FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of Belgium

02/23/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/23/2021 13:25

Sophie Wilmès calls for further efforts towards nuclear disarmament

On Monday, 22 February, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès addressed the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva during its high-level segment. The Conference on Disarmament, of which Belgium is a permanent member, was established in 1979. To date, it is the only multilateral instrument dedicated to the negotiation of disarmament agreements. Disarmament and non-proliferation are crucial issues for international peace and security and as such constitute a priority for Belgium's foreign policy.

On the occasion of this high-level segment, Minister Wilmès reaffirmed Belgium's support for the Non-Proliferation Treaty as an irreplaceable bulwark against the risk of proliferation. It is the expression of our aspiration for a world without nuclear weapons. In this regard, it is important that India, Israel and Pakistan join the Treaty without delay and without preconditions.

The recent decision to extend the only legal instrument imposing certain limits on the long-range weapons of the United States and Russia, the 'New START' Treaty, offers reassuring prospects in the face of fears of a new arms race. This decision demonstrates that arms control plays a fundamental role as a confidence-building measure. Belgium remains convinced that concrete results can be achieved, even at a time when geopolitical tensions are affecting relations and dynamics between the parties concerned.

Belgium encourages the United States and Russia to now begin negotiations in order to continue to reduce the number of weapons deployed and to implement an effective policy of dismantlement. The other nuclear-weapon States, including China, must undertake additional efforts to reduce the role of nuclear weapons and the volume of their arsenals.

A world without nuclear weapons, as Belgium aspires to, will not come about in a world where nuclear tests are conducted. It is therefore important that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty be universalized and its implementation ensured.

Uncontrolled disarmament leads to disarmament without confidence. In this regard, Minister Wilmès reaffirmed Belgium's commitment to the International Partnership for the Verification of Nuclear Disarmament established by the United States.