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Last chance for Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty


Last chance for Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Tensions on the first day of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference currently being held in New York are threatening to derail the relevance of the treaty, Greenpeace warned today.

"Nuclear disarmament is at a crossroads," said Greenpeace International's Disarmament specialist, William Peden, who's attending the conference.

"If the 2005 conference fails to reach consensus, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will exist in name only."

This would leave the world faced with a potential catastrophic arms race in highly sensitive regions like the Middle East and the northeast Asia region.

"Statements by the US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Stephen Rademaker, on his government's intentions to pursue Iran over their uranium enrichment activities, together with Iran's past resistance to transparency, are fuelling an atmosphere of sabre rattling that has potentially dangerous consequences for millions of people," according to Peden.

The situation in North Korea is equally critical. While the Bush administration promotes the concept of 'preventive war' and threatens the use of nuclear weapons, North Korea threatens to test its own nuclear weapons.

Currently there are between 30 and 40 countries with a nuclear weapons capability that could be converted into nuclear weapons within months.

"Moving all nation States away from possessing or aspiring to develop nuclear weapons must become a priority at this conference. 1

"The leadership of all the Nuclear Weapons States must now honour their obligations under the Non Proliferation Treaty and take concrete steps to eliminate their existing nuclear arsenals," concluded Peden.

Greenpeace supports UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's opening comments at the conference calling for both the US and Russia to make irreversible drastic cuts to their arsenals. While this is a welcome first step in the right direction, both countries must honour their past agreements and seriously start implementing rather than just talking about total disarmament.

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