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U.S. Backs U.N. Committee Call for Nuclear Disarmament

A disarmament committee of the United Nations passed a resolution yesterday that calls for the global elimination of nuclear weapons. The United States added its support to the measure for the first time in nine years, Kyodo News reported (see GSN, Sept. 24).

The First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly announced that the resolution submitted by Japan had the support of 170 countries. That is the most support ever for the resolution, which has been approved annually since 1994.

North Korea and India voted against the measure, while Bhutan, China, Cuba, France, Iran, Israel, Myanmar and Pakistan abstained.

The resolution urges all U.N. nations to "take further practical steps and effective measures toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons."

In the resolution, the committee recognized actions taken by certain states, notably Russia and the United States, in encouraging "the recent global momentum of nuclear disarmament toward a world without nuclear weapons."

Member nations were urged to enforce sanctions placed on North Korea under a U.N. Security Council resolution passed in the wake of the regime's second nuclear test in May. The First Committee called for North Korea to "return immediately and without preconditions" to the six-nation nuclear negotiation talks with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States (see related GSN story, today).

A new clause in the resolution "stresses the importance of preventing nuclear terrorism and encourages every effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear and radiological material" (Kyodo News/Breitbart.com , Oct. 29).

Meanwhile, a group of senior British politicians and defense officials has formed together to support the cause of worldwide nuclear disarmament, the London Guardian reported today.

The group includes former defense and foreign secretaries from the Labor and Conservative parties.

Former British Defense Secretary Des Browne said the group is meant to strengthen U.S. President Barack Obama's call for a world without nuclear weapons. Such a goal would take time and must occur multilaterally, the group said.

Former Defense and Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind said the global count of nuclear warheads has already been decreased from a high of 60,000 during the Cold War to roughly 23,000 today.

"Perhaps it is possible to go all the way to zero," Rifkind said.

Former NATO Secretary General George Robertson said, "Ninety-five percent of nuclear weapons are in the hands of the U.S. and Russia, so start there" (Richard Norton-Taylor, London Guardian, Oct. 29).

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