How to End the Nuclear Threat
Amid escalating violence in Pakistan and renewed threats from North Korea, Madeleine Albright and 13 other former foreign ministers provide an exclusive step-by-step proposal for keeping nuclear risks at bay.
This following is a statement of principles signed by 14 former foreign ministers. The group of ministers recently convened in Ankara, Turkey, under the auspices of the Aspen Atlantic Group, an organization that was conceived in 2003 by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The group meets annually and brings together former foreign ministers from across the globe and the political spectrum to develop concrete, nonpartisan recommendations to help the two sides of the Atlantic address the next frontier of global challenges.
The stakes have changed since many of us were in government at the end of the Cold War.
We, former foreign ministers from 14 countries, recognize that the proliferation of nuclear weapons represents a major threat to international peace and security. The stakes have changed since many of us were in government at the end of the Cold War. The technology to build a bomb has spread, and the threat of a nuclear weapon getting into the hands of terrorists is real.
In recent years, there have been a number of strong proposals for dealing with the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Piecing together the many existing proposals, we support the implementation of the following steps, with the immediate goal of global arms reduction and a long-term goal of a world free of nuclear weapons:
• We urge the United States and the Russian Federation to negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and to demonstrate leadership by working together toward a reduction in the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by each country to 1,000.
• We urge the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and to intensify efforts toward its early entry into universal adoption. We strongly support the early commencement of negotiations on a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.
• In addition to these steps by the United States and the Russian Federation, we strongly encourage multilateral nuclear disarmament.
• We must work together to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and welcome a Global Summit on Nuclear Security within the next year.
• We must continue to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program and to encourage Iran to refrain from further nuclear ambitions, reminding leaders that Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty states that countries must work toward eliminating their nuclear weapons. We must push all nuclear powers, declared or undeclared, to disarm and not condone any new nuclear countries.
• We must collectively, in close cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, pursue a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, including, for example, an international fuel bank.
• To ensure that terrorists never acquire a nuclear weapon, the international community must work together to redouble efforts to strengthen security of all vulnerable nuclear material around the world.
• The international community must increase efforts to break up black markets, detect and intercept materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade.
Right to use nuclear energy
• We should consider the use of peaceful nuclear energy programs as one of the ways to combat climate change.
We realize that, given this complex agenda, in order to achieve the steps outlined above it is important for our countries to train and support the next generation of nuclear energy and arms control experts and negotiators who are not only good diplomats, but also knowledgeable about the newest scientific research.
Madeleine Albright – United States Halldór Ásgrímsson – Iceland Lloyd Axworthy – Canada Lamberto Dini – Italy Jan Eliasson – Sweden Rosario Green – Mexico Igor Ivanov – Russia János Martonyi – Hungary Donald C. McKinnon – New Zealand Niels Helveg Petersen – Denmark Lydie Polfer – Luxembourg Malcolm Rifkind – United Kingdom Jozias van Aartsen – The Netherlands Hubert Védrine – France
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