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Statement from Ernest J. Moniz and Joan Rohlfing on the 50 Ratifications of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

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The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has, as of Saturday, October 24, 2020, been ratified by 50 countries and will enter into force early next year. This milestone is an unmistakable call for all nations to accelerate progress on the path to a world without nuclear weapons—a destination clearly marked in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) more than 50 years ago.

Despite the considerable progress made over the past 30 years in reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world, the risk a nuclear weapon will be used is as high today as at any time since the height of the Cold War. The world is at a highly dangerous moment—and moving in the wrong direction.

The destructive power of these weapons makes it critical that all states—whether or not they support the TPNW—work together on the urgent, practical steps necessary to reduce nuclear dangers and pave the way toward disarmament. We urge nations to reinvigorate these efforts, including by working together to strengthen the Non-Proliferation Treaty and ensure a successful Review Conference next year; declaring that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought; extending the New START treaty and then beginning work on follow-on agreements to further reduce nuclear arsenals of the United States, Russia, and eventually other nuclear weapons states; developing credible verification approaches for arms control and nuclear disarmament steps; reaffirming national moratoria on explosive nuclear testing and moving expeditiously to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force; and advancing negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

The support for the nuclear ban treaty sends a clear message that many people and nations consider the status quo dangerous and unsustainable. It is incumbent on all states to do the hard work necessary to reduce and ultimately eliminate the existential threat nuclear weapons continue to pose to humanity.

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