Nuclear ambitions trump disarmament at UN meeting
New York: Friday May 27, 2005
Greenpeace today condemned the lack of collective political will on the part of nearly 150 countries who failed to reach agreement on reducing the global arsenal of nuclear arms at the conclusion of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York.
“Governments attending the four week conference have failed to seize the opportunity of reducing the nuclear threat, putting their own nuclear self-interests before the desire for disarmament,” said Greenpeace International’s Disarmament specialist William Peden at the conference.
“This meeting needed to strengthen the treaty and send a strong signal on disarmament and on proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Peden said. “It has failed to do that and as a result the world is a far more dangerous place.”
The spectre of nuclear weapons in North Korea and Israel, US intransigence on disarmament and its imminent threat of a return to nuclear testing, controversy over Iran, and concerns over nuclear weapons usable plutonium production programs in Japan and other countries reprocessing all played a part in the collective failure of the conference.
“The conference gridlock only emphasises the need to bolster the disarmament side of the process,” Peden said. “Unless and until we get rid of all nuclear weapons, other countries are going to want them – and that’s the destructive dynamic we are witnessing.”
Greenpeace calls on the heads of state attending the UN Millennium Review Summit in September to act on the challenge laid down by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in his opening speech to the conference, to take disarmament seriously.
The proposal by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to remove US nuclear weapons from his country was a major positive to emerge from the conference.
“While some countries are making the right noises and there have been lots of good proposals on possible ways forward at the conference, they have been thwarted by countries clinging to their own nuclear aspirations,” concluded Peden.