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Scientists Condemn Inaction on Nuclear Weapons PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Sunday, 19 June 2005 11:18
Scientists Condemn Inaction on Nuclear Weapons

The Council of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs is greatly concerned about the recent failure of the Seventh Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), held in New York in May, to deliver a final document with concrete indications on how to progress towards the reduction and ultimately the elimination of nuclear weapons, as called for when the NPT entered into force in 1970. The difficulties and even the possibility of a collapse of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the weakening of the taboos in place since 1945 on the use of nuclear weapons, coupled with the dangers of a terrorist group detonating a nuclear explosive device, combine to produce a recipe for potential unmitigated disaster. For Immediate Release 19 June 2005
Statement of the Pugwash Council

A critical moment for the Non Proliferation regime

The Council of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs is greatly concerned about the recent failure of the Seventh Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), held in New York in May, to deliver a final document with concrete indications on how to progress towards the reduction and ultimately the elimination of nuclear weapons, as called for when the NPT entered into force in 1970.

The difficulties and even the possibility of a collapse of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the weakening of the taboos in place since 1945 on the use of nuclear weapons, coupled with the dangers of a terrorist group detonating a nuclear explosive device, combine to produce a recipe for potential unmitigated disaster.

Despite the urgency of the threat and the gravity of the situation, the lack of political will of some NPT states parties to live up to their obligations under the Treaty produced a deadlock and paralysis during the meetings in New York. Despite the best efforts of the NPT Review Conference President, Amb. Sergio Duarte, and many others, the Seventh Review Conference actually represented a step back from the conclusions made at the two previous review conferences in 1995 and 2000.

In particular the important conclusions of the 2000 review Conferences (the so called 13 steps), which have never been implemented, have not been even mentioned in any offcial document of the 2005 review Conference. For their part, the original nuclear weapons states (US, Russia, UK, France and China) have not lived up to their obligations under Article VI of the NPT to move decisively toward the irreversible elimination of their nuclear arsenals.

Such inaction invites charges of hypocrisy when these same countries seek to deny access to nuclear technologies to non-nuclear weapons states, or - in the case of the United States - continue to profess interest in developing new nuclear weapons and possibly resume nuclear testing.

More broadly, the entire framework of nuclear weapons disarmament is in danger of being swept away. Strategic arms control between the US and Russia is not progressing, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has not entered into force, and serious negotiations have not even started on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) to eliminate production of weapons-grade Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) and plutonium.

Moreover, too little is being done to control and dispose of existing stockpiles of HEU that run the risk of falling into the hands of terrorist groups. No attention is being paid to large numbers of tactical nuclear weapons that continue to exist in great numbers with no military rationale whatsoever, while the deployment of weapons in space moves closer to reality. Elsewhere, fundamental challenges to the nuclear non-proliferation regime are posed by the withdrawal of North Korea from the NPT and its nuclear military program, by the loopholes that exist which allow countries which develop full-cycle civilian nuclear activities to move more easily towards developing nuclear weapon programs, and by the continued presence and activities of three nuclear weapons-states that exist outside the NPT.

Time is running out if a nuclear catastrophe is to be averted. Political solutions are urgently needed to resolve those conflicts that either spawn international terrorism, or increase the risk of the use of nuclear weapons or other WMDs, or destabilize the Non-proliferation regime or all of these things combined. Global security must be based on international institutions and the rule of law rather than on unilateral action and an excessive reliance on military force.

In the wake of the failure of the 2005 NPT Review Conference, the Pugwash Council calls on national governments, multilateral institutions, and international NGOs to lead the international community away from a misplaced reliance on nuclear weapons, We need to understand the catastrophic dangers that await us if clear progress is not made to decisively reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.

Contact: Dr. Jeffrey Boutwell
Executive Director Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
11 Dupont Circle, NW Suite 900 Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 1-202-478-3440
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Last Updated on Sunday, 19 June 2005 11:18
 

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