Vatican: Nukes won’t save us – sign the treaty

Nukes won’t save the world. They are “a force for instability and any claims they promote peace are chasing illusions,” Archbishop Paul Gallagher told a United Nations conference on Friday.

Gallagher, the Vatican foreign minister, urged nations to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) which the Vatican signed in 1996.

“Nuclear arms offer a false sense of security.

“Peace and international stability cannot be founded on mutually assured destruction or on the threat of annihilation.”

While the CTBT’s mechanisms already ensure all nuclear explosions are detected, there is some way to go before its provisions can be fully enacted.

It needs at least 50 countries to sign and ratify the Treaty before it can be brought into force. So far only 42 countries have done this.

If an extra eight countries sign, a complete halt to all nuclear testing will be on the horizon.

Gallagher is disappointed with the delay caused by the lack of signatories.

“Two decades [since 1996] without the Treaty’s entry into force have been two decades lost in our common goal of a world without nuclear weapons,” Gallagher said.

He also pointed out the CTBT “is all the more urgent when one considers contemporary threats to peace — from the continuing challenges of nuclear proliferation to the major new modernisation programmes of some of the nuclear weapons states.

“The rising tensions over North Korea’s growing nuclear programme are of special urgency.

“The international community must respond by seeking to revive negotiations. The threat or use of military force has no place in countering proliferation, and the threat or use of nuclear weapons in countering nuclear proliferation are deplorable.”

Gallagher says while he has “no illusions about the challenges involved” in ridding the world of nuclear weapons, there are “far more daunting” challenges.

These challenges are caused by the return to the “status quo ante” [the way things were before] of growing tensions, continuing proliferation and new modernisation programmes.”

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News category: World.

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