On 6 March 2020 the leading Brazilian daily Folha de São Paulo published a front-page article [in Portuguese] based on an extensive interview with Pugwash President Sergio Duarte on the current security situation and the prospects for the forthcoming NPT Review Conference.
Ambassador Duarte said that “without doubt the world became more dangerous today than at any time since the start of the nuclear age”. The article mentions the lapse of the INF Treaty, the technological improvements on armaments and/or the increase in the arsenals by all nuclear-weapon states, the emphasis on low-yield weapons and innovative technologies, the lack of progress on the North Korean nuclear program and the disintegration of the JCPOA and other factors as posing major difficulties for consensus at the Review Conference.
“All nine possessors of nuclear weapons are increasing their arsenals or adding new destructive technologies, with missiles several times faster than the sound, use of cyber technologies, lasers, artificial intelligence and other innovations,” said Duarte. His assessment of the NPT is that the treaty was instrumental to help contain the number of countries that possess nuclear weapons and favors the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, but contains only vague promises in what regards nuclear disarmament. “The only clause in the Treaty dealing with disarmament did not produce satisfactory results”, he said. In his view, the international climate today, particularly with regard to the rivalry and hostility between the two most armed countries, is similar to the one prevailing in 2005, when he presided over the failed NPT Review Conference. “The least that can be said is that a positive result [of the Review Conference] is highly problematic”, he concluded.