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UN Chief Calls For Total Nuclear Disarmament

Ban Ki-moon
UNITED NATIONS (RFE/RL) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged world leaders to follow the example of Kazakhstan and "to realize the aspiration and dream of a world free of nuclear weapons."

In Kazakhstan, on the last leg of his week-long Central Asian trip, Ban flew over the Ground Zero at the former nuclear-weapons test site at Semipalatinsk. Ban spoke humbly about the 450 atomic and hydrogen bombs detonated there and about the "terrible effect on people and nature."

"They have totally destroyed our environment. Poisoned earth, rivers, and lakes, children suffering from cancer, birth defects," Ban said.

Ban called on both U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev to make a "really fresh start" when they meet on April 8 in Prague to sign the successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the Soviet Union and the United States.