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9/30/03 - BUSH ON WEAPONS SPREAD - 2003-09-30

President George W. Bush told the United Nations General Assembly on September 23rd that one of the most serious challenges facing the world is the spread of weapons of mass destruction”:

“Outlaw regimes that possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons -- and the means to deliver them -- would be able to use blackmail and create chaos in entire regions. These weapons could be used by terrorists to bring sudden disaster and suffering on a scale we can scarcely imagine. The deadly combination of outlaw regimes and terror networks and weapons of mass murder is a peril that cannot be ignored or wished away."

One way to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, said President Bush, “is to secure the most dangerous materials at their source”:

“For more than a decade, the United States has worked with Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union to dismantle, destroy, or secure weapons and dangerous materials left over from another era. Last year in Canada, the [Group of Eight] nations agreed to provide up to twenty-billion dollars -- half of it from the United States -- to fight this proliferation risk over the next ten years. Since then, six additional countries have joined the effort. More are needed. . . .”

President Bush said there have also been improvements in the ability to block the transport of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials:

“Through our Proliferation Security Initiative, eleven nations are preparing to search planes and ships, trains and trucks carrying suspect cargo, and to seize weapons or missile shipments that raise proliferation concerns. . . . And we’re working to expand the Proliferation Security Initiative to other countries.”

Because the broadest possible cooperation is needed, the U.S. has proposed that the U-N Security Council adopt a new anti-proliferation resolution. Mr. Bush said it should call on all U-N members “to criminalize the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to enact strict export controls consistent with international standards, and to secure. . .sensitive materials.”

As President Bush stressed, “The nations of the world must have the wisdom and the will to stop grave threats before they arrive.”