Senegal’s FM calls for treaty banning nuclear weapons
June 16, 2014
For those weary watchers of the Conference on Disarmament (CD), accustomed to the rote recycling of statements year after year, Senegal’s interpolation last week surely came as a breath of fresh air and a sign that the movement for a treaty banning nuclear weapons is firmly established on the international stage, and reflected in even the most stagnant and staid of forums.
In his statement to the CD on June 10, Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye noted that in light of the clear evidence about the risks posed by nuclear weapons, Senegal “urged States that have not yet done so, to amplify the momentum of the vast movement that is shaping up so that eventually, through an international convention, nuclear weapons are totally banned.”
According to FM Ndiaye, the humanitarian initiative has played a central role in the call for new measures to address the continuing threat posed by nuclear weapons:
“The first two conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, held in Oslo in 2013 and in Nayarit in February 2014, as well as the next one to be held in Vienna before the end of this year, reflect the will of States and key actors to identify effective ways to eradicate these types of weapons that are a constant threat to human life […] The outcomes of these conferences in Oslo and Nayarit show that no nation, however powerful it may be, is equipped to deal with a nuclear conflict.”
The Foreign Minister also saluted the contribution of civil society and encouraged their continued engagement.
Mr Boubine Touré of the Senegalese Campaign to Ban Landmines, an ICAN partner organisation, congratulated the Foreign Minister for his progressive stance:
“I welcome this statement and congratulate Monsieur Mankeur Ndiaye. Senegal has always shown a lot of interest in disarmament affairs and this has opened interesting collaboration with Senegalese civil society, as for example with the Convention on Cluster Munitions or the Mine Ban Treaty. This statement by the Minister recalls the importance of the Oslo and Nayarit conferences in shaping the discussions about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. This is the kind of discourse we need in these forums and it is clear that the outreach work of civil society has been influential in encouraging Senegal’s positive stance. I believe that Senegal is willing to further contribute a great deal to achieving a world without nuclear weapons. We look forward to engaging with the MFA to congratulate them on this important announcement and encourage them to continue to consider how Africa can play a key role to achieve a ban on nuclear weapons.”
According to ICAN’s Arielle Denis, Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, “the involvement of African civil society on this issue is key to highlighting the humanitarian impact on Africa of any detonation of nuclear weapons, and to encourage African governments to take action and come with a strong common position to the next humanitarian conference in Vienna.” (8-9 December 2014)
(Photo credit: Ana de Oliveira/AIG)