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Risk of nuclear conflict at its highest in decades — statement of 23 countries

The statement emphasized that nuclear weapons make up 90% of the global stockpile of highly enriched uranium

VIENNA, May 21. /TASS/. Today, the risk of a nuclear conflict is as high as it has been in decades, 23 states said in a joint statement, read out by the South African Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rapulane Molekane.

"We reaffirm the need to make urgent progress in nuclear disarmament," he read out at the IAEA ICONS-2024 international nuclear security conference. "We state our deep concern over the absence thereof in the current conditions, when the risk of a nuclear conflict has reached its highest level in the past few decades. It is important to stop the erosion of international norms surrounding the possession, proliferation, testing and use of nuclear weapons. We underscored the importance of achieving the full, irreversible and verifiable elimination of nuclear arsenals, as this will positively affect nuclear security."

The statement emphasized that nuclear weapons make up 90% of the global stockpile of highly enriched uranium, and that this area must be covered by international norms of physical protection, which is the most important condition of nuclear security. The document also underscores the inalienable right of every country to peacefully atomic energy as well as the importance of ensuring that security measures do not obstruct international cooperation in this area.

The statement was signed by Algeria, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Libya, Malaysia, Namibia, Palestine, Panama, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, the Philippines, Chile and South Africa.

The South African envoy stated that his country was concerned over increased threats to use nuclear weapons.

"We express our concern over growing nuclear arsenals and threats of use, including Israel’s threat to use nuclear weapons against the innocent civilian population of Gaza," he said. "South Africa condemns the continued genocide of Palestinians and welcomes the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s request to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of war crimes.".