Vienna, 25 April 2013 Press release

Spindelegger calls for paradigm shift in nuclear disarmament

Initiative of 74 states puts the spotlight on the disastrous humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons

Vienna, 25 April 2013 – "Given the acute risk of further proliferation of nuclear weapons, a paradigm shift in international disarmament efforts is urgently needed today – more than twenty years after the end of the cold war. Any use of nuclear weapons, intentional or unintentional, would have disastrous global consequences. I therefore expressly welcome the initiative launched by 74 states at the disarmament negotiations in Geneva which will put the focus of the international community’s disarmament efforts on the disastrous humanitarian effects that nuclear weapons entail. Austria is one of the 74 initiating states", Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said referring to the negotiations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that are currently underway in Geneva.

In a joint declaration, the 74 states stress that the immediate consequences and long-term effects of any use of nuclear weapons on health, climate, food supply and social security would be disastrous for the whole mankind. Austria has pro-actively contributed to the joint declaration. An international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons held in Oslo in March 2013 demonstrated that no state and no international organisation could ever be prepared for such a scenario, nor anywhere near ready to deal with it and that any adequate emergency supply provision would be altogether impossible.

"In the 21st century, it is not acceptable that a few states handle such an existential threat to the entire mankind as a mere matter of national security", Spindelegger said explaining the Austrian commitment. "The only possible response is the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. Austria will continue to join ranks with this group of states and civil society in its commitment to strive for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the United Nations organisations", Spindelegger concluded.

Web link to the statement

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