UN High-Level Meeting

The United Nations held a High-Level Meeting on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons last week as leaders from around the world called for further progress to be made on the issue.

The event took place on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons as world leaders gathered at the UN for the General Assembly. Elsewhere in the building states were signing and ratifying the Nuclear Ban Treaty.

Among the speakers was Antonia Guterres, UN Secretary-General, who spoke about the urgent need to eliminate nuclear weapons in order to remove the threat of their use: “We strive for a world free of nuclear weapons because we know these weapons pose a unique and potentially existential threat to our planet.  We know any use of nuclear weapons would be a humanitarian catastrophe.”

Speakers raised the long-awaited efforts for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East and the continued commitment of African and South American states to a nuclear weapons-free world through their own zones and regional groupings.

Only two nuclear-armed states took part in the meeting. The Indian representative called for meaningful dialogue between the nuclear-armed states, just days after Pakistan’s Prime Minister had warned the UN of the growing threat of a nuclear exchange in Kashmir.

The delegate from China stressed the countries no first use policy and said that the elimination of nuclear weapons would serves the common interest of humankind.

The meeting comes as the UN begins preparations for the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2020. The Conference is set to be difficult as tensions continue to exist between the United States and Iran and many nuclear-armed states continue to upgrade their arsenals.

Please join Christian CND as we pray for world leaders in the run up to the Conference next April.

Read the full speech by Antonio Guterres
Read a report of the meeting on the UN website