Sweden renews its focus on nuclear disarmament
November 17, 2014
By Sofia Tuvestad, WILPF Sweden
Swedish campaigners were finally able to report some much-awaited news last month, as Sweden announced during the UN General Assembly First Committee that they are joining the humanitarian initiative for nuclear disarmament. The announcement came less than two weeks after a recent government shift placed a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Green party in power.
The new Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström, has since then reiterated Sweden’s renewed focus on nuclear disarmament. In her speech at a seminar ahead of United Nations Day a few weeks ago, Wallström held out disarmament and non-proliferation as an area of work that will form a large part of Sweden’s engagement in the UN. She said that the ”the excessive supply and occurrence of weapons in today’s world is not sustainable”, and highlighted the humanitarian initiative while reminding the audience that the abolishment of all nuclear weapons is a principle that the 189 parties to the NPT have all signed up to.
Yesterday, as Wallström spoke at a foreign policy debate in the Swedish parliament, nuclear disarmament was once again addressed by herself as well as by her party colleague, MP Olle Thorell. Wallström brought up Sweden’s participation in the upcoming Vienna conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and said that Sweden will actively engage in future consultations and discussions to explore ways to achieve the total elimination of all nuclear weapons. MP Thorell, who devoted his entire statement to disarmament, highlighted previous successful processes around humanitarian based disarmament treaties, and said he looks forward to active participation from Sweden in Vienna. Thorell underlined further the potential of the humanitarian initiative to contribute to strengthening the NPT by bringing new energy into processes that have been suffering by inaction for many years.
WILPF Sweden and Swedish Physicians against Nuclear Weapons are looking forward to following Sweden taking an active part in Vienna. We see great potential for Sweden to participate constructively in discussions on a number of key issues, such as possible ways for the humanitarian initiative and a future ban treaty to complement and strengthen the disarmament dimension of the NPT as this critical point in time.