Nuclear Arms Are Incompatible with Peace, Vatican Tells U.N.

Representative Laments Stalled Process of Disarmament

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

NEW YORK, OCT. 2, 2002 ( The Vatican told the United Nations there is no moral justification for military and political doctrines that promote the proliferation or stocking of nuclear weapons.

On Tuesday, when addressing the 1st Committee of the 57th Session of the U.N. General Assembly on General and Complete Disarmament, Archbishop Renato Martino, head of the Vatican delegation, expressed the Church’s concern over the stagnation of the disarmament process.

«There can be no moral acceptance of military doctrines that embody the permanence of nuclear weapons,» said Archbishop Martino, who on that same day was appointed by the Pope as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

«They are incompatible with the peace we seek for the 21st century; they cannot be justified. These weapons are instruments of death and destruction,» Archbishop Martino added.

«The Holy See is convinced that in the sphere of nuclear weapons, the banning of tests and of the further development of these weapons, disarmament and nonproliferation are closely linked and must be achieved as quickly as possible under effective international controls,» he added.

On June 13, 2001, the Vatican adhered to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. It also supports the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Referring to earlier efforts to eliminate the weapons, the archbishop noted that «the hopes raised in 2000 were dashed in 2002 when it became clear that the nuclear weapons states are not adhering» to these agreements.

«How can that which was agreed to in 2000 be cast aside just two years later?» asked the archbishop, who has represented the Pope at the United Nations for the past 16 years.

«It must not be forgotten that genuine multilateral efforts are required to achieve nuclear disarmament,» he said. «These, by their very nature, possess the potential to guarantee universal and permanent norms which bind all states.»

«In this respect, the NPT remains the centerpiece of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime and the value of the NPT depends on all parties honoring their obligations,» the archbishop continued. «[It] plays a critical role in efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, especially to terrorists and states that support them.»

According to the Vatican representative, the «old policies of nuclear deterrence, which prevailed during the time of the Cold War, must lead now to concrete disarmament measures, based on dialogue and multilateral negotiation, which are essential values in the disarmament process.»

«Through the instruments of international law, they facilitate the peaceful resolution of controversies, help better mutual understanding and foster a climate of trust, cooperation and respect between all states,» he added. «In this way they promote the effective affirmation of the culture of life and peace, which is based upon the values of responsibility, solidarity and dialogue.»

The papal representative also insisted on the need to prohibit biological and chemical weapons, and to create appropriate instruments to ensure that international treaties on this matter are monitored and respected. Archbishop Martino also emphasized the need to reinforce present measures geared to promoting disarmament and the illicit sales of small-caliber weapons.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation