Ten nations form new group to promote N-disarmament

The gathering was held on the sidelines of UN General Assembly meeting in NY.

Updated: Sep 23, 2010, 16:08 PM IST

New York: Japan, the only victim of atomic bombing, along with nine other non-nuclear nations has launched a group to promote global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Foreign ministers and other representatives from the 10 countries expressed their resolve in a joint statement to "work together on concrete and practical measures for a world of decreased nuclear risk as a milestone on our path toward realising a world without nuclear weapons”.

The meeting of the new group, co-hosted by Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd, drew participants from Canada, Chile, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, Kyodo news agency reported.

The gathering was held on the sidelines of UN General Assembly meetings here.

Maehara, whose country is the only victim of atomic bombing by the US in 1945, told a joint press conference following the inaugural meeting that the 10 members will appeal to nuclear states to further reduce their nuclear arsenals.

"Through such efforts, we can maintain the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime, which has been weakened. We will tenaciously work toward our ultimate goal" of abolishing nuclear weapons, he said.

Rudd said there are an estimated 23,000 nuclear weapons in the world and that the members of the new group "all want an immediate reduction of the world`s nuclear arsenals" and "measures to ensure no more countries acquire nuclear weapons”.

The Australian minister also said he believes the group, with its wide representation, can use its "common voice" to put pressure on countries such as North Korea and Iran, which have been under fire for their nuclear programmes.

He said membership is open and that any country sharing the goal of the group can join. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said his country is willing to host the next meeting of the new body in Berlin next year.