethal weapons known to humanity. It will also strengthen the international legal framework against terrorism, which includes 12 existing universal conventions and protocols," he added.

The treaty aims to deal with both crisis situations by assisting States in thwarting terrorist groups possessing nuclear material, and post-crisis situations by rendering the nuclear material safe in accordance with safeguards provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

It was drafted by the Ad Hoc Committee established by the General Assembly in 1996 to draw up an international convention for the suppression of terrorist bombings and entrusted in 1998 with drafting an international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.

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