FILE - In this Dec. 10, 1982 file photo, co-winner of the 1982 Nobel Peace Prize, Alfonso Garcia Robles, of Mexico, poses with his Nobel prize diploma and medal in Oslo, Norway, awarded for his work on behalf of nuclear disarmament. The Nobel Peace Prize medal awarded to the Mexican diplomat and nuclear disarmament expert will be auctioned in April 2017. Christie's in New York made the announcement on Tuesday, Feb. 14, the 50th anniversary of the signing of a treaty that created a nuclear-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean.
VIENNA – Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui has called on U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres to take part in a peace conference to be held in Nagasaki in August. Matsui made the request in a Monday meeting with Izumi Nakamitsu, the new U.N. undersecretary general and high representative for disarmament affairs, handing over a letter written jointly with Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue. Matsui, president of the nongovernmental organization Mayors for Peace, said he told Nakamitsu that many citizens, including survivors of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hope for progress in the negotiations to ban nuclear weapons. Mayors for Peace, an organization seeking nuclear disarmament and world peace, involves about 7,300 cities in 162 countries and regions. It is scheduled to convene a general conference in Nagasaki on Aug. 7-10.
The first conference of a panel aimed at bridging the gap on disarmament between nuclear and nonnuclear countries is set to be held by the government in Hiroshima in November, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Friday. The panel of 16 experts from Japan and abroad will assemble on Nov. 27 and 28 in Hiroshima, which was destroyed by an A-bomb in 1945. Kono said he hopes they will "think thoroughly about what kind of initiative Japan should take." The panel is expected to deliver findings to Kono in March next year. The ministry hopes to present those findings at a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference to be convened in Geneva in April.
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is seeking to defuse rising nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula and boost support for disarmament efforts with a Vatican conference that brings together 11 Nobel Peace prize winners, U.N. and NATO officials and a handful of countries with the bomb. For some analysts, Francis' address Friday will offer a welcome break in the heated war of words between President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, as Trump continues his first trip to Asia as president. But the Vatican hopes it will do more, and mark a turning point in shifting public opinion away from the Cold War-era idea that atomic weapons serve a purpose for deterrence and global security.
BANGUI – The Central African Republic held unprecedented talks with armed groups this past week seeking to speed up disarmament in a country struggling to turn the page on years of bloodshed, officials said Saturday. For the first time since the disarmament process began, the government -- facing a resurgence of violence since last September -- sat down with representatives of 14 armed groups in Bangui on Thursday and Friday. "General progress has been quite substantial," said Jean-Marc Tafani, head of the disarmament process for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central Africa, MINUSCA. The national plan for Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) "was drawn up with details of steps to implement the project," he added. Responding to concerns that former fighters could escape unpunished under the process, Tafani said "people suspected of various crimes will be brought to justice," and "kept out of the DDR program," although he noted that during the week's talks "certain groups said they were against this."