Nobel laureate: If atomic bombs exist, disaster inevitable

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(David Keyton, AP)
(David Keyton, AP)

Oslo - As long as atomic bombs exist, a disaster is inevitable, the head of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, said on Saturday.

"We are facing a clear choice right now: The end of nuclear weapons or the end of us," Beatrice Fihn told a news conference at the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

"An impulsive tantrum; a calculated military escalation; a terrorist or cyber attack or a complete accident - we will see the use of nuclear weapons unless they are eliminated," she warned.

"These weapons do not make us safe; they are not a deterrent, they only spur other states to pursue their own nuclear weapons. And if you are not comfortable with Kim Jong-un having nuclear weapons, then you are not comfortable with nuclear weapons. If you're not comfortable with Donald Trump having nuclear weapons, then you are not comfortable with nuclear weapons," Fihn said.

First atomic bomb

ICAN, which brings together more than 450 organisations, was a driving force behind an international treaty on banning nuclear weapons that was passed this year. So far, 53 countries have signed up, but only three have ratified it - the treaty needs ratification by 50 to go into effect.

No nuclear power has signed the treaty. Three major nuclear powers - the United States, Britain and France - have said they will not send their ambassadors to Sunday's Nobel prize-awarding ceremony in the Norwegian capital.

Satsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing who is to accept the prize along with Fihn, said she was "not too surprised" at the diplomatic snub.

"This is not the first time they have behaved that way ... they tried in many different ways to sabotage, to discredit, what we tried to do," she said. "Maybe this shows they are really annoyed at what success we have had so far".

ICAN on Saturday installed 1 000 paper cranes outside the Norwegian Parliament. The cranes were made by children in Hiroshima, site of the world's first atomic bomb attack in 1945.


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