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Gorbachev slams U.S. 'sickness'

From CNN's Jonathan Wald

Gorbachev says Russia is prepared to co-operate on nuclear disarmament.
United States
Mikhail Gorbachev
Ted Turner

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, said Wednesday the United States was hypocritical over nuclear armaments and not prepared to disarm its own weapons.

"I think Russia is ready to cooperate. Now the question is, is the United States -- which is the only remaining superpower -- is the United States ready to do this? I think not myself," Gorbachev said.

"I think the United States is sick. It suffers from the sickness, the disease of being the victor and it needs to cure itself from this disease."

He said the United States should not suggest that other countries have no need for nuclear weapons while it retains a large arsenal itself.

"They say other people don't need it, but what kind of law is this that they are advocating? It's the law of the jungle," he said.

Gorbachev was at the United Nations to present the 2005 Allan Cranston Peace Award to CNN founder and U.N. benefactor Ted Turner.

Turner shared Gorbachev's view that the United States was hypocritical.

"It's just hypocrisy in my opinion for us, with our 30,000 nuclear weapons, to tell other small countries -- some small countries, it's OK for others; I don't think we've ever said anything about Israel's nuclear weapons -- but I don't see how we can say anything about anybody when we've got so many ourselves," Turner said.

Speaking about the international community's need to grapple with two of the world's biggest nuclear powers, Gorbachev said, "We don't need to kiss each other, we don't need to flirt with each other, we have to -- seriously on a human and political level -- we have to work together and be partners with the United States and Russia."

Turner also commented on his expectations of the new pope, Benedict XVI.

"I would certainly hope that the new pope, having grown up in Germany and World War II, would be against war and against violence of any type," Turner said.

"Religious leaders are supposed to be that and he seems like a decent-looking guy."

Next month, the United Nations will host a five-year review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The treaty, which went into force in 1970, establishes a legal and moral norm for condemning countries that pursue proliferation.

Allan Cranston was a senator from California who championed nuclear disarmament and world peace.

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