More than a hundred countries meet in Vienna to discuss the prohibition of nuclear weapons

  • The latest SIPRI data warns that there are 12,705 nuclear weapons in the world and that everything indicates that in the coming years nuclear arsenals will grow for the first time since the Cold War

  • Spain will not be present at the meeting.

The conversations about prohibition of nuclear weapons they had been numb for years in the first spheres of political life. The need to set limits did not seem urgent. Now, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats have once again put on the table the request that a large part of civil society has been making to their governments for years.

This Tuesday, in Vienna, there will be a summit attended by a hundred countries, in which Spain will not participate, and which will become the first intergovernmental meeting on nuclear weapons since the start of the war in Ukraine. The meeting, which will take place just a week before the NATO summit in Madrid, will also include the participation of organizations such as the Catalan FundiPau (Fundació per la Pau), which has been fighting for years to convince the Spanish government to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). At the moment, 86 countries have signed the treaty and 62 have ratified it, but none of them include any of the countries that possess this type of weapon or the member countries of NATO.

This Sunday, in the meetings prior to the summit that have also taken place in Vienna, FundiPau accused NATO of discourage their members to participate in the TPNW, and to make a contribution “very dire” to the international security order. “Supporting and endorsing (the treaty) is a very sensible option, very majority and, therefore, that a body like NATO opposes it, it is really worrying” declares the director of the organization, Jordi Armadans.

More and more weapons

Faced with NATO’s position of maintaining atomic weapons in its security strategy, Armadans affirms that the only solution is to eliminate the almost 13,000 nuclear weapons that exist in the world: The last data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) warn that in the world there is 12,705 nuclear weaponsthat the holding countries invest in their modernization and that everything indicates that in the coming years nuclear arsenals will grow for the first time since the Cold War.

Spain has decided not participate in the conference from Vienna. Not even as a listener. It is a sample of frontal opposition that it has exercised against the TPNW since it entered into force last year and that is aligned with the position of the Atlantic Alliance. “Being present at the meeting would not be an incongruity, but the little brave posture of governments such as Spain, is that this treaty boycott the commitment of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968,” says Armadans. “Really One treaty does not cancel the other. In fact, the TPNW is the natural evolution of the NPT, since one defends the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the other, which defends the prohibition, would be the consequence of its success,” he reasons.

The consequences of the Ukrainian war

In fact, countries like Spain have it relatively easier than other countries because they do not host nuclear weapons, and they would not have to dismantle any infrastructure, which is one of the main drawbacks that exist for other countries such as United States, Russia or China. The war in Ukraine has once again put on the table the need to prevent the use of nuclear weapons in a framework in which these weapons were considered a subject of the past, of the Cold War.

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“Unfortunately, the war in Ukraine, beyond the drama itself, has had a strong impact on the defense policies of many countries. The policies of remilitarization and armament are receiving funds, and the nuclear powers are investing in the modernization their weapons,” says Armadans. Even so, “the war has also made people aware of the danger they continue to assume,” he adds.

FundiPau’s perspectives harbor the possibility of adding countries to the treaty. “In the United Nations, 122 countries voted in favor, but only 62 have ratified it. We believe that in the coming years countries will join,” argues Armadans, who assures that in this first conference in Vienna there will be countries such as Norway, Germany or Belgium. present in the discussions and that gives rise to the hope of a future accession.

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