Gottemoeller: U.S. seeks "historic opportunities" to limit nuclear weapons

The secretary of the United States Arms Control and International Security working group said on Thursday that nuclear security, conventional arms control and humanitarian issues must be addressed by the U.N. First Committee in New York.

Acting Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller highlighted progress made in banning nuclear tests in the last 50 years in her remarks to the First Committee. She also encouraged members of the committee to be "cognizant of potentially historic opportunities" to make more strides in nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament.

Gottemoeller also noted recent progress made with regard to chemical weapon sites in Syria. Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will investigate the chemical sites due to the passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, and a U.N. Executive Council decision handed down in September.

"Two weeks ago, the international community reached a landmark with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118 and the Executive Council decision," Gottemoeller said. "Together, they enable a strong international partnership to eliminate chemical weapons from Syria and end this threat to the Syrian people."

Gottemoeller said there were areas of disagreement among First Committee members, but pointed to the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War to demonstrate the ability to find mutual interest in the prevention of nuclear proliferation.

"The conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons do not yet exist, but together we are completely capable of creating these conditions," Gottemoeller said. "I am sure of this, because of the examples of our predecessors."