Fihn said she believes it is possible to have a world without nuclear weapons. "We built these weapons (and) we can take them apart," she said, adding that the world has given up certain chemical and biological weapons in the past.
Izumi Nakamitsu, U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said the U.N. is grateful to both Pope Francis and the Holy See for organizing the conference.
"Any gathering of world leaders and civil society actors and governments to discuss ways to pursue a nuclear weapons-free zone will be very helpful for the cause of U.N. disarmament activities," she said, and voiced eagerness to discuss what can practically be done to eradicate nuclear weapons.
Nakamitsu said the U.N. believes the only solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis is a political one, and that talks on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation create much-needed "breathing space" for trying to find these political solutions.
"So we're not giving up at all on disarmament, but quite the contrary, because the situation is very difficult, we think disarmament discussions are more important."
Cardinals Turkson and Parolin both emphasized the need for an integral development aimed at promoting human dignity and the common good as the solution to current nuclear tensions.
Quoting former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower's 1953 speech after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, Turkson said "every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
International peace and stability, Cardinal Turkson said, cannot be based on "a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation, or on simply maintaining a balance of power."
Rather, he said, peace must be built on justice, development, respect for human rights, the care of creation, participation in public life, mutual trust, support of peaceful institutions, access to education and health, dialogue and solidarity.
Cardinal Parolin echoed these ideas, emphasizing the role of education and dialogue in creating "a culture of life and peace based on the dignity of the human being and the primacy of the law."
He added that "only a concerted effort on the part of all nations will stop these senseless rivalries and promote fruitful, friendly dialogue between nations."
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In a Nov. 10 statement addressed to Pope Francis on the occasion of the conference, five of the 11 Nobel Prize Laureates participating in the conference said they hope the event will help launch "a new international legal regulation and further stigmatize those weapons and the states that so far refuse to give them up."
They praised the joint role of civil society, religious communities and various international organizations and states in advancing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which aims to put an end to weapons "that are capable of obliterating life as we know it in the blink of an eye."
An "inclusive and equitable" international security system which leaves no country feeling that they must depend on nuclear arms is needed, they said, and stressed the necessity to ask oneself "what ethical and moral human beings can possibly believe that it is fine to give machines the ability to kill humans."
In order to avoid an "impending third revolution in warfare," the weapons must be eliminated before they ever make it to battle, they said.
And this requites prioritizing the human person over the creation of wealth and realizing that "real security comes from placing the focus on meeting the needs of individuals and communities – human security and promoting the common good."
Signatories included Professer Mohamed El Baradei; Mrs. Mairead Maguire; Professor Adolfo Perez Esquivel; Professor Jody Williams, and Professor Muhammad Yunus.