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Australia Committed To A World Free Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction

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News, speeches and media

Media Release

MEDIA RELEASE

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND
TRADE
AUSTRALIA

D70

Australia has reaffirmed to the United Nations General
Assembly its strong commitment to the challenge of helping
to steer the world away from the threat of weapons of mass
destruction.

The Australian Ambassador to the United Nations, Her
Excellency Penny Wensley, yesterday presented the Australian
Government's annual statement to the UN General Assembly on
behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander
Downer. She pledged Australia's continued strong support for
the effort to uphold and strengthen the nuclear and other
non-proliferation regimes and to continue to pursue
effective measures to reduce and eliminate the threat posed
by all weapons of mass destruction.

Australia has long been a firm supporter of universal
adherence to international weapons of mass destruction
treaties. Australia has signed all thirteen multilateral
arms control and disarmament treaties and ratified all of
these bar one - ratification of the Ottawa landmines ban
Convention is in progress. Only four other countries can
match this record. Ambassador Wensley reaffirmed Australia's
commitment to making a difference where and when it can in
building consensus on the way forward, and will continue to
be diligent and creative across the full range of arms
control and disarmament issues.

While the progress the international community has made
in the field of arms control and disarmament over recent
decades has been remarkable, the non-proliferation and
disarmament regimes have had to withstand serious challenges
from North Korea and Iraq, and the progress towards a
universal no-testing norm has been jolted by sporadic
outbreaks of testing, most recently by India and Pakistan.
"In the face of these setbacks," Ambassador Wensley said,
"it is vitally important to stay the course, and to ensure
that such events amount to no more than temporary deviations
from the near universally accepted norm against the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction".

While it might be natural in times of difficulty and
uncertainty in international affairs to question the
considerable political and economic capital devoted to
non-proliferation regimes', brief consideration of the
alternative, Ambassador Wensley observed - a world without
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or other hedges against
the threat of weapons of mass destruction - confirms that
continued commitment to non-proliferation and disarmament is
central to the security of all members of the international
community.

In the address, Ambassador Wensley also called for
serious negotiations on a package of reforms for the United
Nations organisation - "one which will usher in a
remodelled' Security Council that is more representative,
transparent and suited to the new millennium". The Statement
also welcomed the 50th anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which Australia together with
seven other countries drafted, and the 50th anniversary of
UN Peacekeeping to which Australia has been a long-standing
contributor.

Media Inquiries:

Kirk Coningham on (02) 6261 1555

Last Updated: 19 September 2014
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