The Latest: Kazakhstan to NKorea: Abandon nuclear ambitions

January 18, 2018

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, listens as President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev addresses the U.N. Security Council, Thursday Jan. 18, 2018, at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on a U.N. Security Council meeting on confidence-building measures to tackle the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

Kazakhstan’s president is calling on North Korea to follow his country’s path and give up its nuclear ambitions.

Nursultan Nazarbayev tells the U.N. Security Council that Kazakhstan has strengthened the country and its international reputation “by renouncing nuclear weapons and obtaining non-aggression safeguards from nuclear powers.”

Nazarbayev says the issue of North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons “can be resolved by restoring trust among the United States, Russia and China.”

He called Thursday for those three countries and the two other nuclear powers, Britain and France, to give North Korea security guarantees. He said that would be “an important condition for creating an atmosphere of trust and Pyongyang’s return to the negotiation table.”

Kazakhstan holds the council presidency this month, and Nazarbayev was chairing a meeting on confidence-building measures to tackle the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


1:30 p.m.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says the regimes that most threaten the world today with weapons of mass destruction — North Korea, Iran and Syria — also deny their people human rights, promote conflict and regional instability and “aid terrorists and militant groups.”

Nikki Haley told the U.N. Security Council Thursday that North Korea poses the greatest threat to nuclear proliferation and is continuing “its reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons ... while its people starve and to threaten other nations while intimidating its own citizens.”

Haley called Iran “the leading cause of instability in an unstable part of the world.” She said it supports “terrorists, proxy militants and murderers like Bashar Assad,” the Syrian president.

And she accused Russia of vetoing three council resolutions and preventing the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons from holding Assad’s government accountable for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.


12:15 p.m.

Russia’s foreign minister is warning that a failure of the Iran nuclear deal, especially as a result of action by the Trump administration, would send “an alarming message” to North Korea and impact all international agreements.

Sergey Lavrov told the Security Council on Thursday in a clear message to President Donald Trump that “we cannot for the benefit of political agendas of certain countries abandon a genuine achievement of international diplomacy.”

Last Friday, Trump kept the Iran agreement alive by extending sanctions waivers. But he warned that the U.S. would pull out in a few months unless “terrible flaws” in the deal are fixed.

Lavrov again pushed a Russian-Chinese “roadmap for an exclusively peaceful settlement” of the North Korea nuclear issue.

He also expressed grave concern at “the growing threat of chemical terrorism in the Middle East, specifically on the territories of Iraq and Syria.”


11:10 a.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the threat from weapons of mass destruction “seems to be gathering force” and is urging expanded diplomatic efforts to tackle the security challenge posed by North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

The U.N. chief told the Security Council on Thursday that the international community must build on the “small signs of hope” from recent contacts between the two Koreas to pursue diplomacy and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Guterres said “global anxieties about nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War,” and warned of “unimaginable consequences” from “the growing risk of military confrontation.”

He also expressed concern at the “ebb” in trust on nuclear and other weapons-related issues between the U.S. and Russia, and the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict.

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