Nuclear Ban States Solidify 2017 Treaty

Strongly Condemn Recent Threats of Use of Nuclear Weapons As Violation of International Law

For Immediate Release: June 24, 2022

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107

(Washington/Vienna)— At their first formal meeting since entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), states parties meeting in Vienna this week formally agreed on a series of 50 action steps to implement the 2017 agreement and condemned recent threats of use of nuclear weapons as a violation of international law.

In the statement, dubbed the “Vienna Declaration,” the governments condemn all threats to use nuclear weapons as violations of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations,” citing "increasingly strident nuclear rhetoric.” The document also demanded, “that all nuclear-armed states never use or threaten to use nuclear weapons under any circumstances.”

The conference's condemnation of threats of nuclear weapons use is a direct response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's threats of nuclear use against any who might interfere in Russia's war against Ukraine.

"The Vienna Declaration is the strongest statement against the threat of nuclear weapons use since Russia's war against Ukraine began and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued threats of possible use of nuclear weapons against any who might interfere," noted Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. "It is a much stronger condemnation of these nuclear threats than any statements from the leaders of the United States, Britain, or France, by the UN General Assembly, and any consensus statement that is likely to emerge from the forthcoming 10th Review Conference of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).” 

In the document, the states parties condemned “unequivocally any and all nuclear threats, whether they be explicit or implicit and irrespective of the circumstances. Far from preserving peace and security, nuclear weapons are used to coerce and intimidate; to facilitate aggression and inflame tensions. This highlights the fallacy of nuclear deterrence doctrines, which are based and rely on the threat of the actual use of nuclear weapons and, hence, the risks of the destruction of countless lives, of societies, of nations, and of inflicting global catastrophic consequences.”

To date, 86 states have signed the TPNW and 66 states have ratified. The trety prohibits the possession, development, transfer, testing, use, or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Eighty-three countries participated in the first meeting of states parties in Vienna from 21 to 23 June 2022, including observer states.

Kimball, who was a participant in the first meeting of TPNW states parties, also spoke at the June 20 Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons about the “Nuclear Risk Dimension of the War on Ukraine.”

In addition to the Vienna Declaration, dozens of states parties strongly condemned the recent nuclear threats by President Vladimir Putin against any state that might interfere with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in their national statements.

“We commend the four NATO member states, including Germany and the Netherlands, who chose to attend the meeting as observers and who pledged to engage ‘in constructive dialogue and exploring opportunities for practical cooperation’ with TPNW states,” Kimball said.

The TPNW meeting also underscored the strong support states parties for the NPT and the complementarity between the two treaties.

“The next global gathering about nuclear weapons will take place in August at the 10th NPT Review Conference,” Kimball noted. “It is no ordinary NPT review conference. States must act with urgency and boldness.”

“In the face of the growing danger of nuclear war, the 191 NPT states-parties must build on the TPNW meeting outcomes by reinforcing the norms against nuclear weapons, condemning any threat of nuclear weapons use, and agreeing to specific actions necessary to fulfill the treaty’s Article VI disarmament provision. This should include an explicit call upon the United States and Russia to begin negotiations to conclude new disarmament arrangements, and a call for all NPT nuclear-armed states to freeze their nuclear stockpiles, and agree to engage in disarmament negotiations,” Kimball suggested.