Leading UN figure calls for disarmament as talks start in Geneva

As talks on disarmament begin at the United Nations in Geneva, a leading UN figure has given a rallying cry to states for progress to be made on nuclear disarmament following years of impasse.

Michael Møller is the Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament, which brings together states for dialogue on issues around nuclear disarmament and the broader disarmament agenda. He was making the opening speech of 2019 at the Committee, when he praised the disarmament call made by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

There have been a number of issues which has put pressure on calls for nuclear disarmament in recent times. The United States has violated the Iran Nuclear Deal which was negotiated over many years between Iran and six parties. While the deal is currently being held in place by those other states involved, there could be implications for other states who which to enter into negotiations over their nuclear ambitions.

Donald Trump has also announced that he plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (also known as the INF). The Treaty, between Russia and the US, took more than 2,000 weapons out of service. There is a risk that this decision could lead to a new nuclear arms race and again lead to American nuclear weapons being based in Europe, perhaps even in the UK.

There are, however, signs of hope. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons now has 20 parties, needing another 30 before it enters into force, and more states are signing all the time. There was a also a positive summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un to discuss the nuclear programme of North Korea. A further summit is anticipated in the coming months.

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