Meeting between Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern T.D. and Dr Hans Blix, Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern T.D., met today with Dr Hans Blix, Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission. In their meeting the Minister welcomed the Commission's recent report and discussed with Dr Blix on the detailed recommendations of the report, which focus on freeing the world from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

The Minister said following the meeting:

“I welcome the publication of this highly significant report by the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission. It is a particularly timely and much-needed initiative.

“Dr Blix and his international panel of experts have drawn-up a set of comprehensive proposals which address the major challenges facing the international community today if we are to make progress in achieving a world free from the threat of weapons of mass destruction. This is an issue of key importance to our foreign policy.

“The report's emphasis on support for a rules-based international order applied and enforced through effective multilateral institutions, with the UN Security Council as the ultimate global authority, is very much in line with Ireland's long-standing policy in this area. I note with particular interest the report's recommendations regarding nuclear disarmament, a field in which Ireland has been highly active over the years, most recently in its capacity as a member of the New Agenda Coalition.

“In the course of our discussion I recalled the pioneering efforts of my distinguished predecessor, Frank Aiken, almost fifty years ago, to bring about a global treaty to address the threat posed by nuclear weapons. When the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was finally agreed in 1968, Ireland, in recognition of these efforts, was invited to become its first signatory. Since that time, support for the NPT has been our highest priority in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.

“I would like to commend Dr Blix for his leadership of this endeavour and the experts of the WMD Commission for their tireless efforts in compiling this valuable report.  I would also like to thank Dr Blix personally for meeting with me today to discuss his recommendations in more detail and for sharing with me his vision on how to make progress towards our common objective of a world free from all weapons of mass destruction.”   

 Note for Editors:

1. Dr Hans Blix is in Dublin to promote the report of the independent Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Commission, of which he was Chairman. Among the international experts who worked on the report was an Irish national, Ms. Patricia Lewis, currently Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) which is based in Geneva.

2. The WMD Commission's report, entitled 'Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms', contains 60 practical recommendations for the international community for effective multilateralism in disarmament and arms control, 30 of which concern the subject of nuclear weapons. It was presented to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York on 1 June.

3. The New Agenda Coalition (NAC) was launched in Dublin in June 1998 by the Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden.  Concerned by the lack of progress in nuclear disarmament efforts, the group has sought to inject fresh thinking and a new momentum into multilateral consideration of these issues.  

ENDS +++
12th September 2006
Press Office


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