Friday, 26 October 2018

British bad faith over nuclear disarmament reaches half century

CND general secretary Dr Kate Hudson gave an accurate potted history of the opposition to siting in the UK of US intermediate range nuclear weapons [INF] (“Nuclear escalation must be resisted,” Guardian, letter, 25 October)

This followed your foreign affairs commentator, Simon Tisdall, making the interesting proposal in his article on the decision by President Trump to withdraw from the INF treaty (“A nuclear threat worse than the cold war: now it’s a possibility,” 24 October 2018;  that now is the time for the UK and France to unilaterally give up their nuclear weapons “pour encourager les autres” such as Israel, India and Pakistan to do the same.

Unfortunately, the UK government seem to think the opposite, and back Trump in dumping the INF treaty.

But there is a chink of light on the horizon: in responding to an ‘urgent question’ on the US decision on INF in Parliament on Thursday, foreign office minister Mark Field said:

“It is important to recognise that the US has not yet withdrawn from this treaty. While the treaty remains in force, we shall continue to support it, and in particular to press Russia to return to full and verifiable compliance. Indeed, it is worth noting .. that Presidents Trump and Putin plan to meet in France next month—on Remembrance Sunday—to discuss this further…. It is very much the policy to reduce the number of nuclear weapons. We shall continue to work with all partners across the international community to prevent proliferation and to make progress on multilateral nuclear disarmament.” (Hansard, 25 October;

Mr Field then told Conservative MP Jeremy Lefroy that “I reassure my hon. Friend that a lot of work [ on nuclear disarmament] does go on,” but failed to give any details

The UK has an international legal pledge to enter “in good faith” into multilateral negotiations towards nuclear disarmament  “at an early date “ since July 1968, when it signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.

Yet the UK has not once in 50 years entered any of its nuclear weapons into  multilateral  nuclear negotiations! That demonstrates very bad faith indeed.

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