Arms Race Solution

Holy See to UN: Diplomacy, not war, is the way to discourage nuclear weapons


The apostolic nuncio heading the Holy See's permanent observer mission to the United Nations has called for extensive diplomatic activity to further nuclear disarmament around the world, and indirectly condemned possible American military action against Iran for its nuclear program.

On Tuesday Archbishop Celestino Migliore addressed the United Nations on the best methods to support the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which seeks to prevent states without nuclear weapons from acquiring them.  The archbishop underlined the necessity of diplomatic action and warned against military solutions.

"All the tools of diplomacy must be used to defuse crises concerning attempts by some countries to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities and to dissuade others from ever taking such a dangerous road.  Belligerence by anyone would only worsen a delicate situation and could inadvertently lead to conflagration with immense additional suffering on a humanity already overburdened with the ravages of war," he said.

The archbishop also had a message for the world’s nuclear powers, saying that they have a "particular responsibility" to disarm their nuclear weaponry.  He claimed that nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are mutually reinforcing phenomena.  Both are required for a nuclear-free world.  He suggested that failed negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons and plans to modernize existing nuclear arsenals jeopardized the Non-proliferation Treaty itself.

Archbishop Migliore underlined the Holy See's position that "nuclear weapons contravene every aspect of humanitarian law."  People of good faith, he said, must work to prevent the "horrors of nuclear war."

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and a worldwide ban on fissile material were both recommended by the diplomat. He held that it was not technical problem but rather a lack of political will that was hindering such efforts.

The archbishop also voiced concerns about the illicit arms trade encouraging and prolonging armed conflicts around the world. He concluded by endorsing efforts to secure an international arms trade treaty.

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