15 May 2007: for immediate release
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today reiterated its concern that the US risks kick-starting a new arms race on European soil by proceeding with the National Missile Defence programme.
After meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was quoted as saying “I don’t think anyone expects the United States to permit a veto on American security interests”, once again ignoring the potentially devastating knock-on consequences of US interceptor missiles based in Eastern Europe.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: “All countries need to look not only at their own immediate security concerns, but at the consequences of their actions. No one suggests Russia should hold a veto over US plans, but stationing missiles near to Russia’s borders is clearly seen as a provocative act and so unfortunately will lead to a response. Creating such a show-down risks taking us back to Cold War politics reminiscent of the Cuban Missile Crisis – one can only imagine the American response were a Russian version of ‘Missile Defence’ to be deployed near the US border.”
She continued “We hope that citizens in the Czech Republic and Poland, where the system is to be based won’t also be told US interests are supreme and cannot be vetoed by them. The Missile Defence system will provide the US with first-strike capabilities against any state in the world, without fear of retaliation and the locating of radar stations and interceptor missiles in Europe put the citizens of host countries at risk of attack – are these bases to be forced upon them regardless of the consequences?”
Majorities in both the Czech Republic and Poland oppose the plans. The latest poll, published in late April showed 68% opposition in the Czech Republic, with 77% wishing there to be a referendum on the issue.
In early May a conference of 150 activists representing 14 organisations (including CND) from 9 European countries met in Prague. The conference issued a declaration stating: “The realisation of the US plan will not lead to enhanced security. On the contrary – it will lead to new dangers and insecurities. Although it is described as ‘defensive’, in reality it will allow the United States to attack other countries without fear of retaliation. It will also put ‘host’ countries on the front line in future US wars.”
Notes to Editors:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. 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.