As long as nuclear-armed states exist, NATO must also have nukes – Norway FM
Norway does not support the UN Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, Foreign Minister Børge Brende said Saturday as he spoke on the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in Oslo earlier.
“Prime Minister [Erna Solberg] and I have congratulated ICAN, but we cannot support a UN ban on nuclear weapons when none of the nuclear weapons countries are involved,” Brende told local TV 2 channel, as cited by Norwegian media.
ICAN was officially launched in 2007 with the aim of promoting the ideals outlined in the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty was signed by over 50 countries in September 2017. The US, UK, France, China, Israel, and Russia were among the nuclear-armed states that did not sign.
“If Norway, as a NATO member, voted for a ban, it would mean that Norway had to say that NATO had to abolish its nuclear strategy while looking at other countries having nuclear weapons. As long as other countries have nuclear weapons, NATO must have it,” Brende said.
The global community should worry about North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, the foreign minister added.
“What we should focus on is that North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and non-state actors do not get nuclear weapons. It’s non-proliferation that’s important.”
Pyongyang held its latest nuclear test in early September, which triggered international condemnation and a new wave of UN sanctions.
Nobel Committee chairman Berit Reiss-Andersen told NTB news agency that she strongly disagrees with the foreign minister’s opinion.
“Everything indicates that the ban is part of the solution to the [nuclear] crisis,” Reiss-Andersen said.
On Friday, ICAN was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. The group was officially launched in 2007 with the aim of promoting the ideals outlined in the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
ICAN leader Beatrice Fihn said she wants to see a Norwegian signature on the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. “It’s time we stop accepting these weapons,” Fihn told NTB.
NATO gave a chilly reception on Friday to nuclear disarmament group ICAN’s Nobel Peace Prize win.
“What we need is verifiable and balanced reduction of nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which all NATO allies have signed, remains the cornerstone of international efforts to do so,” Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance’s secretary-general, said. NATO would remain a nuclear alliance as long as nuclear weapons existed, according to Stoltenberg.