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Message to the Vermont Walk for Nuclear Abolition
Springfield, 21 August 1998

by Kofi A. Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations

   The Earth, it is said, is not ours. It is a treasure we hold in trust for future generations. This is something I believe all of you gathered here today have understood well.

   With the end of the Cold War, one might have thought that we need no longer fear or focus on weapons of mass destruction. But as recent events have reminded us, the danger has not passed; it has simply changed its face. This is why movements such as yours are so important.

   We hear a great deal of talk today about life in the global village. But if this village is to be a truly desirable place for all of us on this planet, it must be guided by shrewd values and principles.

   The United Nations is committed to giving voice to those values and principles. None is more important to us than that of disarmament and peace. To quote the UNESCO Charter, "since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed."

   Individuals and groups like yourselves, animated by peace and environmental concerns, supported by world public opinion, are all living proof of what can be achieved through global people-power in building those defenses of peace.

   And so, on behalf of the United Nations, I am pleased to extend my best wishes to the Vermont Walk for Nuclear Abolition. I add the hope that what you have marched for will become a reality the world over, for the sake of our children, and our children's children.

Kofi A. Annan

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