International Luxembourg Forum Supervisory Board meeting. Geneva, December 4-5, 2019

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Members of the Supervisory Board of the International Luxembourg Forum discussed the most important issues related to strategic stability and the crisis in arms control and nuclear non-proliferation.

(GENEVA, December 4, 2019) The Supervisory Board of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe held a meeting in Geneva, bringing together the world’s leading experts and researchers in nuclear security, arms reduction and nuclear non-proliferation to discuss the most critical and pressing issues in international nuclear security.

Members of the Luxembourg Forum Supervisory Board analyzed the status of arms control and non-proliferation efforts, the impact of the current crisis on preserving global strategic stability, and ways to prevent an arms race in the absence of the INF Treaty and maintain control over strategic weapons after 2021. The experts also presented their vision on how to emerge from this crisis, including the renewal of the New START Treaty.

“Today, the threat of a nuclear catastrophe is even greater than during the Cold War,” President of the Luxembourg Forum Viatcheslav Kantor said. “This threat is not that nuclear weapons will be used deliberately, but rather that blundering into a nuclear war is possible due to a human mistake, system error, misunderstanding or miscalculation. The risk is even higher because of new cyber technologies. The degradation of strategic stability in combination with the erosion of key arms control treaties is happening in parallel with building crises and wars across the globe, which may result in uncontrolled escalation”.

At the Luxembourg Forum’s conference in Rome, it was noted that according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which publishes their assessment of the likelihood of nuclear conflict using the symbol of an allegorical Doomsday Clock, this clock is set at two minutes to midnight (where midnight represents nuclear catastrophe) for the first time since 1954.

“It goes without saying that the relationship of extreme distrust between the West and Russia could affect the potential for solving the issues under discussion in the most negative way. It is advisable to keep repeating the recommendation to avoid large-scale military exercises and the accumulation of weapons and military equipment at the borders as one of the steps to ease the tensions. The cultivation of remaining contacts between military and diplomatic bodies may contribute to this end,” added Viatcheslav Kantor.

Based on the outcome of the meeting, the Supervisory Board will issue a final declaration containing key conclusions and recommendations on reinforcing the nuclear non-proliferation regime and strengthening international nuclear security measures, which then will be circulated to heads of state, other government officials, and heads of leading international organizations.

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The International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe was established pursuant to a resolution of the International Conference on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe held in Luxembourg on May 24 and 25, 2007. It is one of the major non-governmental organizations bringing together leading international experts on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, arms reduction and limitation.

 The Forum’s priorities are:

  • To facilitate the process of arms limitation and reduction and to counteract growing threats to the nuclear non-proliferation regime and erosion of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), including the escalating danger of nuclear terrorism and attempts by certain states to gain access to nuclear materials and technologies
  • To promote international peace and security through new approaches and to provide decision-makers with practical solutions to critical issues of non-proliferation and arms control.

In 2017, the Luxembourg Forum celebrated its 10th anniversary. Over 10 years, the Luxembourg Forum has held nearly thirty conferences, seminars and workshops in Moscow, Washington D.C., Luxembourg, Berlin, Rome, Vienna, Paris, Prague, Geneva, Brussels, Warsaw, Stockholm, and other cities.

Based on the results of each event, the experts prepare declarations listing specific proposals and recommendations on ways to resolve critical situations. These declarations are distributed to the heads of leading states, the UN, the IAEA and other international organizations that show their interest in the Forum’s findings and provide regular feedback. The members of the Forum’s Supervisory Board provide annual assessments of its performance and set urgent goals for further analysis.