Vatican: disarmament is an ethical imperative

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2020.10.28 armi nucleari, missili, guerra, armamenti, disarmo, atomica

In a video message from the Vatican Secretary of State for Relations to States addressed to participants in the UN Geneva Conference on Disarmament, the Holy See calls for long-term agreements on the road to peace: “No one will be safe until everyone is safe … “

Deborah Donnini – Vatican City

Monsignor Gallagher conveyed Pope Francis’ heartfelt greetings to the Geneva meeting and his hope that “this conference will help to quickly break the deadlock through a renewed sense of urgency and shared responsibility.”

In the face of the colossal challenges facing the international community today, “disarmament can no longer be seen as an optional goal: it is an ethical imperative.” Therefore, “the Holy See calls on the conference to reaffirm its urgent efforts to reach concrete and lasting agreements towards peace and brotherhood.” Some issues, according to the prelate, should “go beyond consensus, individual interests and agendas”, and immediately, for the sake of contributing to the common good.

One of the central theses of the Secretary for Relations with States was that “disarmament, development and peace are three interdependent issues.” The Archbishop points out that “huge military spending, far beyond what is required to ensure legitimate defense, is fueling a seemingly endless arms race,” which is hampering the solution of problems such as poverty, injustice, health and education. Thus, linking national security to weapons stockpiling is “false logic” and an obvious scandal that contributes to the imbalance “between money and analytic resources dedicated to serving death and resources dedicated to serving life.”

Monsignor Gallagher also notes encouraging signs such as the entry into force of the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty (NPT) and the recent five-year extension of the new Strategic Arms Reduction and Limitation Treaty (START) between the United States and the Russian Federation. A world free of nuclear weapons is “possible and necessary,” emphasizes Monsignor Gallagher. This conviction, supported by the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), is also reflected in the spirit of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and in particular in its Art. VI, which is a legal obligation for all states. In this sense, the prelate emphasizes, the Holy See is pinning its hopes on the forthcoming NPT Review Conference, hoping that “it will lead to concrete action” and effective measures in the field of nuclear disarmament.

In particular, the Holy See comes up with two proposals. First, the Conference on Disarmament should “conduct an expertise on the issue of monitoring, which could serve as an information basis for possible future negotiations on disarmament and arms control.” To improve the reliability of monitoring, the opportunities offered by new technologies can be used, which could become not only a valuable tool for building trust, but also a key component of ensuring the effectiveness of treaties, in accordance with the well-known proverb “ trust but verify ”. On the other hand, “the resumption of a formal discussion on arms limitation and general and complete disarmament – with effective control and verification systems – would be extremely useful for the work of the ongoing conference.” This is even more true, the Vatican diplomat emphasized, when one considers the main threats to peace and security, such as “terrorism, asymmetric conflicts, lack of cybersecurity, environmental problems and poverty.” We need a “closer and more responsible collaboration”, as the COVID-19 pandemic tragically demonstrated. Referring to the repeated appeals of Pope Francis, Monsignor Gallagher emphasizes that we can only overcome the current crisis if we work together as one human family. No one is safe until everyone is safe.

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