1. What diplomatic tools have proven most effective in creating a dialogue with nations with nuclear programs?
• I must start recognizing that peace and security concerns are at the top of the global agenda, even though the tensions of the cold war finished more than a decade ago and the number of deployed nuclear weapons has decreased. Today’s planet faces three interrelated challenges to our security as the Worldwatch Institute recently stated in its publication “State of the World”. Those are: 1. The challenge of security, including the risks associated with weapons of mass destruction and terrorism; 2. The challenge of poverty and underdevelopment; and 3. The challenge of environmental sustainability.
• Therefore, the 28,000 nuclear weapons held by 8 states around the world are a definitive issue to be solved in the quest for peace and security. However, those weapons should not be our only concern. We should also look at the deeper roots of insecurity and the common feeling of vulnerability. Poverty, inequality, hunger and environmental sustainability are key matters to address. Those are problems shared by all nations in the world. To solve them in an effective manner, it is a pending task that has to be fulfilled by developed and developing countries without diction and in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals established by the United Nations.
• In this regard, the UN Secretary General, Koffi Annan, has correctly pointed out: “I think we need a clear global understanding of the threats and challenges that we all have to face, because to neglect any one of them might fatally undermine our efforts to confront others”.
• Anyhow, I believe that a sincere political dialogue, together with the compromise to respect and obey an international regime and its legal arrangements, have been the core diplomatic tools to reduce the risks arising from nuclear weapon’s programs. International experiences demonstrate this fact. For instance, after the signing of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968, today’s world has fewer nuclear weapons and fewer national programs to develop those artifacts. The United States and Russia have taken positive steps in that direction. India and Pakistan have joined the “nuclear club”. Furthermore, Libya dismantled its clandestine nuclear weapons capabilities.
2. What new approaches to dialogue with and/or international pressure on nations with nuclear weapons should be considered?
• I hope that political dialogue and universal compliance with international treaties and agreements will continue being key factors to promote the eradication of nuclear weapons, and will accelerate nonproliferation efforts to establish threat reduction programs.
• Confidence and transparency are the ground for these political dialogues and accords, and a condition for a long lasting peace. However, we must start moving simultaneously to strengthen and deepen the multilateral framework, under the principle of shared responsibility and respect for the international law.
• I think that multilateralism matters and it should be preserved at all times. This is a necessity as well as an opportunity to construct the future of a civilization which intrinsically has common values. This is an equation in which we all contribute and all win, in which worldwide stability prevails and in which we preserve our collective security.
• In this context, international pressure in the form of sanctions or political and economic restrictions should be imposed upon those actors that do not comply with the rules of the game and emerge as sources of global insecurity. In other words, I believe that sanctions and restrictions should be imposed within a multilateral framework, but not in a bilateral exercise of power. The latter could be as dangerous and harmful as the threat we are fighting against. Real security cannot be provided on a purely national and unilateral basis.
• Furthermore, a new approach based on policies of “preventive engagement” has to be carefully examined. We can prevent and anticipate those threats, yet it requires political willingness to face them and to search for solutions of compromise.
• For this reason, at the preset time we needed to provide some countries with large-scale assistance to safeguard their warheads against theft, to dismantle surplus stocks, to prevent the loss of fissile material from nuclear power industry or its diversion for weapons purposes, and to stop the expansion of the production of plutonium and enriched uranium.
• In synthesis, a renovated approach to achieve global security should be based on the strengthening of multilateralism to promote disarmament and non proliferation of nuclear weapons, and to resolve conflicts before they violently erupt. It will bring a renovated continuity to the international regime on nuclear weapons.
3. What procedures or regimes have proven most effective in lowering the chances of a nuclear incident among existing nuclear powers?
• Although some still consider that “nuclear weapons provide credible military options to deter a wide range of threats”, today we must accept that weapons of mass destruction do not provide an integral security to any single state. On the contrary, its destructive power has no counter defense and its effects are incontrollable and irreparable. This acknowledgement is the starting point, as a basic principle, to decreasing the chances of a nuclear incident among existing nuclear possessors.
