CND’s Sara Medi Jones reports from Day 3 at the UN’s nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York.
An early morning briefing from UK Ambassador Matthew Rowland was the first meeting of the day yesterday. CND challenged the UK government’s commitment to disarmament and the fact that they’re already spending billions on a new nuclear weapon system even though the final decision is yet to be taken by the Parliament.
Ambition tempered by realism?
Ambassador Rowland made it clear that the UK’s approach is based on ‘ambition tempered with realism’. In that vein, he stated that a huge step forward is not expected at this conference. Again, we heard that disarmament is conditional on the security situation. One wonders what the security situation would need to be like for nuclear disarmament to be properly considered by the British government.
CND was disappointed at the Ambassador’s attempt to downplay the current discussions on Trident replacement taking place in the UK. He may disagree, but polls show evidence of the British public and parliamentary candidates from across the parties being against Britain going ahead with a new nuclear weapons system.
‘What Happened That Day’
We were glad to hear Ambassador Rowland pledge to visit Hiroshima. We also hope that he gets the opportunity to watch a new short film on the effect of the Hiroshima bomb which is being shown for the first time at this conference. CND went to a special screening of ‘What Happened that Day’ with the Japanese Ambassador.
The film sought to portray the town before the bomb hit, so that viewers can better imagine how people’s lives were shattered. To say the viewing was moving is an understatement, with the film-maker himself (a survivor of the bomb) unable to hold back the tears.
I can see light but I’m not sure where it’s coming from…”
To be reminded of the effect of the nuclear bomb makes the lack of progress we sense on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) this time round even more frustrating. In a bizarre incident earlier in the week, the CND delegation found itself lost in a UN outbuilding with the French delegation. One of the delegation commented, ‘This feels like the negotiations themselves – I can see light but I’m not sure where it’s coming from’. As the states’ opening statements come to an end, it’s quite evident that some light is desperately needed from somewhere.