.- Nuclear disarmament will be the focus of a Vatican conference this Nov. 10-11, following recent progress toward international bans on nuclear weapons.
Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi told CNA that “the Holy See is working to create a public opinion convinced that the world is safer without nuclear weapons, rather than with them.”
The archbishop is delegate secretary to the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, which is working to organize the disarmament conference.
The Holy See has invited Antonio Gutierres, Secretary General of the United Nations, to address the conference. It is not reported whether he has accepted the invitation.
Archbishop Tomasi said that the conference is conceived as a follow-up to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, passed July 7 at the United Nations.
Until the treaty, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not explicitly banned by any international document.
The treaty passed with 122 votes in favor and one abstention, Singapore. However, 69 countries, namely all nuclear weapons states and all NATO members excepting the Netherlands, did not take part in the vote.
The U.N. decided to start negotiations for the treaty after a series of three conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The first conference took place in Oslo, Norway in March 2013. The second was held in Nayarit, Mexico in February 2014.
The third conference, held in Vienna, Austria, Dec. 8-9, 2014, was the first meeting on nuclear weapons attended by some nuclear weapons states.
At the end of the Vienna conference, 127 states formally endorsed a humanitarian pledge, with 23 more voting to approve a resolution in its favor. The endorsing states said they were aware that the risk of nuclear weapons use and their “unacceptable consequences” are avoidable only “when all nuclear weapons have been eliminated.”
The pledge called on all…