Wien, 26. September 2013 Press release

Austria at the forefront of the battle for a world without nuclear weapons

Spindelegger pleased with recognition of Austrian commitment to nuclear disarmament

Vienna, 26 September 2013 – For the first time ever, the United Nations General Assembly gathers in a high-ranking meeting this year that is dedicated especially to the topic of nuclear disarmament. The primary goal of the meeting is to demand further steps towards a world without nuclear weapons on the highest political level and to add momentum to the global efforts made to promote this goal.

“Today, the international community has sent out an important signal in New York that is intended to strengthen global efforts for nuclear disarmament. The fact that Federal President Fischer was invited as the only western head of state to represent the progressive position of the Austrian government in the opening segment of today’s high-ranking meeting of the UN General Assembly is an impressive sign of recognition of our long-standing commitment to a world without nuclear weapons”, said Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Spindelegger on the occasion.

Austria is one of the states that work particularly hard to generate a new impetus for the multilateral negotiations on disarmament, with the ultimate goal of creating a world without nuclear weapons. For instance, Austria last year initiated a resolution in the UN General Assembly to promote negotiations on nuclear disarmament, which was accepted by a large majority and against the resistance of the states in possession of nuclear weapons. Together with a group of countries, the Red Cross and many NGOs, Austria also works tirelessly to put the global humanitarian consequences at the centre of the discourse on nuclear weapons instead of mere aspects of security policy.

“Any use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or by error, would have catastrophic global consequences. Only if we take quick, credible steps towards disarmament and if states that have nuclear weapons turn away from them can we prevent their proliferation”, said Spindelegger. “Unfortunately, global developments give us reason for anxiety. The nuclear question in Iran continues to occupy our minds, albeit with a glimmer of hope that wasn’t there before. However, words must now be followed by deeds. The problems in North Korea and Syria are also worrying, as is the apparent arms race in Asia and the plans to modernise existing arsenals of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons continue to pose an existential threat for all of us, and this threat can only be eliminated through broad international cooperation. This is the collective responsibility of the entire international community and will remain a focus of Austrian foreign policy”, Spindelegger concluded.

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