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Global peace, security demand an end to nuclear weapons, pope tells U.N.


Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Vatican undersecretary for relations with states, delivers a message from Pope Francis to a U.N. conference on nuclear weapons March 27 in New York City. (CNS photo/Rick Bajornas, UN)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Today's threats to global peace and security must be countered through dialogue and development, not nuclear weapons, Pope Francis told the United Nations.

"How sustainable is a stability based on fear, when it actually increases fear and undermines relationships of trust between peoples," the pope asked in a letter sent to a U.N. meeting on nuclear arms.

"International peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation, or on simply maintaining a balance of power," he said in the message, released by the Vatican March 28. The message was read aloud at the U.N. by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Vatican undersecretary for relations with states.

The pope's message was sent to Elayne Whyte Gomez, president of the U.N. Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards Their Total Elimination. The conference was being held at the U.N. headquarters in New York March 27-31, with a follow-up meeting June 15-July 7.

A number of nations -- many of which already possess nuclear arms -- were boycotting the negotiations to ban such weapons. These included the United States, France, the United Kingdom and about 40 other nations. Some continue to support the Non-Proliferation Treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.

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