NATO diplomats and experts meet in Riga to discuss NATO’s nuclear deterrence

  • 05 Sep. 2019 -
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  • Last updated: 06 Sep. 2019 14:00

Senior diplomats, policy experts, academics and NATO officials are meeting in Riga on Thursday (5 September 2019) to discuss NATO’s nuclear deterrence and defence at a time when Russia’s destabilising actions and military build-up are undermining security in Europe.

NATO’s annual Nuclear Policy Symposium – the alliance’s main nuclear policy event – focusses on a wide range of topics associated with nuclear defence, including ways to bolster the Alliance’s deterrence and defence posture, further arms control objectives and identify priorities for adapting NATO’s nuclear policy.

“This symposium takes place at a challenging time” said Jessica Cox, NATO’s Director of Nuclear Policy, who chairs the two-day event. “We face a complex world where evolving capabilities across domains combine with increasing nuclear threats to challenge nuclear deterrence.   A month ago, we saw the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty due to Russia’s development and deployment of the SSC-8 missile system, which is nuclear-capable, mobile, hard to detect, and lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. Russia has also increased its nuclear exercises and rhetoric.  We must adapt to this new security environment.” She added that these developments not only pose a challenge to Alliance security, but also to future arms control and disarmament efforts.

Held annually since 1992, it is the first time Latvia has hosted NATO’s nuclear symposium. Topping the agenda will be Russia’s nuclear strategy, emerging technologies, and the future of arms control. Participants will also consider how to continue to take forward the commitments to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ahead of the 2020 Review Conference.

NATO is committed to creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons and since the end of the Cold War the number nuclear weapons available to NATO in Europe has been reduced by around 90 percent. At the same time, the Alliance has made clear that NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance as long as nuclear weapons exist. Following changes in the security environment, NATO has taken steps to ensure its nuclear deterrent capabilities remain safe, secure, and effective.