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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Joined hands must replace clenched fists, Ban tells nuclear disarmament meeting

2 February 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today praised the role of international political, military, business and faith leaders in pushing for the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons with a global campaign to build public and political support.

“Your efforts are a crucial part of this bigger picture,” he said in a video message to the Global Zero World Summit in Paris. “You are helping to create real public pressure for change.”

Some 200 dignitaries are expected to attend the three-day meeting, including former United States Secretary of State George Shultz, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, and Queen Noor of Jordan.

“I salute Global Zero for mobilizing so many people. You know that joined hands can achieve much more than clenched fists. You are proving that a small group of committed supporters can change the world,” Mr. Ban said, stressing that global nuclear disarmament has been a long-standing dream for him.

“It is also a strategic priority for the United Nations. Nuclear weapons threaten our security. And every dollar spent on weapons is one less spent on schools, life-saving medicine, or research into life-affirming technologies.”

He cited encouraging signs that leaders are listening, noting that Russia and the US are showing renewed commitment to reach new agreements limiting nuclear weapons, and that the Security Council summit last September had generated further momentum.

“Global Zero is not just a slogan – it is a tangible goal that can and must be achieved,” Mr. Ban declared, with the Summit on Nuclear Security in Washington just two months away and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT) Review Conference following in May. “There is a need for action at these sessions – meaningful steps that move us forward.

“To all of you in Paris, and to people everywhere yearning for a safer, better world, I say this: Global Zero is not just a slogan – it is a tangible goal that can and must be achieved. A world free of nuclear weapons can be ours. Let us make it happen.”

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