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North Korea Shuts its Nuclear Reactor

The first, big step towards North Korean disarmament was confirmed by IAEA inspectors today. The plutonium producing facility in Yongbyon is now closed—the result of a diplomatic breakthrough acheived through the Six Party talks in February.

So what does this mean? For one, it shows just how impractical refusing to negotiate with one’s enemies can be. From December 2002 to February 2007 — when direct diplomacy was shunned — the North Korean government is estimated to have produced enough plutonium for ten nuclear weapons (and of course, actually detonated a nuclear weapon last October.) But more to the point, the recent progress shows that Security Council unanimity, combined with focused regional diplomacy and direct bilateral engagement with the United States can achieve desirable non-proliferation outcomes.

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Iran agrees to new UN nuclear inspections

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has announced that it’s reached an agreement with Iranian authorities to allow new inspections and safeguards.

…[I]nspectors will visit the heavy water research reactor at Arak by the end of this month and will also finalize the safeguards approach at the fuel enrichment plant in Natanz early next month, the IAEA said in a press statement issued at its headquarters in Vienna.

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Bush and Ban to Meet Next Week

From the White House:

President Bush will meet with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the White House on July 17. The President looks forward to discussing with Secretary-General Ban the many important issues on which the United Nations is engaged, including human rights, international peace and security, humanitarian and development assistance, and U.N. reform. They will also discuss other topics of mutual concern, including international support for Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Darfur crisis in Sudan.

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Megadeth’s Mustaine Responds

Earlier this week UN Dispatch offered a critique of Megadeth’s title track to their new album “United Abominations.” The piece got some attention from heavy metal discussion boards, and on the website of Megadeth’s record label front man Dave Mustaine responds to our criticisms. “I would rather feel right and be wrong with the semantics or facts in the song…than to feel wrong and be right,” writes Mustaine in a lengthy post.

Good for Mustaine to admit he misrepresented facts about the United Nations in his song, even if he still feels them to be true. (There is a word for this by the way.)

Also, to his credit, Mustaine sees the silver lining of this little spat:

“Bottom line is I am stoked to see you all having this discussion about things that matter to us all. What a victory…I dig it when [fans] get to have discussions like this because we all win; we all learn something.”

We dig it too. Promoting thoughtful discussions about the United Nations and multilateral diplomacy is what this site is all about.

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UN convention on disability rights reaches milestone

The global treaty to protect the rights of the estimated 650 million disabled people worldwide could take effect by early next year after Qatar became the 100th country to sign the pact.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will enter into force 30 days after the 20th country ratifies the treaty, but so far only Jamaica has taken the step of ratification.

The UN Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities estimates that the next 19 ratifications could be reached by as early as the end of this year.

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Posts on Peace Round-up

Senator Biden’s post now in the Delegates’ Lounge will be the last installment of our Post on Peace series, dedicated to a discussion on conflict and its causes broadly defined. Over the last few months, we have hosted commentary by two other legislators, Congressman Donald Payne and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey; academics Stephen Schlesinger, John Prendergast, and Susan Rice; UN officials like the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the former Head of the UNFPA, and two representatives from the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia (link and link); a former U.S. Perm Rep to the UN; and, of course, Mark Goldberg’s comprehensive Keeping the Peace series.

It’s time to take the banner down, but you can always find the posts in our archives. We hope you’ve enjoyed the series and will continue to visit UN Dispatch for commentary on conflict and all other matters related to multilateralism and diplomacy.

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