Hiroshima: Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized countries called Monday for a renewed push for nuclear disarmament at the end of a two-day meeting in the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima in western Japan.
They also condemned recent terrorist attacks in a range of countries — Turkey, Belgium, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Pakistan — and pledged to complete a G-7 action plan to counter terrorism that the leaders of their nations can adopt at their summit in late May.
The ministers also condemned "in the strongest terms" this year's nuclear test and rocket launch by North Korea, and a subsequent series of missile launches. They renewed their condemnation to what they called Russia's "illegal annexation" of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine, and urged Russia to observe the recent Minsk agreement to resolve the dispute.
Meeting in Hiroshima, which was devastated by an American atomic bomb in 1945, the issue of nuclear nonproliferation took on special significance at the annual meeting of the top diplomats from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.
US Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest-ranking American official to visit Hiroshima since the Second World War when the foreign ministers visited the Hiroshima peace memorial cenotaph to lay flowers for the victims of the American atomic bombing in 1945.
They issued two statements Monday on nonproliferation, including one dubbed the "Hiroshima Declaration" that calls on other leaders to follow their path to Hiroshima.
"In this historic meeting, we reaffirm our commitment to seeking a safer world for all and to creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons," the statement said. It also said the task is made more complex by the deteriorating security environment in countries such as Syria and Ukraine, as well as by North Korea's "repeated provocations."
The Hiroshima declaration aims to revitalize the momentum for the effort toward making a world without nuclear weapons, said Yasuhisa Kawamura, the Japanese Foreign Ministry press secretary.