DELEGATES at an international conference in the Vatican have backed the Pope’s call, in March, to “integral” nuclear disarmament.
Against a background of rising tension between the United States and North Korea, 11 Nobel peace laureates, senior UN and NATO officials, and heads of foundations and civil-society organisations joined representatives of the Christian and other faiths last week to consider means of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.
In an address summing up the three days of discussions, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson, said: “The use and possession of nuclear weapons deserves condemnation, since they are indiscriminate and disproportionate instruments of war. Similarly reprehensible are tests of nuclear weapons, and the fallout which contaminates the atmosphere and the oceans.” Such contamination, he said, “could constitute crimes against humanity”.
He suggested that the idea of nuclear deterrence was inadequate in a “multipolar” world. “Nuclear deterrence does not create a stable or secure peace: it contributes to fear and conflict.” A world without nuclear arms was possible, but it would be a long-term process, and required a global response. “Dialogue is essential. This dialogue must be inclusive, engaging both nuclear states and non-nuclear states, and involving civil society, international organisations, governments, and religious communities.”
President Trump was today expected to announce that he would not certify the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, believing that it is not in US interests. Both Theresa May and the French President have appealed to him this week to certify the deal for the sake of unity with his allies.