Fiji PM calls on World leaders to seriously consider nuclear disarmament

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Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama called upon nations around the world to seriously “speak the language of a nuclear-free world” and to join the wave of support toward creating a policy framework that considers the existential threat of the use of nuclear weapons that has devastating impacts on the environment.

Bainimarama said that world leaders must also consider the long-term consequences of the displacement of communities from their traditional lands due to ever-encroaching nuclear waste.

Whilst delivering his official remarks at the High-Level Segment of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) First State Parties Meeting in Vienna, the Prime Minister said that it is not idealism that convenes, but the level-headed common sense that calls on us to prohibit and rid the world of nuclear weapons.

This is the first meeting of the TPNW since its entry into force on 22 January, 2021.

Among other important things, the Treaty describes a comprehensive ban on participation in all activities involving nuclear weapons, including a commitment not to develop, test, produce, acquire, stockpile, or use nuclear weapons.

In his capacity as Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIFs), Prime Minister Bainimarama shared that the impact of the nuclear testing in the 1950s still affects our Pacific vuvale to this present day.

Prime Minister Bainimarama further added the Pacific alone endured more than 300 nuclear tests on land, air, sea, and below the seabed that unleashed the equivalent of more than 14,000 of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima. The people of French Polynesia and the Marshall Islands still suffer birth-defects, cancers, and other deadly, generational consequences of that devastation.

“The terrible legacy of those tests wasn’t only the waste that was created, it was the weapons that were perfected. Thousands of missiles and trillions of dollars later, every person on earth is hostage to arsenals that threaten our existence”

As we progressively commit to the campaign for a nuclear-free world, Fiji is proud to join over 86 States to adopt and support the implementation of the Treaty.

Fiji, under the leadership of Prime Minister Bainimarama, was one of the first countries that signed and ratified the TPNW.

Prime Minister Bainimarama also highlighted at the high-level segment that those nations wanting to visit our region should “leave their nuclear weapons behind.”

The Prime Minister reiterated that the injustice of the nuclear tests inflicted on the Pacific intensifies with every dollar spent on missiles instead of seawalls, resilient crops, relocations, and renewables.

“It’s time we do away with these trillion-dollar relics and get serious about securing our future”.

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in a video message, called the Treaty “an important step towards the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world and a strong demonstration of support for multilateral approaches to nuclear disarmament.

At the same time, the Prime Minister reassured all Fijians that “We will work sincerely with all States large and small through this conference; and through every bilateral engagement to secure a nuclear weapons-free world and to heal the wounds of a dark nuclear legacy that continues to harm lives and communities across our region. That is both my solemn duty and my firmest commitment”.

Meanwhile, the States Parties elected Ambassador Alexander Kmentt of Austria as the President of the TPNW.

Amongst other things, the meeting aims to strengthen obligations including universalisation, and look into the plight of the vulnerable and affected communities including avenues for remediation.

SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS