Leadership Groups Call on China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and United States to Jointly Reaffirm: “A Nuclear War Cannot Be Won and Must Never be Fought”

Today, Leadership Groups spanning the globe called on the Permanent Five members of the United Nations Security Council to jointly reaffirm the principle that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Presidents Biden, Putin, and Xi have all reaffirmed their support for this principle during meetings that took place in June. With the support of Prime Minister Johnson and President Macron, a joint “P5” statement would provide a vital demonstration of leadership and clearly communicate that despite current tensions, leaders recognize their responsibility to work together to strengthen the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and prevent nuclear catastrophe.

Today’s statement is signed by the co-conveners, directors, and chairs of four Leadership Groups, including the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group (EASLG), European Leadership Network (ELN), Asia-Pacific Leadership Network (APLN), and The Elders. Signatories include Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Ernest Moniz, Sam Nunn, Adam Thomson, Gareth Evans, Shata Shetty, and Mary Robinson.

The statement is the following:

"We welcome the leadership shown by President Biden and President Putin in their June 16 Joint Statement on Strategic Stability reaffirming the principle that 'a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.' We are encouraged that President Putin and President Xi affirmed the same principle in their June 28 Joint Statement.

"This principle is fundamental to ensuring predictability, reducing the risk of armed conflicts and the threat of nuclear war. It provides a foundation for progress to reduce existential common risks, including on the climate and global public health. It is especially important as new technologies reduce decision time for leaders. Such a principle is also at the core of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) whose Preamble recognises 'the devastation that would be visited upon all mankind by a nuclear war and the consequent need to make every effort to avert the danger of such a war and to take measures to safeguard the security of peoples.'

"The Permanent Five members of the United Nations Security Council have a particular responsibility to reduce the risks of nuclear war and uphold international peace and security, as the only nuclear weapons states recognised under the NPT.

"We call on the P5 heads of government to jointly affirm this simple and powerful formula and provide a vital demonstration of leadership that would strengthen the NPT. We stand ready to support your efforts to move the world in a safer and more hopeful direction."


Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group (EASLG) Co-Conveners

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

President of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC); and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Russia

Ernest J. Moniz

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

Sam Nunn

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

European Leadership Network (ELN)

Sir Adam Thomson,

Director, ELN, United Kingdom

Asia-Pacific Leadership Network (APLN)

Gareth Evans

Chair, APLN; and Former Foreign Minister, Australia

Shata Shetty

Executive Director, APLN, Australia

The Elders

Mary Robinson

Chair, The Elders; former President, Ireland


For media inquiries, contact Cathy Gwin at [email protected], (m) 202-270-5942

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