President Obama chaired a meeting of the United Nations Security Council this morning where a resolution reaffirming the UN's goal of a world without nuclear weapons passed unanimously.
"We now face proliferation of a scope and complexity that demands new strategies and new approaches," the president said. "The historic resolution we just adopted enshrines our shared commitment to a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and it brings Security Council agreement on a broad framework for action to reduce nuclear dangers as we work toward that goal."
Mr. Obama quoted Reagan's April 30, 1984 speech at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, where the Republican leader said, "A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And no matter how great the obstacles may seem, we must never stop our efforts to reduce the weapons of war. We must never stop at all until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of this Earth."
After working the room — shaking hands and being photographed — President Obama gaveled open the 6,191st meeting of the Security Council and introduced the draft resolution (read it HERE) which passed 15-0. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and other world leaders supported the resolution.
Today's even marked the first time an American president has chaired a meeting of the Security Council.
In addition to the five permanent members of the Security Council — China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States — the 10 rotating members of the Security Council are Austria, Japan, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Libya, Viet Nam, Costa Rica, Mexico, Croatia, and Turkey.
The resolution calls for further progress on nuclear arms reductions through a strengthened Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, a UN treaty first opened for signature in 1968, and since amended, under which nuclear power nations agree to refrain from transferring nuclear weapons or related technology to any non-nuclear-weapon state and to "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control." A total of 187 nations have signed the treaty, though Israel, India, and Pakistan are not among them, and North Korea withdrew from the treaty in 2003.
Today's resolution calls for improved security for nuclear weapons materials, and calls for the convening of a Nuclear Security Summit in 2010 and proposes ways to deter any nation from withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
And though President Obama said the summit was "not about singling out individual nations," the White House says the resolution also re-affirms previous Security Council resolutions dealing with the nuclear weapons programs of Iran and North Korea, even if they are not named.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Ambassador to the UN Dr. Susan Rice sat behind the president.
Others in the room included President Nixon's Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Dr. Henry Kissinger, President Reagan's Secretary of State George Shultz, President Clinton's Defense Secretary William Perry, and former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., all of whom issued a statement saying that the summit "brings much-needed global focus to the risks posed by the spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear know-how and nuclear material. By convening heads of state, the meeting can help build the necessary political will around the urgent steps required to reduce nuclear dangers…We welcome the leadership of the U.S. administration in this effort."
Former head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission Dr. Hans Blix, UN "Ambassador of Peace" actor Michael Douglas and UN Foundation Chairman Ted Turner were also in attendance.