Statement by the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group: Support for Dialogue Among Governments to Reduce Nuclear Risks

For the past three years, Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Sam Nunn, and their respective organizations—the European Leadership Network (ELN), the Munich Security Conference (MSC), the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), and the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI)—have been working with former and current officials and experts from a group of Euro-Atlantic states and the European Union to test ideas and develop proposals for improving security in areas of existential common interest.  The Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group (EASLG) operates as an independent and informal initiative, with participants who reflect the diversity of the Euro-Atlantic region from the United States, Canada, Russia, and fifteen European countries.

Reducing and eliminating nuclear risks is an existential common interest for all nations. 

We have crossed over to a new nuclear era, where a fateful error triggered by an accident, miscalculation, or blunder is the most likely catalyst to a nuclear catastrophe.  In the Euro-Atlantic region today, these risks are compounded by heightened tensions between NATO and Russia—with little communication between military and political leaders—and the potential for deliberate cyber threats.  In the absence of initiative, we will continue to drift down a path where nuclear weapons use becomes more probable.  Governments have a shared responsibility to work together to mitigate these risks. 

 First, leaders of states with nuclear weapons in the region should reinforce the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. 

 This principle—articulated at the height of the Cold War by the presidents of the United States and Russia and embraced then by all European countries—was essential to ending the Cold War.  Today, it would communicate that leaders recognize their responsibility to work together to prevent nuclear catastrophe.  Agreement on this key principle could also be a foundation for other practical steps to reduce the risk of nuclear use.

 Second, nations should work to preserve and extend existing agreements and treaties that are crucial to sustaining transparency and predictability. 

This is not just an issue between Washington and Moscow.  The demise of the arms control architecture will dramatically increase nuclear risks for all Europeans and indeed the world.  This year may be crucial.  Nations in the Euro-Atlantic region have a shared interest in preserving the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) Treaty between the United States and Russia, and insisting on full compliance by the parties to that agreement.  Similarly, all nations in the Euro-Atlantic region have a stake in the full implementation of the U.S.-Russia 2010 New START Treaty, and the mutual extension of that Treaty through 2026. 

 Third, all nations should support full implementation of and strict compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. 

The JCPOA is a crucial foundation for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.  We should be building on its success, not contemplating its termination.  Actions by any nation that may precipitate the demise or violate the terms of the JCPOA will increase nuclear dangers in the region and damage our ability to address nuclear dangers around the world.


Signatories to the Joint Statement by the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group

Support for Dialogue Among Governments to Reduce Nuclear Risks


Des Browne

Vice Chair, Nuclear Threat Initiative; Chair of the Board of Trustees and Directors of the European Leadership Network; and former Secretary of State for Defence, United Kingdom

Ambassador (Botschafter) Professor Wolfgang Ischinger

Chairman (Vorsitzender), Munich Security Conference Foundation, Germany

Igor Ivanov

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Russia

Sam Nunn

Co-Chair, Nuclear Threat Initiative; and former U.S. Senator, United States


Ambassador Brooke Anderson

Former Chief of Staff, National Security Council, United States

Steve Andreasen

National Security Consultant, Nuclear Threat Initiative; and former Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control, National Security Council, United States

Joel Bell

Chairman, Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, Canada

Robert Berls

Senior Advisor for Russia and Eurasia, Nuclear Threat Initiative; and former Special Assistant for Russia/NIS Programs to the Secretary of Energy, United States

William J. Burns

President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, United States

Ambassador Richard Burt

Chairman Global Zero USA, United States

E. Buzhinskiy

Chairman of PIR Center Executive Board; Vice-President of RIAC; and Lt-General (Ret), Russia

General (Ret) Vincenzo Camporini

Vice President Istituto Affari Internazionali, Italy

Hikmet Çetin

Former Foreign Minister, Turkey

James F. Collins

(Amb. Retired) Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, United States

Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola

Former Chief of Defence; former Chairman of NATO's Military Committee; and former Minister of Defence, Italy

Ambassador Rolf Ekéus

Diplomat and Chairman Emeritus of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Sweden

Sir Christopher Harper

KBE, United Kingdom

James L. Jones

General (Ret), USMC; President, Jones Group International, United States

Roderich Kiesewetter

Member of Bundestag, Germany

Bert Koenders

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands

Andrey Kortunov

Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, Russia

Łukasz Kulesa

Research Director and Head of the Warsaw Office, European Leadership Network, Poland

O. Faruk Loğoğlu

Former Ambassador to the United States and Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey

Hon. Andrea Manciulli

Head of Italy's Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Italy

Ernest J. Moniz

Co-Chair and CEO, Nuclear Threat Initiative; and former U.S. Secretary of Energy, United States

Ferdinando Nelli Feroci

President, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Italy

Professor Roland Paris

University Research Chair in International Security and Governance, University of Ottawa, Canada

Paul Quilès

Former Defence Minister; and Chairman of IDN (Initiatives for Nuclear Disarmament), France

Bruno Racine

Chairman, Fondation pour la recherche stratégique, France

Joan Rohlfing

President and Chief Operating Officer, Nuclear Threat Initiative, United States

General Igor Petrovich Smeshko

Former Head of the Security Service (SBU) (2003-2005), Ukraine

Stefano Stefanini

Former Italian Permanent Representative to NATO; ELN Executive Board; Atlantic Council Nonresident Senior Fellow; and Project Associates Brussels Director, Italy

Adam Thomson

Director, European Leadership Network, United Kingdom

Nathalie Tocci

Director Istituto Affari Internazionali; and Special Advisor HRVP Federica Mogherini, Italy

General (Ret) Dr. Erich Vad

Lecturer at the Universities of Munich and Salzburg, Germany

William Wallace

Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Saltaire, United Kingdom

Isabelle Williams

Senior Advisory Global Nuclear Policy Program, Nuclear Threat Initiative, United Kingdom 

Marcin Zaborowski

Former Executive Director, Polish Institute of International Affairs (2010-2015), Poland

February 16, 2018

Support for Dialogue Among Governments to Reduce Nuclear Risks