U.N. General Assembly discusses increasing international disarmament efforts

Senior United Nations officials urged Member States on Thursday to increase disarmament efforts, as a world without chemical weapons would not only be peaceful, but also have stronger social and economic resources.

"Some might complain that nuclear disarmament is little more than a dream. But that ignores the very tangible benefits disarmament would bring for all humankind," United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "Its success would strengthen international peace and security. It would free up vast and much-needed resources for social and economic development. It would advance the rule of law. It would spare the environment and help keep nuclear materials from terrorist or extremist groups. And it would remove a layer of fear that clouds all of human existence."

The meeting was held at the General Assembly; it was the first gathering of its kind. During his speech, Ban called upon the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran and all nations that have yet to accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to ratify the treaty and enter it into force.

"As we put time, resources and energy into maintaining and expanding this ever increasing weaponry complex, we divert resources from education, healthcare, poverty reduction, and the overall goal to move towards more sustainable development," Ban said.

Ban noted that the objectives of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals of world peace have yet to be reached. The time to work towards those goals, Ban said, is now.

"Today's historic high-level meeting provides an opportunity to honor the vision of the Millennium Declaration and to renew our commitment to a world free of fear," Ban said. "Building on today's meeting and the work many of you are already doing, we can make significant progress - to advancing the agenda before us and to creating a world that honors what we all truly value: security, prosperity and peace and human well-being."