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UN chief warns of ‘nuclear annihilation’

#chief #warns #nuclear #annihilation

UN chief warns of ‘nuclear annihilation’

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UN chief warns of ‘nuclear annihilation’


U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 2022 Review Conference of the Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the United Nations, August 1, 2022 in New York City
AFP – ANGELA WEISS

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UN chief Antonio Guterres warned Monday that a misunderstanding could trigger nuclear destruction, as the United States, Britain and France urged Russia to end “its dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behavior.”

Opening a key Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York, Guterres warned that the world faces “a nuclear threat not seen since the height of the Cold War.”

Citing Russia’s war with Ukraine and tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East, Guterres said he feared crises “with nuclear overtones” could escalate.

“Today, humanity is one misunderstanding, one miscalculation, from nuclear annihilation,” Guterres said at the 10th Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, an international treaty that came into effect in 1970 to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

“We have been extremely lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions escalating into nuclear conflict,” he added, urging nations to “set humanity on a new path toward a world free 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.

“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.

On Monday, America, Britain and France reiterated their commitment in a joint statement, saying a “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

– “must act” –

The three also targeted Russia, urging Moscow to honor its international obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“Following Russia’s unprovoked and unlawful war of aggression against Ukraine, we call on Russia to end its irresponsible and dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behavior,” they said.

The statement came as US President Joe Biden urged Russia and China to start nuclear arms control talks.

The US leader reiterated in a statement that his administration is ready to negotiate “expeditiously” a replacement for New START, the treaty limiting intercontinental nuclear forces in the United States and Russia, which is due to expire in 2026.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the signatories review every five years, aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, promote complete disarmament and promote cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

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

“The world can never be safe as long as any country has nuclear weapons,” said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, who was in New York for the meeting.

“And the NPT recognizes this,” she added. “That’s why the treaty exists. And now it means that parties must act more than ever.”

abd-pdh/st


Copyright AFP or Agence France-Presse, 2022.

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#chief #warns #nuclear #annihilation

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