Challenges to eradicating weapons of mass destruction "are growing"

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Security Council open debate on the topic "Challenges in addressing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and related materials". UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

The challenges the world faces in eradicating weapons of mass destruction, or WMD, "are growing," according to the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon was addressing the UN Security Council on Tuesday during a debate on the non-proliferation of WMD.

He told the Council it was "particularly disappointing" that disarmament talks had descended into what he called "fractious deadlock", and warned that biological weapons were a growing concern.

Matthew Wells reports.

The UN chief said all Member States needed to focus on the "overriding truth" that the only way to prevent widespread mass destruction was through the eradication of all nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

He reminded Council members that elimination of WMD was one of the founding principles of the UN.

He praised efforts in recent years by the Council to recognize its "primary responsibility" for addressing nuclear threats and take action where necessary.

But today, the move towards a nuclear-free world had stalled, he added.

"We are all aware that challenges to the disarmament and non-proliferation architecture are growing. The global strategic context is more fluid and dangerous than ever. It is therefore particularly disappointing that progress on eliminating nuclear weapons has descended into fractious deadlock. It is time to refocus seriously on nuclear disarmament."

Mr Ban said that the consequences of a biological weapons attack on a civilian target "could far exceed" those of a chemical or radiological attack, adding that he was "extremely concerned" the international community was simply not prepared for that eventuality.

He called for a stronger Security Council resolution to ensure that "non-state actors cannot acquire these horrific weapons."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’15″

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