Missed Opportunity At UN Nuke Weapons Meeting

April 22, 2002

Missed Opportunity At UN Nuke Weapons Meeting

Friends Of The Earth Australia
People For Nuclear Disarmament Nsw
Trade Union Green Caucus

The preparatory committee of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty concluded its meeting of April8-19 at the United Nations this week having made virtually no progress toward the elimination of nuclear weapons, in spite of the clear desire of the overwhelming majority of nations all over the world to do so.

This occurs against a background in which major concerns have been expressed over the possibility of terrorists gaining access to nuclear warheads, in which nuclear- armed India and Pakistan stand poised to engage in a conflict which should it turn nuclear would create up to more than a hundred million casualties.

It takes place as the US has released details of a nuclear posture review that fly in the face of the detailed recommendations of the last Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review of May 2000.

It takes place in the context of a middle east that is set to explode, with a nuclear-armed Israel thumbing its nose at the whole world in a mood of paranoid defiance.

It takes place in a world in which at the NPT prepcom itself, representatives of country after country called for more action to be taken to fulfill the intent of the final declaration of the last NPT Review conference, which had called for the 'total and unequivocal elimination' of the worlds nuclear arsenals.

It takes place as the US is turning its back on those vital international commitments.

According to Australian anti nuclear weapons groups, "The Australian government should take a higher profile and do more in ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Australia should have taken the opportunity to tell the US very firmly indeed of our deep concern over its nuclear policies. It must tell the US, that it must take account of the opinions of the entire rest of the world and not base its strategic policies on the long-term retention of nuclear weapons. Australia must take a consistently constructive role itself at meetings such as this one, and should urge its allies to do likewise, even at some short term cost to itself.

In the long run what is at stake is the future of the whole world, and the world cannot afford too many more missed opportunities such as this one."

For further information contact:

John Hallam
Ph: (02) 9567 7533

Natalie Stevens
Mob: 0414 336 800

Jacob Grech
Mob: 0402 246 491