Kane: U.N. and NATO must stimulate general interest in disarmament

The U.N. and NATO must find a way to rekindle common interests in global nuclear non-proliferation, U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane said on Monday.

Kane spoke on Monday at the Annual NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation in Split, Croatia. She gave the speech during a panel entitled, "The future of multilateral non-proliferation regimes and initiatives: the perspective of international organizations and conventions."

Kane said the U.N. and NATO have many common goals, including the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

"Together, you in NATO and we at the U.N. must find a way to rekindle a sense of our common interests," Kane said. "One of NATO's first secretaries general, Paul-Henri Spaak, had earlier served as the first President of the U.N. General Assembly. As that Assembly opened, he called upon all delegations to remember-in advancing their own particular national interests-that these interests must, in his words, 'take their place in the wider setting of the general interest.' I think that is good advice today in advancing the common interest in achieving a world free of nuclear weapons."

Kane suggests advancing general interest in policies that cause stress in the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, including the ongoing modernization programs for nuclear weapon-related technologies. By approaching nuclear weapons from a humanitarian perspective, NATO and the U.N. may find that advancing the general interest in such policies can best advance individual interests as well.

Kane concluded by suggesting that NATO consider adopting a strategic concept paper devoted to nuclear disarmament.

"It should not be that difficult to devise such a strategy, since many of its benchmarks have already been agreed in consensus multilateral documents adopted both at the U.N. and at (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) arenas," Kane said. "I believe such a strategic concept paper would go far in helping to clarify that when the members of this alliance speak of nuclear disarmament, they take it seriously not just as a noble goal to be achieved in some distant era, but as an objective to be rooted in the individual laws and policies of each member state, and a guiding star for future cooperation within the alliance."

Kane said she looked forward to NATO's future disarmament initiatives and for the organization's support for efforts at the U.N. to fulfill its historic disarmament mandates.