Last December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a historic resolution calling for the start of negotiations on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons. The resolution calls for a first conference to be convened at the end of March at U.N. Headquarters in New York, and encourages participating governments to exert their best efforts for the early conclusion of a treaty. It further calls for the participation and contribution of international organizations and civil society representatives.

We must seize the opportunity to put an end to the era of nuclear weapons. There are still more than 15,000 nuclear warheads in our world today. Efforts in nuclear disarmament have stalled, while plans for modernization of arsenals have progressed. The threat posed by these weapons is, if anything, growing.

I would like to urge constructive discussions at the upcoming U.N. negotiations, as well as the earliest possible holding of a U.S.-Russia summit in order to reinvigorate the nuclear disarmament process.