I am pleased and honoured again to express Norway’s support for the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. This annual conference is an important reminder of the tragic events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
The Japanese Government is playing a major role in the efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament, and civil society organisations both in Japan and worldwide are crucial players.
A world free of nuclear weapons is a longstanding aim of Norway’s foreign policy, and was so even during the Cold War. In general, Norway seeks the highest possible level of security for all, at the lowest possible level of armament.
I hope and believe that we are now at a turning point. Former and present leaders of several countries have called for a renewed commitment to nuclear disarmament. The goal of a world free of nuclear weapons has entered the general political vocabulary.
The signing of a new START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in Prague on 8 April 2010 is an important step. It is gratifying that the US and Russia have agreed to reduce the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads. I see this treaty as the initiation of a broader disarmament process which will include all types of nuclear arms, and which in the end will lead to a world without atomic weapons.
The Review Conference of the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended in New York in May. Even though I would have welcomed a more ambitious outcome, I am pleased that the Conference agreed on 64 concrete actions along the three pillars of the NPT. The final document addresses all categories of nuclear weapons, emphasises the overall objective to eliminate these weapons, brings forward the issue of negative security assurances and explicitly brings the concept of international humanitarian law into the discussion. The Conference has provided us with additional tools for achieving a safer world without the nuclear threat.
Ever since it was established in 1955, the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs has played a vital role in raising awareness of the importance of abolishing nuclear weapons among politicians and the public. The personal commitment of national leaders, key stakeholders and the general public in particular will continue to be crucial for realising the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. I wish you a successful and rewarding conference.
Jonas Gahr Støre
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oslo, August 2010