Call From Assisi for Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy

Expert Decries Price Tag on War, Low Funds for Peace

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ASSISI, Italy, NOV. 18, 2009 ( A renewed call for the peaceful use of nuclear energy came from Assisi on Tuesday.

There, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) received an honorary doctorate from Italy’s University of Perugia. The degree recognized Mohammed ElBaradei’s “commitment, dedication and spirit of responsibility for a correct and peaceful use of nuclear energy for the good of the whole of humanity.”

ElBaradei is also the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

A presentation was also given by the Megatons to Development program, which works to promote the conversion of nuclear warheads into nuclear fuel and to use part of the income raised to finance development projects in the southern hemisphere. That program was founded by the Italian NGO Comitato per una Civiltà dell’Amore (Committee for a Civilization of Love).

“[W]e need a new global security system that depends, not on weapons of mass destruction, or on sanctions which often hurt the vulnerable and innocent, but on conflict prevention, peace making and peacekeeping,” ElBaradei said upon receiving the honorary degree. “Global military spending was almost $1.5 trillion last year — 12 times what the developed world spent on official development assistance to the poor.

“The budget for all U.N. peacekeeping operations in the current year is about $7 billion. In other words, the world spends 200 times more on weapons of war than on keeping the peace. These ratios should be reversed.”

The appeal for peace was affirmed by ElBaradei; Andrea Ronchi, minister for European policies; Father Giuseppe Piemontese, custos of the Sacred Convent of Assisi; and Giuseppe Rotunno, director of the Committee for a Civilization of Love.

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