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Group statement | 12 September 2019

Group Statement on Nuclear Arms Control

Ahead of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, over 100 members of the European Leadership Network’s network of political, diplomatic and military figures call on leaders at UNGA to address rising nuclear risk, and renew commitments to international nuclear diplomacy and arms control.

The full statement and list of signatories is reproduced in English below, and is also available in French, German, Italian, and Russian.


As world leaders prepare to meet this month at the United Nations in New York, we call on them to take urgent steps to reduce the risks of nuclear confrontation. We join a growing number of international leaders in raising the alarm over new nuclear dangers.

Last month we witnessed the end of the landmark US-Russia Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Today, there are grave doubts over the future of the only remaining agreement that limits and regulates Washington and Moscow’s strategic nuclear weapons, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). And new challenges confront the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Stability is eroding and risks are rising. North Korea has grown its nuclear weapon stockpile, tests missiles, and continues to feel threatened. The fate of inter-Korean and US-DPRK dialogue remains uncertain. Tensions are flaring between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan. And, following Washington’s unilateral breach and resumed sanctions, Iran may walk away from the nuclear deal that constrains its ability to develop nuclear weapons.

Moreover, new military technologies threaten to destabilise global and regional nuclear confrontations. These technologies are rapidly evolving and entirely uncontrolled.

The risks of nuclear accident, misjudgement or miscalculation have not been higher since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Complacency should not be an option. It is not only European security at stake.

Simply coercing an adversary will not restore stability. Politically unrealistic appeals for transformed behaviour will not build trust. An accelerating arms race makes both trust and safer behaviours harder to achieve.

It is possible to negotiate with adversaries without condoning unacceptable behaviour. Leaders must relearn the skills of past decades in finding ways to reduce shared nuclear risks in the absence of wider trust.

For their national and common interests, we urge leaders at the United Nations General Assembly to launch a new, shared project to reduce nuclear risks. This is all the more urgent as we approach the May 2020 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which for 50 years has served as the foundation of the world’s nuclear regime.

We recommend that:

  • Russian and US governments should comply with existing commitments, maintain existing tools, and develop new approaches to deal with a more complex future. This includes the continuation of the INF Treaty’s core objectives (mutual nuclear restraint in Europe and no deployment of intermediate range delivery systems), implementation and extension of New START (with provisions for transparency), and intensification of existing talks on strategic stability to reduce the risks of miscommunication and miscalculation.
  • Moscow and Washington acknowledge their special responsibilities as the states with the largest nuclear arsenals and, through their resumed strategic stability talks, consider new constraints on nuclear competition and measures to preserve nuclear stability.
  • US-Russia talks should focus on the classes and postures of nuclear weapons and delivery systems – strategic and non-strategic, deployed and non-deployed – and of technologies with potential strategic nuclear effect that are particularly dangerous or destabilising.
  • Governments across the Euro-Atlantic region, home to over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons and four nuclear weapon states, should step up engagement and develop concrete proposals to reduce nuclear risks. The deteriorating relationship between Russia and the West and breakdown of nuclear arms control fundamentally affects European security.
  • China and other nuclear weapons states should promote work on strategic stability. Multilateral efforts should be made to find effective mechanisms to engage nuclear-armed states not party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • World leaders should accept that:
    • nuclear stability will become so entwined with new technologies that states must collaborate if nuclear risks are to be reduced. The potential for disruption by non-state actors is unacceptably high;
    • rising complexity is neither a justification for discarding arms control arrangements nor an excuse for inaction in agreeing new measures;
    • the return to great power competition makes multilateral engagement on nuclear stability, transparency, and predictability more essential.

Only through cooperation on existential common interests can we build trust and stability. These shared interests demand a renewed commitment to collective nuclear diplomacy. Euro-Atlantic and global security depends on it.


Signed by members of the European Leadership Network’s senior network:


  1. Mr Fatmir Mediu, former Defence Minister


  1. Mr Alexander Kmentt, former Permanent Representative of Austria to the Political and Security Committee of the European Union
  2. Dr Wolfgang Petritsch, former EU Special Envoy for Kosovo & Former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina


  1. Ambassador Vladimir Senko, former Foreign Minister


  1. Dr Solomon Passy, former Foreign Minister, former Chairman of the OSCE and UN Security Council
  2. Professor Todor Tagarev, former Minister of Defence, Head, Centre for Security and Defence Management, Institute of ICT, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences


  1. Ambassador Budimir Loncar, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of former Yugoslavia; former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the Non-Aligned Movement
  2. Professor Ivo Šlaus, Nuclear physicist and Honorary President, World Academy of Art and Science

Czech Republic

  1. Jan Kavan, former President of the UN General Assembly, former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister


  1. Mr Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, former Minister for Foreign Affairs
  2. HE Mr Mogens Lykketoft, former Foreign Minister; former President of the UN General Assembly


