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Annan Warns Against Use Of Nuclear Weapons

by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) Jan 25, 2006
UN chief Kofi Annan, reacting to France's threat to use nuclear weapons against state sponsors of terrorism, on Wednesday urged all countries to ensure that such weapons are not used.

Last week, French President Jacques Chirac for the first time raised the threat of a nuclear strike on any state that launches "terrorist" attacks against his country.

Asked to comment on Chirac's remarks, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Annan "very much believes that all nations need to show their commitment to the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and take concrete measures to ensure that nuclear weapons will neither be tested nor used".

"The secretary general has often talked about the importance of the nuclear NPT and has made it clear that member states need to demonstrate their seriousness in dealing with issues of nuclear proliferation and disarmament," he added.

Although Chirac did not single out any country, his warning was interpreted as including Iran, which is frequently accused of sponsoring terrorism and under pressure over its controversial nuclear program.

Iran slammed Chirac's remarks as "shameful" and "unacceptable".

"It is shameful for the people of France that their president brandishes atomic weapons on the pretext of fighting terrorism," Gholam Ali Hadad-Adel, speaker of Iran's right-wing parliament, said Sunday.

France -- along with Britain and Germany, and backed by the United States -- is now leading a push for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council over suspicion that it is trying to covertly build nuclear arms.

Iran has denounced the mounting pressure, arguing that it only wants to generate electricity and that this is a right for any NPT signatory.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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South Korea warned the United States on Wednesday of trouble ahead in their relations after an angry dispute broke out over US sanctions against communist North Korea.

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