Thursday, 22 February 2018
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Disarmament - Weapons of Mass Destruction

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical and biological weapons) and their technology, is today one of the most severe threats to international peace and security.

The use of weapons of mass destruction goes against everything that international law and, more particularly, humanitarian law stands for.

Firm in its views on non-proliferation, Greece supports the globalisation of all the treaties that concern the restriction or banning of weapons of mass destruction, which is also the official common position of the European Union. In this context, our country has signed and ratified, without exception, all International Agreements on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD): the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC).

We support the need to resolve the longstanding impasse in the negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), so that oversight of nuclear arms (production, tests, proliferation) can be made comprehensive in terms of international law.

Greece is also a member of all the control regimes on the proliferation of WMD and the technology and materials used for their production. These regimes include: the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) on nuclear weapons, the MTCR (Missiles Technology Control Regime) on ballistic missiles, the Australian Group (AG) on chemical and biological weapons, the Wassenaar Arrangement on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technology, and the Zangger Committee (ZC) on trafficking in certain types of nuclear fuel.

Given the real danger of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, our country has from the outset been an ardent supporter of the creation of “denuclearised zones” in sensitive areas of the world. There are currently 7 regional nuclear-weapon-free zones – under the Treaties of Antarctica (1961); Tlatelolco (1969), for Latin America and the Caribbean; Rarotonga (1986), for the South Pacific; Bangkok (1997), for Southeast Asia; Mongolia (2000); Semei (2009), for Central Asia; and Pelindaba (2009), for Africa – of relatively small geopolitical significance, while the negotiations on the creation of the Denuclearised Zone of the Middle East – which, if and when created, will be of catalytic importance for nuclear disarmament – are still pending.

Conventional Weapons

The most important international agreement governing Conventional Weapons is the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), which is comprised of five protocols and prohibits the use of a) weapons with non-detectable fragments, b) mines, c) incendiary weapons, and d) blinding laser weapons. Greece has signed all of the Convention’s protocols and has already ratified four of the five, with the fifth in the process of being ratified.

Greece has also signed and ratified (2002) the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, and in 2010 completed the destruction of all recorded minefields on Greek territory, four years ahead of the contractual deadline.

Since 2001, Greece has followed and participated in the meetings of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, which are carried out every two years with the aim of promoting closer synergy between states on the combating of illicit trade in weapons via the strengthening of national legislation, as well as through inter-state and regional cooperation. 

From the outset, Greece supported the negotiation process on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is aimed at establishing a legally binding global treaty that will oversee the legal trade in the major categories of conventional weapons. The principal goal of a future, legally binding Arms Trade Treaty is the regulation of legal trade for the purpose of limiting illegal trafficking in conventional weapons.

The ATT went into effect on 24 December 2014 (90 days after the deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification), while preparations are under way for the first meeting of the state signatories to the Treaty – to take place in Mexico – the setting up of the Treaty secretariat, and the appointment of the director of the
secretariat. As of June 2013, Greece has signed the Treaty and begun the ratification process, which requires, initially, the signature of the co-competent Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Civil Protection, Justice, and Finance.

Last Updated Thursday, 28 May 2015