UN chief seeks CTBT`s entry into force in 2012
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Last Updated: Friday, August 06, 2010, 20:17
Hiroshima: Appealing to the international community to move from "Ground Zero to Global Zero" by eliminating nuclear arms across the world, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Friday sought the rapid entry into force of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty in 2012.

"Now is the time...the time for rapid entry into force of the (CTBT). Let us set the goal of 2012," Ban said in a speech in Hiroshima after attending a ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the city in World War II.

"We should also build on the success of last year's Security Council Summit," Ban said on his first visit to Hiroshima. He also suggested the convening of regular Security Council Summits from next year.

"Together, you have made Hiroshima an epicentre of peace. Together, we are on a journey from ground zero to Global Zero -- a world free of weapons of mass destruction.

"That is the only sane path to a safer world. For as long as nuclear weapons exist, we will live under a nuclear shadow," he said.

An estimated 140,000 people died instantly in Hiroshima or succumbed to burns and radiation sickness soon after the blast on August 6, 1945, and over 70,000 perished as a result of the Nagasaki attack three days later.

Ban made concrete proposals including the target year in a rare venture since he turned to head the world body from South Korean foreign minister in 2007, after meeting with and hearing the stories of local atomic-bomb survivors earlier today as well as those of Nagasaki during a visit yesterday.

"Today, I carry more than a message of hope. I come with a call for action," he said in the speech.

He called for building upon a landmark Security Council Summit chaired by US President Barack Obama last September that unanimously adopted a resolution seeking to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote nuclear disarmament with an eye toward creating a nuclear-free world.

Citing a five-point action plan he offered two years ago to promote nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, Ban invited the Japanese government to consider hosting a regional conference to advance those efforts.

The UN chief also reiterated his support for the goal of realising a nuclear-free world in 2020 set by the Mayors for Peace, whose membership stood at 4,037 cities in 144 countries and regions including Hiroshima and Nagasaki as of July 1, calling it a "perfect vision."

"Looking toward that day, let us pledge to join together on the 75th anniversary of the bombing -- with the hibakusha -- to celebrate the end of nuclear weapons," he said.

Ban also touched on nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, and urged the countries to take actions to dispel international concerns.

"The nuclear weapons capability of the (North) poses a serious security threat to the region and beyond. I urge the (North) to take concrete actions toward verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula," he said.

"There are serious concerns regarding Iran's nuclear programme. I repeat my call for the government to fully comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and provide the fullest cooperation to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to resolve any concerns over its nuclear programs," Ban said.


First Published: Friday, August 06, 2010, 20:17

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