K. Annan stressed that Japan had proved, by its own example, that it was unnecessary to arm yourself to the teeth to be an influential state.
He noted that lately the talks on strengthening the regimen of nuclear non-proliferation and general disarmament had become deadlocked. "Twice last year UN member states had a chance to strengthen the foundation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT). Twice they failed to do that", said K. Annan.
The UN Secretary-General compared the NNPT to a contract between nuclear states and the rest of the world. The high and mighty of this world had undertaken to follow the road of general disarmament and refrain from making threats against non-nuclear states, and promised to assist them in getting access to energy for peaceful purposes. For their turn, non-nuclear states pledged not to develop nuclear weapons and agreed to have relevant inspections carried out on their territory.
According to K. Annan, today the NNPT regimen is facing a grave crisis and all its basic supports have become shaky. Across the world, nuclear weapons arsenals hold thousands of warheads, with many of them being in the state of alert. The UN Secretary-General added that lately there appeared a tendency to reduce the quantity but increase the power of nuclear weapons, while some military-political figures do not rule out a possibility of their use.
All this is undermining the integrity and prestige of the NNPT. If we want to avoid the avalanche of nuclear proliferation, we should make a concerted international effort to strengthen, until it is not too late, the non-proliferation regimen, noted the UN Secretary-General. He added that the situation has been aggravated by mutual distrust and suspicion, when some states fear further spread of nuclear weapons, while others accentuate the threat coming from the already existing arsenals, and some countries demanding an end of uranium enrichment, while others insist on their right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Speaking about Iran's nuclear program, K. Annan said that it was "creating a situation of crisis requiring an immediate solution by the world community". He emphasized that the solution could be reached only through peaceful negotiations. The UN Secretary-General urged "downgrading the hostile rhetoric" around Iran, as this, in his opinion, might only aggravate the present situation.
Kofi Annan also reminded the audience that Russia's proposal to have uranium enriched on its territory for use in Iran remained in force.