Thursday, 6 August 2015

117 countries back ban on nuclear weapons

Letter sent to The Guardian on 6 August:
Your leader on Hiroshima Commemoration Day “Today, the atomic bomb haunts a our world as much as ever” (6 August) was accurate in its sentiment, but included several inaccuracies in its argument.(
You assert that “there is no more of a global consensus in favour of the elimination of nuclear weapons today…”

However, in London in February this year, the Foreign Office hosted a high-level meeting of the nuclear weapons policy chiefs of the five nuclear weapons powers that comprise the permanent five  (P5) members of the US Security Council – UK, US, Russia, France and China- to discuss steps towards nuclear disarmament, and their collective final statement included the following:

“In reaffirming their commitment towards achieving a world without nuclear weapons in accordance with the goals of the NPT, the P5 reflected on the contribution that the P5 Process has made in developing the mutual confidence and transparency among the P5 that is essential to make progress towards multilateral nuclear disarmament…The P5 reaffirmed that a step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament that promotes international stability, peace and undiminished and increased security for all remains the only realistic and practical route to achieving a world without nuclear weapons.”

(Joint statement from the Nuclear-Weapon States at the London P5 Conference, 6 February 2015,

Moreover, at the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review conference in New York in May, 112 countries signed the pledge to support a treaty banning nuclear weapons altogether.

Secondly, you assert that international treaties like “the treaty aiming to end fissile material production have met with only limited success.”

This is true, but only because there is as yet no such treaty!

 In a 27 September 1993 speech before the UN, President Clinton called for a multilateral convention banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear explosives or outside international safeguards. In December 1993 the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 48/75L calling for the negotiation of a "non-discriminatory, multilateral and international effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."

Subsequently, the Geneva based Conference on Disarmament(CD) on 23 March 1995 agreed to establish a committee to negotiate "a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.".

The problem is no substantive negotiations have yet taken place.

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