INTERVENTION OF ARCHBISHOP FRANCIS
Apostolic Nuncio and
Permanent Observer of the Holy See
First Committee of the 68th session of the
Item 99: “General and Complete
First Committee meets this year at a moment of extraordinary opportunity. In the past few weeks, we have seen vivid
action taken in the long struggle to rid the world of chemical and nuclear
The recent UN Security Council’s unanimous
resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons has historic importance. However, in
that regard the Secretary General noted: “a red light for one form of weapons
did not mean a green light for others”. He therefore called for a complete stop
to all violence and for all weapons to be silenced.
opportunity that has presented itself is the day-long unprecedented High-level
Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament in the General Assembly on September 26. From nearly every corner of the world
-- Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America –
Heads of State and Government and other high officials called for action to
begin comprehensive negotiations to ban all nuclear weapons. It was impressive to see such an outcry of
concern at what is aptly called the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of
the use of nuclear weapons.
The willingness of the world as a whole to move
forward in a constructive manner to eliminate nuclear weapons has never been
more evident. Yet a very small number of
States stand in the way, trying to block progress and to find a comprehensive
solution to the problem that goes on year after year in paralysis and
It was clear at the
High-level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament that States around the world want to
see the implementation of the 2010 decision of the Non-Proliferation Treaty
Review Conference to convene a meeting to develop a zone free of nuclear and
other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
The progress made
in the Syrian conflict and the prospect of a political solution on the horizon
set the stage for the holding of the Middle East conference. This process dates back to 1995 when the NPT
Review and Extension Conference adopted a resolution to address all weapons of
mass destruction in the Middle East. The
failure of the international community to fulfill that promise has jeopardized
the credibility of the NPT and the future of that region. With the 2015 NPT Review Conference quickly
approaching, it is imperative that steps be taken to set a firm date for the
holding of the conference.
It is sadly ironic
that States vociferous in their condemnation of chemical weapons are silent on
the continued possession of nuclear weapons.
The international community must appeal and act with one voice to ban
all weapons of mass destruction.
The prospects for
the cooperation of all States on a new agenda for peace have suddenly taken an
upturn. This work requires the continued
advocacy and cooperation of all. A
better world awaits us if we reduce the excessively high military spending and if
we set aside part of military expenditures for a world fund to relieve the
needs of developing and least developed nations. This committee, dedicated to reducing
armaments worldwide must always be conscious of the true needs for achieving
sustainable international peace and security.
We must end myopic militarism and concentrate on the long-range needs of
the human family.
the Holy See stated at the recent High-level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament,
time to counter the logic of fear with the ethic of responsibility, fostering a
climate of trust and sincere dialogue, capable of promoting a culture of peace,
founded on the primacy of law and the common good, through a coherent and
responsible cooperation between all members of the international community.”
Our world has never been so interdependent and
interconnected; now more than ever we cannot risk falling into a “globalization
It is illusory to think that the security and
peace of some can be assured without the security and peace of others. In an age like ours which is undergoing profound social and geopolitical
shifts, awareness has been growing that national
security interests are deeply linked to those related to international security, just as the
human family moves gradually together and everywhere is becoming more conscious
of its unity and interdependency.
security and stability cannot be gained strictly by military means, nor by
increasing military spending, since these are multidimensional objectives which
include aspects that are not linked only to the political and military sphere,
but also to those of human rights, the rule of law, economic and social
conditions, and the protection of the environment. These are things which have as their principal
purpose the promotion of a true, integral human development, where wisdom, reason
and the force of law must prevail over violence, aggression and the law of
Peace is an edifice in continual construction
which lays its foundations not so much in force as in trust, confidence-building,
on respect for obligations assumed and on dialogue. Without these fundamental
elements one places at risk not solely peace, but also the very existence of
the human family. The field of disarmament and arms control constantly demands
the use of our wisdom and good will.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.