With the Resolution passed in the Parliament, Italy has the opportunity to take concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament

With the Resolution passed in the Parliament, Italy has the opportunity to take concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament

The organisations promoting ‘Italia, ripensaci’ (an initiative launched by Rete Italiana Pace Disarmo – Italian Peace and Disarmament Network – and Senzatomica as partners of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) welcome the unanimous approval at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies of a Resolution on nuclear disarmament. This important vote comes at a time when the NATO summit in Vilnius is being held to address the issue of nuclear weapons, for which our organisations thank the MPs who worked on the text, in particular the first proposer Hon. Laura Boldrini, and decided to approve it without any dissenting votes.

This is a document that, while still far from our goal of Italy’s adherence to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons TPNW, opens up important prospects for our country and above all opens up the opportunity to take concrete steps in that direction. The operative part of the Resolution commits the Government to act towards the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, in particular by evaluating Italy’s possible participation as an observer country at the next Conference of States Parties to the TPNW Treaty to be held in the autumn in New York. But the work is not over yet: this possibility had already been envisaged with a similar Resolution voted in 2022, but the Italian government had not taken it up. Therefore, the Italian Network for Peace and Disarmament and Senzatomica will continue their advocacy action in 2023 so that Italy decides to take part in the Conference, and the unanimous Resolution of the Chamber of Deputies shows how the political forces also expect this step. In this sense, and as the text itself points out, it will be crucial to begin positive comparisons and discussions with the allied countries (both within the EU and NATO) that last year participated in the first Conference of States Parties TPWN in Vienna: it is crucial that Italy – which continues to reiterate its desire to contribute to a world free of nuclear weapons – gets involved at the tables that discuss this important issue.

Equally relevant is the request to the Government to evaluate possible actions to approximate some of the contents of the TPNW Treaty, particularly with regard to “Victim Assistance and Environmental Remediation”, as provided for in Article 6 of the same Treaty. In this sense, the organisations of ‘Italy, think again’ will request meetings with the competent Ministries to identify areas of intervention and define consequent projects. Finally, it is important that the Resolution asks the government to include the issue of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in the programme of the Italian G7 Presidency in 2024.

The passing of the resolution coincided with the holding of the NATO Summit in Vilnius at which the leaders of the member states, meeting at a time of unprecedented nuclear risk, decided not to take any action to reduce nuclear dangers but, on the contrary, issued a communiqué continuing to support the use of nuclear weapons. The alliance emphasised the risks posed by Russia’s nuclear weapons, while continuing to reiterate the centrality of its nuclear deterrent and nuclear sharing agreements (in which Italy is also involved). The Summit unfortunately reiterated NATO’s criticism of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the only real progress on nuclear disarmament in decades, was also unfortunately reiterated, demonstrating a real concern about the Treaty’s power to stigmatise and eliminate nuclear weapons. The Vilnius NATO Summit could have been an opportunity for member states to demonstrate a commitment to sustain peace and security by reducing the unacceptably high level of nuclear risk. As nuclear weapon states, US nuclear weapon states and states that accept others’ use of nuclear weapons for their own benefit would have the power to agree to end these dangerous practices but chose to issue a communiqué that continues to support the existence of nuclear arsenals.

The Italian Peace and Disarmament Network and Senzatomica, together with all the organisations that support ‘Italy, think again’, demand that the Italian government does not fall into line with a political choice that, as is evident from decades of stalemate, will never lead to the complete nuclear disarmament evoked as an objective by all but which can only be achieved through the concrete steps envisaged by the ‘Vienna Action Plan’ linked to the TPNW.