Guterres: Humanity is one step away from "nuclear annihilation"

Guterres: Humanity is one step away from “nuclear annihilation”

Guterres stressed that eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee that they will never be used (Getty)

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has warned of the pressures and challenges the world faces at the individual and global levels, which have been exacerbated by the climate crisis and the Corona pandemic. This came during his speech at the opening of the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which begins today and continues until August 26 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The first week of the conference will witness the attendance of a number of high-ranking leaders, including foreign ministers, such as US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Each country will present its position on the treaty and the challenges the world faces. In the second and third weeks of the conference, discussions, meetings, workshops and negotiations will continue at the level of committees, as well as non-governmental organizations.

“The world is facing more stress than we have faced in our lifetimes with the climate crisis, stark inequalities, conflicts, human rights violations, and the personal and economic devastation caused by the Corona pandemic,” Guterres said. And all this comes “in the shadow of a nuclear threat the likes of which we have not seen since the height of the Cold War.” He drew attention to the fact that the post-Cold War era brought with it signs of temporary new hope for peace, through decisions taken to reduce arsenals of nuclear weapons, declaring “entire regions free of nuclear weapons” and establishing rules against the use, proliferation and testing of nuclear weapons.

Guterres warned of the fading of hope. “Through a combination of commitment, wisdom and luck, the world has avoided the suicidal mistake of nuclear conflict. But as the years go by, these fruits of hope wither.” “Humanity is in danger of forgetting the lessons learned from the horrific fires of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (in which the United States targeted those areas in Japan with atomic bombs at the end of World War II),” he added. Guterres described the current state of the world: “Geopolitical tensions are reaching new heights. Competition trumps cooperation and participation. Distrust has replaced dialogue, and disarmament has replaced division.”

He described the pursuit and stockpiling of more nuclear weapons, which cost hundreds of billions, as false security. He pointed out that there are 13,000 nuclear weapons in arsenals around the world. Then he referred to the grinding conflicts taking place in the world; The Middle East, the Korean Peninsula and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He warned that “the clouds that cleared after the end of World War II are gathering again. We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy.”

Then he stressed that the world “needs the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons more than ever. This conference is an opportunity to devise measures that will help avert a certain catastrophe. And put humanity on a new path, free of nuclear weapons. proliferation of nuclear weapons) in such a way that it fits into the troubling world around us.

Guterres touched on five areas in which we can work to strengthen the prevention of the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons. In this context, he drew attention to “the urgent need to reaffirm and strengthen the 77-year-old rule against the use of nuclear weapons. This requires a firm commitment from all States parties.” This, he said, “means finding practical measures that would reduce the dangers of nuclear war and bring us back to the path of disarmament.”

He then stressed that “the elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee that they will never be used. He also stressed the need for states to start working on new commitments to reduce the size of their nuclear weapons.” This means “revitalizing our multilateral agreements and frameworks on disarmament and non-proliferation, including the important work of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and fully resourcing it,” he said. He also paused on the need to “address rising tensions in the Middle East and Asia. By adding the threat of nuclear weapons to ongoing conflicts, these regions are heading for disaster.” He stressed that “we need to double our support for dialogue and negotiation to ease tensions and establish new ties of trust in areas that have witnessed little.” He stressed the need for the peaceful use of nuclear technology, as a catalyst for advancing sustainable development goals, including medical and other uses. He concluded by speaking of the need to fulfill “all outstanding obligations in the treaty itself, and keep it fit for purpose in these trying times. We are all here today because we believe in the purpose and function of the treaty. But carrying it into the future requires moving beyond the status quo.”

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