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Vatican delegate regrets resumption of nuclear arms race


In a speech before a UN Committee, Vatican delegate Monsignor Francis Chullikatt, has regretted the "regression" in the implementation of a 2000 commitment from nuclear weapon states to work towards "the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals".

Point to the lack of progress, indeed the "regression" regarding the 13 practical steps suggested for implementing this commitment, Msgr. Chullikatt said: "In fact, the prospects for future implementation are alarming." He then affirmed that "Even more serious than the lack of progress is the overt determination of some nuclear weapon states to maintain nuclear weapons in a critical role in their military doctrines."

Msgr. Chullikatt was speaking as deputy head of the Holy See delegation to the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, currently meeting in New York.

He reiterated the Vatican's position that the strategy of nuclear deterrence can be envisaged "only as a stage in the process aimed at disarmament".

He said: "So long as it is taken as an end in itself, deterrence encourages the protagonists to ensure a constant superiority over one another, in a ceaseless race of over-arming."

Msgr Chullikatt stressed that there can be no moral acceptance of military doctrines that embody the permanence of nuclear weapons.

"That is why Pope John Paul II has called for the banishment of all nuclear weapons through 'a workable system for negotiation, even of arbitration'."

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SOURCE
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12 Apr 2002