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RP-led anti-nuke conference moves treaty forward

First Posted 11:20:00 05/30/2010

MANILA, Philippines?After four weeks of review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), 189 countries agreed to work toward eliminating nuclear weapons.

The review conference in New York, presided by the Philippines, came up with a 28-page document that includes 64 so-called action points toward the three pillars of the treaty: the disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. States parties have signed on to this consensus agreement.

?This is a major victory not only for the Philippines but also for the entire world,? said Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Libran Cabactulan.

?We have agreed on a final document. Over the past four weeks, the states parties achieved a better understanding of each other?s positions and a clearer appreciation of the need to strengthen the main pillars of the NPT,? Cabactulan said.

Among others, the states parties agreed to convene a conference in 2012 on the establishment of ?a Middle East zone free of nuclear-weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction? to be held under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General and to be attended by all states of the Middle East.

The document also called on China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to commit to accelerate moves to nuclear disarmament; take steps to further diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons; and report back on progress by 2014?a year before the next Review Conference.

The conference, which takes place every five years, seeks to review and advance the objectives of the NPT. Under the treaty, which took effect in 1970, so-called non-nuclear weapons sates vowed not to acquire such weapons while so-called nuclear weapons states made commitments to move toward their elimination. The treaty also endorsed the right of states parties to develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo called the adoption of the agreement ?historic and unprecedented.?

?Never before has the world come together to firmly put in place a coherent and comprehensive plan to work closely together to eliminate nuclear weapons,? Romulo said.

According to the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York, Cabactulan was given a standing ovation after sealing the first agreement in 10 years for the treaty.

?Because of the leadership of the Philippines, the world will be a much safer place, there is more hope for peace, and there is good reason to dream of a world free from nuclear weapons,? Romulo said, praising Cabactulan and everyone else involved in the review conference.

Veronica Uy

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