In an open letter to Austrian Federal Minister Sebastian Kurz, more than 120 current and former senior political, military and diplomatic leaders from 46 countries express support for the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, call on governments to state emphatically that any use of a nuclear weapon anywhere on earth would have catastrophic human consequences, and lay out an ambitious four-point agenda for action coming out of the Conference.
Signatories to the letter include a former president, six former prime ministers, six former UN Under Secretaries-General, a former NATO Secretary-General and 36 former Foreign or Defense ministers. They call the Conference an “opportunity for all states, whether they possess nuclear weapons or not, to work together in a joint enterprise to identify, understand, prevent, manage and eliminate the risks associated with these indiscriminate and inhumane weapons.”
The letter is a joint initiative developed following a recent meeting in Buenos Aires of the Global Networks Forum, the regional leadership networks coordinated by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). In it, the leaders call for a global effort to identify nuclear risks, reduce nuclear risks, raise public awareness and improve readiness to prepare for the worst – a nuclear incident anywhere around the world.
Proposed steps include:
- Urgent action to lower the prompt-launch status of existing nuclear stockpiles;
- New measures to improve the security of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons-related materials; and
- Renewed efforts to tackle the increasing threat of proliferation from state and non-state actors.
The leaders comprise a growing global network of voices united to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons. The Global Networks Forum includes the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network (APLN), the European Leadership Network (ELN), Latin American Leadership Network (LALN) and the North American Nuclear Security Leadership Council (NSLC).
Contact: Cathy Gwin, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 454-7706