Calling for “concrete, transparent and convincing steps” towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the apostolic nuncio leading the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations, outlined five objectives the delegation believes to be achievable in a short time.
Speaking to the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 U.N. Conference on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the archbishop said the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Weapons (NPT) remains a “cornerstone” of nuclear disarmament after four decades.
“The Holy See reaffirms its strong and continuing support for the NPT and calls for universal and full adherence to and compliance with the Treaty,” he said.
Noting that more than 26,000 nuclear warheads remain in the world, he urged all states to strive to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world through the NPT.
Adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Archbishop Migliore said, is “essential and achievable” if states are serious about their commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons.
The first measure suggested by the archbishop was starting negotiations for a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, which he said are “overdue.”
Another need is for nuclear weapon States to “interpret their military doctrines as precluding any reliance on nuclear weapons,” he urged.
Archbishop Migliore also advocated that the peaceful use of nuclear energy should be under “strict control” of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“All countries should join all relevant instruments in this area,” he urged, saying the Non-Proliferation Treaty should be strengthened through increasing the capacity of the IAEA and enhancing its safeguard system.
Finally, Migliore said it was “imperative” to find “common solutions and international structures” for the production of nuclear fuel, an area in which he advocated the IAEA play a leading role.
“[A]s long as nuclear weapons exist they will always pose a danger to humanity of being used or falling into the hands of terrorists, threatening peace and security and even human existence itself,” Archbishop Migliore said, praising “some good signs” in advancing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in international debate.
“Nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and peaceful use are the three mutually reinforcing pillars,” he continued. “Urgent and irreversible progress is required on all fronts. Today’s growing expansion of civil nuclear energy programmes poses new potential challenges to the non-proliferation regime. But without serious and concrete steps towards disarmament, the non-proliferation pillar will be further weakened.”