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UN council renews battle against nuclear terrorism

April 20, 2011

Hardeep Singh Puri, chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of United Nations (UN) Security Council (L) and Mike Smith, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and head of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate attend a special UN Security Council meeting on terrorism, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, eastern France on April 19, 2011. – Photo by AFP

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Wednesday gave a 10-year extension to its main legal weapon to prevent nuclear, chemical and biological bombs falling into the hands of terrorist groups.

The UN non-proliferation committee, first set up by Resolution 1540 in 2004, is normally renewed every three years. Diplomats said the 10-year extension given this time is a sign of the urgency being given to the campaign to keep weapons of mass destruction out of non-state hands.

The 15-nation council said it remained “gravely concerned” about the threat of terrorism with nuclear and other mass destruction arms.

The Security Council first acted after Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, was revealed to have sold atomic secrets.

Resolution 1540 is considered a landmark measure because it was the first to recognize the nuclear threat from terrorist and militant groups. It forced countries to pass laws restricting trade in nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons and components.

North Korea is among a small number of countries which have not yet reported to the United Nations on efforts under the resolution.