06 August 2010

Opening remarks at press conference

Ban Ki-moon

Minasan, konnichiwa. Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure. As I am winding down my visit to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, I think this is a good opportunity for me to tell you something about my own reflections and what I am going to do. And I will just make a brief remarks; then I would be happy to answer your questions.

It was a great honour and privilege for me to participate in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony as the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the first time in 65 years. To see the Atomic Bomb Dome, to stand with so many thousands of people and reflect on what happened here and on its meaning for humankind.

I have come to remember the victims, and to honour the survivors – the hibakusha.

But I am also here to join the people of Hiroshima in looking forward.

I carry a message of hope, a message of peace – and a call to action – to build a world free of nuclear weapons.

The United Nations is working towards this goal.

This is not just our common dream – it is common sense.

More countries are trying to acquire weapons. Terrorists are seeking them. All of this makes our world more unstable. More dangerous. Less secure.

As long as nuclear weapons exist, the threat exists.

If we want to get rid of the threat, we need to get rid of the weapons.

That is why in 2008, I proposed a five-point plan for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

There have been some promising steps:

The successful conclusion of the NPT Review Conference in New York. In Washington, the nuclear security summit. The agreement by Russia and the United States on a new START Treaty.

We must build on this momentum. In September, I will convene a first-of-its-kind high-level meeting in support of the work of the Conference on Disarmament.

I will push for negotiations towards nuclear disarmament.

A Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

A Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.

I hope the powerful message of today's ceremony will echo around the world: We must disarm now. For peace, for security, and for our children.

I salute Mayor Akiba of Hiroshima and Mayor Taue of Nagasaki and the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for their efforts on behalf of world peace. And I am proud to join them in their cause. Thank you very much.