Vienna, 14 December 2010 – “The danger that weapons of mass destruction may get into the hands of terrorists is a real one and holds great destructive potential. By adopting Security Council Resolution 1540, the international community of states made a clear commitment that this must not happen”, stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger. ““In order to achieve this goal, a conscientious implementation of this resolution by all states is necessary. This includes among other things the promulgation of respective laws and the transposition of required government actions.. International und regional organisations can support states in implementing these obligations. The Vienna Conference will bring those actors together with the aim to improve cooperation between international and regional organisations and the Committee of the Security Council that is entrusted with the implementation of Resolution 1540. The Austrian Foreign Ministry, together with the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, hosts this conference, which is scheduled for 15 and 16 December at the Vienna Hofburg. It will be attended by 28 regional and international organisations as well as representatives of the Security Council’s 1540 Committee, of which Austria is also a member and will remain one until the end of the year.
Resolution 1540, which was adopted by the UN Security Council in 2004, aims at ensuring that weapons of mass destruction do not get into the hands of non-state actors, such as terrorists. With this Resolution, the Security Council issued the first legally binding requirements which have to be implemented by all UN member states. Among other things, states must prevent nuclear, chemical or biological weapons from getting into the hands of terrorists and also must refrain from financing such transactions. Numerous international and regional organisations can support states in the implementation of Resolution 1540, but so far there has been no meeting bringing the representatives of all these organisations together. The aim of the Vienna Conference is to establish and/or improve cooperation between these actors. “This meeting could help to create the core of a network comprised of those contributing to the implementation of Resolution 1540 as well as the UN Security Council’s 1540 Committee, which monitors compliance with the Resolution”, stated Spindelegger.
The Conference is another example of Austria’s continued commitment in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. During its membership of the Security Council Austria has consistently supported improvements in this area, coordinating the 1540 Committee Working Group on Cooperation with International Organisations. The fact that two more institutions (the liaison office for UNODA and the Vienna Competence Centre for Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation) have now their seat in Vienna constitutes an important extension of the competences already available and is a visible mark of Austria’s successful work in this field.
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