Vienna, 5 March 2010 Press release

Spindelegger: "The world needs more leadership in nuclear disarmament"

The Foreign Minister on 40 years of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Vienna, 5 March 2010 – "We must put an end to the threat to the world's existence from the destructive power of nuclear weapons stockpiles. We need more leadership from nuclear powers in nuclear disarmament“, demanded Foreign Minister Spindelegger on the occasion of today’s 40th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
"Nuclear weapons are the only weapons that can destroy all life on earth. Too many of these are still on highest alert, and can be employed anytime - even by mistake or due to a technical defect. All responsible politicians must use every opportunity to help avoid such a doomsday scenario."

The United States are currently preparing their „nuclear posture review“, which will define the US position on nuclear disarmament in the coming years. "I hope that the conviction so impressively presented by US President Obama in Prague last year that he intends to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, will be reflected in the US approach", stressed the Foreign Minister. Since the two nuclear powers USA and Russia resumed negotiations about nuclear disarmament, there is hope for comprehensive progress in nuclear disarmament. "We must muster the courage to free international security from the straight jacket of nuclear self-destruction logic. We now need positive signals in the preparation for the NPT Review Conference in May this year to give additional momentum to the efforts", said Spindelegger.

Foreign Minister Spindelegger praised the universally acknowledged success of the NPT, yet he advised caution: "The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty undisputedly a cornerstone of the international security system. It remains the central international instrument in curbing an uncontrollable proliferation of nuclear weapons“. There is, however, reason for serious concern, especially at a time when interest in nuclear energy is growing worldwide. North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme shows that the control and verification system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) needs to be improved. "We hope for a resumption of the six-party talks, which will lead to North Korea’s return to the group of non-nuclear states", said Spindelegger. There is also urgent need for action with regard to Iran. "There are open issues here that must urgently be settled to restore the confidence of the international community“, said Spindelegger. "I appeal once again to Iran to fully comply with its obligations from the Security Council resolutions and toward the IAEA."

The NPT, officially known as the „Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”, entered into force on 5 March 1970. The NPT applies almost on a universal scale: Only India, Israel, and Pakistan never joined, and North Korea has withdrawn from the Treaty. Every 5 years, the signatory states meet to discuss the implementation of their contractual obligations and to agree on further steps for the future. The 8th NPT Review Conference will take place in New York from 3 to 28 May 2010.

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