VIENNA: “A world without nuclear weapons is possible”, said Austrian Federal Minister Sebastian Kurz at the beginning of the Austrian-initiated negotiations on the prohibition of the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction on 27 March 2017 in New York. “Nuclear weapons are no answer to the challenges of an increasingly less safe world, with international terrorism and cyber threats. Worldwide nuclear disarmament is the number one unfinished task. The elimination of biological and chemical weapons started with their prohibition under international law”, said Sebastian Kurz. Austria and the majority of states are now aiming for the same prohibition of nuclear weapons and their even more catastrophic impact on humankind.
The negotiations are based on Resolution 71/258 of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which was largely initiated by Austria and adopted with a substantial majority on 23 December 2016. The Resolution was significantly based on the humanitarian initiative, which culminated in the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in December 2014.
“Since the Vienna Conference we all know about the devastating impact of a nuclear explosion whose impact can neither be limited nor controlled. A world free of nuclear weapons liberates us from this Sword of Damocles and therefore creates more and sustainable safety for all”, said Federal Minister Sebastian Kurz. The first step to achieve this goal is to prohibit nuclear weapons under international law. “This prohibition will be a strong signal, so no nuclear weapons will ever be used again. At the same time we want to send a clear signal in order to overcome the decade-long nuclear disarmament standstill”, said Sebastian Kurz at the end of his speech.