26 April 2004: for immediate use

The fourth and last Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2005 UN Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will take place in New York from 26th April to 7th May 2004. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will be sending a delegation to the conference led by Kate Hudson, Chair of CND, to call the British government to account for its record on nuclear disarmament.

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.

Kate Hudson, Chair of CND said:

“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.

But 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.

To 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 and make an unequivocal statement that it will not replace the Trident nuclear weapons system when its current service life runs out.”

Professor Robert O’Neill, until recently Co-Director of the All Souls Foreign Policy Studies Programme, University of Oxford, said:

“Essentially there are three options; to maintain nuclear weapons at their current level of salience; to marginalisethem; or to eliminate them. Both the first and second options carry with them risks of accidental detonation, blackmail and terrorism which cannot be deterred. Whatever the difficulties, elimination of nuclear weapons is now the only path to a more secure future”


Notes to editor:

1. For further information please contact Ruth Tanner CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859.

2. Professor Robert O’Neill, gave evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee into Weapons of Mass Destruction and was until recently the Chichele Professor of History of War and Co-Director of the All Souls Foreign Policy Studies Programme, University of Oxford.

3. Events at the meeting
-29 April – 1.15 – 3pm – CND panel discussion on Vertical Proliferation – The Dangers of the Development of New Nuclear Weapons.
-Kate Hudson to speak at the Mayday Disarm rally, 1 May 1pm at the Bryant Park, 42nd St / 5th Avenue, New York.