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Fortieth Anniversary of the Adoption and Opening for Signature of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons In Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco)

Vienna Austria

Mexico City, Mexico
Commemorative Ceremony

On this important occasion marking the 40th anniversary of the adoption and opening for signature of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, I am pleased to extend my warmest congratulations to all those participating in this ceremony - and in particular to the Government of Mexico, as the depositary of the Treaty and host of this event; to the representatives of the States party to the Treaty that are present here today; and to the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) and its Secretary General.

By establishing the world´s first nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in a densely populated area, the Treaty of Tlatelolco set an important precedent in devaluing the role of nuclear weapons in its zone of application - thereby contributing to regional peace and security by ensuring that Latin America and the Caribbean remained free of nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the Treaty has been an inspiration and model for the four other NWFZ treaties in Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Today, these five NWFZ treaties cover between them nearly two thirds of the countries of the world and virtually the entirety of the southern hemisphere. In effect, NWFZs constitute important first steps to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones help to strengthen the security of States that belong to such zones, contribute to regional confidence and security building measures, and can also be a means of expressing and promoting common values in the areas of nuclear disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation.

Furthermore, as the first such treaty making full-scope IAEA safeguards a requirement for all its parties, the Treaty of Tlatelolco has played an important role in the evolution and strengthening of the IAEA´s safeguards system. It gives me particular satisfaction to recognize this role as the IAEA celebrates its own 50th anniversary.

I trust that the commemorative events that are being held today and tomorrow in Mexico City will be an excellent opportunity to highlight these fundamental contributions by the Treaty of Tlatelolco, and I wish you every success in your deliberations.

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Last update: 26 July 2017