Vatican City, 30 October 2014 (VIS) – On 14 October, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations, spoke during the General Debate of the UNGA First Committee held in New York. “The past year has seen progress on the elimination of chemical weapons”, he affirmed; “yet reports of the continued use of chemical weapons, including chlorine gas, reminds the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate once and for all chemical weapons and any use as a weapon of dual-use chemicals”.
“With regard to nuclear weapons, the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which will be held in December in Vienna, Austria, is a sobering reminder of the deep frustration of the international community at the lack of speedy progress on nuclear disarmament, and of the inhuman and immoral consequences of the use of weapons of mass destruction”. He remarked that the ninth Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference will take place very soon in New York, and that nearly all the States represented in the room are parties to the treaty. “The NPT’s central promise of nuclear weapons States to gradually disarm in exchange for non-nuclear-weapon States to refrain from acquiring nuclear arms remains at an impasse”.
As a consequence, he continued, the Holy See delegation “urges this Committee and the preparation for the ninth NPT Review Conference to focus on the need to move beyond nuclear deterrence, and work toward the establishment of lasting peace founded on mutual trust, rather than a state of mere non-belligerence founded on the logic of mutual destruction. In this regard, the Holy See urges all states to sign and/or ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty without further delay, because it is a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime”, adding that the establishment of weapons of mass destruction free zones, in the opinion of the Holy See delegation, “would be a big step in the right direction, as it would demonstrate we can indeed move toward a universal agreement to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction”.
The archbishop concluded by emphasising that the Holy See “welcomes the progress, however modest, in the areas of conventional weapons”, but remains “deeply concerned that the flow of conventional arms continues to exacerbate conflicts around the globe”. He expressed the delegation’s hope that “this year’s session will respond to this challenge, and recognise the grave consequences of the proliferation and use of conventional weapons on human life throughout the world”.