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Sarkozy Letter to Ban Ki Moon on Nuke Weapons

Published 10 December 2008

Unofficial translation by Dr Peter Low (New Zealand Senior French lecturer)

From the President of France, on behalf of the EU,
to his Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General
5 December 2008

Monsieur le Secrétaire général,

The United Nations has an important role to play in the debate on disarmament.

Europe wishes to participate fully in this. That is why I wish to draw your attention to the propositions that the European Union has
recently presented to the UN.

As I said on 23 September this year to the General Assembly, Europe wishes to act for peace. This is true whether the question is the struggle against terrorism, the struggle against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their vectors, or the management of

It is true also when the issue is disarmament, notably nuclear disarmament. Europe is particularly concerned, since two member states have nuclear weapons.

Europe has already done much for disarmament. Aware that her security benefits also from pursuing global disarmament efforts, Europe is ready to do more; our ambition bears on all dimensions of disarmament, because we are convinced of the need to work for general disarmament.

In this area as in the others, Europe wishes to act under the guidance of an overall political and strategic perspective.

The international non-proliferation system will mark a major date in 2010 with the holding of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. We must seize this chance to move towards a safer world, and find the ability to fulfil all the objectives of the NPT, be it in non-proliferation, disarmament or access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

In the matter of disarmament, Europe has this year wished to propose a clear direction, by presenting at the General Assembly some concrete and realistic initiatives:

- the universal ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the completion of its verification regime, as well as the dismantling as soon as possible of all nuclear testing facilities in a way which is transparent and open to the international community.

- the opening without delays or preconditions of negotiations for a treaty to ban the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons, and to establish an immediate moratorium on the productions of these materials;

- the establishment of measures of confidence and transparency by the nuclear powers;

- further progress in the current discussions between the USA and Russia on the developing a legally binding arrangement post-START, as well as an overall reduction in the world stock of nuclear weapons in conformity with Article VI of the NPT, in particular by the states
that possess the largest arsenals;

- the taking into account of tactical nuclear weapons, by the states that possess them, in the overall processes of arms control and disarmament, with a view to their reduction and elimination;

- the opening of consultation to ban ground-to-ground missiles of short and intermediate range;

- the adhesion by all to the Hague Code of Conduct, and its implementation;

- beyond that, a mobilisation in all the other areas of disarmament.

To advance on the road to disarmament implies that the will to progress be shared unanimously. Non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control, along with confidence, transparency and reciprocity, constitute elements indispensable to collective security.

I hope that the international community will join the European Union to support and implement this action plan; it is an ambitious programme and it really has the potential to carry us forward on the disarmament path.

Europe counts on your support. I therefore express the wish that you should pass on to the international community, particularly within the UN, this initiative aimed at making a safer world.

Please accept, Monsieur le Secrétaire général, my very respectful greetings.


Président de la République