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U.N. Official Urges Consensus on Nuclear Disarmament

A top U.N. official on Monday called on the international organization's Disarmament Commission to move toward consensus on the abolition of nuclear weapons.

"The commission’s deliberations last year on this issue have revealed that while many differences persist, there is also a lot of common ground even on this difficult subject," Angela Kane, U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs, said in an address during the body's first day of its 2013 session. "A positive result from this session would set the stage for a new consensus on nuclear disarmament when the commission concludes its three-year cycle next year."

The commission is scheduled to meet from April 1 to 19. The body incorporates all U.N. member states; its mandate is to provide guidance to other arms control forums such as the international Conference on Disarmament, but it has not produced any concrete results in the last 10 years.

This year's three-week session will address “Recommendations for achieving the objective of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons" as well as "practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons," Kane said.

Advancement of nuclear draw-down recommendations by 2014 would be a "tremendous achievement," according to Kane, "especially coming on the eve of the 2015 [Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty] review conference and given the persisting difficulties in commencing negotiations on nuclear disarmament at the Conference on Disarmament."

Delegates from the China, Iran, North Korea, and the United States were among more than 30 speakers who delivered national statements on Monday, according to a U.N. release.

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