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VATICAN CITY, APR 10, 2002 (VIS) - Monsignor Francis Chullikatt, deputy
head of the Holy See delegation to the Preparatory Committee for the 2005
Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of
Nuclear Weapons, meeting in New York from April 8 to 19, spoke at the
opening session on April 8.

He noted that "the 2000 Review ... obtained a clear-cut commitment from
the nuclear weapon states that systematic and progressive efforts to
implement Article VI would include 'An unequivocal undertaking by the
nuclear weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear
arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all states parties are
committed under Article VI'."

Msgr. Chullikatt pointed to the lack of progress, indeed the "regression"
regarding the 13 practical steps suggested for implementing this
commitment, and said: "In fact, the prospects for future implementation are
alarming." He then affirmed that "Even more serious than the lack of
progress is the overt determination of some nuclear weapon states to
maintain nuclear weapons in a critical role in their military doctrines."

"The Holy See has constantly recalled the fact that the strategy of
deterrence can be envisaged only as a stage in the process aimed at
disarmament, even of a progressive nature. So long as it is taken as an end
in itself, deterrence encourages the protagonists to ensure a constant
superiority over one another, in a ceaseless race of over-arming."

In concluding remarks, Msgr. Chullikatt said that "the rule of law cannot
countenance the continuation of doctrines that hold nuclear weapons as
essential. There can be no moral acceptance of military doctrines that
embody the permanence of nuclear weapons. That is why Pope John Paul II has
called for the banishment of all nuclear weapons through 'a workable system
for negotiation, even of arbitration'."
DELSS/NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT/CHULLIKATT VIS 20020410 (300)

Courtesy of: Vatican Information Service/Catholic Information Network