A world without nuclear weapons is a realistc vision, not a utopian dream

SI Council at the United Nations, New York, 21-22 June 2010

 

The ever more rapid proliferation of nuclear weapons, nuclear know-how and nuclear material over the past 15 years has taken us to a nuclear turning point. There is the very real possibility that the deadliest weapons ever invented may fall into dangerous hands.

In demanding a world without nuclear weapons we are part of a broad alliance. The appeal made by the elder statesmen Kissinger, Nunn, Perry and Shultz has triggered similar initiatives in many countries (including Australia, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway) and the launching of the Global Zero campaign. Non-governmental organizations in many countries have stepped up their activities once again. The presidents of Russia and the United States as well as the United Nations Security Council have pronounced themselves in favour of a world without nuclear weapons.

The Socialist International continues to do its utmost to support all the efforts and initiatives that have helped generate a new political momentum and made the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons more tangible.

  • We welcome the conclusion of the new START treaty on the verifiable reduction of strategic nuclear weapons. This is an important step forward enabling both the global nuclear powers to fulfil their obligations under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), thus contributing in a major way to its revitalisation.

  • We demand the immediate ratification of the new START treaty and negotiations between the USA and Russia at the earliest opportunity to initiate further steps towards nuclear disarmament.

  • We also welcome the USA’s Nuclear Posture Review. The clear message it has sent out is that in future nuclear weapons will not be used for warfare but only to avert nuclear attacks. This corrects President Bush’s untenable doctrine of 2002 that envisaged nuclear deterrence to counteract any serious threat to America.

  • We welcome the joint declaration issued by all the 189 States Party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the NPT review conference held in New York in May of this year. We regard this as a major compromise, which serves to emphasise that the ultimate objective of the complete abolition of all nuclear weapons is a binding target of the NPT (“All states shall pursue policies that are fully compatible with the objective of achieving a world without nuclear weapons”).

  • We strongly urge that an immediate start be made on the implementation of the agreed plan of action for further concrete steps towards the reduction and, ultimately, the elimination of all types of nuclear weapons, including tactical nuclear weapons.

  • We back the demand for the rapid entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in order to put a halt in international law to the development of new nuclear weapons and nuclear- weapons states.

  • We likewise advocate a revival of the Geneva Disarmament Conference and support the proposal to overcome the present stalemate, if necessary, by means of a high-level conference convened by the UN Secretary-General so as to finally implement the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).

  • We support the declaration on the implementation of the 1995 Review Conference resolution on the creation of a Middle East zone free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction. This not only transmits a clear disarmament signal to all the parties to the conflict, but also provides an opportunity to advance peace efforts in the region and prevent a nuclear arms race.

     

    There are further challenges we have to address.

  • The outcome of the consultations on NATO’s new strategic concept will be of great significance for the prospects of nuclear disarmament. The recommendations by the Group of Experts do not go far enough. We demand the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons from Europe. NATO’s US nuclear weapons no longer serve any purpose. They are a relic of the Cold War.

  • We demand a new arms control agreement on limitation and the setting up of a cooperative missile defence system incorporating Russia. This is urgently needed to prevent a new arms race in missile defence systems.

The past few weeks and months have shown that bold steps can be taken on the road to a world without nuclear weapons. Sixty-five years after the dropping of the atomic bombs there must be no repetition of the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We therefore appeal to the governments of the nuclear powers to make systematic progress in disarmament on the road towards a world free of nuclear weapons. Common security can only be achieved by disarmament and cooperation.

 

 

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