UN′s Guterres unveils disarmament plan ′from grenades to H-bombs′ | News | DW | 24.05.2018
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UN's Guterres unveils disarmament plan 'from grenades to H-bombs'

A global disarmament plan from "hand grenades to H-bombs" has been unveiled in Geneva by UN chief Antonio Guterres. He warned that a single human error with old or new arms could eliminate "entire cities."

UN Secretary General Guterres unveiled his 88-page paper Thursday, saying the cancellation of the US-North Korean summit in Singapore next month underscored that governments must stop thinking "backwards."

"We are living in dangerous times," Guterres told his Geneva University student audience, warning that arms competition was increasing as governments "poured resources" into updating old weapon systems and developing new ones, striving for "quality rather than quantity."

Read more: Europe's 'ugly options' after Trump quits deal with Iran

Leaders had a responsibility to minimize risk and the disarmament agenda should range "from hand grenades to H-bombs," Guterres insisted.

Eliminating nuclear weapons remained the UN's highest priority but such efforts were in severe crisis, he said.

Deliberate releases of disease carriers could be "many times more devastating" than natural pandemics such as West Africa's past Ebola outbreak,  he added.

And, major outbreaks of conflict were likely to be preceded by massive cyber attacks on infrastructures with "serious consequences" for all.

Still stockpiled since the Cold War were 15,000 nuclear weapons, Guterres reminded his audience.

"Hundreds are ready to be launched within minutes. We are one mechanical, electronic or human error away from a catastrophe that could eradicate entire cities from the map," Guterres warned.

Read more: China puts nuclear-capable bombers on disputed island

Particularly, the US and Russia must resolve their disarmament issues and commit to his new agenda based on three priorities, said Guterres: "disarmament to save humanity, disarmament that saves lives, and disarmament for future generations."

In war-ravaged Syria, a UN fact-finding mission had examined 83 incidents of alleged chemical weapons use, determining likelihood in more than 14 cases, Guterres said.

"Each use is a crime under international law. Their widespread use may also constitute a crimes against humanity," Guterres postulated.

ipj/bw (Reuters, AFP)

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