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AT THE DINNER HOSTED BY THE HIROSHIMA PREFECTURE AND CITY

Hiroshima, Japan, 28 October 2010

Mr. Mayor,
Mr. Vice-Governor,
Ladies and gentlemen,

The journey to Hiroshima is a journey that I will never forget. And rightly so. The human tragedy and the devastation suffered in your city continue to haunt us. I express my deepest compassion to the victims and to their families. So much sadness, so many broken destinies. The determination of the authorities and the inhabitants of Hiroshima to build a brighter future and to rid the world of nuclear weapons must be an example for all of us. I pay tribute to your courage and your commitment to peace.

Over the recent past, we have seen some new positive developments in the field of disarmament. I hope that these developments will lastingly pave the way for a world free of nuclear weapons.

The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on the reduction of nuclear weapons by the United States and the Russian Federation is a major step. It is my hope that this agreement can expeditiously enter into force and that all other nuclear weapon states will also commit themselves to reducing their nuclear arsenals.

The positive outcome of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference is a clear recommitment by the international community to multilateralism.

It is my firm belief that the problems the world is facing today cannot be solved by any country alone. We need effective and inclusive multilateral efforts; we need a strong United Nations Organization that can take a leadership role in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. I fully support Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon in his endeavor to progress in this field.

Let me add, that during one of our last meetings, the Secretary-General has described me how deeply touched he was by his visit to Hiroshima in August.

Disarmament is indeed among the most important and noble goals of the United Nations and we should spare no effort to succeed. It is a vital contribution to promoting peace, security and prosperity for humanity.

I appreciate the engagement of the Mayors for Peace in the discussions that take place at the United Nations. The Mayors for Peace transcend national borders and generations to keep the memory alive and to spread the message of a genuine peace. The Mayors for Peace have a vision, one of a world free of nuclear weapons by the year 2020. I very much hope that your vision will come true.

Mr. Mayor,
Mr. Vice-Governor,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Persistence is needed in denouncing the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and in creating a better world. But we shall succeed.

Thank you.

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