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- Photo: 2020

‘Abolition 2000’ Warns Against Resumption of Nuclear Testing

By Radwan Jakeem

NEW YORK (IDN) – “Resumption of nuclear explosive testing is absolutely unacceptable. Even discussing nuclear testing again is dangerously destabilizing,” the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons has warned. Such testing would, in any case, be in contravention of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBTO), signed by the United States, yet pending entry-into-force, the Abolition 2000 adds in a statement emerging from its annual general meeting (AGM).

The CTBT, opened for signing in 1996, obliges states:

1. Not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control.

2. To refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.

The unanimous statement was drafted on behalf of the AGM by: John Burroughs, Executive Director, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy; Daniel Ellsberg, author of ‘The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Plannee; and Andrew Lichterman, Senior Research Analyst, Western States Legal Foundation.

“Testing of nuclear weapons evokes nuclear apocalypse, as in the days of U.S.-Soviet brinksmanship. It must not be resumed. At the same time, we must recognize that the capabilities for apocalypse remain in place, and are being maintained and improved in the absence of nuclear explosive testing. This too must be brought to an end,” Burroughs said.

Ellsberg, a famed whistleblower of the Pentagon Papers, alerted: “Renewed nuclear testing initiated by the U.S. would enable India, Pakistan and North Korea to test and develop ‘H-bomb’ thermonuclear warheads, which the existing moratorium on testing has prevented them from deploying.  They could then join the U.S. and Russia in threatening the world with the capability to cause nuclear winter, global famine, and near-extinction of humanity.”

He added: Obviously, no nation on earth should possess this power. Rather than inviting its spread, the U.S. and Russia should neither maintain nor ‘modernize’ but dismantle their own Doomsday Machines.

Cabasso, “a founding mother” of Abolition 2000 said: 25 years ago, we launched the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons with an 11-point statement which includes a call to abolish all forms of nuclear testing. For more than a quarter of a century the moratorium on full-scale explosive nuclear testing has been largely adhered to.

“US resumption of such tests at this time would rock the foundations of increasingly fragile world order and would set back efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons by decades. It must not be allowed,” she accentuated.

Responding to the Trump Administration’s plans, Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), declared in a statement: “A Trump nuclear test would cross a line no nation thought the US would ever cross again and is threatening the health and safety of all people.”

“It would also blow up any chance of avoiding a dangerous new nuclear arms race. It would complete the erosion of the global arms control framework and plunge us back into a new Cold War. Only a multilateral solution can shore up these bilateral treaties Trump is ripping up. The TPNW is that solution, the ICAN chief added.

TPNW is the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on July 7, 2017 by a vote of 122 States in favour with one vote against and one abstention. It opened for signature by the UN Secretary-General on September 20, 2017. It will enter into force 90 days after the fiftieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been deposited.

Meanwhile, 37 nations have ratified the Treaty.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Abolition 2000 took the unprecedented step of holding its AGM online, allowing participants from some 40 countries to join.

The unanimous statement released on May 23 explained that the U.S. resumption of nuclear testing would lead to testing by other states, possibly China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. It would accelerate the emerging nuclear arms race, and damage prospects for nuclear arms control negotiations.

“A nuclear explosive test is itself a kind of threat. Testing would generate fear and mistrust and would entrench reliance on nuclear arms. It would move the world away from rather than towards a world free of nuclear weapons,” warns the statement. For that reason alone, nuclear explosive testing must not happen, and there must not even be signals of its possibility. Instead, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty should be brought into legal force.

The statement goes on: This episode comes in the context of ongoing upgrading of nuclear forces by the world’s nuclear-armed states. It is supported by extensive laboratory research and experimentation which in part serves as a substitute for functions once served by nuclear explosive testing.

“So, even as we demand that such testing not be resumed, we must recognize the dangers inherent in the ongoing nuclear weapons enterprise. Those dangers are now mostly out of sight of the public and subject to little media scrutiny, but they are real. They too must be addressed, which in the end will require the global abolition of nuclear arms,” the Abolition 2000 concludes.

The Abolition 2000 network was formed in April 1995, during the first weeks of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference, when activists from around the world recognized that the issue of nuclear abolition was not on the agenda.

An international network of organizations and individuals working for a global treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons, Abolition 2000 is open to all organizations endorsing the Abolition 2000 Founding Statement. [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 May 2020]

Photo: Nuclear test carried out on 18 April 1953 at the Nevada test site. Source: UN News.

IDN is flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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