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No to a stability based on fear

· ​In a message to the UN conference to ban nuclear weapons, the Pope calls for dialogue and trust between States ·

The elimination of nuclear weapons in the world is not only a “challenge” but also a “moral and humanitarian imperative”, Pope Francis said in a message sent to participants of a UN conference aimed at negotiating a legally binding instrument to ban nuclear weapons, leading to their total elimination.

“The common destiny of mankind demands the pragmatic strengthening of dialogue and the building and consolidating of mechanisms of trust and cooperation, capable of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons”, Francis wrote in a letter read by Msgr Antoine Camilleri, Undersecretary for Relations with States, head of the Holy See Delegation to the Conference, the first part of which took place in New York from 27-31 March. “How sustainable is a stability based on fear when it actually increases fear and undermines relationships of trust between peoples”, he asked.

In reality, the response of nuclear deterrence appears entirely inadequate in facing challenges such as “terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity, environmental problems, poverty. These concerns are even greater when we consider the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences that would follow from any use of nuclear weapons, with devastating, indiscriminate and uncontainable effects”, not to mention, the “waste of resources spent on nuclear issues for military purposes”, Francis added, “which could instead be used for worthy priorities like the promotion of peace and integral human development, as well as the fight against poverty, and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

In his message the Pontiff stressed the need to build peace based on “justice, on integral human development, on respect for fundamental human rights, on the protection of creation, on the participation of all in public life, on trust between peoples, on the support of peaceful institutions, on access to education and health, on dialogue and solidarity”. We should move “beyond nuclear deterrence”, with the awareness that any response must be “collective and concerted, based on mutual trust” and “as far as possible, should include all”, avoiding “those forms of mutual recrimination and polarization which hinder dialogue rather than encourage it”.

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June 26, 2017

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