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Secretary-General Guterres Urges Overhaul of Conference on Disarmament Amid Global Crisis

By: ATN News

Geneva: In a sobering address to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on February 26, 2024, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivered a stark assessment of the current state of global disarmament efforts. Addressing the assembled delegates and dignitaries, Guterres highlighted the critical need for urgent action in the face of escalating geopolitical tensions and technological advancements that threaten global security.

Guterres began by acknowledging the historical significance of the Conference, tracing its origins to the height of the Cold War when the specter of nuclear annihilation loomed large. He emphasized the pivotal role played by the Conference and its predecessors in crafting landmark agreements such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

However, Guterres lamented that the Conference has faltered in recent years, failing to fulfill its intended purpose amid growing distrust among nations and a resurgence of nuclear brinkmanship reminiscent of the Cold War era. He pointed to alarming trends including the proliferation of small arms, the development of autonomous weapons systems, and the escalating arms race in outer space, all of which underscore the urgent need for concerted disarmament efforts.

Against this backdrop of escalating threats, Guterres reiterated his call for the implementation of existing disarmament commitments and urged Member States to accelerate progress towards nuclear disarmament. He condemned the reckless rhetoric of leaders who threaten to unleash nuclear devastation and warned of the erosion of vital norms against the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons.

Highlighting the urgent need for reform, Guterres called for a revitalization of the Conference on Disarmament and proposed a new intergovernmental process under the General Assembly to develop reforms to disarmament bodies. He stressed the importance of inclusive diplomacy as the most effective tool for achieving disarmament goals and called on member states to transcend diplomatic deadlock and work towards a more peaceful world.

In closing, Guterres urged delegates to seize the opportunity for change, reaffirming the commitment of the United Nations to support efforts to revitalize the Conference on Disarmament. He called for collective action to deliver a Conference that can effectively contribute to building a more peaceful and stable world.

As tensions continue to rise and the specter of nuclear conflict looms large, Guterres' impassioned plea for reform serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for concerted international action to address the existential threats facing humanity in the 21st century.


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