Holy See Asks Nations to Quit the "Nuclear Club"

Affirms Peace and Security Are Possible Without Weapons

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NEW YORK, MAY 5, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is calling on the international community to promote nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons in order to foster trust, security and peace among nations.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, affirmed this today to a preparatory committee for the 2010 review conference on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons treaty.

He underlined the Holy See’s «strong and continuing support» for the treaty, «after four decades of its existence and its good service to the international community.»

Nonetheless, the prelate noted, «more than 26,000 nuclear warheads remain in the world and some nations are still racing to join the ‘nuclear club,’ despite the treaty’s legally binding obligations in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation.»

Archbishop Migliore observed «some good signs in the field of putting again nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at the center of the international debate on peace and security.»

«The many initiatives taken by Governments, international organizations and civil society are one step in the right direction,» he added.

These initiatives, the archbishop said, «are encouraging steps which inspire renewed hope that the goal of a nuclear-weapons-free world is achievable.»

«However,» he said, «as long as nuclear weapons exist they will always pose a danger to humanity of being used or falling into the hands of terrorists, threatening peace and security and even human existence itself.»

Concrete objectives

«The Holy See stresses the need for concrete, transparent and convincing steps in the fields of disarmament and non-proliferation» under the treaty principles, he stated.

The prelate proposed objectives that «could be reached in a short period of time,» including negotiations of a fissile material cut-off treaty, the interpretation of state military doctrines without reliance on nuclear weapons, and the systematic regulation of the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

He continued: «All these measures are necessary to promote trust, transparency, confidence and cooperation among nations and regions.

«The nuclear-weapons-free zones remain the best example of such trust and confidence, and affirm that peace and security is possible without possessing nuclear weapons.

«The Holy See thus calls upon all the nuclear weapon states to take a courageous leadership role and political responsibility in safeguarding the very integrity of the [treaty] and in creating a climate of trust, transparency and true cooperation, with a view to the concrete realization of a culture of life and peace.»

Archbishop Migliore affirmed, «In an effort to put priorities and hierarchies of values in their proper place, greater common effort must be made to mobilize resources toward ethical, cultural and economic development so that humanity can turn its back on the arms race.»

He underlined the «three mutually reinforcing pillars» of «nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and peaceful use,» and called for «urgent and irreversible progress» on all fronts.

«Today’s growing expansion of civil nuclear energy programs poses new potential challenges to the non-proliferation regime,» the archbishop noted, «but without serious and concrete steps towards disarmament, the non-proliferation pillar will be further weakened.»

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Full text: http://www.zenit.org/article-25790?l=english

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