The recently signed arms control treaty between the United States and
Russia brings welcome reductions in deployed nuclear warheads and an
agreed ceiling on the number of delivery vehicles that each side may
possess. We applaud the new agreement and the acts of political
leadership required in both countries to bring it about. The
breakthrough is all the more welcome, coming just weeks before both the
Washington Summit on Nuclear Security and the Review Conference of the
Non-Proliferation Treaty. Across Europe, and at this moment of
diplomatic opportunity, we have joined together to declare our
unequivocal support for President Obama’s vision of a world without
nuclear weapons, to declare our desire to re-set the security
relationship between Europe, the US and Russia, and to show strong
European support for the measures necessary to deliver these goals.

Let no-one doubt the importance of this endeavour. The risks of
proliferation are growing. India, Israel and Pakistan have already
entered the nuclear club. If Iran gets the bomb, others certainly will
follow.  We know that terrorist groups want to acquire nuclear
materials, making the security of those materials an issue of truly
global significance. Nuclear armed states inside the NPT have not been
disarming fast enough, straining the confidence of their non-nuclear
partners in the credibility of the NPT grand bargain. Without further
action, there is a real danger that the world will be overwhelmed by
proliferation risks and incidents of nuclear weapons use, with all their
catastrophic consequences.

The strategic implications of this are profound. Nuclear deterrence
is a far less persuasive strategic response to a world of potential
regional nuclear arms races and nuclear terrorism than it was to the
Cold War.

The circumstances of today require a shift in thinking. We must,
through further multilateral agreement, reduce the role and the number
of nuclear weapons in the world, deepen confidence in the
non-proliferation regime, and improve the security of existing nuclear
weapons and materials. We must achieve these goals while at the same
time helping those countries that wish to go down the civil nuclear
energy route do so safely.

The practical steps necessary to achieve our goals are clear. In
Washington, we must demonstrate wider international ownership of the
issue of nuclear security. This is not just a concern for those fearing a
nuclear terrorist attack. Any major nuclear security incident anywhere
is likely to derail the civil nuclear renaissance everywhere. Regardless
of whether we as individuals support the idea of more nuclear power,
this may ultimately undermine global attempts to meet the challenge of
climate change, an outcome we all have a stake in avoiding.

The Washington Summit also must agree practical action on programmes
to control and destroy nuclear materials and ready-made weapons within
four years; and participants must agree to rationalise the many complex
overlapping international conventions, initiatives and resolutions that
are the current institutional architecture aimed at addressing this

In May, at the NPT Review Conference in New York, the Treaty, for 40
years the foundation of counter-proliferation efforts, must be
overhauled and reinforced. All signatory nations should accept the
strengthened monitoring provisions of the Additional Protocol. The IAEA
needs that strengthened inspection power if it is to provide effective
monitoring of declared and undeclared nuclear material and activities.
Nations wishing to develop a civil nuclear capability must first agree
to proper verification procedures and unimpeded access for the IAEA.

Progress of this nature will not be possible without a credible
process for nuclear disarmament. Beyond START follow-on we need urgent
and more radical initiatives from the nuclear weapons states.
Increasingly it is becoming more challenging to explain why some
countries should have, and others should not be allowed to possess
nuclear weapons.

All nuclear weapons, including tactical ones, must be included in
disarmament talks. Where this necessitates discussion of conventional
force imbalances, these too must be included. States that now possess
nuclear weapons must work together to reduce their importance to
national and international security.

The establishment of nuclear free zones in Latin America, sub-Saharan
Africa and Central Asia is very encouraging. By the end of the NPT
Review Conference there must be a credible process for the discussion of
a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East.

After May, attention must also return to other issues. The countries
that have not yet ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty including
the US, China, Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea should do so
urgently, allowing it to come into force. The stalemate in the Geneva
Disarmament Conference on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty must also be
overcome. We need a treaty-sanctioned prohibition of the production of
the basic materials required to manufacture nuclear explosive devices.

Europe, through NATO, is central to the security relationship with
Russia and can influence it through NATO diplomacy and the ongoing
revision of NATO’s Strategic Concept. The UK and France, working with
other nuclear weapons states, can play their full part in discussions on
disarmament, and in efforts to implement any internationally agreed and
verifiable reductions in warhead numbers. In addition to that
leadership Europe is a key player in civil nuclear power and nuclear

In short, Europe can and must play a vital role in building the
cooperation necessary for meeting the global nuclear challenge. All our
futures depend on it.


  1. Kåre Willoch, Former Prime Minister of Norway
  2. Kjell Magne Bondevik, Former Prime Minister of Norway
  3. Oddvar Nordli, Former Prime Minister of Norway
  4. Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Prime Minister of Norway
  5. Thorvald Stoltenberg, Former Minister of Defense and Minister of
    Foreign Affairs of Norway
  6. Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
    of Poland
  7. Ruud Lubbers, Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands (author of
    “Moving beyond the stalemate”)
  8. Jean-Luc Dehaene, Former Prime Minister of Belgium and current MEP
  9. Guy Verhofstadt, Former Prime Minister of Belgium and current MEP,
  10. Lord Geoffrey Howe of Aberavon, Former British Deputy Prime
    Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary
  11. Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
    Economic Affairs of the Netherlands
  12. Jan Kavan, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the
    Czech Republic
  13. Volker Rühe, Former Defence Minister of Germany
  14. Elisabeth Rehn, Former Defence Minister of Finland, Former UN
    Under-Secretary-General, SRSG
  15. Hans Blix, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden
  16. Wolfgang Ischinger, Former Deputy Foreign Minister of Germany
  17. General Bernard Norlain, Former French General, Former commander of
    the French Tactical Air Force and military counselor to the Prime
  18. Lord George Robertson of Port Ellen, Former British Defence
    Secretary and Secretary General of NATO
  19. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Former British Defence Secretary and Foreign
  20. Admiral the Lord Michael Boyce, Former British Chief of the Defence
  21. Lord Charles Guthrie of Craigiebank Former British Chief of the
    Defence Staff
  22. Lord Douglas Hurd of Westwell Former British Foreign Secretary
  23. Margaret Beckett, Former British Foreign Secretary
  24. Des Browne, Former British Defence Secretary
  25. Lord Tom King of Bridgwater Former British Defence Secretary
  26. Louis Michel MEP Former, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium
  27. Mogens Lykketoft MP, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark
  28. Niels Helveg Petersen MP, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of
  29. Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark
  30. Frits Korthals Altes, Former President of the Senate and Minister of
    Justice of the Netherlands
  31. Michael Ancram, Former British Shadow Foreign Secretary and Shadow
    Defence Secretary
  32. Dr. John Reid, Former British Defence Secretary
  33. Sir Menzies Campbell, Former British Leader Liberal Democrat Party
    and Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary
  34. Shirley Williams (Baroness Williams of Crosby) Former Adviser on
    Nuclear Proliferation to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
  35. Charles Clarke, Former British Home Secretary
  36. James Arbuthnot, Former British Chair of the Defence Select
  37. Adam Ingram, Former British Defence Minister of State (Armed Forces)
  38. Prof. Ivo Šlaus, Former Croatian MP, former member of Foreign
    Affairs Committee and current Emeritus Professor of Physics
  39. Francesco Calogero, Italian theoretical physicist & former
    Secretary General of Pugwash
  40. Giorgio La Malfa MP, Former Italian Minister of European Affairs
  41. Federica On. Mogherini Rebesani, Member of the Italian Parliament