• The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has made a significant contribution to the world security. Yet, I believe that the global powers have to make an effort to advance in fulfilling their international commitments towards disarmament and limiting the spread of weapons. They have to give a clear indication of a serious movement in this direction, to offer real incentives to other nations to advance in this matter, and to make the international regime more efficient.
4. What procedures or regimens have proven most effective in controlling biological and chemical weapons?
• In controlling biological and chemical weapons, we observe a dual and opposed panorama. On the one hand, there is greater ambiguity and uncertainty in combating biological weapons, even though an international convention outlaws such arsenals. On the other hand, the disarmament in the field of chemical weapons has shown positive advances through the establishment and implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based in The Hague.
• In the course of the last five years, 168 States Parties have joined the OPCW, with the ultimate goal of universal adherence. This international organization has made enormous progress in the implementation of the Convention through declaring, securing and destroying stockpiles, preventing proliferation, promoting peaceful uses of chemistry and providing assistance and protection against the threat or use of chemical weapons.
• In short, the OPCW is effectively contributing to achieve the vision of a world free of chemical weapons, and a world in which cooperation in the peaceful uses of chemistry is fostered. Nevertheless, it has to advance further in the fields of destruction and non proliferation.
5. What procedures and regimes have proven most effective limiting access of terrorist to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and the raw materials to make them?
• The tragic attacks of the 11 of September have revealed that we do not longer live in a safer world as we used to believe. Terrorism and the possible use of weapons of mass destruction against civil population is a real threat that we confront and we must defeat it. The fight against terrorism is not the clash of civilizations; it is a fight against the threats that have the power to annihilate a global civilization.
• Terrorism can erupt anywhere in the world, from state and non state actors. It is a phenomenon that is not purely military and it will not disappear as long as the roots of extremist violence are not resolved.
• Therefore, we have to double our efforts to limit the access of terrorists to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and the raw materials to make them. At national level, states should maintain strict standards and mechanisms for securing all weapons of mass destruction and their raw materials. At international level, we must continue developing and implementing strict controls and we must limit the access to technology, materials, and know-how. Moreover, we must continue fostering cooperation based on a strict compliance of international norms.
6. What new threats may emerge to make weapons of mass destruction even more of a concern to the world?
• We should be aware that there is always the risk that new developments and technologies could be diverted into weapon programs or fall into the terrorist hands.
• Technological developments have created new materials and knowledge that increases the risk and intensity of an attack with weapons of mass destruction. For instance, the development of unscheduled toxic chemicals that can be easily obtained by terrorist groups is causing a global concern given their harmful effects.
• Therefore, we need to strengthen control regimes and law enforcement around the world to prevent the misuse of new technologies.
7. What role can former heads of state and government play in aiding efforts to curb nuclear, biological and chemical weapons?
• I believe that former heads of state and government have a pivotal role in contributing to the peace and security of the twenty-first century. In fact, we should think about answers to the new global threats in a holistic perspective and not from a cold war’s point of view. We should think not only in answers that are related to diplomatic skills or military power, but also in alternative and comprehensive answers that tackle the roots of insecurity.
• Our strength as global leaders is based on the power of ideas and the political view of the emerging future that we have to imagine. For this reason, I consider that we could institutionalize a yearly summit of world leaders, composed by former heads of state and government, which after a debate and exchange of ideas suggests publicly to governments and the international community new approaches to deal with and fight against those new global risks.
8. What role can NGOs and individuals play?
• Anyone is welcome to participate in the search of solutions for achieving peace and security, respecting naturally the legal framework and sovereignty of every government.
• NGOs, academia, and individuals should continue making constructive contributions in this field. This perspective recognizes a shared conception of security in which global vulnerabilities and challenges to security are linked and demand joint solutions.
• In this context, some political analysts have considered the world’s public opinion a “second superpower” that uses a combination of diplomacy and persuasion to achieve its goals. I believe that they are right and we should be open to new initiatives and the participation of new actors in the changing global scenarios, since we share a common goal.
• The future is in our hands. We are masters of our destinies and, at the same time, we are responsible for international peace and security. The future should be as we imagine it: a world without weapons of mass destruction.