Holy See Presses for Nuclear Disarmament

Recognizes Tense Time in International Relations

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NEW YORK, OCT. 17, 2007 (Zenit.org).- All the tools of diplomacy must be used to defuse crises concerning attempts to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities, says the Holy See.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said this as he addressed the 62nd U.N. General Assembly First Committee on Tuesday.

"A notable event this year was the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency," said Archbishop Migliore.

He continued: "The Holy See, a founding member of the agency, continues to fully support its goals, convinced that the IAEA plays a key role in fostering nonproliferation of nuclear arms, progressive nuclear disarmament, and the use of peaceful and safe nuclear technology for a development respectful of the environment and ever mindful of the most disadvantaged populations.

"Especially at this tense moment in international relations, the world needs to be able to place confidence in the findings of the IAEA that no state party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty is abusing its legitimate right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses to produce nuclear weapons.

"Belligerence by anyone would only worsen a delicate situation and could inadvertently lead to conflagration with immense additional suffering on a humanity already overburdened with the ravages of war."

Moral values

"Here the recognition of the values of morality would play an instrumental role in effecting political will," continued Archbishop Migliore. "The Holy See has said many times in this committee that nuclear weapons contravene every aspect of humanitarian law.

"They are an affront to our stewardship of the environment, in as much as they can destroy life on the planet and the planet itself. They must be done away with."

"By holding resolutely to these convictions," said the Italian archbishop, "the Holy See hopes to awaken in the hearts of all people of 'good faith' a renewed determination to ensure that never again will the horrors of nuclear war be visited upon humanity. Moreover, the danger of a nuclear device ending in the hands of terrorists is real and present."

"The committee must summon all its resources of strength and will to give leadership in overcoming daunting challenges," Archbishop Migliore concluded. "We must be animated by the values of responsibility, solidarity and dialogue to light the way forward."