Literature laureate warns of nuclear peril

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Nobel Literature Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa warned on Tuesday of the danger of nuclear weapons ending up in the hands of terrorists, in a speech ahead of Friday's award ceremony.

"Since every period has its horrors, ours is the age of fanatics, of suicide terrorists, an ancient species convinced that by killing they earn heaven," said the Spanish-Peruvian author.

"We have to thwart them, confront them, and defeat them," he said.

"With the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, we cannot overlook the fact that any small faction of crazed redeemers may one day provoke a nuclear cataclysm," he said.

"Dictatorships must be fought without hesitation, with all the means at our disposal, including economic sanctions," said Vargas Llosa.

The 74-year-old repeated his praise of the awarding of the Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who will not be able to receive his award.

He said Monday that Liu was "a great Chinese fighter who is battling for democracy in his country".

© 2010 AFP

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