Holy See Urges Ban on All Nuclear Tests

Says Peace Based on Atomic Weapons Is Not Real Peace

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VIENNA, Austria, SEPT. 5, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See appealed to the international community to adopt and implement the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, as a condition to promote a new culture of life.

The appeal was presented by Monsignor Pietro Parolin, undersecretary of the Section for Relations with States of the Vatican Secretariat of State, when he addressed the 3rd Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

“The implementation of a system of comprehensive and complete disarmament, capable of fostering a climate of trust, cooperation and respect between all states, would be an indispensable aspect of a practical realization of a culture of life and peace,” the Vatican aide said.

“A so-called peace based on nuclear weapons cannot be the type of peace we seek for the 21st century,” he said.

The Holy See ratified the treaty in July 2001 “to advance the promotion of a culture of peace based upon the primacy of law and of respect for human life,” the monsignor explained.

“The Holy See wishes to express its profound conviction that the time is ripe for the nations of the world to put a definitive end to all nuclear weapons testing,” he stated. He restated the Holy See’s “appeal to all those states that have not yet signed or ratified the treaty to do so as soon as possible.”

“Any accumulated delay inevitably increases the risk that nuclear testing will resume and nonproliferation be much harder to sustain,” Monsignor Parolin said.

“Global security will be guaranteed through global cooperation within the framework of an authentically multilateral system. However, in order to be effective, multilateralism requires the responsible, honest and coherent cooperation of all the members of the community of nations,” he explained.

“The present state of the nonproliferation regime and of nuclear disarmament indicates that many still believe in the use of force and rely on nuclear weapons,” he added. “This means, unfortunately, that the force and the primacy of law, as well as trust in others and the will to dialogue, have not yet become priorities.”

Lastly, the Holy See underlined “the fundamental importance of law as a guarantee of international relations aimed at fostering peace between nations,” the Vatican aide said.

“Unless it manages to equip itself with truly effective institutions to avert the scourge of war, there is a risk that the law of force will prevail over the force of law,” he said. “The only way forward is to resort to law and institutions capable both of assuring that law is respected, so that conflicts may be avoided without recourse to weapons, and of effectively addressing the causes of potential hostilities.”

Holy See wants to avoid engagement “in a new arms race which, as in a chain reaction, will encourage [the pursuit of] the nuclear option with the risk of nuclear weapons falling into irresponsible hands. The CTBT invites all of us to have the courage of ambition, to finally free this world of the threat of nuclear weapons. Why should this not be possible?” he asked.

Seven years after the approval of the text by the U.N. General Assembly, 12 countries have yet to ratify it, including the United States and China. Their approval is needed for the treaty to take effect, L’Osservatore Romano noted.

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