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Kiwis Support UN Secretary-General on Nukes

Kiwis Support UN Secretary-General’s Renewed Call for Nuclear Abolition

Three Kiwi anti-nuclear campaigners are off to New York next month for what they believe could be a historic opportunity to set in motion preparations for a global treaty to abolish nuclear weapons.

Kate Dewes, Robert Green and Alyn Ware are attending the five-yearly Review Conference of States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – which includes nearly every country in the world.

Coming on the heels of US President Obama’s new nuclear policy released yesterday, his Nuclear Security Summit next week which Prime Minister John Key will attend, and a recent request by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to all parliaments in February to act in support of nuclear disarmament, the three New Zealanders believe that conditions are favourable to make a real break-through at the conference, to be held at the United Nations from 3-28 May.

Yesterday, Mr Ban announced at the former Soviet nuclear test site in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, that he will press all the nuclear weapon states at Obama’s Summit to scrap their nuclear arsenals. Dr Dewes, who is a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament, says: “This is further evidence of courageous leadership by Mr Ban.” In 2008 he urged countries to commence negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention – a treaty to abolish nuclear weapons globally – or a package of agreements that would achieve the same purpose. He has circulated a draft treaty, which was prepared by a group of non-governmental organizations led by Alyn Ware, as a guide to such negotiations.

“The UN Secretary-General’s nuclear disarmament plan is getting considerable support from around the world,” says Ware, who led a delegation of parliamentarians to meet with him in the UN last October to discuss the plan. “Already the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which represents 150 parliaments including most of those from the nuclear weapon states and their allies, has supported it. And like-minded governments have been meeting to discuss its implementation.”

“There are indications that governments could start a preparatory process of consultations about what a Nuclear Weapons Convention would entail,” says Ware, back in New Zealand for a couple of weeks following a series of NPT preparatory meetings with key governments overseas. “They could also expedite practical work on some of the elements such as verification.”

The continued adherence by the nuclear weapon states and their allies to the doctrine of nuclear deterrence remains a key obstacle to progress. However, Robert Green, a former British Navy Commander and bombardier-navigator in nuclear-armed aircraft, plans to launch his new book on more credible, effective and responsible alternative strategies to nuclear deterrence at the NPT meeting in New York.

Cdr Green says: “US allies and friends need to follow New Zealand’s lead in rejecting nuclear deterrence, which only increases their insecurity. The forthcoming NPT Review Conference provides the opportunity for them to do so.”

ENDS

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