Mayor Matsui, Deputy-Mayor Takeda.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media.
This is my second visit to Hiroshima.
It’s impossible to come to Hiroshima without feeling the weight of what happened here.
And without seeing with absolute clarity the sheer absurdity of nuclear weapons.
I thank Mayor Matsui and Deputy-Mayor Takeda for our discussion today, and I particularly would like to express my gratitude to Mayor Matsui for granting me honourary citizenship of the great city of Hiroshima.
Peace is at the heart of my job as Secretary-General.
And nowhere are the lessons of peace clearer than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This morning’s memorial ceremony reminded us that the tens of thousands of people who were killed in these two cities 77 years ago are speaking to us across the decades.
They speak through the brave hibakusha I met today, whose testimonies of that terrifying moment in history should never be forgotten.
They speak through the young activists here today, who carry the message of peace forward to a new generation.
And they speak through the members of the Treaties on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in their efforts to bring about a world free of nuclear weapons.
Today, the world is in danger of forgetting the lessons forged here 77 years ago.
Almost 13,000 nuclear weapons are being held.
Stockpiles are being upgraded.
And the common thread of potential nuclear annihilation runs through geopolitical crises the world over — from the Middle East, to the Korean peninsula, to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It is unacceptable for states in possession of nuclear weapons to admit the possibility of nuclear war.
The signals are flashing red.
We must use every avenue of dialogue, diplomacy and negotiation to ease tensions and eliminate the nuclear threat.
Countries with nuclear weapons must commit to the “no first use” of those weapons. They must also assure States that do not have nuclear weapons that they will not use — or threaten to use — nuclear weapons against them. And they must be transparent throughout.
There is only one solution to the nuclear threat: not to have nuclear weapons at all.
As I said today in the memorial ceremony, it’s time to proliferate peace.
In memory of those who lost their lives here 77 years ago, I pledge to work relentlessly towards this goal.
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