Further use of nuclear weapons would be ‘horrific,’ Ban says on International Day

Sculpture depicting St. George slaying the dragon. The dragon is created from fragments of Soviet SS-20 and United States Pershing nuclear missiles. UN Photo/Milton Grant

26 September 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted that 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the first and last use of a nuclear weapon in war, as he renewed his call for complete global nuclear disarmament.

“The norm against the use of nuclear weapons – the most destructive weapons ever created, with potentially unparalleled human costs – has stood strong for seven decades,” Mr. Ban said in a message for the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, observed annually on 26 September.

“But the only absolute guarantee that they are never used again is through their total elimination,” he added.

The UN chief recalled that the international community has proclaimed the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, but that unfortunately there are growing rifts between Member States about how and when to achieve it.

“This was on stark display during the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in May of this year,” Mr. Ban noted. “I call on all States to engage constructively to find a way forward.”

He further underlined that the elimination of nuclear weapons would also free up vast amounts of resources that could be used to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted yesterday by world leaders at the General Assembly.

The new framework includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aim to build on the work of the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.

“The consequences of any further use of nuclear weapons, whether intentional or by mistake, would be horrific,” Mr. Ban warned, adding that when it comes to the common objective of nuclear disarmament, the global community must act now.

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