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International conferences in Hiroshima: call for disarmament measures is weakened by USA, Britain and Canada

world-nuclear-weapons-freeNuclear disarmament needs a push, Japan Times SEP 3, 2015

The city of Hiroshima hosted two international conferences in a row last week to discuss efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons — the fourth conference of the Group of Eminent Persons for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the 25th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues. These meetings coincided with the 70th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the founding of the United Nations. But they were held in an atmosphere not necessarily conducive to nuclear disarmament — in the wake of the collapse in May of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry, a member of the group pushing the CTBT who took part in both conferences, said moves to abolish nuclear weapons have been on the decline and warned against a growing complacency, citing dwindling worldwide concern about a potential nuclear conflict. Given such a situation, it is all the more important for Japan, the sole country to suffer nuclear attacks, and all other nations and civil society to consider what they should do to remove the danger of such a conflict and take concrete steps to abolish nuclear arms.

A draft for the final document of the NPT review conference, which was held under U.N. auspices, contained positive measures, including steps to increase transparency by nations possessing nuclear weapons and setting up a working group to efficiently push for nuclear disarmament. But the conference ended without adopting the document as the United States, Britain and Canada opposed a proposal in the draft by Egypt and other Arab countries to hold a regional conference on banning weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East because it was viewed as being aimed at Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

The aborted document would have expressed for the first time a serious concern over the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons. It contained this phrase: “The Conference expresses its deep concern at the continued risk for humanity represented by the possibility that these weapons could be used and the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of nuclear weapons.”……..

Now is the time for the nuclear weapons powers — and countries like Japan and some NATO member that rely on the nuclear umbrella provided by the U.S. — to seriously consider whether they should continue to depend on nuclear deterrence, which cannot be separated from the risk of nuclear war, for their security.

The declaration issued by the Group of Eminent Persons for the CTBT should provide a clue for these countries. It called the CTBT “one of the most essential practical measures for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.” It also urged North Korea, which has conducted three nuclear tests, to “join the international community’s efforts toward nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation by refraining from conducting any further nuclear tests.”

The treaty, which aims to establish a verifiable global ban on tests of all types of nuclear explosives, has been signed by 183 countries and ratified by 164. For it to enter into force, the treaty must be signed and ratified by the 44 countries that have nuclear reactors for research or power generation. Of these countries, eight, including the U.S., China and India, have not yet ratified it. It’s the U.S. that holds the key for the CTBT to take effect. However, ratification there remains difficult due to opposition by Republicans in Congress………

September 5, 2015 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war

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