The head of the United Nations on Monday warned that efforts to stem the spread of nuclear arms are likely to be hampered by recent events in Ukraine.
In 1994, Kiev agreed to repatriate a large arsenal of Soviet nuclear weapons back to Russia in exchange for promises from London, Washington and Moscow — outlined in the Budapest Memorandum — that they would respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Leaders in Kiev and the West say Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula earlier this month violates that pledge.
Speaking in The Hague, Netherlands, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told leaders from 53 countries participating in the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit that “the credibility of the assurances given to Ukraine in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 has been seriously undermined by recent events.”
“The implications are profound, both for regional security and the integrity of the nuclear nonproliferation regime,” the U.N. leader said.
Ban did not single out any one side for blame in the unfolding events in Ukraine, but said “security assurances provided to non-nuclear weapon states by nuclear-weapon states” must be followed.
North Korea already has pointed specifically to the experiences of Iraq under Saddam Hussein — as well as Libya under Muammar Qadhafi — as justification for its own ongoing nuclear-weapons development. Years after the two dictators gave up their respective weapons of mass destruction programs under international pressure, they were attacked by U.S.-led forces and saw their regimes toppled. The unfolding crisis in Ukraine could further deepen the Kim Jong Un regime’s belief that it needs a nuclear deterrent to protect itself from a feared invasion by the United States and South Korea.
Ban urged signatories of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to use the 2015 treaty review conference to take up the issue of providing “unequivocal and legally binding” promises to nations without atomic arsenals that they would not be attacked by nuclear weapon possessor countries.
“Together, we must ensure that nuclear weapons are seen by states as a liability, not an asset,” the former South Korean foreign minister said.
What We're Following See More »
"It was obvious he wasn't prepared." “He only mentioned her email scandal once." "I think he took things a little too personal and missed a lot of opportunities to make very good debate points." That's just a smattering of the reactions of some elected Republicans to Donald Trump's debate performance.
The conventional wisdom is already emerging that Donald Trump opened last night's debate well, but that he faded badly down the stretch. And most viewers apparently witnessed it. "The early Nielsen data confirms that viewership stayed high the entire time. Contrary to some speculation, there was not a big drop-off after the first hour of the 98-minute debate." Final data is still being tallied, but "Monday's face-off may well have been the most-watched debate in American history. CNN and other cable news channels saw big increases over past election years. So did some of the broadcast networks."
As Congress continues to bicker on riders to a continuing resolution, federal agencies have started working with the Office of Management and Budget to prepare for a government shutdown, which will occur if no continuing resolution is passed by 11:59 p.m. on Friday night. The OMB held a call with agencies on Sept. 23, one that is required one week before a possible shutdown. The government last shut down for 16 days in 2013, and multiple shutdowns have been narrowly avoided since then. It is expected that Congress will reach a deal before the clock strikes midnight, but until it does, preparations will continue.