06/08/2004
Press Release
SG/SM/9441


GOAL OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREE WORLD STILL ‘A LONG WAY OFF’,


SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS HIROSHIMA PEACE MEMORIAL CEREMONY


Following is the text of the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima today, delivered by Nobuyasu Abe, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs:


Fifty-nine years ago today, an atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima and brought untold suffering to its citizens.  Three days later, the people of Nagasaki suffered the same fate.  Since the horrors of nuclear weapons were revealed, their elimination has been a high priority of the international community.  And from the time of its inception, the United Nations has worked untiringly for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.


The goal of a nuclear weapons free world is still a long way off.  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 under way to develop new types of nuclear weapons.  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.


Next year, a Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons will be held in New York.  It is my ardent hope that the Conference will not only reconfirm the undertakings already made by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of nuclear weapons, but that these 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.


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