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Guterres warns of increasing threats of weapons of mass destruction

Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday warned that threats posed by weapons of mass destruction seems to be gathering force in today’s world.

“Global anxieties about nuclear weapons are at the highest level since the end of the Cold War; trust on nuclear and other issues between the U.S. and Russia continues to ebb.

“The Iran nuclear deal is being questioned; the use of chemical weapons in Syria seriously challenges the global taboo against these weapons of mass destruction.

“The situation on the Korean Peninsula is the most tense and dangerous peace and security challenge in the world today.

“I remain deeply concerned over the growing risk of military confrontation and the unimaginable consequences that would result,” Guterres said at the Security Council meeting on weapons of mass destruction.

On the lack of trust between the two major military powers in the world, the U.S. and Russia, he warned that vital strategic arms reduction measures established during and after the Cold War are under threat.

“After the expiration of New START in 2021, there seems to be no new arms control negotiations under way.”

New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the U.S. and Russia in April 2010 and entered into force in February 2011.

“It is expected to last till 2021.

On Syria, the UN chief said if the use of chemical weapons in the country is once again determined; the international community needs to find an appropriate way to identify those responsible and hold them to account.

“Without such an avenue, we are allowing the use of chemical weapons to take place with impunity.”

He expressed the hope that the Security Council can return to unity on the issue.

He referred to Russia’s veto of the extension of the mandate for a joint investigative mechanism of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, leading to the disintegration of the mechanism.

“The threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery are taking place in an environment of increasing military budgets and the over-accumulation of weapons.

“They are coupled with a serious growth in regional tensions.

“In such a geopolitical context, confidence-building measures that support arms control, non-proliferation and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction are extremely important,” Guterres said.

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