UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that the world is facing the highest nuclear risk in nearly four decades, as nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons stored around the world are activated at the push of a button.
That is why he called for their disappearance on Sunday, September 26th, International Day for the Complete Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.
Guterres recalled that the first resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in 1946 reflected the will to “eliminate nuclear weapons from national armaments and all other weapons that can lead to significant collective destruction”.
“Seventy-six years on, we have not yet achieved the goals of this resolution,” lamented Guterres in a message in which he warned that “we have faced the highest nuclear risk in nearly four decades.” He adds that “around 14,000 nuclear weapons are stored around the world” and that “one push of a button is enough to fire hundreds of them”.
Although the total number of these types of weapons has been declining for decades, Guterres fears that “states are improving the quality of their arsenals” and signaling “a new arms race”.
“These weapons are not a problem of the past. Today they continue to pose a threat. Despite our advances, humanity remains unacceptably close to nuclear annihilation,” he warned.
However, Guterres acknowledged that there are also reasons for hope, such as the recent decision by Russia and the US to extend the New START treaty, which limits the number of strategic weapons between the two countries as well as willingness to join a dialogue.
Another reason for hope is that the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty will come into force in January. “The responsibility to build on these advances now rests with the Member States. The Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons gives all countries the opportunity to take practical steps to prevent the use of these weapons. and get rid of them once and for all, “Guterres riveted.
For the UN chief, the shadow of the nuclear conflict must not continue to cloud efforts to promote development, achieve the sustainable development goals and end the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is time to end this scourge forever, to eliminate nuclear weapons from our world and usher in a new era of dialogue, trust and peace for all,” he concluded.