Nuclear Disarmament on Italian G8 Presidency's List of Priorities

Foreign Undersecretary Vincenzo Scotti

03/03/2009

Nuclear disarmament is one of the international community's priorities and Italy, in its capacity as G8 president, intends to address this important issue with its partners, Foreign Undersecretary Vincenzo Scotti said in his address to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

Scotti stressed that Italy welcomes the recent resumption of talks between the United States and Russia on nuclear arms cuts, and it "encourages the two countries to carry on down that path, setting an example to other countries".

The undersecretary went on to discuss the multilateral debate on disarmament, highlighting two important agreements:  the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT; and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT, which was signed in 1996 but which has not yet come into force due to failure on the part of several countries, including the United States, China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and Indonesia, to sign and ratify it.  Scotti urged all those countries that have not yet signed or ratified the treaty to review their position.  He also voiced his appreciation for recent statements made by members of the new US Administration on the issue.

Discussing Italy's other priorities, Undersecretary Scotti also pointed to the ban on the manufacture of fissile material for military use and to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which comprises the three pillars of disarmament, nonproliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  These issues need to be addressed in a balanced manner, he said, otherwise people may get the impression that the treaty was forged solely in the interest of the nuclear powers, and there is a danger that that might actually impart a fresh boost to proliferation.

Back in 2002, the G8 group of countries made a commitment to a global partnership against the dissemination of weapons of mass destruction, earmarking $20 billion over 10 years.  Italy has committed a total of €1 billion and it has begun a €360 million project in the nuclear industry in Russia, while another project for the chemical industry, worth the same figure, is still awaiting ratification.