The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament warmly welcomed the reported scrapping of US plans to build Missile Defence bases in the Czech Republic and Poland, as detailed by the Wall Street Journal. The highly destabilising plans had been opposed by majorities in both those countries, as well as by Russia which was considering its own arms build-up in response, creating a ‘new Cold War’ in Europe. This highly significant change opens the way for major advances in related areas, such as the cuts to nuclear warhead numbers that President Obama wishes to see.
The UK government supported the Bush-era plans but the rethink by the Obama administration must leave open to doubt whether two military bases in North Yorkshire will still form part of the remaining system.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “We strongly welcome this rethink. The Missile Defence plans were an unnecessary and destabilising provocation to Russia which threatened to plunge Europe back in to a new Cold War. Whereas both the US and Russia were previously threatening to deploy more missiles on the continent, we hope this decision will open the way to negotiating major cutbacks.NATO
“With Obama and Medvedev due to meet at the UN next week we urge both sides to set bold targets for reducing their arsenals, which still have the power to destroy all life on earth several times over. Missile Defence has been the key stumbling block in the path of negotiations so we really hope the detail of the revised US plan raises no further problems – specifically, that plans to deploy US short-range Patriot anti-missile batteries to Poland are also scrapped.
“Our government should build on President Obama’s example of cancelling unnecessary and costly weapons programmes, ending participation in Missile Defence and scrapping the £76bn Trident replacement. Both Missile Defence and renewed nuclear weapons systems actually contribute to bringing about the situations they are supposed to prevent. By providing leadership in nuclear disarmament by scrapping Trident, Britain could spur on drives towards the global abolition of nukes – replacing it only lets other countries claim that likewise, they need nuclear weapons for their own security.”
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For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, CND’s Press Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.