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UN chief warns humanity ‘one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation’

#chief #warns #humanity #miscalculation #nuclear #annihilation

UN chief Antonio Guterres warned Monday that the world faces “a nuclear threat not seen since the height of the Cold War” and is “one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.”

“We have been extremely lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. It is also not a protective shield against geopolitical tensions that turn into a nuclear conflict,” Guterres said at the start of a conference of the States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation, from nuclear annihilation,” he said, calling on nations to “set humanity on a new path toward a nuclear-weapon-free world.”

Guterres’ comments came at the inaugural conference for the 10th review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, an international treaty that came into effect in 1970 to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The meeting, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, has been postponed several times since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It runs until August 26th.

Guterres said the conference was “an opportunity to strengthen the treaty” and “make it fit for the worrying world around us,” citing Russia’s war in Ukraine and tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East.

“The elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee that they will never be used,” the secretary-general vowed, adding that he would visit Hiroshima on the anniversary of the United States atomic bombing of the Japanese city on August 6, 1945.

“Nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons are currently in arsenals around the world. All of this at a time when proliferation risks are growing and guard rails to prevent escalation are weakening,” Guterres added.

In January, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – USA, China, Russia, Great Britain and France – pledged to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons.

At the last review conference in 2015, the parties were unable to agree on substantive issues.

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