ICAN Statement regarding the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

02.08.2019 - Geneva, Switzerland - International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

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ICAN Statement regarding the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev signing the INF Treaty in the East Room of the White House. (Image by White House Photographic Office)

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) deplores the irresponsible destruction of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by the current leaders of the United States and Russia. At the height of the Cold War, this important bilateral Treaty banned and eliminated over 2,600 of the most destabilising class of intermediate-range missiles, thereby pulling the world back from the brink of nuclear war and kick-starting further deep cuts in the two largest nuclear arsenals.

By walking away from the INF Treaty, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have further undermined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and put the world at heightened risk of nuclear weapons use and war.

In just a few days, the world will mark the 74th anniversary of the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed hundreds of thousands of people and caused long-term health and environmental harm that continues to affect generations born long after the war. With over 13,000 nuclear weapons in nine arsenals, amidst rising tensions between nuclear-armed leaders, the terrible legacy from nuclear weapons being used and tested reminds us that such weapons of mass destruction must never be used again.

Having received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for raising awareness of the catastrophic humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons and contributing to treaty-based nuclear disarmament, ICAN calls on the United States and Russia to:

  • uphold international law, including international humanitarian law;
  • undertake urgent talks to restore compliance and fully implement the INF Treaty;
  • make deeper cuts in their arsenals;
  • and pave the way for nuclear-free security by joining the UN’s multilateral Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which was negotiated and adopted by over 122 nations at the UN General Assembly in 2017.

Our global security cannot be left solely in the hands of a few governments and leaders who are willing to sacrifice humanity’s collective needs and survival for their own political ends. Their actions and policies are not just undermining the bilateral and regional treaties of the past fifty years, but also risking the future security of all life on Earth.

ICAN’s civil society partners and the majority of UN nations are working hard to bring the TPNW into force by 2020, as this will strengthen all aspects of disarmament and security, including efforts to prevent further proliferation. The TPNW’s comprehensive nuclear weapon prohibitions and disarmament requirements need to become fully embedded in international law as soon as possible, in order to plug current legal gaps, reinforce other disarmament and non-proliferation treaties, and establish effective monitoring, enforcement and accountability by all UN Member States.

Available for interview:

UK: Rebecca Johnson, member of ICAN’s International Steering Group member rej@acronym.org.uk

US: Ray Acheson, member of ICAN International Steering Group ray.acheson@wilpf.org

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