Updates

56 former leaders and ministers of US allies urge states to join the nuclear weapon ban treaty

SHARE

Fifty-six former presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and defence ministers from 20 NATO member states, as well as Japan and South Korea, have just issued an open letter calling on current leaders to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and two former NATO secretaries-general, Javier Solana and Willy Claes, are among the co-signers.

Read the open letter here

"This is the most significant demonstration of high-level support for the treaty that we have seen in these countries to date. We hope it will spark debate, including in parliaments, and help bring about shifts in national positions," says Tim Wright, Treaty Coordinator of ICAN. 

In the letter, the former leaders and ministers declare that “nuclear weapons serve no legitimate military or strategic purpose in light of the catastrophic human and environmental consequences of their use” and urge the current leaders to “show courage and boldness — and join the treaty”. They warn that the risk of nuclear weapons being used today, “whether by accident, miscalculation or design”, appears to be increasing, and state: “We must not sleepwalk into a crisis of even greater proportions than the one we have experienced this year.”

The co-signers are from Albania, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain and Turkey. The current leaders of these countries have so far declined to join the landmark United Nations treaty, arguing that their allies’ nuclear forces are essential for their security. "This letter is a reflection of the growing public opinion against nuclear weapons. We are confident that over time, with enough public pressure, these countries will come on board," says Wright. 


Read the letter in English, French, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish


The 56 co-signers of the open letter in support of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons are:

Lloyd Axworthy, former foreign minister of Canada

Ban Ki-moon, former UN secretary-general and foreign minister of South Korea

Jean-Jacques Blais, former defence minister of Canada

Kjell Magne Bondevik, former prime minister and foreign minister of Norway

Ylli Bufi, former prime minister of Albania

Jean Chrétien, former prime minister of Canada

Willy Claes, former NATO secretary-general and foreign minister of Belgium

Erik Derycke, former foreign minister of Belgium

Joschka Fischer, former foreign minister of Germany

Franco Frattini, former foreign minister of Italy

Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, former foreign minister of Iceland

Bjørn Tore Godal, former foreign minister and defence minister of Norway

Bill Graham, former foreign minister and defence minister of Canada

Hatoyama Yukio, former prime minister of Japan

Thorbjørn Jagland, former prime minister and foreign minister of Norway

Ljubica Jelušič, former defence minister of Slovenia

Tālavs Jundzis, former defence minister of Latvia

Jan Kavan, former foreign minister of the Czech Republic

Alojz Krapež, former defence minister of Slovenia

Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, former foreign minister and defence minister of Latvia

Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former president of Poland

Yves Leterme, former prime minister and foreign minister of Belgium

Enrico Letta, former prime minister of Italy

Eldbjørg Løwer, former defence minister of Norway

Mogens Lykketoft, former foreign minister of Denmark

John Mccallum, former defence minister of Canada

John Manley, former foreign minister of Canada

Rexhep Meidani, former president of Albania

Zdravko Mršić, former foreign minister of Croatia

Linda Mūrniece, former defence minister of Latvia

Fatos Nano, former prime minister of Albania

Holger K. Nielsen, former foreign minister of Denmark

Andrzej Olechowski, former foreign minister of Poland

Kjeld Olesen, former foreign minister and defence minister of Denmark

Ana Palacio, former foreign minister of Spain

Theodoros Pangalos, former foreign minister of Greece

Jan Pronk, former defence minister (ad interim) of the Netherlands

Vesna Pusić, former foreign minister of Croatia

Dariusz Rosati, former foreign minister of Poland

Rudolf Scharping, former defence minister of Germany

Juraj Schenk, former foreign minister of Slovakia

Nuno Severiano Teixeira, former defence minister of Portugal

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, former prime minister of Iceland

Össur Skarphéðinsson, former foreign minister of Iceland

Javier Solana, former NATO secretary-general and foreign minister of Spain

Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, former defence minister of Norway

Hanna Suchocka, former prime minister of Poland

Szekeres Imre, former defence minister of Hungary

Tanaka Makiko, former foreign minister of Japan

Tanaka Naoki, former defence minister of Japan

Danilo Türk, former president of Slovenia

Hikmet Sami Türk, former defence minister of Turkey

The late John N. Turner, former prime minister of Canada*

Guy Verhofstadt, former prime minister of Belgium

Knut Vollebæk, former foreign minister of Norway

Carlos Westendorp y Cabeza, former foreign minister of Spain

 

* ICAN would like to extend our condolences to the family of former Canadian prime minister John Turner, who passed away on 19 September 2020.