  1. Dr Tarja Cronberg, former Member of the European Parliament, former Chair of the European Parliament Iran delegation, former member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Subcommittee of Security and Defence
  2. Ambassador Jaakko Iloniemi, former Ambassador to the United States, former Ambassador to the CSCE
  3. Ambassador Jaakko Laajava, former Under-Secretary of State and former Ambassador to the United States and Ambassador to the United Kingdom
  4. Admiral Juhani Kaskeala, former Chief of Defence
  5. Dr Elisabeth Rehn, former Minister of Defence
  6. Professor Raimo Väyrynen, former President of the Academy of Finland; Former Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs


  1. Admiral (ret.) Alain Coldefy, Former General Inspector of the French Armed Forces
  2. Mr Pierre Lellouche, former Secretary of State for European Affairs, former President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Councilor of Paris
  3. General (ret.) Bernard Norlain, former General Officer, Air Defence Commander and Air Combat Commander of the Air Force
  4. Mr Paul Quilès, former Defence Minister and former President of the Defence and Armed Forces Committee of the National Assembly of France


  1. Ambassador Tedo Japaridze, former Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vice-Chairman, International Relations, Anakila Development Consortium
  2. Ambassador Valeri Chechelashvili, former Deputy Foreign Minister, former Minister of Finance


  1. Dr Karl-Heinz Brunner, SPD Politician and member of the Bundestag Defence Committee
  2. Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, current Chair of the Munich Security Conference and co-chair of the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative, former Deputy Foreign Minister
  3. Mr Roderich Kiesewetter, Special representative for foreign affairs of the CDU/CSU-group
  4. Dr Angela Kane, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
  5. Ms Katja Keul, Greens Politician and member of the Subcommittee on Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation
  6. General (ret). Klaus Naumann, former Chief of Defence Germany and former Chairman NATO Military Committee
  7. Dr Norbert Röttgen, CDU Politician and Chairman of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee
  8. Mr Volker Rühe, former Defence Minister
  9. Mr Rudolf Scharping, former Defence Minister
  10. Mr Ulf Schneider, CEO and Founder, Schneider Group
  11. Mr Karsten Voigt, former politician and Coordinator of German-North American Cooperation at the Foreign Office of Germany
  12. Brigadier General (ret.) Klaus Wittmann, Former Bundeswehr General
  13. Ms Uta Zapf, former Chair of the Sub-Committee on Disarmament, Arms Control, and Non-proliferation and Foreign Affairs committee of the Bundestag


  1. Ambassador Balázs Csuday, former Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna
  2. Professor János Martonyi, former Minister for Foreign Affairs


  1. Ambassador Giancarlo Aragona, former Secretary General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
  2. Professor Francesco Calogero, Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Physics, Universita’ di Roma La Sapienza, former Secretary General of Pugwash
  3. General (ret.) Vincenzo Camporini, former Chief of Joint Defence Staff
  4. Professor Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, Secretary General of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  5. Mr Giorgio La Malfa, former Minister of European Affairs
  6. Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, former Minister of Defence
  7. Professor Carlo Schaerf, Director and Chairman of the Board of the International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts (ISODARCO)
  8. Stefano Silvestri, former Under Secretary of State for Defence, former President of the Italian International Affairs Institute
  9. Ambassador Stefano Stefanini, Former Permanent Representative to NATO, Former Diplomatic Advisor to the President of Italy
  10. Dr Nathalie Tocci, Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali, Special Adviser to former EU HRVP Federica Mogherini
  11. Ambassador Carlo Trezza, former Ambassador to Korea and for the Conference on Disarmament


  1. Mr Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, former Deputy Prime Minister
  2. Mr Klaas de Vries, former Minister for Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations
  3. Mr Bert Koenders, former Minister of Foreign Affairs


  1. Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Member of The Elders and Board Member of the United Nations Foundation
  2. Mr Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway and President of the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights
  3. Mr Espen Barth Eide, Member of Parliament, former Foreign Minister and former Minister of Defence


  1. Professor Adam Rotfeld, former Foreign Minister, former Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
  2. Mr Radosław Sikorski, former Minister of Defence, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, current MEP
  3. Dr Janusz Onyszkiewicz, former Minister of Defence, Chair, Executive Council, Euro-Atlantic Association


