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Obama to push for nuke disarmament
Washington, Sept 24 (Agencies):
Published on 24 Sep. 2009 11:35 PM IST
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US President Barack Obama is to call for an end to nuclear arms and efforts to stop the spread of the technology behind them, at an historic UN session. In the first security council meeting chaired by the US, Mr Obama will present a resolution seeking “a world without nuclear weapons”. The meeting comes a day after Mr Obama’s debut UN speech, in which he warned of a nuclear arms race. It also comes amid growing concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The draft resolution reaffirms the council’s commitment “to seek a safer world for all and to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons,” the Associated Press reported. It does not specifically mention countries by name, such as North Korea and Iran, but reaffirms previous Security Council resolutions relating to their nuclear plans. Iran’s nuclear programme has been criticised by the US and five nations who are set to hold talks next week. Iran says its nuclear ambitions are for peaceful energy purposes, but others fear it is developing weapons. Also on Thursday, a UN conference on a 1996 treaty banning nuclear bomb tests will begin with a speech by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Her appearance is the first US participation at the biannual conference since 1999 when the US Senate refused to ratify the treaty. On Wednesday, the first day of the United Nations General Assembly, Iran’s plans came under fire. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Iranian leaders were “making a tragic mistake” if they thought the international community would not respond. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Iran - and North Korea - that the world would be even tougher on proliferation. In his speech on Wednesday, President Obama said: “For decades, we averted disaster, even under the shadow of a super-power stand-off. But today, the threat of proliferation is growing in scope and complexity. “If we fail to act, we will invite nuclear arms races in every region, and the prospect of wars and acts of terror on a scale that we can hardly imagine.” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signalled that Moscow might be prepared to soften its opposition to sanctions against Iran over its nuclear plans. But the Chinese foreign ministry has said that increasing pressure on Iran would not be effective. In his speech, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke of countries which undermined the development of other nations under the pretext of preventing arms proliferation. Mr Obama said he and Mr Medvedev shared the goal of allowing Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear energy, but not nuclear weapons. Five ‘snubs’ to Brown British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is facing huge embarrassment over reports that claim that US President Barack Obama has spurned five requests for a bilateral meeting this week, reports said Thursday. Although Brown’s office denied the premier had been snubbed by Obama but questions remain as the incident comes amid tensions over the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Brown is in New York for the United Nations deliberations and the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. Interestingly, Obama has held bilateral meetings in New York with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Japan’s new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. However, some reports now claim that instead of a formal meeting, Brown and Obama held a 15-minute “walk and chat” in a kitchen of the UN headquarters in New York as both men left the building on Tuesday night. “It is wrong for people to say that we have been relaxed about the way things have gone,” a British diplomat said. “There were five attempts to set up a meeting and none have come off.” The refusals are clearly a blow for Brown, keen to boost his profile by appearing with Obama ahead of a general election due to be held by the middle of next year. Downing Street said late Wednesday any suggestion of a snub was “completely without foundation,” adding the two leaders were having a “number of meetings”. “This included a wide ranging discussion following (Tuesday) last night’s climate change dinner. They will also be co-chairing an important meeting on Thursday on Pakistan and the fight against terrorism,” a spokesman said.

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