Until last week, the Netherlands was not expected to observe the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons' first Meeting of States Parties. That all changed on Thursday, 16 June, when a motion tabled by MP Jasper van Dijk succeeded in winning a majority in the Tweede Kamer, Netherlands parliament. The Government has now confirmed that it will send a delegation to observe the meeting.
At the historic inaugural meeting of States Parties to the TPNW which takes place from 21-23 June, States and other relevant actors will gather to commit to a concrete action plan to implement obligations under the treaty and design the blueprint for nuclear disarmament.
Netherlands will be the third NATO country and fourth so-called "nuclear umbrella" state to participate as an observer to the first MSP. It is also the second nuclear weapons-hosting state to participate, following Germany.
The shift echoes the decision to participate in the negotiations of the TPNW in 2017 -- the only NATO state to do so -- which was also prompted by a vote in parliament.
Dutch ICAN campaigners react:
Alejandra Muñoz, PAX: "The motion that was approved showed a willingness by a majority in parliament to positively engage with the TPNW, which also reflects the majority of public opinion. We are pleased that the Dutch government followed the decision to join other countries in Vienna who seek a world free of the nuclear threat."
Jan Hoekema of Pugwash Netherlands said, "I am extremely glad that majority in Dutch Parliament supported observership of Netherlands at the first MSP of Ban Treaty in Vienna next week. After long and hard lobbying for this important cause, we got a satisfactory outcome. Nuclear war cannot be won and must therefore never be fought."