UNITED NATIONS (OBSERVATORY) – The United Nations disarmament chief warned on Tuesday of the growing threat of using nuclear weapons, saying he regretted the “new qualitative race for armaments.”
“The risk of using nuclear weapons is increasing, whether deliberately or not,” Izumi Nakamitsu said at the opening of a preliminary meeting of the NPT Review Conference scheduled for 2020.
“This threat, which includes humanity as a whole, will continue as long as there are nuclear weapons in national arsenals,” she said.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which came into force in 1970, was extended indefinitely in 1995, to be evaluated every five years. In 2015, the delegates parted without agreement.
The meeting is being held this time while North Korea, which withdrew in 2003 from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), declared a halt to its nuclear tests and the launching of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Nakamitsu expressed the hope that these developments would contribute to “establishing trust and maintaining an atmosphere conducive to genuine dialogue and negotiation.”
“Today’s world faces challenges similar to those that led to the birth of the NPT,” she said.
“The geopolitical environment is deteriorating,” Nakamitsu said. “Some of the most important instruments and agreements that form our framework for collective security are eroding.”
“Talks about the need for nuclear weapons and their benefits are increasing, and the modernization programs of nuclear-weapon states lead to what many see as a new qualitative arms race,” she said.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) includes 191 countries, including Iran and the five permanent nuclear powers – the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China.
Israel, a nuclear-armed state, is not a member. India and Pakistan, which have nuclear weapons, have not signed the treaty.
Under the terms of the treaty, nuclear powers will refrain from transferring nuclear weapons and from helping a country acquire them, while non-nuclear-weapon signatories undertake not to develop and acquire such weapons. – (AFP)