Posted: 2nd August 2022
Lots of coverage of Monday’s opening of the NPT’s review conference in New York – and warnings from UN chief Antonio Guterres that a misunderstanding between nuclear powers could lead to our annihilation. “Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” Guterres told the UN conference. “We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions boiling over into nuclear conflict,” he added, calling on nations to “put humanity on a new path towards a world free of nuclear weapons.” Reports by France 24, The Guardian, Uniland, Sky News, and The Metro.
Meanwhile, the UK, US and France have issued a joint statement on the “continued importance” of the NPT. The policy paper says the three governments “will examine closely and debate honestly all proposals for advancing implementation of the Treaty.”
War in Ukraine / NATO
The Telegraph and Reuters are among the outlets covering written comments from Russia’s Vladimir Putin that nuclear war “should never be unleashed.” Putin’s letter on Monday came as the 10th review conference of the NPT got underway. “We proceed from the fact that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed, and we stand for equal and indivisible security for all members of the world community,” Putin said. He added that Russia had “consistently” remained faithful to the NPT “letter and spirit.” It marks a change in tone from the Kremlin leader whose administration made several threats and references to nuclear war in the first months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a letter of his very own, US President Joe Biden also addressed the NPT conference proposing a new arms treaty with Russia. “My Administration is ready to expeditiously negotiate a new arms control framework to replace New START when it expires in 2026,” Biden said of the agreement which caps the number of nuclear warheads that can be deployed. “But negotiation requires a willing partner operating in good faith…Russia should demonstrate that it is ready to resume work on nuclear arms control with the United States,” he added.
However, Biden’s call for new arms talks was dismissed by former Russian president and Putin ally, Dimitri Medvedev, who labelled the sentiments as being “reluctantly spat out” by Biden. “The world is a different place,” Medvedev added in a post on his Telegram channel.
You can watch a press interview with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at the UN where he said the next 30 days were crucial: “This is a critical moment for the NPT. It’s a challenging one too because different parts of this regime are under challenge. And of course, we see that particularly in the area of nonproliferation when we have challenges being posed by Iran, by North Korea, and now in different ways, by Russia.” The top US diplomat also accused Russia of using Ukraine’s power plants “as a nuclear shield.”
Israel’s latest Prime Minister Yair Lapid indicated that there won’t be a change of policy regarding his country’s secret nuclear arsenal. Israel, along with nuclear weapons powers India and Pakistan, are one of the few states to have not signed up to the NPT. Lapid made the comments while speaking to the Israel Atomic Energy Commission on the country’s defensive and offensive capabilities, as well as what’s described as “other capabilities” – which is read as a reference to nuclear weapons. “These other capabilities keep us alive and will keep us alive as long as we and our children are here,” he said.
Iran Nuclear Deal
This story was accidentally cut from yesterday’s edition, where Iranian officials said they had responded to the EU’s proposed text on a renewed nuclear deal. It comes as the US slapped sanctions on several firms from the UAE and Hong Kong for facilitating Iranian oil sales.
UK Nuclear Energy
BBC Looks West covers the closure of Hinkley Point B – which stopped generating electricity on Monday at 10AM. Lots of coverage bigging up the plant for being such a good generator of electricity. Watch the report here. The Times wins headline of the day for its report of the shutoff – “It’s fission accomplished for Hinkley B.”