A welcome commitment to the prevention of nuclear proliferation

Thursday, 2022-01-06 17:21:12
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Negotiations in Vienna, Austria on the Iran nuclear deal. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO - Five major powers possessing nuclear weapons, and also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (P5), have just issued a joint statement, in which they agreed to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The international community welcomed P5’s political commitment, especially in the context that the world is still facing many potential security problems.

In a joint statement recently published by the White House, the P5 group including the US, UK, France, Russia and China, jointly affirmed that no country can win a nuclear war and this war should never happen. The major powers believe that using nuclear weapons will have far-reaching consequences and that nuclear weapons must serve defensive purposes and prevent aggression and war.

Setting aside current tensions, the major powers reaffirmed the importance of peacefully resolving nuclear threats, as well as maintaining and complying with bilateral and multilateral agreements and commitments, to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The five powers emphasised their desire to work with all countries to ensure a more favourable security environment for the process of disarmament, with the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. The P5 is also committed to continually seeking bilateral and multilateral diplomatic approaches to avoid military confrontation, as well as work together to enhance stability and forecasts, while enhancing mutual understanding and trust to jointly prevent an arms race.

Commenting on the recent commitment, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that, in the general difficult conditions of the current international security situation, the adoption of such a political declaration helped to reduce the level of international tension.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov further emphasised that Russia still considered the summit between the world’s nuclear powers essential. Meanwhile, China affirmed that the P5 joint statement helped to enhance mutual trust among major powers and replace competition with cooperation.

The rare joint statement issued by the P5 on the eve of a planned United Nations conference, aimed to review the implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which has been in force since 1970. However, this conference was postponed due to the rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 infections with the Omicron variant.

Addressing the nuclear weapons threat, has been considered by the UN, as one of the priorities for action since the establishment of this international cooperation organisation. Using nuclear weapons is against international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights.

The NPT, as well as related international treaties such as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones (NWFZ), together with many resolutions of the UN, have contributed to the formation of the legal framework and international standards on non-proliferation, disarmament and prohibition of nuclear weapons.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres once affirmed that although the total number of nuclear weapons has decreased over the past decades, there are still about 14,000 weapons stockpiled around the world. Assessing that the human race is facing the highest level of nuclear risk in nearly four decades, the UN Secretary-General called on the world to make greater efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons and begin a new phase of dialogue, trust and peace.

UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid welcomed the joint statement released by the P5 group, saying it was the right message conveyed by major powers to the world at the start of the new year.

Based on the commitments made, countries around the world, especially those possessing nuclear weapons, need to seriously perform their obligations and be ready to join hands with the international community to build trust and strengthen cooperation, understanding, and protection of the humanity from nuclear weapons.

Translated by NDO