Tue, 09 Aug 2022

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday highlighted five areas for action to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The first area is to urgently reinforce and reaffirm the 77-year-old norm against the use of nuclear weapons, he told the opening of the 10th NPT Review Conference at the UN Headquarters in New York.

This requires a steadfast commitment from all states parties to the NPT. It means finding practical measures that will reduce the risk of nuclear war and put the world back on the path to disarmament. There is a need to strengthen all avenues of dialogue and transparency as peace cannot take hold in an absence of trust and mutual respect, he said.

The second area is to further reduce the risk of nuclear war, he said.

"Eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee they will never be used. We must work relentlessly toward this goal. This must start with new commitments to shrink the numbers of all kinds of nuclear weapons so that they no longer hang by a thread over humanity. And it means reinvigorating -- and fully resourcing -- our multilateral agreements and frameworks around disarmament and non-proliferation, including the important work of the International Atomic Energy Agency."

The third area is to address the simmering tensions in the Middle East and Asia, said Guterres.

By adding the threat of nuclear weapons to enduring conflicts, these regions are edging toward catastrophe. There is a need to redouble support for dialogue and negotiation to ease tensions and forge new bonds of trust in regions that have seen too little, he said.

The fourth area is to promote the peaceful use of nuclear technology as a catalyst to advance the Sustainable Development Goals, including for medical and other uses, he said.

The fifth area is to fulfill all outstanding commitments in the NPT itself, and keep it fit for purpose in these trying times, he said.

"We are all here today because we believe in the treaty's purpose and function. But carrying it into the future requires going beyond the status quo. It requires renewed commitment, and real, good-faith negotiations. And it requires all parties to listen, compromise and keep the lessons of the past -- and the fragility of the future -- in view at all times."

The 10th NPT Review Conference, which was originally scheduled for April-May 2020, had to be postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. NPT Review Conferences had been held every five years since 1975.

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