The organizations promoting “Italy, Think Again” (“Italia, ripensaci”) (an initiative launched by Rete Italiana Pace e Disarmo e Senzatomica – the Italian Peace and Disarmament Network and Senzatomica – as partners of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) welcome the unanimous approval of a Resolution on nuclear disarmament at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies. An important vote, for which our organizations thank the Deputies who worked on the text, especially the first proposer Hon. Laura Boldrini. The text was approved without any dissenting votes. This vote comes as the NATO summit in Vilnius, which addressed the issue of nuclear weapons, is celebrated.

This is a document that, while still far from our goal of Italy’s adherence to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons TPNW, opens up important prospects for our country and, above all, opens up the opportunity to take concrete steps in that direction. The dispositive part of the Resolution commits the government to act toward the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, in particular by considering Italy’s possible participation as an observer country at the upcoming Conference of States Parties to the TPNW Treaty to be held in the fall [of 2023] in New York. But the work is not over yet: this possibility had in fact already been foreshadowed in a similar Resolution voted in 2022, but the Italian government had not taken it up. So Rete Italiana Pace e Disarmo e Senzatomica will continue their advocacy in 2023 should Italy decide to participate in the Conference, and the unanimous House Resolution highlights how political forces also expect this step. In this sense, and as the text itself highlights, it will be crucial to begin positive comparisons and discussions with the allied countries (both within the EU and NATO) that participated in the first Conference of States Parties TPWN in Vienna last year [2022]: it is crucial that Italy – which continues to reiterate its willingness to contribute to a world free of nuclear weapons – play its part at the tables that discuss this important issue.

Equally relevant is the request to the government to consider possible actions to approximate some of the contents of the TPNW Treaty, particularly regarding “Victim Assistance and Environmental Remediation,” as provided for in Article 6 of the same Treaty. In this sense, the “Italy, think again” (“Italia, ripensaci”) organizations will request meetings with the relevant ministries to identify areas of intervention and define consequent projects. Finally, it is important that the Resolution asks the government to include the issue of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation in the program of the Italian G7 Presidency in 2024.

The approval of the Resolution took place in conjunction with the NATO Summit in Vilnius in which the leaders of the member countries, meeting at a time of unprecedented nuclear risk, decided not to take any action to reduce nuclear dangers. Instead, they issued a Communiqué that [stated that] they continue to support the use of nuclear weapons. The alliance underlined the risks posed by Russia’s nuclear weapons, while continuing to reiterate the centrality of its own nuclear deterrent and nuclear sharing agreements (in which Italy is also involved). Sadly, criticisms of the TPNW Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the only real progress on nuclear disarmament in decades, were also reiterated, thus demonstrating real concern about the treaty’s power to stigmatize and eliminate nuclear weapons. The NATO Summit in Vilnius could have been an opportunity for member states to demonstrate a commitment to sustaining peace and security by reducing the unacceptably high level of nuclear risk. As nuclear-weapon states, states hosting US nuclear weapons, and states that accept the use of nuclear weapons by others for their own benefit, they would all have the power to agree to an end to these dangerous practices, but they have chosen to issue a Communiqué that continues to support the existence of nuclear arsenals.

Rete Italiana Pace e Disarmo e Senzatomica, together with all the organizations that support “Italy, think again”, ask that the Italian Government not align itself with a political choice which, as evident from a decades-long stalemate, will never lead to that total nuclear disarmament evoked as an objective by all, but which can only be achieved with the concrete steps envisaged by the “Vienna Action Plan” linked to the TPNW.