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  • Kenyan girl places a lantern on the water of Motoyasu River near the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, August 6 2020.

    Kenyan girl places a lantern on the water of Motoyasu River near the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, August 6 2020. | Photo: EFE/EPA/DAI KUROKAWA

Published 6 August 2020
Opinion

"The only way to totally eliminate nuclear risk is to totally eliminate nuclear weapons," said the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General in a message for the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

In a video message delivered at an annual ceremony in Hiroshima, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the risk of nuclear weapons being used was growing and urged all nations to renew their commitment to achieving a world free of them.

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"Division, distrust and a lack of dialogue threaten to return the world to unrestrained strategic nuclear competition," Guterres said for Thursday's 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the western Japanese city.

He noted the imperative to implement confidence-building measures and reduce the number of nuclear arsenals. UN chief also remarked that those countries possessing them have a "special responsibility."

"Seventy-five years ago, a single nuclear weapon visited unspeakable death and destruction upon Hiroshima, and the effects linger to this day," recalled Guterres, emphasizing that it is a far too long time not to have learned that the possession of nuclear weapons diminishes, rather than reinforces, security.

UN chief praised the exemplarity of Hiroshima city and its people that have chosen not to be characterized by calamity, but instead by resilience, reconciliation, and hope. He referred to the Hibakusha, the survivors of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. They have turned their tragedy into a voice of protest for the safety and well-being of all humanity.

Guterres also regretted not having achieved the total elimination of nuclear weapons, although the UN has recognized the need since its earliest days and resolutions.

On the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of the western Japanese city, Guterres warned that the risk of nuclear weapons being used, intentionally, by accident or through miscalculation, is too high for such trends to continue.

In that sense, UN Secretary-General urges for safeguard and strengthen the international non-proliferation and disarmament architecture. At the same time, he stressed to be looking forward to the entrance into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as a further pillar of the disarmament regime.

"The only way to totally eliminate nuclear risk is to totally eliminate nuclear weapons.", claimed the intergovernmental organization's top officer.

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