Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen
Foreign minister AK Abdul MomenProthom Alo File Photo

Bangladesh has urged the global community re-commit to use their scare resources for realising sustainable development goals (SDGs), and making this world safe and livable for present and future generations, reports UNB.

“Total elimination of nuclear weapons is a long overdue commitment. On this momentous 75th anniversary of the United Nations, let us re-commit...,” said foreign minister AK Abdul Momen.

He made the call at the high-level plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York held virtually on Friday to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Momen said the pandemic has made it a rallying call more than ever before.

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“Mass awareness and global advocacy need to be promoted and accelerated through effective partnership, including with civil society organisations,” he said.

The foreign minister flagged few points saying Bangladesh steadfastly supports the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.

He said nuclear weapons themselves are the problems and as the former Secretary-General of UN Ban ki Moon stated that “there are no right hands to handle these wrong weapons.”

Secondly, Momen said states with nuclear weapon need to take concrete steps to cease nuclear arms race and also to get rid of the risk of those weapons falling in the hands of the wrong people - terrorists.

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In his third point, the minister said nuclear-weapon-free-zones need to be established in all parts of the world through ratification by the nuclear weapons states, they also must ratify the related protocols to all treaties establishing such zones.

While sharing his fourth point, Momen said, the potentials of nuclear technology for benefit of humankind and inalienable rights of states for research, production and peaceful use of nuclear energy, without discrimination, must be fostered through effective international cooperation.

The foreign minister said the United Nations was created from the ashes of the Second World War.

The devastation and human suffering caused by the nuclear bombing shook the world and the collective conscience of humankind, he said adding that the UN, in its very first resolution, envisioned a world free of nuclear weapons.

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Momen said 75 years have passed yet the present and future generations continue to live under the threat of nuclear catastrophe.

And now, he said, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented before us the long-established truth in a more glaring way that stockpiles of weapons fail to save human beings.

The foreign minister said investment in nuclear weapons therefore cannot ensure nor guarantee peace and security. “It is rather through realisation of sustainable development goals that we can establish and sustain peace and stability.”

He said Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in his historic speech before the UNGA in 1974, appealed to spare the world from the scourge of nuclear war. “This forms the cornerstone of Bangladesh’s steadfast commitment and adherence to nuclear disarmament.”

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Momen said they a party to all major nuclear disarmament treaties. “We are also among the 44 countries that have ratified the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”

He said nuclear technology has been recognised as capable of both tremendous benefit and equally unimaginable destruction.

Bound by the Constitutional obligation to disarmament, Momen said, Bangladesh rejects the use of nuclear technology for destructive purpose and supports its peaceful application for development and welfare of humankind.

“To harness the benefit of nuclear technology, Bangladesh is building nuclear power plants for peaceful uses,” he said.

Volkan Bozkir, General Assembly president, among others, spoke.