9 August 2005

Secretary-General Challenges World Leaders to Break Deadlock on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, at 2005 Summit, in Message to Hiroshima Ceremony

NEW YORK, 8 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the Peace Memorial Ceremony, delivered by Nobuyasu Abe, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, in Hiroshima, 6 August 2005:

The devastation and untold suffering visited on the innocent people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 60 years ago awakened the world to the horrors of nuclear weapons.  In 1946, the United Nations General Assembly, in its very first resolution, called for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.  The international community has since striven to achieve the goals of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

No nuclear weapon has been used again, and progress has been made in reducing such weapons and preventing their proliferation.  But we still live in a world where tens of thousands of nuclear weapons remain, many of them on hair-trigger alert.  We are witnessing continued efforts to strengthen and modernize nuclear arsenals.  We also face a real threat that nuclear weapons will spread.  Without concerted action, we may face a cascade of nuclear proliferation.  There is also the risk that such weapons will fall into the hands of terrorists and other non-State actors.  Revelations of clandestine networks trafficking in nuclear materials and technology have exposed a major loophole in the non-proliferation regime.

Sadly, the world has made little progress in addressing these new challenges.  The Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty last May ended with no substantive agreement to address them.  We must redouble our efforts in working toward a world free of nuclear dangers, and ultimately, of nuclear weapons.  Next month, world leaders will gather at the United Nations for the 2005 World Summit to adopt a wide-ranging agenda to advance development, security and human rights for all countries and for all peoples.  I challenge them to use that occasion to break the deadlock on the most pressing challenges in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

Today, we recall the tragedies that occurred here and in Nagasaki; we resolve to act on the lessons of those terrible events; we reiterate our determination to spare no effort to build a world free of nuclear weapons.  Today, we are all hibakusha.  I join all of you in the prayer for world peace.

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