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Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Draft U.N.-Backed Confab Statement Urges Speedier Nuclear Disarmament

A draft statement marking the Friday end of a two-week nonproliferation confab urges atomic-weapons states to speed up their nuclear disarmament.

Enrique Roman-Morey, chairman of the U.N. Disarmament Commission, presented the draft recommendations on Wednesday in New York at a Preparatory Committee meeting ahead of a Review Conference next year on the status of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Kyodo News reports.

Consensus on the text among participants of the meeting this week and last is uncertain, though, the news service quotes diplomats as saying.

The document calls on nuclear weapons states party to the NPT pact -- the United States, China, France, Russia and Britain -- to take "accelerated actions" toward the elimination of their arsenals in an "irreversible, transparent and verifiable manner."

Also mentioned in the draft document is the goal of creating a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. It notes "the disappointment" of NPT members about the postponement of a conference on the issue originally planned for 2012. The preliminary document urges that the gathering be held "this year as soon as agreement is reached," with buy-in from states of the region and support from the nuclear-weapon states.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday urged governments to do more to keep nuclear, chemical and biological weapons out of the hands of terrorists. A statement released at a Council meeting to mark the 10th anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 1540 -- which binds countries to take certain steps toward that end -- calls on governments to "step up their efforts" and aim for full implementation of the resolution by 2021.

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