6 February 2004: for immediate use

CND today drew attention to further evidence of our government’s appalling nuclear hypocrisy. Jack Straw’s statement in Delhi that Pakistan’s nuclear threat is different to that of Iraq’s shows yet again the government’s selective approach to non-proliferation. CND condemns all nuclear proliferation, and finds it absolutely unacceptable that the government can pick and choose who may or may not be allowed to proliferate. Iraq was attacked on the basis of mere suspicion of possession of weapons of mass destruction – a baseless accusation as it has turned out – whereas other countries may possess nuclear weapons and pass on nuclear information with impunity. One is forced to conclude that governments sympathetic to the US are treated more leniently than those who are perceived to be hostile. This is demonstrated not only by the recent events in Pakistan but also by the failure to condemn Israel for its non-compliance with UN resolution 687 calling for a nuclear weapons free Middle East.

CND welcomes the Foreign Secretary’s announcement that nations that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) must observe their obligations. Sadly, however, Mr Straw’s statement merely serves to underline Britain’s greatest nuclear hypocrisy: that we are not complying with our own obligations under the NPT ‘to accomplish the total elimination’ of their nuclear arsenal and commit themselves to the programme of 13 practical steps to achieve this goal. CND also expresses concern that recent developments at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston might mean that Britain is engaging in its own proliferation by planning to develop new nuclear weapons.

CND Chair Kate Hudson said:

“It is the height of hypocrisy for the government to ignore the proliferation in Pakistan, having only recently launched an illegal and immoral war against Iraq over similar issues. Have the US and the UK suddenly become the nuclear police force able to decide amongst themselves who can and who can’t possess these destructive weapons?”

“We can only welcome the Foreign Secretary’s statement that signatories to the non-proliferation treaty must observe their obligations – but we sincerely hope that this means the UK will lead the way – not only by abolishing its Trident Nuclear Weapons system, but also by making a firm commitment that it will not develop new nuclear weapons at Aldermaston.” Ms Hudson concluded.



Notes to Editor

1) Comment and interview from CND on the war on Iraq, the demands for a full inquiry and related issues can be arranged. Contact the Press Office on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859

2) CND was one of three organisations leading the recent anti-war movement, alongside the Stop the War Coalition and Muslim Association of Britain. It is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK.