U.N.’s Ban praises treaty for nuclear-free Latin zone

On the 45th anniversary of the treaty that created a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday hailed the pact as an example of how regional initiatives can advance global norms on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of atomic energy.

“The Treaty of Tlatelolco has earned international recognition as one of the most historic achievements in the history of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts,” said Ban in a message delivered on his behalf in Mexico City by Sergio Duarte, the U. N. high representative for disarmament affairs.

Latin America and the Caribbean was the first region in the world to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone with the Treaty of Tlatelolco – named for an area within Mexico City – in 1967.

Ban said the treaty also broke new ground by establishing the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean as a regional nuclear verification agency with the unique mandate to verify compliance with the obligations of the pact.

“Even more remarkably, it achieved all of this at the height of the Cold War, thereby challenging the notion that nuclear weapons were indispensable in maintaining security,” he said. “These great achievements were the result of unprecedented cooperation among States at the regional level, reinforced by support they received from the world community, in particular the United Nations.”

Building on the success of Treaty of Tlatelolco, the U.N. has actively promoted the establishment of other such regional nuclear-weapon-free zones around the world, the secretary general noted.

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