President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis travels to New York for NPT review conference
Bern, 29.07.2022 - The 191 states parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will meet in New York from 1 to 26 August 2022 for a review conference. President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis will attend the conference on 2 August 2022. The NPT is the cornerstone of global nuclear disarmament, a process that has recently stalled due to increasing challenges. At the conference in New York, Switzerland will work to achieve concrete results that enable decisive action on nuclear disarmament.
The NPT is the central pillar of the international security architecture. Every five years, the 191 states parties meet to review how well it is being implemented and observed. Russia's military aggression against Ukraine has provided a more challenging backdrop to the conference, which nevertheless has the potential to adopt measures in response.
Switzerland wants to make a concrete contribution to international security and is committed to a world without nuclear weapons. To achieve this goal, all states must work together. Switzerland wants to play a bridge-building role, promote constructive dialogue, develop clear rules and contribute to innovative instruments for disarmament.
The NPT: the basis for nuclear disarmament
The NPT was concluded in 1968 amidst the arms race between the superpowers after the Second World War. It was instigated in particular by the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, when nuclear escalation was narrowly avoided. The treaty remains the basis for global nuclear disarmament to this day. It is built on three pillars that correspond to the priorities of Swiss foreign policy:
1. The NPT prohibits the five declared nuclear powers – the US, Russia, China, the UK and France – from transferring nuclear weapons. It prohibits the other states parties from developing, producing or acquiring them.
2. Existing nuclear stockpiles are to be dismantled.
3. All states parties have the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
At the conference in New York, the Swiss delegation will push for tangible results in all three areas of the treaty. Switzerland attaches particular importance to nuclear disarmament and the prevention of nuclear proliferation, as peace and security are priorities of its Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23.
Back on the path to disarmament
Nuclear disarmament has recently stalled due to increasing challenges. One aim of President Cassis' trip is to call on the nuclear powers to take more decisive steps towards disarmament, as the threat of nuclear weapons will remain until the last missile is dismantled. This is a long-term process. Switzerland is committed to giving new impetus to the implementation of existing agreements and the negotiation of new ones.
There are still 13,000 nuclear weapons in the arsenals of the declared nuclear powers, all of which have signed the NPT. Switzerland is calling for a change of course at the conference in New York: we must turn away from the stocking and flaunting of nuclear arsenals and return to the path of arms control and disarmament.
Reducing nuclear risks
One of Switzerland's foreign policy priorities is to reduce the risks posed by nuclear weapons. Therefore, Switzerland will present a concrete package of measures at the conference, which is coordinated with the Stockholm Initiative. The initiative was launched in 2019 by 16 states, including Switzerland. It calls for decisive steps towards nuclear disarmament in order to strengthen the NPT as a central instrument for disarmament and non-proliferation.
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