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Vatican rallies voices on nuclear arms

17 November 2017


Disarmament advocate: Masako Wada, a survivor of the 1945 Nagasaki bombing, stands in front of a poster at the international symposium Prospects for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament

Disarmament advocate: Masako Wada, a survivor of the 1945 Nagasaki bombing, stands in front of a poster at the international symposium Prospects for a...

DELEGATES at an international con­­ference in the Vatican have backed the Pope’s call, in March, to “in­tegral” nuclear dis­arm­ament.

Against a background of rising tension between the United States and North Korea, 11 Nobel peace laureates, senior UN and NATO officials, and heads of foundations and civil-society organisations joined representatives of the Chris­tian and other faiths last week to consider means of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.

In an address summing up the three days of discussions, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Pro­moting Integral Human Develop­ment, Cardinal Peter Turkson, said: “The use and possession of nuclear weapons deserves condemnation, since they are indiscriminate and disproportionate instruments of war. Similarly reprehensible are tests of nuclear weapons, and the fallout which contaminates the atmosphere and the oceans.” Such contamina­tion, he said, “could constitute crimes against hu­manity”.

He suggested that the idea of nu­c­lear deterrence was inadequate in a “multipolar” world. “Nuclear deter­rence does not create a stable or secure peace: it con­tributes to fear and conflict.” A world without nu­clear arms was possible, but it would be a long-term process, and required a global response. “Dia­logue is essential. This dialogue must be inclusive, engaging both nuclear states and non-nuclear states, and involving civil society, international organisations, govern­ments, and religious communities.”

President Trump was today ex­­pected to announce that he would not certify the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, believing that it is not in US interests. Both Theresa May and the French President have appealed to him this week to certify the deal for the sake of unity with his allies.

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