Wednesday, 29 April 2015

UK nuclear disarmament obligations ignored by atomic advocates

Letter submitted to The Times on 29 April

I was interested to note the multiple signatories to the letter on “Defence of Britain (April 29), comprising former senior military, experienced politicians, along with retired civil servants who held defence and security responsibilities, contained no retired officials from the Foreign Office.(

There may be a good reason for this.
As the letter was being assembled, the biggest global conference addressing nuclear security and disarmament opened on Monday this week at the United Nations in New York. (
The190-member state Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), dating from 1968, and for which the UK, along with United States and Russia, is a depositary state, sets out at its article 6:
 “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament….”
Foreign Office minister, Baroness Anelay of St Johns, told the NPT conference plenary on Monday afternoon:
 “Let me be clear: the UK is here to negotiate in good faith, and we will continue to strive to build the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons. That is why we are making parallel progress on the building blocks for global nuclear disarmament.”
Yet your military-experienced letter signatories do not consider this eventuality, which is a legal obligation upon the UK Government. Rather they assert that nuclear disarmament steps should only be taken :
“if it can be proved that it does not compromise  minimum levels of nuclear deterrence.”
Perhaps the pro-Trident renewal advocates could explain why if nuclear weapons, at whatever level are essential for national defence, why the Governments of Germany, Italy, Spain Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria, and 180 or so others, do not agree, and remain determinedly non-nuclear?

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