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Report of Dialog, 30. July 2018

Dialog between IPPNW and respresentative of French Presidency in Paris

Emmanuel Macron in July 2017, Wikipedia, CC BY 2.0

In the wake of our 18th June letter regarding the US decision to abandon the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear agreement, the office of the French Presidency received a delegation of three IPPNW representatives at Élysée Palace on Monday 30th July. His Excellency Etienne de Gonnevielle, strategic affairs councillor, condemned the US decision and shared IPPNW’s concerns about the humanitarian consequences that would result from the US reinstating sanctions upon Iran. He also revealed that President Macron’s government will continue adhering to the JCPOA alongside the European Union, UK, Russia and China and commented that the French government considers the Iran agreement to be a good model for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

His Excellency spoke about how President Macron is concerned that WE sanctions would adversely affect the sale of medical supplies and devices to Iran. The French government is thus trying to create a European consensus for “health exceptions” should the US extend its trade boycott to affect the importation of medicines from abroad.
 
Should the UK leave the EU, France would remain the bloc’s only nuclear-armed state. The implications of this possibly were discussed and it was made clear that France cannot be solely responsible for all of Europe’s security. It is hoped the UK will continue to play a role in this regard.
 
The French Presidency is also concerned about the emergence of new ideas around the concept of nuclear deterrence alongside the matter of vertical proliferation. Firstly, a new concept has emerged from the Pentagon advocating the creation of ‘mini-nukes’ for maximum deterrence. Secondly the French Presidency is concerned about the creation of a Russian nuclear missile, which could be exploded in the atmosphere for the purposes of disabling an adversary’s communication systems. The French government does not consider nuclear weapons to have any use beyond that of deterrence.
 
We discussed the lack of progress towards nuclear disarmament seen at the last NPT Review Conference. The French government feel that maybe although the NPT has thus failed to fulfil its purpose, it once day have a future ought to there be enough international support. Considering the current tension that exists between nuclear countries, the French government views the NWBT as “counter-productive” as it will primarily put pressure upon smaller nuclear weapons states whilst the USA, Russia and China will likely not sign the treaty.  However, this is the first time the French government has acknowledged the existence of such a treaty.
 
The IPPNW delegation reaffirmed its determination to work with ICAN in promoting further ratification of the NWBT treaty.
 
Finally, we were in agreement with the French Presidency that the increasing nuclear threat is of grave concern to all, noting that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists recently moved its Doomsday Clock to 2 minutes before midnight for the first time since 1953.
 
 
PS: S.E DE GONNEVILLE expects President Macron to provide an answer to the IPPNW letter.

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Animated Short Film about DU by ICBUW and PaxChristi

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