The Federal Council of Switzerland has said that it is considering whether it should join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (‘TPNW’), which ‘prohibits States Parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.’
The Council said that it reached the decision on 3 April ‘when it reviewed the TPNW in light of current foreign policy and security developments, as well as the Federal Assembly’s adoption of a motion calling for the rapid signature and ratification of the treaty,’ and while it has determined that Switzerland should not join the treaty at this stage, it had decided to ‘speed up the re-evaluation process.’
It said that Switzerland remains committed to nuclear disarmament, ‘and that is irrespective of its stance towards the TPNW.’
‘It shares the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and aims to act as a bridge-builder, working with all countries on practical ways to achieve this objective. The Federal Council also reaffirms Switzerland’s position that it is difficult to imagine how the use of nuclear weapons could be consistent with the requirements of international law and, in particular, international humanitarian law,’ it said, adding that in reaching its decision, which it aims to make by the end of 2020, ‘due consideration must be given to key developments such as the recent withdrawal by the United States and the Russian Federation from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).’
To date, the TPNW has been ratified by only 21 countries. It will enter into force on having been ratified by 50 countries.