France responds to UN nuclear weapons ban treaty
Adoption of a treaty banning nuclear weapons – Statement by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
Paris, 7 July 2017
A treaty banning nuclear weapons was adopted in New York on 7 July.
It is a text unsuited to the international security context, characterized by growing tensions and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as shown, inter alia, by the North Korea nuclear threat. France did not take part in the negotiations for this treaty and does not intend to comply with it. The treaty does not bind us and does not create new obligations. The decision of a large number of states – nuclear weapon states and other states possessing or not possessing nuclear weapons – not to participate in the negotiations, in Europe and Asia in particular, cogently illustrates this disparity.
France’s security and defence policy, just like those of the allies and other close partners, is based on nuclear deterrence. Deterrence aims to protect our country from any state-led aggression against its vital interests, of whatever origin and in whatever form. The international situation permits no weakness. In this respect, a treaty banning nuclear weapons risks affecting the security of the Euro-Atlantic region and international stability. The treaty is also likely to undermine the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime.
Nuclear disarmament is not achieved by decree, it must be built. France, for its part, remains determined to implement the next concrete stages in nuclear disarmament, in accordance with its commitments under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The next priority stages in nuclear disarmament are the negotiation of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and the swift introduction of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. The reduction of Russian and American nuclear arsenals, which account for 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons stockpile, is another important goal.
France has already taken concrete, substantial nuclear disarmament measures, in particular by halving its nuclear arsenal, stopping nuclear tests, ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and irreversibly closing its facilities which produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. We shall also continue our efforts to promote international security and stability, including when it comes to combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction./.