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Pope Francis: Message to UN Conference, appeal for “a world without nuclear weapons”

“To work with determination in order to promote the conditions necessary for a world without nuclear weapons”: this is the appeal made by Pope Francis in a Message sent today to the “United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination” whose first session is taking place in New York until 31 March. “An ethics and a law based on the threat of mutual destruction – and possibly the destruction of all mankind – are contradictory to the very spirit of the United Nations”, Pope Francis warned, also mentioning in his speech the “foundations of the international juridical framework: peace, the pacific solution of disputes and the development of friendly relations between nations”. “We must commit ourselves to a world without nuclear weapons, by fully implementing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, both in letter and spirit”, in an international context “characterized by an unstable climate of conflict, which is both cause and indication of the difficulties encountered in advancing and strengthening the process of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation”. “If we take into consideration the principal threats to peace and security with their many dimensions in this multipolar world of the twenty-first century as, for example, terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity, environmental problems, poverty, not a few doubts arise regarding the inadequacy of nuclear deterrence as an effective response to such challenges”, the Pope remarked. Indeed, according to him, such concerns “are even greater when we consider the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences that would follow from any use of nuclear weapons, with devastating, indiscriminate and uncontainable effects, over time and space”. “Similar cause for concern – the Pope decried – arises when examining the waste of resources spent on nuclear issues for military purposes, which could instead be used for worthy priorities like the promotion of peace and integral human development, as well as the fight against poverty, and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

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