Ban calls for universal NPT acceptance amid US-Iran showdown

UN Secy-Gen Ban Ki-moon called on all nations to join the NPT as he opened the nuclear anti-proliferation conference.

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon on Monday called on all nations to join the NPT as he
opened the nuclear anti-proliferation conference here that is
expected to witness a showdown between Iran and Western
nations over its nuclear ambition.

In the opening session of the four-week Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty Review that is not being attended by
New Delhi, Ban called on all nations to join the NPT.

The landmark treaty which entered into force in 1970
has not been signed by handful of countries including India,
Israel and Pakistan.

"I urge those countries that are currently outside the
Treaty regime to accede to it as soon as possible," Ban said.

"Pending their accession, there is a need for
measures to ensure the safety and security of those countries`
arsenals and technology. Nuclear materials must not be
acquired by non-state actors and terrorists, he underlined.

Ban also directly challenged Tehran. "The onus is on
Iran to clarify the doubts and concerns about its programme,"
the UN chief told the delegates from 189 nations.

Yukiya Amano, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog,
International Atomic Energy Agency, also called for all
nations outside of the NPT to join the pact.

India is not be participating in the NPT Review
Conference at the UN headquarters, according to the Indian
mission to the UN.

"We are not parties to the NPT and we will not be
participating," an official said, noting that India would
not be present in any capacity not even as an "observer"
country that does not speak.

Concerning the row over Iran`s nuclear programme, Ban
urged Iran to adhere to NPT obligations, Security Council
resolutions and cooperate with the IAEA.

"I encourage Iran to accept the nuclear fuel supply
proposal put forward by the Agency. This would be an important
confidence-building measure, Ban said.

And I encourage the President of Iran to engage
constructively. Let us be clear: the onus is on Iran to
clarify the doubts and concerns about its programme, he

The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are scheduled to speak
later on Monday.

Ahmadinejad, the only head of state to attend the
conference, is expected to blast the Western nations for
stockpiling nuclear weapons while preventing his country from
enriching uranium to get nuclear energy for allegedly peaceful

Turning to North Korea, Ban urged the nation to return
to the Six-Party Talks as soon as possible, without

The NPT review conference is held every five years to
assess the progress in reaching the goal set out in the 1970
treaty to disarm and stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

Ban also underlined the need for setting a time frame
for ratification of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

"The bottom line is this: It has been 15 years since
the Treaty was opened for signature. Here, too, how long must
we wait? We need to consider an alternative mechanism for
bringing the Treaty into effect, he said.

The UN chief welcomed Indonesia`s announcement that
it is willing to join the treaty and welcomed other nations to
follow suit.

As the Treaty’s depository, I am ready to visit the
capitals of the remaining countries whose ratification is
essential, and talk to the respective leaders about their
concerns, he said.

Earlier, landing at the JFK airport in New York,
Ahmadinejad, noted that he did not have to win the trust of
Western nations.

"We should not offer ways to obtain their trust as
Iran abides by the international law and acts within its
framework," he said.

Meanwhile, Clinton has warned the Iranian leader
against disrupting the agenda of the review of the treaty.

"If Iran is coming to say we`re willing to abide by
the nonproliferation treaty that would be very welcome news.
I have a feeling that`s not what they`re coming to do, she
said on NBC`s "Meet the Press.

"I think they`re coming to try to divert attention and
confuse the issue," she said.


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