  1. Dr Ricardo Baptista Leite, PSD politician and Member of Parliament


  1. Ambassador Anatoly Adamishin, former Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the UK
  2. Dr Alexey Arbatov, Head of the Center on International Security, Institute for World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences
  3. Ambassador Alexander Bessmertnykh, former Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs, former Soviet Ambassador to Washington
  4. Lieutenant-General (ret.) Evgeny Buzhinskiy, former Head of the International Treaty Directorate and former Deputy Head of International Military Cooperation of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense
  5. General Vladimir Dvorkin, Lead scientist at the Center of the International Safety of the Institute of Economic and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences
  6. Professor Igor Ivanov, former Foreign Minister, President of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC)
  7. Professor Sergey Oznobishchev, Director, Institute for Strategic Assessments
  8. Ambassador Boris Pankin, Ambassador of RF (Ret), former Foreign Minister of the USSR
  9. Dr Dmitry Polikanov, Board member, PIR-Centre and former Deputy Head of the “United Russia” Central Committee
  10. Dr Sergey Rogov, Director of the Institute for the US and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Science (ISKRAN)
  11. Dr Dmitri Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center
  12. General Vyacheslav Trubnikov, former Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, current member of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) and member of the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative (EASI)
  13. Mr Igor Yurgens, Chairman of the Management Board, Institute of Contemporary Development (ICD)


  1. Mr Goran Svilanović, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council


  1. Dr Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group
  2. Dr Javier Solana, former NATO Secretary-General, former Foreign Minister, President, ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics


  1. HE Mr Ingvar Carlsson, former Prime Minister
  2. Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, former Ambassador to the United States, former High Commissioner on national minorities in Europe
  3. Mr Gunnar Hökmark, Politician, former head of the Swedish delegation of the EPP, Chairman, Swedish Free World forum
  4. Henrik Salander, former Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Secretary-General of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission


  1. Professor Mustafa Aydın, President of the International Relations Council of Turkey
  2. Mr Hikmet Çetin, former Foreign Minister
  3. Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz, former Deputy Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  4. Mr Vahit Erdem, former Head of the Turkish Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  5. Ambassador Osman Faruk Loğoğlu, former Ambassador to the United States and former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  6. Ambassador Özdem Sanberk, Former Ambassador to the United Kingdom, former Under Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  7. Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, former Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons


  1. Dr Anatoliy Grytsenko, former Defence Minister, former Chairman of the National Security and Defence Committee
  2. Mr Sergii Leshchenko, Member of Parliament and journalist

United Kingdom

  1. The Rt Hon. Bob Ainsworth, Former Defence Secretary
  2. The Rt Hon. Baroness Anelay of St Johns DBE (Joyce Anelay), former Minister of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Chairman of the House of Lords International Relations Committee
  3. The Rt Hon. Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom (James Arbuthnot), former Chair of the Defence Select Committee, Member of the House of Lords
  4. Sir Tony Brenton KCMG, Former Ambassador to Russia
  5. The Rt Hon. Lord Browne of Ladyton (Des Browne), former Defence Secretary, member of the House of Lords, and Chairman of the European Leadership Network
  6. The Rt Hon. Alistair Burt MP, Conservative Politician, former Minister of State for the Middle East
  7. Lord Campbell of Pittenweem CH CBE PC QC (Menzies Campbell), former Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Member of the House of Lords
  8. The Rt. Hon Charles Clarke, former Home Secretary
  9. Stephen Gethin MP, Scottish National Party Politician and spokesperson for Foreign Affairs
  10. Lord Hannay of Chiswick GCMG (David Hannay), former Ambassador to the United Nations and Chair of UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Security and Non-Proliferation in the UK Parliament
  11. Sir Nick Harvey, former Member of Parliament and former Minister of State for the Armed Forces
  12. Lord Kerr of Kinlochard GCMG (John Kerr), former Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service
  13. The Rt Hon. Lord King of Bridgwater CH (Tom King), former Defence Secretary, member of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy
  14. General Sir John McColl CB CBE DSO , former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) and Lieutenant Governor of Jersey
  15. Mr Tom McKane, former Director General for Strategy and Security Policy, Ministry of Defence
  16. The Rt Hon. Lord Owen CH (David Owen), former Foreign Secretary, member of the House of Lords
  17. Lord David Ramsbotham GCB CBE, House of Lords, Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords
  18. General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux GCB, CBE, DSO, DL (David Richards), former Chief of the Defence Staff, member of the House of Lords
  19. Lord Ricketts GCMG GCVO (Peter Ricketts), former National Security Advisor, former Permanent Under Secretary and Head of Diplomatic Service, FCO
  20. The Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC, former Foreign Secretary, former Defence Secretary
  21. The Rt Hon. Sir John Stanley, former Minister for the Armed Forces, former Chairman of the Committees on Arms Export Controls
  22. Sir Adam Thomson KCMG, Director, European Leadership Network, former PermRep of the UK to NATO
  23. Lord Triesman (David Triesman), former Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), former Chairman of the Football Association and former General Secretary of the Labour Party
  24. The Rt Hon. Lord Wallace of Saltaire PC (William Wallace), former Spokesperson for the Cabinet Office in the House of Lords and former Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
  25. Admiral the Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC (Alan West), former Chief of Defence Intelligence, First Sea Lord, Parliamentary under-secretary of state for Security, Counter Terrorism and Cyber Security, Member of the House of Lords