UN Chief Welcomes Nuclear-Weapon States’ Pledge to Prevent Nuclear War

By Radwan Jakeem

NEW YORK (IDN) — The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the joint statement by the five nuclear-weapon States on the prevention of nuclear war and avoidance of arms races.

“The Secretary-General appreciates the recognition by the nuclear-weapon States of their need to comply with their bilateral and multilateral nonproliferation, disarmament, and arms control agreements and commitments, including their binding obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons related to nuclear disarmament,” the UN Chief’s spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said.

The five States—France, China, the Russian Federation, the UK, and the USA—are also permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council. The Council is one of the six principal organs of the UN, charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new members of the Organization to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter.

In their joint statement, the five say: “We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.  As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons—for as long as they continue to exist—should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war.  We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented.”

The statement adds: “We reaffirm the importance of addressing nuclear threats and emphasize the importance of preserving and complying with our bilateral and multilateral non-proliferation, disarmament, and arms control agreements and commitments. We remain committed to our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, including our Article VI obligation ‘to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control’.”

Each of the five “intend to maintain and further strengthen their national measures to prevent unauthorized or unintended use of nuclear weapons”. They reiterate the validity of their previous statements on “de-targeting, reaffirming that none of our nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State”.

The five add: “We underline our desire to work with all states to create a security environment more conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all. We intend to continue seeking bilateral and multilateral diplomatic approaches to avoid military confrontations, strengthen stability and predictability, increase mutual understanding and confidence, and prevent an arms race that would benefit none and endanger all. We are resolved to pursue constructive dialogue with mutual respect and acknowledgment of each other’s security interests and concerns.”

In view of all this, Dujarric said, Mr Guterres is “encouraged by the nuclear-weapon States’ commitment to pursue measures to prevent nuclear war, consistent with his long-standing call for dialogue and cooperation to this end. He looks forward to further details about future initiatives”.

He added: “The Secretary-General takes the opportunity to restate what he has said repeatedly: the only way to eliminate all nuclear risks is to eliminate all nuclear weapons. He reiterates his willingness to work with the nuclear-weapon States and all Member States to achieve this goal as soon as possible.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 03 January 2022]

Photo: The United Nations Security Council Chamber in New York, also known as the Norwegian Room. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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