‘World on dangerous threshold’: Gorbachev warns of nuclear threat amid intl tensions

© Federal government of the United States
Mikhail Gorbachev has called the current state of relations between Russia and US the “collapse of mutual trust” and urged the sides to resume dialogue and push towards demilitarization and complete nuclear disarmament.

I think the world has approached a dangerous threshold. I would prefer not to suggest any particular schemes, but I want to say: we need to stop. Dialogue should be resumed. Stopping the dialogue has been the biggest mistake. Now we must return to the main priorities, such as nuclear disarmament, fighting terrorism and prevention of global environmental disasters. Compared to these challenges everything else is a second priority,” Gorbachev said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

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Of course, at this moment it is difficult to talk about moving towards a nuclear-free world, we must honestly admit it. But we should not forget: as long as there are nuclear weapons there is the threat of their use. It could be an accident, a technical malfunction of someone’s evil will – a madman or a terrorist,” the former Soviet leader said.

Gorbachev also reminded that in line with the nuclear non-proliferation agreement all of its signatories must hold talks on nuclear disarmament uniting the eventual full destruction of nuclear weapons.

The nuclear-free world is not a utopia, but rather an imperative necessity. But we can achieve it only through demilitarization of politics and international relations.”

He said that veterans of international politics, such as the “council of sages” chaired by former UN leader Kofi Annan, understood these problems and he expressed hope that their voices would be heard by modern leaders. At the same time he emphasized that the main responsibility for global security lied on these modern leaders who would make the greatest mistake if they do not use the last chance to return international politics to a peaceful course.

The interview was published on Monday and timed with the 30th anniversary of the USSR-US summit in Reykjavik, which eventually allowed the nuclear arms race to slow down and greatly contributed to the end of the Cold War.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (L) and U.S. President Ronald Reagan begin their mini-summit talks in Reykjavik October 11, 1986. © Mal Langsdon

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Gorbachev reiterated his position that the Reykjavik summit was a major breakthrough.

First, we agreed on many issues and second, we managed to look over the horizon, see the perspective of a nuclear-free world,” he said.

It was very appealing that in the course of our negotiations President Ronald Reagan sincerely spoke about the necessity to rid the world of the weapons of mass destruction. We shared a common position on this issue.”