Organised by CND
1 February 2005: For immediate release
Peace campaigner and CND Vice-President Bruce Kent is making a national tour this February and March to draw attention to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference taking place in New York in May 2005. The tour, organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will be an opportunity to spread the word: “Abolish all nukes now”.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has since 1968 formed the basis for a near universal non-proliferation regime. Disarmament is at the heart of this Treaty. Whilst it is against proliferation, it equally requires disarmament of the nuclear weapons states. It is a deal between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states. The non-nuclear weapons states promise not to get nuclear weapons in exchange for disarmament by existing nuclear weapons states. States party to the Treaty are entitled to the development of nuclear power for peaceful purposes. At the 2000 Review Conference the nuclear weapons states made an ‘unequivocal undertaking’ towards nuclear disarmament and agreed on 13 steps towards disarmament.
Bruce Kent said,
“I believe that the Review Conference of the NPT due to take place in New York in May 2005 offers us all, another and possibly the last chance of getting rid of all nuclear weapons everywhere. The treaty is constantly being misrepresented as if it was only concerned with stopping other countries from obtaining nuclear weapons. In fact it lays down a clear obligation on the nuclear weapon powers to negotiate the abolition of their own. This obligation was clearly spelt out by the International Court of Justice in 1996. A detailed draft treaty, prepared by experts, which covers all the difficult issues of verification and inspection was lodged with the UN by Costa Rica in 1997.
I believe that the least ordinary citizens can do is to call on the government to take a lead in proposing the start of abolition negotiations at the May conference. We cannot expect non nuclear states to observe their part of the bargain treaty, while we ignore ours.”
Kate Hudson, Chair of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said,
“It is vital to the peace and security of the world that international law and treaties are upheld. The nuclear weapon states have made an ‘unequivocal undertaking’ towards nuclear disarmament. Yet the US is attempting to backtrack on this promise and use the treaty to embrace the idea that nuclear weapons should be part of a usable arsenal. We cannot allow the NPT to be manipulated in this way nor can we allow nuclear weapon states to wriggle out of their international treaty obligations.”
Bruce will be meeting Mayors and local dignitaries to ask them to support the Mayors for Peace initiative in time for the Non Proliferation Treaty conference in May. He will also be meeting members of the public to encourage them to sign up to the Abolition 2000 NPT petition: Time to get rid of all nuclear weapons everywhere.
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Notes to editor:
1. For further information please contact Ruth Tanner CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859.
2. Link to the full text of the Non-Proliferation Treaty: http://disarmament.un.org:8080/wmd/npt/npttext.html
3. The NPT
The Non Proliferation Treaty opened for signature in 1968, and entered into force in 1970. A total of 187 parties have joined the Treaty, including the five declared nuclear-weapon States (US, Russia, China, France, UK). More countries have ratified the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, a testament to the Treaty’s significance. At the 2000 NPT Review conference the UK and the four other declared nuclear weapons states signed a final document in which they gave an ‘unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals’, one of 13 agreed steps for the systematic and complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The US are attempting to undermine the move towards disarmament – https://www.cnduk.org/pages/campaign/kyodo.pdf
The UK & the NPT
The UK has made no progress towards disarmament in the past four years. Contrary to Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain’s promise in 2000 that ‘we are unequivocally committed to the pursuit of nuclear disarmament’ the UK’s record over the past four years has been sadly inadequate. Not only have we failed as yet to implement our NPT commitments, the UK is pursuing policies which may have the opposite effect.
In March 2002, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said that if British troops were threatened by chemical or biological weapons, the government reserved the right to use nuclear weapons.
4. CND says:
The government must comply with the articles of the NPT and follow the 13 agreed steps to nuclear disarmament. The government must abandon pre-emptive war as an alternative policy for disarmament. Stop any research and design work on a new generation of nuclear weapons at the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment. Make an unequivocal statement that it will not replace the Trident nuclear weapons system when its current service life runs out. Abolition Now Campaign.
5. Mayors for Peace
The purpose of Mayors for Peace is to target a tier of government that will reflect the anti-nuclear feeling of the people they represent. These leaders of local government are then in turn in a position to put pressure on national leaders to change their nuclear policy. It offers cities a way to transcend national borders and work together to press for nuclear abolition.
As of August 25, 2004, membership stood at 619 cities in 109 countries and regions. In the UK 26 Cities have Mayors for Peace including London, Belfast, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Leeds, and Oxford.