In an address given at the United Nations to the first committee of the 68th UN General Assembly, the Holy See called for “general and complete” weapons disarmament.
Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, began his address by expressing the historical importance of the Security Council’s recent resolution on removing chemical weapons in Syria.
Another event of significance, the Archbishop noted, was the High-level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament, a meeting that brought an “outcry of concern at what is aptly called the ‘catastrophic humanitarian consequences’ of the use of nuclear weapons.
“The willingness of the world as a whole to move forward in a constructive manner to eliminate nuclear weapons has never been more evident,” Archbishop Chullikatt said. “ Yet a very small number of States stand in the way, trying to block progress and to find a comprehensive solution to the problem that goes on year after year in paralysis and obfuscation.”
Despite efforts in the past to develop a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer stated that the international community’s failure in fulfilling their promises jeopardizes “the credibility of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the future of that region.”
“It is sadly ironic that States vociferous in their condemnation of chemical weapons are silent on the continued possession of nuclear weapons. The international community must appeal and act with one voice to ban all weapons of mass destruction,” the Archbishop said.
Archbishop Chullikatt appealed to the international community to “counter the logic of fear with the ethic of responsibility.” In doing so, nations can begin to foster trust and dialogue for the greater good of the world. Citing an often-used phrase of Pope Francis, the Archbishop said that failing to do so would only risk falling into a “globalization of indifference.”
Concluding his address, Archbishop Chullikatt emphasized that peace and stability cannot be achieved by military means or spending.
“Peace is an edifice in continual construction which lays its foundations not so much in force as in trust, confidence-building, on respect for obligations assumed and on dialogue,” he said.
“Without these fundamental elements one places at risk not solely peace, but also the very existence of the human family. The field of disarmament and arms control constantly demands the use of our wisdom and good will.”
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For the full text of Archbishop Chullikatt’s address, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/archbishop-francis-chulllikatt-s-address-to-the-un-general-assembly-on-disarmament