ICAN Executive Director Daniel Högsta, leaving the Spanish Congress of Deputies, said it is essential that parliamentarians press the Spanish government to abandon its hypocritical position and sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). He expressed optimism about the work the Alliance for Nuclear Disarmament is doing. He also warned of the dangers of Russia suspending its commitment to the New START treaty.

TRANSCRIPT of the statements

I think the situation is quite disappointing, to be honest. I think Spain could be doing a lot more to commit to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and certainly, that is what we are hoping for this year and that is something we are working on. Civil society will be pushing this year.

First of all, the question of Russia suspending its participation in New START or its New START agreement is a very dangerous and provocative step, and I think this shows us the need to strengthen the laws against nuclear weapons. I think this explains why the treaty banning nuclear weapons is so important and why countries currently dependent on nuclear weapons should move away from that and adopt the law that the TPNW represents.

At this time we believe that the most important thing is to call on our governments to strengthen the law against nuclear weapons, in as many countries as possible and throughout the world. All potential leaders must condemn in all circumstances the use of nuclear weapons and what really excites us is the fact that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the use of nuclear weapons was unacceptable. At last year’s meeting, he said that the use of nuclear weapons is unacceptable and all of this follows from the last meeting of the States Parties where they said that the use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. So I think that shows that there is growing legislation as embodied in the TPNW against using nuclear weapons.

What we at ICAN plan to do now, what we think is really important, and that’s why we are here in front of the Congress of Deputies, is to work with elected officials to put pressure on their governments and point out the hypocrisy of their positions on weapons equality. Spain is a country that, as we heard this morning and in the meeting, they say they are against nuclear weapons, but yet they are part of a Nuclear Weapons Alliance and that is a kind of hypocritical position that parliamentarians can denounce and therefore you can work very closely with parliamentarians through ICAN’s parliamentary engagement to influence this.

I want to say that I am very excited about the new Alliance here in Spain of the ICAN partners, which is extremely effective and is really strategic and creative in the way they plan to take Spain on the right side of history.