The US, UK, Russia, France, and China have adopted a joint statement on Monday aimed at preventing a nuclear war and the spread of atomic weapons ahead of a review of a key nuclear treaty later this year.
The five global nuclear powers, who are all permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, known as the P5, published the document on their government websites.
The statement underlines the fact that there would be "no winners in a nuclear war" and such a conflict should never be fought, or, as the **Russian-language version **puts it, "should never be started".
The signatories all insisted on the exclusively defensive nature of their nuclear arsenals and reaffirmed their decision to work with all countries to create an atmosphere of security.
"As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war. We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented," the statement issued by the White House read.
The Russian Foreign Ministry further added that the statement was made at the initiative of Moscow for the Conference on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which was supposed to start this week but was postponed due to the worsening coronavirus situation.
The five countries are recognised under the treaty as nuclear-weapon states but must work to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament and must not transfer any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices to others.
"We underline our desire to work with all states to create a security environment more conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all," the joint statement added.
Moscow emphasised that the five nuclear powers stand against any war between themselves and hopes the pledge will help reduce international tension, but added that a summit of permanent UN Security Council members remains necessary.
Beijing called this statement "a contribution to building mutual trust" and described it as "a step on the path from confrontation" between major powers to "interaction and cooperation".
Meanwhile, France also released the statement, underscoring that the five powers reiterated their determination for nuclear arms control and disarmament, but "would continue bilateral and multilateral approaches to nuclear arms control," it said.
The joint statement comes as talks have started in Vienna to bring parties back to the JCPOA — also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal — after the US withdrew from the agreement in 2018.
The deal's goal is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), cited environmentalist Greta Thunberg, calling the P5 statement mere "blah, blah, blah".
"They write this 'nice' statement but doing exactly the opposite in reality. They’re in a nuclear arms race, expanding nuclear arsenals, spending billions on modernising, and constantly prepared to start a nuclear war," Fihn tweeted.