U.N. officials urge renewed efforts for nuclear disarmament

Senior U.N. officials called on member states on Thursday to renew efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons during a meeting on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly's General Debate.

During the high-level meeting, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the tangible benefits of a world free of nuclear weapons.

"Some might complain that nuclear disarmament is little more than a dream," Ban said. "But that ignores the very tangible benefits disarmament would bring for all humankind."

Ban said nuclear disarmament would strengthen international security and peace, free up resources for economic and social development and 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," Ban said.

Ban also appealed to nuclear weapon states to intensify their efforts to cooperate with the international community by moving toward disarmament.

"Today, I once again call upon the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to demonstrate its commitment towards verifiable denuclearization," Ban said. "I urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to fulfill its pledge to enhance the transparency of its nuclear program."

John Ashe, the president of the U.N. General Assembly, reminded member states of the connection between the post-2015 development agenda and nuclear disarmament.

"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," Ashe said. "I urge you to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development."

Ashe said the U.N. Member States must strengthen their commitment to achieve concrete and meaningful disarmament progress.

"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," Ashe 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."