Spread of Nuclear Arms Threatens Peace, Says Pontiff

In a Telegram to Congratulate Nobel Prize Winner

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 11, 2005 (Zenit.org).- In a congratulatory message to the latest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Benedict XVI described the proliferation of nuclear weapons as a threat to peace.



\"Even today, sixty years after the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is clear that the peace of the world continues to be at risk from the spread of nuclear weapons,\" the Pope said in a telegram to Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In his message, published Saturday by the Vatican press office, the Holy Father said that ElBaradei\'s service \"to the international community by promoting nuclear non-proliferation and by contributing to the process of nuclear disarmament deserves the highest commendation.\"

The telegram ends by assuring the Pope\'s prayers \"that God will continue to guide the efforts of all who work for peace and especially those who seek to prevent any further use of weapons of mass destruction.\"

Egyptian-born ElBaradei, 63, a career diplomat, has headed the IAEA since December 1997. The agency, founded in 1957, is an autonomous body in the U.N. system. Today the agency has 139 member countries. The Holy See is a founding member.

On accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, on Saturday, ElBaradei encouraged the acceleration of nuclear disarmament and said he favored the reform of security strategies inherited from the Cold War.

Here is the full text of the papal telegram, which was dated Nov. 3.

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I was pleased to learn of the award of this Year\'s Nobel Peace Prize to yourself and to the International Atomic Energy Agency of which you are Director General and I offer you my heartfelt congratulations. Even today, sixty years after the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is clear that the peace of the world continues to be at risk from the spread of nuclear weapons. The service that you have given to the international community by promoting nuclear non-proliferation and by contributing to the process of nuclear disarmament deserves the highest commendation. I pray that God will continue to guide the efforts of all who work for peace and especially those who seek to prevent any further use of weapons of mass destruction.

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI