UN chief pledges commitment to achieving world free of nuclear weapons

| Updated: Jan 25, 2017 22:40 IST

New York [United States], Jan. 25 (ANI): Asserting that disarmament can play an important role in ending existing conflicts and preventing the outbreak of new strife, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has pledged to actively pursue the abolition of all weapons of mass destruction and the strict regulation of conventional weapons. "I am committed to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons," Guterres said in a video message to the Geneva-based Conference on disarmament, which opened the first segment of its three-part 2017 session on Tuesday. Recalling that upon taking office he had described a world of new and old conflicts woven in a complex, interconnected web, he said that those conflicts have precipitated gross violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. "As such, while disarmament can play an important role in ending existing conflicts and preventing the outbreak of new strife, disarmament and arms control processes provide the breathing space for confidence to be built, stability to be strengthened and trust to be established," Guterres said. "This was true during the Cold War and it is true now," he added, stressing that the need for breathing space is more urgent than ever as global tensions are rising, "sabres have been rattled and dangerous words spoken about the use of nuclear weapons." The UN chief told the 65-member panel that as the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating body the world is looking to the conference to provide rationality and diplomatic solutions, to promote security through peaceful action, and to create the instruments we need to develop confidence, trust and international stability. Guterres said that the United Nations will be the ally of members and will assist them in whatever way they can. The Conference on Disarmament, established in 1979 as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community, is not formally a UN body but reports annually, or more frequently as appropriate, to the UN General Assembly. Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, Michael Møller serves as Secretary-General of the Conference, as well as Guterres' personal representative to the body. Currently, the consensus-based body focuses primarily on the following issues: cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament, prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters, prevention of an arms race in outer space and effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. (ANI)