Nuclear and missile threats at focus of annual NATO Conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction
Andrej Benedejčič, Ambassador-at-Large for arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, attended the NATO Conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction in Brussels. This annual event reaffirms the commitment of the North Atlantic Alliance to ensure military transparency and predictability. The meeting is primarily devoted to preparations for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference to be held in New York in mid-2020, as well as to discussing a new security reality after the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
At the meeting, Ambassador Benedejčič affirmed Slovenia’s commitment to the NPT process and to successful implementation of the coming review conference. He emphasised Slovenia’s belief that achieving tangible results requires a balanced approach to all three pillars of the NPT: the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. In this context, he commended the fact that initiatives such as Creating an Environment for Nuclear Disarmament (CEND) and the Swedish Stepping Stones Approach have already led to a constructive dialogue and the exchange of views among various stakeholders.
He went on to convey Slovenia’s belief that the third NPT pillar requires more attention from the entire international community. He also underscored that, as one of thirty countries around the world with a comprehensive civil nuclear programme, Slovenia actively contributes to the implementation of technical assistance programmes in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) framework. Last year, Slovenia was entrusted with a co-facilitator role on the Due Account Mechanism and became an active participant in future operations of the Technical Cooperation Fund. In this regard, Ambassador Benedejčič expects the review conference to address the significant issue of peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The session will continue on 23 October, when the conference will also be addressed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.