Obama, Kishida call for abolition of nuclear weapons at Hiroshima meeting
Dec. 10 (UPI) — Former U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for a world without nuclear weapons at a nuclear disarmament conference Saturday in Hiroshima, Japan.
The two-day meeting of the International Group of Eminent Persons for a World Without Nuclear Weapons brought together delegates from Japan and 11 other countries, including the United States and Russia.
Obama delivered a video message in which he recalled his historic visit to Hiroshima in 2016 — a first for a sitting U.S. president.
“It strengthened my own resolve to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons worldwide,” he said.
But, he added, it is important to continue making progress amid new challenges.
“There have been some frustrating setbacks in recent years,” Obama said. “We’ve learned that even modest progress requires extraordinary effort. But we have also learned that this effort is worth it.”
Kishida echoed Obama’s call, saying that he hopes the meeting will make a significant step toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The world is facing the “biggest threat of nuclear weapon use since the Cold War,” Kishida said.
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres also weighed in, citing Russia’s nuclear threats against Ukraine.
“Not since the darkest days of the Cold War have we heard such clear threats about their use,” Guterres said.
Among the 15 members, 12 are from 11 foreign nations — the nuclear powers of the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and India, and the non-nuclear states of Germany, Argentina, Jordan, Indonesia and New Zealand.