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Lugar Calls for Worldwide WMD Accounting System

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) told the U.N. Security Council yesterday that an international system for tracking and safeguarding weapons of mass destruction is needed, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Feb. 2).

“We must perfect a worldwide system of accountability for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons,” he said. “In such a system, every nation that currently has weapons and materials of mass destruction must account for what it has, safely secure what it has, and demonstrate that no other nation or cell will be allowed access.”

Lugar said WMD proliferation is “a universal economic and moral threat that will loom over all human activity for generations.”

Under the Cooperative Threat Reduction program started by Lugar and then-Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) in 1991, the United States and Russia have deactivated 6,828, Russian nuclear warheads, destroyed 1,174 ballistic missiles and decommissioned hundreds of strategic bombers, missile silos, submarine missile launchers and cruise missiles.

“No one would have predicted in the 1980s that Americans and Russians would be working side-by-side on the ground in Russia destroying thousands of nuclear weapons systems, as well as biological and chemical weapons,” Lugar said.

“Similarly, from the vantage point of today, few observers would predict that the international community would eventually participate in dismantlement operations in North Korea or, perhaps, Iran. The future is not clear in these states, but if a peaceful outcome is to be secured and weapons of mass destruction are to be eliminated, we should not rule out such extraordinary outcomes,” he added (Agence France-Presse/Yahoo!News, Feb. 6).

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sam Nunn is chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and Richard Lugar serves on the NTI board.  NTI is the sole sponsor of Global Security Newswire, which is published independently by the National Journal Group.]

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