His Holiness Pope Francis and CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo

Zerbo presenting Pope Francis with a specially bound edition of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Photo: © L'Osservatore Romano Photo

His Holiness Pope Francis and CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo

© Fotografia Felici

CTBTO head meets Pope Francis

The Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Lassina Zerbo, met His Holiness Pope Francis on 22 April 2015 in Rome.

Thank you for the work you are doing to ban nuclear testing and to rid the world of the abomination of nuclear weapons.His Holiness Pope Francis

In their meeting, Pope Francis thanked Zerbo “for the work you are doing to ban nuclear testing and to rid the world of the abomination of nuclear weapons” and highlighted his commitment “to spreading the word that nuclear weapons are not good for the world".


"I was extremely honoured and humbled to meet His Holiness Pope Francis, who has been a tireless advocate for a world free of nuclear weapons. Pope Francis has made a powerful moral argument against the continued development and possession of nuclear weapons. The entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a stepping stone to reach Pope Francis’ vision. Leadership is needed from the remaining eight countries to ratify the CTBT,” Zerbo said.

The entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a stepping stone to reach Pope Francis’ vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo

In his message (PDF) to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in late 2014, Pope Francis wrote that “Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations. To prioritize such spending is a mistake and misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty.”


In a meeting with Paul R. Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States at the Vatican, Zerbo discussed joint efforts for the universialization and entry into force of the CTBT. Gallagher expressed the Holy See's long-standing support for entry into force of the Treaty and for nuclear disarmament, stating that right now there was "both light and darkness" in terms of progress on these issues.

 

See also interview with Executive Secretary Zerbo by Vatican Radio: "Nuclear Test Ban Treaty advocate meets Pope Francis".