New York, 4 May 2010 Press release

Spindelegger: "We need a roadmap for nuclear disarmament"

Excerpts from the speech of the Foreign Minister at the opening session of the NPT Review Conference

New York, 4 May 2010 - "I hope we can use the new disarmament momentum to bring this conference to a successful conclusion. The decision on a roadmap for nuclear disarmament is an ambitious and exciting objective", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger in his speech at the opening session of the nuclear disarmament conference in New York on Monday afternoon.

The 189 contracting partners of the now 40-year old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) meet every five years to agree on concrete steps for the further development of the nuclear disarmament regime and to evaluate and improve the efficacy and validity of the NPT. The non-proliferation treaty is considered a cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and, today more than ever, represents an indispensable instrument of global security policy.

Following the failure of the last NPT Review Conference in 2005, this year’s conference once again brings hope of a positive conclusion. "With the START follow-up treaty, the new US nuclear doctrine, and the security summit in Washington, President Obama has sparked off a new momentum. Now we must use this momentum to actually translate global disarmament endeavours into action", said Spindelegger, who also pointed out in his speech to Austria's long-standing efforts and several initiatives in the area of disarmament.

The Foreign Minister named several of Austria’s specific negotiation objectives, such as, for instance, full nuclear disarmament as proposed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. This is to be achieved through a nuclear weapons convention and a comprehensive package of measures. "Ideally, an action plan for nuclear disarmament should be negotiated, which pursues the aim of a world without nuclear weapons through concrete steps and measures. Most of all, we need a strict global control regime" said Spindelegger. "To achieve this, we must further enhance the networking of disarmament institutions. Therefore, I have spoken in favour of the establishment of a UN liaison office on disarmament issues in Vienna." Another aspect would be to integrate civil society in this process and benefit from its know-how: "I support the establishment of a global competence centre on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in Vienna. Our objective is the development of new ideas on disarmament issues and an efficient cooperation between NGO's and the institutions responsible for disarmament."

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