Non-nuclear-armed states call for binding security assurances

Mohiuddin Ahmed, the U.N.'s representative from Bangladesh, said on Thursday that non-nuclear-weapon states have the legitimate right to negative security assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

Ahmed made the statement before the U.N.'s First Committee on Disarmament and International Security during the 68th U.N. General Assembly. Ahmed and others involved in the debate sought to correct what they saw as a significant weakness in the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Ahmed said that after the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.N.'s first resolution envisioned a world free of nuclear weapons. He pointed out that 67 years later, mankind was still confronted by the potential threat of self-extinction through the competitive accumulation of nuclear weapons.

Ahmed echoed the concerns of multiple delegations at the meeting by saying that multiple states were insensitive to the majority. He said existing provisions for negative security assurances were inadequate and called for the codification of such assurances into a universal legal instrument. Ahmed urged the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones where they did not exist, including in the Middle East and South Asia.

Michel Haddad, Lebanon's representative, agreed with Ahmed and urged the international community to create a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons. He said such weapons were the most dangerous things ever invented by humanity.