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Military spending levels remain out of control, UN official says

The money spent by countries to achieve targets such as eliminating poverty, educating all children and providing decent health care is still only a fraction of what they spend on arming themselves, a senior United Nations disarmament official warned today.

Sergio Duarte, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, marked the Global Day of Action on Military Spending by calling on governments to re-orient their spending and thinking and devote more resources towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In a statement Mr. Duarte noted that military spending has soared by half over just the past five years, with total expenditure now estimated at more than USD 1.2 trillion worldwide.

�Less than one tenth of annual military expenditures would be enough to achieve our agreed development goals, lifting all people out of extreme poverty by 2015,� he said.

�I call on governments to consider the full possibilities of creating security through non-military means. Decent health care and a good education for all, providing confidence in one�s future. Democratic institutions, in which all citizens feel represented. A functioning rule of law, protecting people against crime and corruption. Finally, intense cooperation between neighbouring and other countries, building confidence and trust in international relations.�

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