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Catholic call to uphold nuclear non-proliferation
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, has called on signatories to uphold the integrity of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
It comes at a time when British church leaders have called on the UK Government to spell out the conditions under which it might forego a replacement of Trident.
The Holy See, one of the 188 States Parties to the Treaty, said that when it signed up to the Treaty it was "convinced that it was an important step forward in the creation of a system of general and complete disarmament under effective international control, something that would be possible only if it were completely observed both in detail and in its entirety."
Over the years, he added, "the Treaty has become a cornerstone in the global security framework since it has, to some extent, helped slow the arms race."
When it came into force in the 1970s, there were "at the same time profound social and geopolitical changes. An awareness began to grow of the close correlation and interdependence between national and international security, while new challenges sprang up, like transnational terrorism and the illegal spread of materials for making weapons of mass destruction."
"Since the Treaty," stated Archbishop Migliore, "is the only multilateral legal instrument currently available, intended to bring about a nuclear weapons free world, it must not be allowed to be weakened. Humanity deserves no less than the full cooperation of all States on this grave matter."
He stressed that "the non-proliferation side of the NTP must be strengthened" and "compliance with its nuclear disarmament provisions is also required."
"The time has gone," said the nuncio, "for finding ways to a 'balance in terror': the time has come to re-examine the whole strategy of nuclear deterrence. ... The Holy See has never countenanced nuclear deterrence as a permanent measure, nor does it today when it is evident that nuclear deterrence drives the development of ever newer nuclear arms, thus preventing genuine nuclear disarmament." He said in conclusion that "we must always remember that the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated."