GENEVA: The time to ban nuclear weapons “is now”, nuclear disarmament group ICAN said Friday, after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
“This is a time of great global tension, when fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror”, the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said in a statement, which called the Nobel award “a great honour.” “The spectre of nuclear conflict looms large once more. If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now.”
ICAN chief Beatrice Fihn told reporters that the group received a phone call about the Nobel win just before the award was announced. “This prize is a tribute to the tireless efforts of many millions of campaigners and concerned citizens worldwide who, ever since the dawn of the atomic age, have loudly protested nuclear weapons, insisting that they can serve no legitimate purpose and must be forever banished from the face of our earth,” ICAN’s statement further said.
The group said the Nobel award was a ‘tribute’ to the two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were attacked by American atomic bombs at the end of World War II. As nuclear-fuelled tensions intensify between the US and its rivals in North Korea and Iran, ICAN also blasted some nations for clinging to their weapons in the name of security. “The belief of some governments that nuclear weapons are a legitimate and essential source of security is not only misguided, but also dangerous, for it incites proliferation and undermines disarmament,” ICAN said. “All nations should reject these weapons completely – before they are ever used again”.
The head of ICAN also said on Friday that US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should know that nuclear weapons are illegal. Asked for her message to the two leaders, ICAN’s Executive Director Beatrice Fihn told Reuters: “Nuclear weapons are illegal. Threatening to use nuclear weapons is illegal. Having nuclear weapons, possessing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear weapons, is illegal, and they need to stop.”
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson said on Friday there is “no alternative to nuclear parity” for global security, speaking after the Geneva-based ICAN group won the Nobel Peace Prize for its decade-long campaign to ban the atomic bomb. “President Vladimir Putin has spoken many times about the importance of nuclear parity, for which there is no alternative from the point of view of global security and stability,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
He reiterated Russia’s “consistent and active position aimed at the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Russia is a responsible member of the nuclear club,” Peskov said, adding that one had to ‘respect’ the decision of the Nobel committee. ICAN was a key player in the adoption of a historic nuclear weapons ban treaty, signed by 122 countries in July. However, the accord was largely symbolic as none of the nine known world nuclear powers signed up to it.
The coalition of hundreds of NGOs says its main objective is the adoption of an international treaty banning nuclear weapons, along the lines of earlier agreements forbidding the use of biological and chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions.
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Source: Tribune News | ‘Moment is now’ to ban nuclear weapons: Nobel winners ICAN