News

Obama Chairs UN Security Council Disarmament Summit

Multimedia

U.S. President Barak Obama chaired a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, urging strides toward a world without nuclear weapons. The council unanimously approved a resolution expressing grave concern about the nuclear proliferation threat and urging action to prevent it.

Mr. Obama's presence in the Security Council underscored his administration's renewed commitment to the U.N. system, and support for international nuclear treaties that the previous Bush administration had been skeptical about.

The first-ever council meeting chaired by a U.S. president began with unanimous approval of a resolution renewing the U.N. commitment to a world without nuclear weapons, and urging nations that have not already done so to embrace the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Obama warned the detonation of a single nuclear weapon in a major world city would cause global economic damage and insecurity, in addition to killing hundreds of thousands of people.

He said the next 12 months will be critical in determining if global efforts enshrined in the new resolution will succeed, and he said the world community must not succumb to cynicism about disarmament efforts.

"We harbor no illusions about the difficulty of bringing about a world without nuclear weapons," said the president. "We know there are plenty of cynics and that there will be setbacks to prove their point. But there will also be days like today that push us forward, days that tell a different story. It is the story of a world that understands that no difference or division is worth destroying all that we have built, and all that we love."

Mr. Obama said the global effort would seek to "lock down" all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years.

Neither Mr. Obama, nor the resolution, specifically mentioned individual countries believed to be seeking nuclear weapons.

But in their council statements, both French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown criticized Iran and North Korea for defying international efforts to curb their nuclear ambitions.

Mr. Sarkozy said that in light of Iran's violation of five Security Council resolutions, "no one can seriously believe" Tehran's assertions that its nuclear program is peaceful.

Prime Minister Brown said the world community can no longer look the other way as North Korea and Iran continue dangerous nuclear activities.

"I believe the lesson of recent months is [that] we cannot stand by when Iran and North Korea reject the opportunities of peaceful civil nuclear power and instead take steps to develop nuclear weapons in a way that threatens regional peace and security," he said. "Today I believe we have to draw a line in the sand. Iran must not allow its actions to prevent the international community from moving forward to a more peaceful era."

Momentum for tougher international sanctions against Iran, if it refuses to resolve concerns about its nuclear intentions, appears to be growing in advance of a critical meeting between Iran's nuclear negotiator and big power diplomats October 1st in Geneva.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, whose government has resisted punitive action against Iran, told Mr. Obama on Wednesday that while sanctions are rarely productive, they are in some cases inevitable.

The United States also said Thursday that after a 10-year lapse it would rejoin a biennial conference designed to win support for the comprehensive test ban treaty. The administration of former president Bill Clinton supported the test ban treaty, but ratification was rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1999.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs