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Pope calls for global nuclear disarmament

"Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation," he said.

Pope Francis, speaking in one of only two cities hit by atomic bombs in history, appealed on Sunday for the abolition of nuclear weapons, saying their mere possession was perverse and indefensible.
He restated his support for a 2017 treaty to ban nuclear weapons agreed by nearly two-thirds of U.N. members, but opposed by big nuclear powers who say it could undermine nuclear deterrence, which they credit with averting conventional war.
"The possession of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is not the answer (to longings for peace)," Francis said, after having closed his eyes in prayer and lighting a candle in memory of the victims.
"Our world is marked by a perverse dichotomy that tries to defend and ensure stability and peace through a false sense of security sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust," he said in a somber voice, amid driving rain and strong wind.
"Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation."
Francis, who was speaking at Nagasaki's Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park, ground zero of the bomb the United States dropped on Aug. 9, 1945, instantly killing 27,000 people, also decried what he called a dismantling of non-proliferation pacts.
"Here, in this city, which witnessed the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of a nuclear attack, our attempts to speak out against the arms race will never be enough," Francis said in his emotional appeal.
Resources spent on the "arms race" should be used for development and protection of the environment, instead.
"In a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven," he said.
Last August, the United States pulled out of one landmark strategic arms accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), citing violations by Russia that Moscow denies.
Nuclear experts said it also appeared doubtful that agreement on a full-fledged replacement for the New START nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the United States will be in place before it expires in February 2021.


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