I am pleased to greet all the participants in the Hiroshima Conference for the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons by 2020.
Nuclear disarmament is often dismissed as a dream, when the real fantasies are the claims that nuclear weapons guarantee security or increase a country’s status and prestige. The more often countries make such claims, the more likely it will be that others will adopt the same approach. The result will be insecurity for all. Let us be clear: the only guarantee of safety, and the only sure protection against the use of such weapons, is their elimination.
I thank Mayors for Peace helping to point the way to a world free of nuclear threats. Most of the world’s population today lives in cities. If the mayors of the world are uniting, the world is uniting.
My own five point plan, which I put forward in October 2008 offers a practical approach to the elimination of such weapons, including support for the idea of a nuclear weapons convention. We must also build on the momentum generated by the successful outcome of this year’s NPT Review Conference.
The timeline in the 2020 Vision Campaign to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons is especially important. I have deep admiration for the hibakushas and their determination to tell the world about their experience of the horrors of nuclear weapons.
I urge all leaders, especially those of the nuclear-weapon States, to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to see firsthand the drastic reality caused by nuclear war. I myself will go there in ten days’ time for this year’s peace memorial ceremony, at which I will appeal for urgent steps to advance the disarmament agenda.
I urge you all to intensify your efforts even further. Let us work toward the day when governments no longer have a choice but to respond to the will of the people for a nuclear-free world. Thank you all for your commitment to this great cause.