Saturday, 29 September 2012

Speech: UN Secretary-General Says “Terrorists Acquiring Nuclear Materials Among Most Unnerving Threats Imaginable”

UN Secretary-General; Ban Ki-Moon

(Being text of UN Secretary-General’s remarks at the high-level meeting on countering nuclear terrorism, with a specific focus on strengthening the legal framework, in New York on 28 September, 2012)
Thank you all for participating in this important high-level meeting. I especially thank the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office for organizing this session and for bringing together the relevant United Nations partners working on this issue.

The prospect of terrorists acquiring nuclear materials is one of the most unnerving threats imaginable.  Yet some have already stated their hopes of obtaining nuclear weapons.  Still others may be working in the shadows to achieve this goal.

We must use all our tools to contain this nuclear genie.  As we confront other challenges relating to nuclear disarmament, we cannot allow these arms to proliferate to non-State actors or terrorists.

The international community has already taken important steps to address this threat.  We have a solid foundation in the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).

The Convention, with 82 States parties, enhances international cooperation to prevent nuclear terrorism and to prosecute and punish perpetrators of such acts.  Resolution 1540 counters the threat posed by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons by pressing States to adopt comprehensive measures to prevent non-State actors from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery for terrorist purposes.

Now we must build on this progress.  That is why in March, at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, I set out five focus areas to address the threat and suggested that we convene today’s meeting.  This meeting covers the first area:  consolidating the global nuclear security architecture through universal adherence to international instruments and a rigorous review mechanism.

I urge all countries to become party to the Convention, implement it at the national level, and fully comply with resolution 1540 (2004).

We must also do more to build up the capacity of States to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related materials.  The United Nations system is already providing wide-ranging assistance.  We are determined to better respond to national needs.  Any act of nuclear terrorism would gravely threaten international peace and security. I call on all of you to respond with a strong sense of resolve. 

Thank you.

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