U.N. officials urge nuclear disarmament on anniversary of Hiroshima bombing

On the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, senior U.N. officials said on Tuesday that true security is based on the welfare of the people, not on military annihilation.

Noeleen Heyzer, the executive secretary of the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, read a statement from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony.

"We are united in countering the erroneous view that security is achieved through the pursuit of military dominance and threats of mutual annihilation," Ban said. "I appeal for universal adherence to the United Nations Charter, which emphasizes peace, disarmament, a prohibition on threats or use of force, and social and economic development."

Approximately 50,000 people gathered in front of the Hiroshima Peace City Memorial Monument to mark a moment of silence, light incense and pray. The bombing, along with an attack on Nagasaki three days later, killed more than 400,000 people.

Vuk Jeremic, the president of the U.N. General Assembly, attended the ceremony and said he felt privileged to be organizing a meeting on September 26 that will represent the first-ever high-level meeting of the assembly on nuclear disarmament.

"I hope this will be a significant step forward in fulfilling our goal to excise atomic weapons, so that the sufferings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki of 68 years ago may never repeat," Jeremic said.