UN Security Council closes WMD loophole

The resolution calls on the 191 UN member nations to stop terrorists, black market traders and all so-called “non-state actors” from acquiring such weapons or the materials and technology to make or deliver them.

It also calls on them to adopt laws to prevent sensitive materials and technology from getting into their hands.

The 15-0 vote approved the measure, crafted in months of negotiations by the council’s five permanent members – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – all of which are nuclear powers.

The text was revised three times to answer objections from some of the council’s 10 non-permanent members and finally won the support of the last holdout, Pakistan, which is also a nuclear-armed state.

US President George W Bush first called for the resolution in September in a speech before the United Nations.

“Today’s vote was an important step,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

“This will help make the world safer and better.”

Pakistani UN ambassador Munir Akram said his country strongly supported efforts to stop the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons but said the Security Council took on “exceptional responsibilities” in adopting the measure.

Diplomats said there was broad agreement on the need to close the loophole in existing international treaties on non-proliferation, which touch on states but not on individuals.

The mastermind of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, AQ Khan, confessed in February to passing nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

The United States said yesterday that it was seeking several other nations which may have been his “customers”.

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