Hiroshima Memorial Day: Austria Advocates Nuclear Dismantlement

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: August 5, 2022; 14:39 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg has once again called on the major international powers to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. The occasion was the anniversary of the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

For Austria, the issue of nuclear disarmament has always been a high priority. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / United States Department of Energy, Public domain

For Austria, the issue of nuclear disarmament has always been a high priority. For this reason, on the occasion of the 77th anniversary of the nuclear weapons dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945, the Austrian Foreign Minister, Alexander Schallenberg, once again demanded that the major international powers reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

Austria's position is that nuclear weapons would entail devastating risks and inhumane effects, as the Hibakusha, the victims and survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, remind us every year on the anniversary of the terrible disaster.

For this reason, Schallenberg called for credible progress in nuclear disarmament, because the nuclear threat is not an issue of the past, but is omnipresent even today and an immense danger to all humanity.

"Never since the Cold War have we been so close to escalation. Russia's brutal war of aggression on Ukraine is accompanied by blatant threats to use nuclear weapons. This is a clear violation of the UN Charter, which is totally irresponsible and absolutely unacceptable. The current situation in particular shows that nuclear weapons offer no security whatsoever and endanger us all. It is high time that we dispel the myth that the permanent threat of weapons of mass destruction could be a stable foundation of international security," the Foreign Minister was quoted as saying in a Foreign Ministry press release.

Austria sees itself as one of the leading forces for progress in nuclear disarmament and the strengthening of international law. In this context, the Alpine country is one of the actors that have decisively promoted and support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

This treaty, which entered into force in 2021, constitutes the first international legal ban on the possession, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. This ban is a novelty for nuclear weapons. It already exists for biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction.

The priorities are also clear for the 10th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which started in New York on 1 August.

Austria is committed to ensuring that existing commitments on disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons are fulfilled and strengthened. The TPNW states parties take an essential step towards implementing the NPT disarmament and non-proliferation obligations. The NPT is therefore supported and strengthened by the TPNW.

Recently, in June 2022, a conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons was held in Vienna. This event, held at the Austria Center Vienna, brought together government representatives, international organisations, the scientific community, survivors and civil society to review and discuss known but also new evidence on the humanitarian impact and risks of nuclear weapons. Vindobona reported.

"Especially now, in such a dangerous security environment, this remains a key political priority for Austria. The international disarmament regime must work on the basis of the scientific evidence on the catastrophic humanitarian effects and unacceptable risks of nuclear weapons. We strengthen these regimes and show how urgent progress towards nuclear disarmament is, especially in these times. The TPNW provides a weighty contribution from the majority of the international community, which clearly rejects a new nuclear arms race," Schallenberg concluded in his statement commemorating the nuclear weapons dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

BMEIA Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs