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NEW YORK: A top UN official on Monday denounced growing rhetoric claiming that nuclear arms are necessary and warned that the risk of such weapons being used was on the rise.

“The threat of the use, intentional or otherwise, of nuclear weapons, is growing,” the UN’s representative for disarmament affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, told a preliminary review meeting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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The United States, which holds one of the world’s largest nuclear arsenals, also warned the conference that the prospects for progress on disarmament were currently “bleak”.

The NPT, introduced at the height of the Cold War a half-century ago, seeks to prevent the spread of atomic weapons while putting the onus on nuclear states to reduce their stockpiles.

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