Letter: Nuclear ban: report from New York

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The Independent Online
Sir: We are in New York attending the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Conference as Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) representatives. We believe this conference provides the world community with a unique opportunity to move towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. France took over 20 years to sign the NPT. It is ironic that France now speaks for the European Union and six eastern and central European states and, in co-ordination with the US and UK, is pressing the world community to sign up for an indefinite and unconditional extension of the treaty on 12 May 1995.

A fragile unity has been bought at some cost. Concessions, reluctantly offered in the weeks prior to the conference and hedged with qualifications, do not stand up to scrutiny. Assurances have been given that nuclear weapons will not be used against non-nuclear weapons states that have signed the NPT. This means that all five nuclear powers should renounce military doctrines that target Third World nations deemed to be threatening "vital interests" anywhere in the world.

With moratoria on nuclear testing in force for three years, a comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) ought to be signed this year. This must include laboratory testing and computer simulation, technologies capable of producing the next generation of nuclear warheads. The nuclear powers have also indicated that they have stopped the production of fissile material for nuclear warheads, but will not address existing stockpiles. As the relationship between civil and military reprocessing is shrouded in secrecy, it is impossible to verify implementation of the statement.

We do not accept that the French and British governments are representing the best interests of the people of our two countries, or are negotiating in "good faith" as obliged under existing agreements. Our political representatives have an historic opportunity to adopt an alternative vision of international security and we would like to remind them that non-proliferation means more than stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. They have less than three weeks to commit themselves to nuclear disarmament.

Yours faithfully,

JANET BLOOMFIELD

Chair, CND

DANIEL DURAND

National Secretary

Mouvement de la Paix

London, N7

26 April

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