Letter: Double standards on nuclear weapons

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The Independent Online
Sir: Monday, 24 January, marks the start of negotiations for a Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty under the auspices of the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. This treaty, if successful, could not only halt the development of new nuclear weapons but change the climate in which they are still, incredibly, considered as legitimate weapons of war.

The hazards of nuclear testing, both in the atmosphere and underground, are now well documented. A fragile testing moratorium is in place until the end of September this year. The British government must surely recognise that the time has come to give up its reliance on a mythical nuclear deterrent and honour both in letter and spirit two current treaties - the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which comes up for extension in 1995. It must now accept that its rights under the NPT are matched by obligations which include 'negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament'.

It was encouraging that for the first time last year our government went with a consensus resolution at the UN General Assembly in favour of a CTB. Let us hope it is at last beginning to see the error of its nuclear ways. Surely it should now reject double standards and accept that if some 160 other nations can survive without nuclear weapons, so can Britain.

Yours sincerely,

LESLEY MORRISON

Vice-Chair, Medical Action

for Global Security

London, N19

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