UN chief: World is one misstep away from ‘nuclear annihilation’

Jane NamWed, 3 August 2022, 6:52 am

Former Portugal Prime Minister and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the world is one step away from “nuclear annihilation” in a speech on Monday.

The UN chief, 50, gave the opening speech at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York, a meeting which was originally planned for 2020 but was pushed back due to COVID-19.https://www.youtube.com/embed/I0My9xhgxVE

Under the original NPT from 1970, which was signed by some 191 countries, the five original nuclear powers — the U.S., China, Russia (the Soviet Union at the time), Britain and France — agreed to work towards eventually eliminating their nuclear arms.

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Several countries who were not members, including India, Pakistan and North Korea, went on to attain nuclear weapons. Israel is believed to also have a nuclear arsenal, which the country has yet to confirm or deny.

To a crowd composed of ministers, officials and diplomats from around the globe, Guterres started the speech by emphasizing that the climate crisis, human rights conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic have “put our world in the greatest stress that it has faced in our lifetime.”

He stated that the problems are occurring simultaneously at a time of “nuclear dangers, not seen since the height of the Cold War.”

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According to the secretary-general, the world is in danger of repeating the mistakes of the Cold War, adding that “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.” He cited growing international tensions, which were exponentially magnified by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

The meeting is scheduled to last the whole month and end on Aug. 26, with 133 speakers scheduled to give speeches at various side events.

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