UN SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
Message for the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
“The world has long recognized that nuclear disarmament offers the only absolute guarantee against the use of nuclear weapons, and that any such use would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. Nuclear disarmament is therefore not an idealistic dream, but an urgent necessity to meet the genuine security interests of all humanity.
It has been 68 years since the General Assembly first identified the goal of achieving the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
It has been 44 years since the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons entered into force, committing its States parties to undertake negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament. The time has come for those negotiations to begin. The lack of such negotiations is disrupting the delicate balance between international commitments to disarmament and non-proliferation.
Six years ago, I offered a five-point proposal on nuclear disarmament that featured two possible paths to achieve this goal: agreement on a framework of separate, mutually reinforcing instruments, or through a nuclear weapons convention, backed by a strong system of verification.
What matters most is not which path is taken, but that the chosen path is heading in the right direction — towards the internationally agreed goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
This International Day is not merely one on which we call for limiting nuclear weapons, reducing their range, constraining their deployments or reducing their role in security policies. It is also a day when the world community reflects on the many benefits that nuclear disarmament would offer, from enhanced security to the conservation of financial and scientific resources. It is a day on which to imagine the consequences should the dangerous and fragile doctrine of nuclear deterrence fail.
Let us revive nuclear disarmament as a top international priority, in the interest of the peace and security of all and of future generations.”