Senate of Pakistan

Pakistan, other nuclear-weapon states face criticism at UN

September 27, 2013

NEW YORK: Pakistan and other nuclear-armed nations are facing growing criticism for lacking political will to take action towards disarmament.

“I urge those countries outside the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) to accede to it, without delay and without conditions,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, without naming Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea. Ban was speaking to a high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament attended by top officials from several countries. Noting that nuclear weapons states have “special responsibility” to intensify their efforts, he said: “Let’s remember that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are mutually reinforcing.”

“It’s time for new binding legal commitments,” he said at the first-ever high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament since 1946. Stressing the need for quick action towards disarmament measures, John Ashe, president of the General Assembly, urged member states that have not signed or ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to do so. The treaty prohibits “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion” anywhere in the world. Opened for signature in September 1996, the treaty has been signed by more than 180 countries and ratified by157.

However, it cannot be enforced without ratification by 44 countries that had nuclear power or research reactors when the CTBT was negotiated. In 2009, US President Barack Obama declared his intention to seek Senate reconsideration of the treaty, but failed to materialise it The United States and Russia possess 93 percent of the total number of nuclear weapons in the world, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a Swedish think tank that tracks weapon production and exports worldwide.

Among others, China has 400 warheads, France 348, and Israel and Britain 200 each. India is believed to have more than 80 and Pakistan about 40 nuclear weapons. The newest member of the nuclear club, North Korea, has no more than 10 “small” nuclear weapons, according to the institute’s estimates. Speaking on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said his country stood for nuclear disarmament. Like many other speakers, he underscored the need for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

The Iranian leader called for Israel to be part of this plan as a member “without further delay.” He said the nuclear weapon states have “primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament.” For his part, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Parallax, who spoke on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean nations, said the use of nuclear weapons “constitutes a crime against humanity and a violation of international law including international law and the UN charter. The high-level meeting is like to consider what more can be done to bridge differences on moving the UN agenda on disarmament forward.

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