UN's Guterres urges new vision for arms control

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-26 01:34:38|Editor: Li Xia
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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R) arrives for the opening of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland, on Feb. 25, 2019. The continued use of chemical weapons with impunity is driving "new proliferation," and a new vision of arms control is needed, Antonio Guterres warned here on Monday. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

GENEVA, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The continued use of chemical weapons with impunity is driving "new proliferation," and a new vision of arms control is needed, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned here on Monday.

Guterres said at the opening of the UN Conference on Disarmament here that arms control is one of his highest priorities and warned that the situation is particularly dangerous as regards nuclear weapons.

Should it be allowed to happen, the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987, would make the world a more insecure and unstable place, he said.

"That insecurity and instability will be keenly felt here in Europe. And we simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War," said Guterres.

He called on the parties to the INF Treaty to use the time remaining to engage in sincere dialogue on the various related issues as the preservation of the treaty is "very important."

Guterres also said, "I also call on the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the so-called 'New START' Treaty before it expires in 2021.

New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is a nuclear arms reduction treaty signed by the U.S. and Russia in 2010.

"This treaty is the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world's two largest nuclear arsenals, and its inspection provisions represent an important confidence-building set of measures that benefit the entire world," said the UN chief.

He said that thousands of civilian lives continue to be lost because of illicit small arms and the use in urban areas of explosive weapons designed for open battlefields.

"New weapon technologies are intensifying risks in ways we do not yet understand and cannot even imagine," said Guterres.

"We need a new vision for arms control in the complex international security environment of today."

Despite considerable gains in the past seven decades, Guterres said the efforts of UN member states are in increasing jeopardy.

"States are seeking security not in the proven collective value of diplomacy and dialogue, but in developing and accumulating new weapons," said the UN chief.

Guterres expressed his hope that the leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States agree to concrete steps for sustainable, peaceful, complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula at their scheduled meeting in Hanoi later this week.

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