Holy See: Let's Get Going on Nuclear Disarmament

Stresses Need for Moral Authority to Back up Efforts

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NEW YORK, MAY 7, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations is underlining the need for new approaches so as to move more effectively toward the goal of nuclear disarmament.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore stated this Thursday at the U.N. 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

«The international community needs to seek new approaches to nuclear disarmament,» he said. «It is a fact that no force on earth will be able to protect civil populations from the explosion of nuclear bombs, which could cause as many as millions of immediate deaths.»

The prelate pointed out that «the world has arrived at an opportune moment to begin addressing in a systematic way the legal, political and technical requisites for a nuclear weapons free world.»

«For this reason,» he added, «preparatory work should begin as soon as possible on a convention or framework agreement leading to the phased elimination of nuclear weapons.»

The delegate affirmed that «the Holy See strongly advocates for transparent, verifiable, global and irreversible nuclear disarmament and for addressing seriously the issues of nuclear strategic arms, the tactical ones and their means of delivery.»

«In this context,» he said, «the Holy See welcomes the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.»

The archbishop continued: «The entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is of the highest priority.

«The universal banning of nuclear explosions will inhibit the development of nuclear weapons, and thus will contribute to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and will prevent further damage to the environment.»

He added that «in this direction, it is crucial to halt the production and transfer of fissile material for weapons.»

«The immediate commencement of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty is a matter of responsibility and must not be further delayed,» Archbishop Migliore asserted.

Peace and security

He stated that «the Holy See encourages also nuclear-weapon states and those which possess such weapons to ratify the respective protocols to the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones Treaties and strongly supports efforts to establish such a zone in the Middle East.»

«Nuclear-weapon-free zones are the best example of trust, confidence and affirmation that peace and security is possible without possessing nuclear weapons,» the prelate noted.

«The effectiveness of our concerns and endeavors to put an end to nuclear proliferation needs to be supported by a strong moral authority,» he affirmed. «Moral authority comes first and foremost from respecting and delivering on promises and commitments.»

The archbishop read to his listeners the words of Benedict XVI, who addressed the participants in the U.N. conference on Wednesday during the weekly general audience in Rome.

«Peace, in fact, rests on trust and on respect for promises made, not merely on the equilibrium of forces,» the Pope said.

«In this spirit,» he continued, «I encourage the initiatives that seek progressive disarmament and the creation of zones free of nuclear weapons, with a view to their complete elimination from the planet.»

The Pontiff exhorted «all those participating in the New York meeting to overcome the burdens of history and to weave patiently a political and economic web of peace in order to foster integral human development and the authentic aspirations of peoples.»

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Archbishop Migliore’s address: www.zenit.org/article-29177?l=english

Benedict XVI’s address: http://zenit.org/article-29150?l=english

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