Home > Disarmament > Annual NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation | Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs

Annual NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation | Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs

Interlaken, 23.06.2014 – From the speech given by the President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr Didier Burkhalter

Why does Switzerland call for disarmament through dialogue and bridge-building?

The answer has two parts:

First, we consider the case for nuclear disarmament compelling. Indeed, we are very committed to promoting it. As long as nuclear weapons exist, there is a real risk that they will be used again one day.

Hundreds of nuclear weapons are on high alert ready for launch within minutes. Some nuclear weapons are based in unstable regions. There is also the possibility of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorists.

Nuclear deterrence may not have failed in the past, but the future use of these weapons – whether accidental, deliberate or due to an error of calculation – cannot be excluded.

In this sense, nuclear weapons pose a threat to the security of humankind. Switzerland has been actively involved in efforts to draw attention to the devastating consequences that any use of these weapons would have. It is difficult to envisage how nuclear weapons could be used in conformity with international humanitarian law. This humanitarian perspective provides a strong narrative both for disarmament and for tough action on non-proliferation and nuclear security.

The second part of the answer as to why Switzerland calls for disarmament through dialogue is this:

Approaching “global zero” will not be possible unless we find convincing ways of addressing the security considerations of nuclear-armed countries. A particularly important point in this regard is the need to come up with credible concepts for security and stability in a post-nuclear weapons world.

For more on this story, visit: Annual NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation | Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs

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