Humanity is only “one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation”, warned the UN Secretary-General.
According to Antonio Guterres, geopolitical threats, including the climate crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic and armed conflicts, expose the world to nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War.
“Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” Guterres said at the opening of a United Nations nuclear treaty conference at his headquarters in New York.
On Monday, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken were among those gathered for the 10th annual review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
“The climate crisis, gross inequality, conflict and human rights abuses, and the personal and economic devastation wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, have put our world under greater pressure than in the past. of our lives,” said António Guterres.
“Humanity risks forgetting the lessons forged in the terrifying fires of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
António Guterres added that “geopolitical tensions are reaching new heights” and that “mistrust has replaced dialogue”.
“States pursue false security by stockpiling and spending hundreds of billions of dollars on doomsday weapons that have no place on our planet.”
Nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons are currently held in arsenals around the world, António Guterres added, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the crises in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula as areas where nuclear overtones “rot”.
He listed five “areas of action” which are at the heart of the treaty. This includes an unwavering commitment to strengthening and reaffirming the 77-year-old norm against the use of nuclear weapons, working towards the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, addressing simmering tensions in the Middle East and Asia , promoting the peaceful use of nuclear technology for medical and other uses and fulfilling all outstanding commitments in the treaty itself.
“We need the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons more than ever. That is why this review conference is so important. .”