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August 5, 09

NEWS / Obama to Lead U.N. Session on Nonproliferation

By Merle David Kellerhals Jr.
Staff Writer
Washington — President Obama will chair a high-level meeting of the U.N. Security Council on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament when the United Nations convenes for the opening of the General Assembly in September, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said.

“The Security Council has an essential role in preventing the spread and use of nuclear weapons and is also the world’s principal multilateral instrument for global security cooperation,” Rice said in an announcement August 4 in New York.

“The session will be focused on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament broadly and not on any specific countries,” she added.

Obama has invited the 14 leaders of the other Security Council nations to join him on September 24 during opening week. The president is expected to give his formal address to the 64th session of the General Assembly on September 23. A climate change meeting is scheduled for September 22 before the formal opening ceremonies.

Over the next several weeks, Rice said, the United States will work closely with other Security Council members to prepare for the leaders’ meeting.

The special session of the Security Council occurs while the United States holds the presidency of the council. It comes before the five-year review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York April 26, 2010-May 21, 2010. The treaty requires signatory nations to not pursue nuclear weapons and a commitment from the five major nuclear powers – the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China – to move toward nuclear disarmament. And nonweapons states are guaranteed access to the civilian use of nuclear technology in the production of nuclear power.

Obama vowed in a foreign policy address April 5 in Hradcanske Square outside the medieval Prague Castle in the Czech Republic that the United States would take concrete steps toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

“We will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same,” Obama said. “To reduce our warheads and stockpiles, we will negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians this year.” Those talks are under way and a final agreement is expected by December.

“To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned,” Obama added.

Obama said that if the world is serious about halting the spread of nuclear weapons, then it must also be serious about stopping the production of weapons-grade materials used to create them.




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