Hiroshima – I welcome this opportunity to greet all the participants attending this 2012 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. I thank Mr. Hiroshi Taka and his colleagues for so capably organizing this impressive event.
Earlier today, the eyes of the world were focused on the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, an occasion to solemnly remember those who perished as a result of the atomic bombing sixty-seven years ago today and to pay respects to the hibakusha and their families.
Yet neither that ceremony nor this conference is focused only on the past. People across the world are seeking global nuclear disarmament today – for a future without nuclear weapons.
All of us know that this will not be achieved by hope alone. It will require hard work and the collaboration of a wide variety of individuals and groups throughout the international community. It will require close cooperation between groups of States. And it will require a central focus at the United Nations.
The burden for achieving disarmament cannot be borne by peace groups alone. Fortunately, they have many actual and potential allies. After all, who in society is immune from the effects of nuclear weapons? Everybody, regardless of age, income, profession, gender or nationality, has a stake in this quest
I commend all of you for what you have already accomplished. Your publications and meetings have educated the public. Your petitions have enabled each citizen to participate in disarmament process. You have reached out to the younger generation. And you have worked to raise the priority of disarmament in public policies throughout the world.
Thank you, and keep up your good work. I am honoured to be your partner in working towards the great goal of nuclear disarmament, which would do so much to advance our collective safety and well-being.