27 March 2006

Slovakia First Country to Ratify Convention on Nuclear Terrorism

VIENNA, 27 March (UN Information Service) -- Slovakia has become the first country to ratify and become party to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in April 2005.

The Convention, based on an instrument originally proposed by the Russian Federation in 1998, will play a crucial role in preventing terrorists from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction.  It strengthens the global legal framework to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism, requires the extradition or prosecution of those implicated and encourages the exchange of information and other inter-state cooperation.

"Nuclear terrorism is one of the most urgent threats of our time," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said before the treaty's adoption. "Even one such attack could inflict mass casualties and change our world forever. The prospect should compel all of us to do our part to strengthen our common defences."

To date, 100 States have signed the Convention, which requires the deposit of 22 instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to enter into force.

"The Government of Slovakia attaches great importance to the fight against terrorism, which poses a deadly threat to the whole of mankind," said a spokesperson for the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Terrorism does not recognize state borders and therefore efficient international cooperation is the only way to combat and eliminate this dangerous phenomenon."

The Slovak Government has become the first country to ratify all 13 universal Conventions against terrorism. The spokesperson said: "The Government of Slovakia hopes that other States will soon become parties to the Convention on Nuclear Terrorism thus enabling it to enter into force and creating conditions for its efficient implementation."

Slovakia, which is currently serving as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, is one of the four client countries of the United Nations Information Service, Vienna (UNIS).

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For more information contact:

 Anne Thomas,
United Nations Information Centre,
Tel: + 43 1 260 60 5693
Email: anne.Thomas@unvienna.org