Mexico conference marks turning point towards nuclear weapon ban
(14 February 2014, Nayarit), Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico—The Second International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, concluded today with a call from the Mexican hosts for states to launch a diplomatic process to ban nuclear weapons. Over 140 governments participated from all regions of the world. [Unfortunately the UK was not officially represented.]
With a large group of countries calling for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons the meeting marked a turning point in the process to outlaw and eliminate these weapons of mass destruction. Austria announced that it would host the next meeting in Vienna later this year.
“The evidence is clear. The impact would be horrific and we could not respond. The risk of a detonation is significant. That is why we have heard growing support this week for a ban,” said Liv Tørres, Secretary General of Norwegian People’s Aid. “We expect states to commit to negotiations at the next meeting in Vienna.”
In his closing summary, the Chair (Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, Mexico’s Vice Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights) called for the development of new international standards on nuclear weapons, including a legally binding instrument. The time has come, he noted, for a diplomatic process to reach this goal, within a specified timeframe, identifying the most appropriate forum and on the basis of a clear and substantive framework. Calling for this process to conclude by the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Chair described Nayarit as “the point of no return”.
Austria has decided to host the third Conference in Vienna later in the year, meaning that the spotlight now turns to Europe, which has the highest concentration of nuclear-dependent countries, including Britain, France, Russia and NATO, with US nuclear weapons still stationed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey.