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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Austria hails signs of progress towards nuclear disarmament at UN debate

25 September 2010 – The world has made important progress towards nuclear disarmament in the past year, but United Nations Member States now need to build on that momentum and take steps to head towards an era without nuclear weapons, Austria’s Federal Minister for European and International Affairs said today.

Michael Spindelegger told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate that the 12 months since the high-level Security Council meeting on disarmament had been the most positive in a decade.

“Although many issues are still unresolved and require our close attention, the review conference in May produced an outcome that restored confidence in the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty),” he said, citing the comprehensive action plan that was agreed on by participants at the conference.

“For the first time, a ‘world without nuclear weapons’ was accepted as the goal of all parties, who pledged to ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons. For the first time, the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of such weapons were recognized – an important step towards the eventual legal ban of nuclear weapons by means of a nuclear weapons convention or framework of legal instruments.”

But Mr. Spindelegger said more work was need, including the implementation of the action plan and the reform of the international disarmament structures.

The States which have nuclear weapons must lead by example, he stressed.

Early next year a competence centre for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation will open in Vienna, the Austrian capital, with the aim of promoting open discussion and independent expertise, monitoring and advocacy.

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