VIENNA, Austria (AFP) — Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev called for the eradication of nuclear weapons and pointed a finger of blame at the United States for doing too little, in an interview published yesterday.
"When we talk about nuclear weapons and what's to be done about them, the answer is to get rid of them," he said in a video interview with the Vienna-based Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO, an organisation seeking to ban nuclear testing.
"The country with super-armament, that is military superiority over all others, is still America. And they are avoiding that issue... setting it aside," he added.
The interview, in Russian with English subtitles, was posted on the Prep Comm's website yesterday ahead of the anniversary of a key 1986 Reykjavik summit between Gorbachev and then US president Ronald Reagan, where the Cold War opponents discussed nuclear disarmament.
Today, nuclear powers have an estimated 20,000 warheads, the former Soviet president said in the video, made on September 4.
"It's enough to bury our civilisation in a few days, literally."
"The current situation must not be allowed to continue... the treaty on the complete cessation of nuclear testing must become effective," he urged.
Close to 200 states have signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), but the document still lacks ratification from key nuclear weapons states such as the US, China, India, Iran and Israel to come into force.
In Reykjavik on October 11 to 12, 1986, Reagan and Gorbachev met for the second time and "came close to abolishing all nuclear weapons," according to the Prep Comm.