UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] called [press release] for the elimination of all nuclear weapons Thursday in a speech [text] delivered during a visit to the Japanese city of Nagasaki. In his speech, Ban emphasized the importance of eliminating existing nuclear weapons and using political pressure to create stronger nonproliferation treaties:
In the General Assembly and at the review conferences of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Japan has long supported concrete, practical measures aimed at achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. My visit here has strengthened my conviction that these weapons must be outlawed, either by a nuclear weapons convention or by a framework of separate mutually-reinforcing instruments. I urge all nations to support my five-point action plan for nuclear disarmament and to agree to negotiate a nuclear weapons convention at the earliest possible date.
Ban unveiled his plan for nuclear disarmament [press release] in August 2009. It involves a series of mutually-binding treaties, backed by a "credible system of verification" and compulsory disclosure of disarmament-related reports to the public.
The UN Security Council [official website] voted [JURIST report] in June to impose a fourth round of sanctions on Iran [press release] for its failure to disband the nation's uranium enrichment program. In April, US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedvev [official profiles] signed [JURIST report] the New START Treaty [text, PDF; BBC backgrounder]. Under the terms of the treaty and its protocol [text, PDF], both countries would be allowed only 1,550 strategic warheads worldwide, a decrease from the 2,200 currently permitted. The treaty would also re-establish mechanisms to allow each party to inspect the other's arsenal. Last may, Ban and other world leaders condemned [JURIST report; statement text] a North Korea [JURIST news archive] nuclear weapon test, a violation of the 2006 UN Security Council ban on nuclear missile tests [Resolution 1718 text; JURIST report].