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Ban offers UN help to prevent spread of ballistic missiles

Posted on Nov 24, 10:56AM | IBNS

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday pledged the help of the United Nations to build on the achievements of a widely agreed code of conduct for preventing the spread of ballistic missiles.

In a message delivered on his behalf, Ban told a gathering in Vienna commemorating the tenth anniversary of The Hague Code of Conduct to Prevent the Proliferation of Ballistic Missiles that such weapons "destabilize regional and international relations, and jeopardize progress on nuclear disarmament" because of their ability to deliver weapons of mass destruction.

"I encourage your efforts to further develop the Code to take into account other types of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, such as cruise missiles," Ban said in the remarks, delivered by the Deputy Director-General of the UN Office at Vienna, Mazlan Othman.

"The United Nations stands ready to work with subscribing States and all interested parties to further elaborate the Code and achieve its universality," added Ban.

The Code emerged from international efforts to regulate access to ballistic missiles, and calls for restraint in their production, testing and export.

The Code was launched in The Hague, Netherlands, on Nov 25, 2002. The 193-member UN General Assembly welcomed the measure in a December 2004 resolution, which also called on all States to submit to it. By June of this year, 134 States had subscribed to the instrument.

"The world still lacks a universally accepted norm or instrument specifically governing the development, testing, production, acquisition, transfer, deployment or use of such missiles," Ban said.

"The Code, therefore, fills a critical void by enhancing transparency and building confidence among States, and by contributing to the peaceful use of outer space."

Key, said Ban, was that the Code provided for the exchange of pre-launch notifications and annual declarations on space and ballistic missile policies - measures that he said could "supplant related bilateral and regional efforts."

Ban offered his "strong support" for efforts to explore how to deepen the relationship between the Code and the UN. He also praised outreach activities aimed at promoting the Code, and welcomed a joint ministerial statement marking the instrument's tenth anniversary.