Auckland, 16 August 2003
NZ leads Pacific sell out on action against nuclear shipments
Greenpeace accuses NZ of gutting the region’s momentum to stop nuclear shipments through the Pacific.
After three years of fruitless dialogue with the shipping states (France, UK, and Japan), countries decided in February 2003 in Nadi to pursue legal, diplomatic and other options to end the shipments.
This dialogue fell apart in February this year after the UK made it clear that they were prepared to make no concessions to the Pacific nations over the nuclear shipments. The UK continued this intransigence at a meeting on nuclear shipments at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna last month. There was obvious frustration and anger from the Pacific island states then.
This week, New Zealand has driven a weak compromise that agrees to go back to the table and continue ‘dialogue’. Leaders have failed to put a timeline on these talks, and have dropped language urging the pursuit of legal options to end the shipments.
“New Zealand has led a sell out, which has resulted in a failure by the region’s leaders to represent and protect their citizens from these dangerous and unnecessary shipments,” said Shirley Atatagi-Coutts, Greenpeace spokesperson.
“The threat of legal options demonstrates that the Pacific is serious about this issue, and strengthens their negotiating position with shipping states in the ‘dialogue’. It makes no sense to just throw away your bargaining chips, which is what today’s Communiqué does.”
For further information contact Shirley Atatagi-Coutts, Greenpeace Pacific spokesperson on +679 9922 133 or Glyn Walters, Greenpeace New Zealand spokesperson on 021 772 661.