Mr. President,

Thank you for convening this meeting. We also thank the Under-Secretary General, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, for her presentation.

Switzerland notes with concern the announcement by Russia that it intends to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus. Such statements are troubling, especially when they come from a party to an international armed conflict, and concretely from Russia during its military aggression against Ukraine.

If Russia were to establish a nuclear sharing system, this would contradict its repeated condemnations of this practice, including during the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The announcement also raises questions about the commitments made in the context of the NPT, notably to implement measures leading to nuclear disarmament, including the reduction and elimination of such weapons. All nuclear-weapon States are required to advance disarmament and reduce nuclear risks. Furthermore, we also call on Belarus to show responsibility and refrain from hosting these weapons on its territory.

Any use of nuclear weapons would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences and risk uncontrolled escalation. Whether intentionally, through miscalculation, misunderstanding or accident, any such escalation must be avoided. Switzerland calls on all States with nuclear weapons to reduce their role in military and security doctrines. We condemn any kind of nuclear threats made by Russia in the context of its military aggression against Ukraine. We all have a shared responsibility to preserve the NPT as the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, which is fundamental to achieving a world free of such weapons.

Mr. President,

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate Switzerland's concern about the continued erosion of the nuclear arms control system. We are worried about Russia's decision to suspend its participation in New START. We now note the announcement by the United States to limit notifications on their side. Switzerland calls on the parties to redouble their efforts to conclude a new agreement before the expiry of this last bilateral nuclear weapons treaty in 2026.

We call on all States to work towards nuclear disarmament as well as the reduction of the risks associated with nuclear weapons, and to reaffirm and strengthen the role and responsibility of this Council. In this context, we recall the Joint Statement of the permanent members of the Council in early 2022 that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

I thank you.