We live in a world where the risk of nu­clear weapons be­ing used is greater than it has been

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - INTERNATIONAL -

Days be­fore the No­bel an­nounce­ment, Fihn had tweeted sim­ply: “Don­ald Trump is a mo­ron”, a re­mark she said Fri­day that she re­gret­ted.

Stock­piles fall­ing

Al­though global atomic stock­piles have plum­meted -from around 64,000 weapons in 1986 at the height of the Cold War to about 9,000 in 2017, ac­cord­ing to the Bul­letin of Atomic Sci­en­tists (BAS) -- they re­main a global con­cern.

NATO, which has three of the world's nu­clear pow­ers in its ranks and which op­posed the weapons ban treaty, wel­comed “the at­ten­tion given to the is­sue” by ICAN's win.

But the al­liance's sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg said in a state­ment that “the con­di­tions for achiev­ing nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment are not favourable to­day”.

The sur­vivors of the bomb­ing of Hiroshima and Na­gasaki, how­ever, con­grat­u­lated ICAN.

“We want to work to­gether so that the nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment treaty can be signed as soon as pos­si­ble,” said Shigemitsu Tanaka, head of the Na­gasaki Atomic Bomb Sur­vivors Coun­cil.

'Un­speak­able hor­ror'

Fri­day's award comes as a global nu­clear deal with Iran is un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure from Trump.

The agree­ment struck in 2015 be­tween Iran and world pow­ers dras­ti­cally curbed Tehran's nu­clear en­rich­ment ca­pa­bil­ity in re­turn for a lift­ing of pun­ish­ing eco­nomic sanc­tions. Iran de­nies ever pur­su­ing a bomb, in­sist­ing its nu­clear pro­gramme is for peace­ful en­ergy pro­duc­tion only.

But Trump has threat­ened to bin the ac­cord, and on Thurs­day crit­i­cised Iran's be­hav­iour, telling mil­i­tary lead­ers in Wash­ing­ton that Tehran has “not lived up to the spirit of the agree­ment”.

Trump is plan­ning to de­cer­tify the deal, The Wash­ing­ton Post and The New York Times re­ported Fri­day, po­ten­tially paving the way for re­newed sanc­tions on Tehran.

Ten­sions have also soared be­tween the US and North Korea, which has test-fired two mis­siles over Ja­pan and con­ducted a string of ap­par­ent un­der­ground nu­clear tests.

“This is a time of great global ten­sion, when fiery rhetoric could all too eas­ily lead us, in­ex­orably, to un­speak­able hor­ror,” ICAN said on Fri­day.

'World with­out nu­clear weapons'

The No­bel com­mit­tee has re­warded anti-nu­clear weapons drives on sev­eral pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions, hon­our­ing Soviet dis­si­dent An­drei Sakharov in 1975, the in­ter­na­tional non-pro­lif­er­a­tion group IPPNW in 1985, and Mo­hamed ElBa­radei, then the head of the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency, twenty years later.

UN chief An­to­nio Guter­res praised ICAN's win, tweet­ing: “Now more than ever we need a world with­out nu­clear weapons.” But Rus­sia, which ac­cord­ing to some counts has the world's largest atomic stock­pile, said there was no al­ter­na­tive to “nu­clear par­ity” in guar­an­tee­ing world peace.

More than 300 peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions were thought to have been nom­i­nated for this year's Peace Prize, in­clud­ing the UN's refugee agency UNHCR, Syria's White Hel­mets res­cue ser­vice and Con­golese doc­tor De­nis Muk­wege.

The Peace Prize, which comes with a gold medal and a cheque for nine mil­lion Swedish kro­nor (943,000 euros, $1.1 mil­lion), will be pre­sented in Oslo on De­cem­ber 10, the an­niver­sary of the death of its founder, Swedish phi­lan­thropist and dy­na­mite in­ven­tor Al­fred No­bel.

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