UN approves nuclear disarmament resolution
U.S. also returns to nuclear test ban treaty talks for 1st time in decade
The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a U.S.-sponsored resolution Thursday calling on states with nuclear weapons to rid themselves of their deadly stockpiles.
U.S. President Barack Obama told the 15-member council in New York City that the next year would be critical in the global effort to limit nuclear weapons.
"The historic resolution we just adopted enshrines our shared commitment to a goal of a world without nuclear weapons," Obama said. "And it brings Security Council agreement on a broad framework for action to reduce nuclear dangers as we work toward that goal."
The draft resolution, which received approval from Russia and China, called for renewed efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism, and promote disarmament.
The resolution includes measures for reducing the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia, adopting a treaty to ban all nuclear tests, and the establishment of an international fuel bank to better safeguard nuclear material.
The first American president to preside over the Security Council, Obama said the new measures would seek to "lock down all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years."
This is not about singling out an individual nation," he said. "International law is not an empty promise, and treaties must be enforced."
Nuclear treaty talks resume
Thursday also marked the beginning of a biannual conference designed to win support for the treaty banning all nuclear bomb tests. It represents the first time the United States has participated in the conference since 1999.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised all the countries participating for joining in the summit on nuclear arms, calling the moment "a fresh start toward a new future."
"We are glad to be back," said U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to delegates, adding the new U.S. administration "will work in the months ahead both to seek the advice and consent of the United States Senate to ratify the treaty, and to secure ratification by others so that the treaty can enter into force."
Global leaders and Clinton's husband, then-President Bill Clinton, first signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996, but the U.S. Senate rejected the treaty in 1999 over questions about whether the planned international monitoring system could detect secret tests and safely monitor nuclear stockpiles.
Tibor Toth, the head of the UN-affiliated Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, said this time the $1 billion US verification system is likely to meet with Senate approval, particularly after an expert panel from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences completes a study of its effectiveness.
The panel's findings are expected this winter.
With files from The Associated Press