News24

UN votes for nuclear-free world

2009-09-24 16:22

New York - With US President Barack Obama presiding, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution on Thursday aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

Russia, China and developing nations supported the US-sponsored measure, giving it global clout and strong political backing.

The resolution calls for stepped up efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, promote disarmament and "reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism".

Obama was the first American president to preside over a Security Council summit, gaveling the meeting into session and announcing that "the draft resolution has been adopted unanimously".

"The historic resolution we just adopted enshrines our shared commitment to a goal of a world without nuclear weapons," Obama said immediately after the vote.

"And it brings Security Council agreement on a broad framework for action to reduce nuclear dangers as we work toward that goal."

'Historic moment'

Just one nuclear weapon set off in a major city could cause major destruction, Obama said.

He said the global effort would seek to "lock down all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years".

"This is not about singling out an individual nation," he said. "International law is not an empty promise, and treaties must be enforced."

"We will leave this meeting with renewed determination," Obama said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon saluted the national leaders for joining in the unprecedented Security Council summit on nuclear arms.

"This is a historic moment, a moment offering a fresh start toward a new future," he said.

SAPA