There were 1,475 press releases posted in the last 24 hours and 396,309 in the last 365 days.

Schallenberg: “Threats to Use Nuclear Weapons are Extremely Dangerous, Morally Unacceptable, and in Violation of International Law”

AUSTRIA, January 21 - Second anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, TPNW

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), in whose creation Austria played a significant role, entered into force on 22 January 2021. It marked a milestone for disarmament and security by creating a ban under international law of the most devastating category of all weapons of mass destruction – nuclear weapons –, following bans on chemical and biological weapons.

Threats to use nuclear weapons are extremely dangerous. They are not only completely morally unacceptable, but they also lower the threshold for others and clearly violate international law. There is no alternative to nuclear disarmament, because as long as these terrible weapons exist, they pose a threat to us all. We must destroy them before they destroy us,

said Foreign Minister Schallenberg on the second anniversary of the TPNW’s entry into effect.

At the same time, the risks of a nuclear conflict or accident remain significant. For instance, Russia is threatening to use nuclear weapons in the context of its war of aggression against Ukraine. Nuclear rhetoric on the Korean peninsula is also growing stronger, and tensions in the South China Sea and South Asia are increasing. Nuclear weapons are being modernised in every country that has nuclear arms, and all signs point to a new nuclear arms race – with even more participants than in the Cold War, making it much more dangerous.

The threat of nuclear escalation – whether it is intentional or accidental – is greater than it has been in a long while. It is high time to dispense with the dangerous myth that nuclear weapons create security, or even act as deterrents. They are a risk for all of us, and they have no limits”, said Foreign Minister Schallenberg. “The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons creates the legal basis and shows the political path that will make this shift possible.

Austria has been an international pioneer in the area of nuclear disarmament for years. In particular, the focus has been on the disastrous humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons and on the high risks of nuclear deterrence.

On Austria’s initiative, the groundwork for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was laid during the 2014 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. At that time, Austria called for a ban on nuclear weapons in order to close the legal gap for a prohibition. This “Austrian Pledge”, later renamed the “Humanitarian Pledge”, was formally supported by more than 130 countries and later formed the basis for the TPNW, which has now been ratified by 68 nations and signed by 92. The first meeting of the contracting states to the TPNW took place in Vienna in June 2022.