On anniversary of Hiroshima, Annan voices hope nuclear arms can be eliminated

6 August 2004

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced hope that countries meeting next year to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will take action to eliminate nuclear arsenals in their entirety, six decades after atomic bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced hope that countries meeting next year to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will take action to eliminate nuclear arsenals in their entirety, six decades after atomic bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“The goal of a nuclear weapons-free world is still a long way off,” Mr. Annan said in a message delivered by Nobuyasu Abe, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, to the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima, the Japanese city struck by an atomic bomb 59 years ago today. Three days later, a second bomb levelled the city of Nagasaki.

He noted that while there has been progress in disarmament, especially since the end of the Cold War, tens of thousands of nuclear weapons remain in arsenals around the world, and there have been worrying indications that efforts are underway to develop new types of nuclear arms.

“The continued existence of nuclear stockpiles leaves the shadow of nuclear war hanging over our world – particularly given the existence of clandestine networks dealing in nuclear materials and the prospect of terrorists with extreme ambitions gaining access to these materials,” Mr. Annan said.

He voiced his hope that next year’s review conference in New York of the parties to the NPT will not only reconfirm the undertakings already made by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of nuclear weapons, but that words will also be turned into deeds.

“On this day of remembrance, let us renew our vow that the horrors experienced by the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 will never be repeated, and that, one day, we will live in a world free of the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons,” he declared.

 

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