11 September 2006

At Signing Ceremony of Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, Secretary-General Urges Treaty's Effective Implementation

NEW YORK, 8 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the signing ceremony of the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty in Semipalatinsk, on 8 September, delivered by Yuriko Shoji, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan:

This signing ceremony of the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty marks another step in years of effort by the five Central Asian States to agree on a treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia.  The General Assembly has repeatedly adopted resolutions to promote and encourage the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones in the world.  Nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties help promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and contribute to the stability of the region concerned.  Several parts of the world have benefited from the establishment of such zones, including Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, South-East Asia and Africa.

The General Assembly and the United Nations Disarmament Commission have provided clear guidelines which recommend that nuclear-weapon-free zones be worked out in close consultation with the nuclear-weapon States, so as to ensure that such agreements are effective and meaningful.  I note that some nuclear-weapon States continue to be concerned about aspects of the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, and I would therefore urge the five Central Asian States to engage with the nuclear-weapon States with a view to bridging the differences and ensuring the Treaty's effective implementation.

Individually and collectively, nuclear-weapon-free zones strengthen the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, reinforce global efforts to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world, and greatly enhance global and regional peace and security.  May the efforts of the Central Asian States help move us further in that direction.

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