Media Statement

20 June 2022

Deputy Minister Botes attending meeting in Vienna on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

The Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes, has arrived in Vienna, Austria, where he is leading a South African delegation participating in the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) from 21 to 23 June 2022. It is expected that the meeting will culminate in the adoption of a Political Declaration.

The TPNW was adopted on 7 July 2017 and entered into force on 22 January 2021, after its ratification by 50 States. By 17 June 2022, it had been ratified by 62 States and signed by 86 States. South Africa ratified the Treaty on 25 February 2019. South Africa, together with a Core Group of countries (Nigeria, Austria, Ireland, Brazil and Mexico) played a leading role in driving the TPNW negotiations until its adoption in 2017. South Africa continues to play a leading role in organising the implementation of the Treaty.

The TPNW is a landmark agreement in the history of nuclear disarmament and represents the wish of member states of the United Nations (UN) to rid the world of nuclear weapons. TPNW’s intention is to further stigmatise and delegitimise nuclear weapons based on the adverse and indefensible humanitarian consequences of their use. The Treaty places an emphasis on the humanitarian consequences of the use of such weapons.

Among the TPNW’s core principles and norms is the complete and unequivocal prohibition of nuclear weapons without conditions. Thus, one of the greatest achievements of the TPNW is its filling of the legal gap on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

South Africa’s own experience has shown that neither the possession nor the pursuit of nuclear weapons can enhance international peace and security. The continued retention of nuclear weapons based on the perceived security interests of some states comes at the expense of the rest of humanity. South Africa’s commitment to disarmament is based on the belief that international peace and security cannot be divorced from development.

Enquires: Mr. Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO,082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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