U.S. participation will provide support to key U.S. allies and partners, including Japan, South Korea, and those in Europe, which will be attending the conference. Along with many of our colleagues, we strongly urge all other nuclear-armed states to join the United States in Vienna.
While some participating states and some nongovernmental organizations support the pursuit of a ban on nuclear weapons, this is not a negotiating conference and is not intended to launch such an effort. Even if it were, there is no clear consensus among the participants about the direction of any such process.
But as Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, Bill Perry, and George Shultz have argued, a new multilateral effort for nuclear disarmament is needed.
The elimination of nuclear weapons is a global enterprise that requires renewed leadership, dialogue, and action on the part of all the world's nations. Beginning with the Vienna conference and into 2015--the 70th anniversary year of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings--key states need to make a unified push for further U.S.-Russian arms cuts combined with a global nuclear weapons freeze by the other nuclear armed states, including China, India, and Pakistan. This could create the conditions for multilateral action on disarmament and open the door for a realistic, verifiable process for the elimination of nuclear weapons.