By Radwan Jakeem
NEW YORK (IDN) — Disarmament advocates working within the Global Council of the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons have called on the five Nuclear-Weapon States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to follow up the affirmation made by them in their Joint Statement of January 3, 2022, that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”. The Abolition 2000 has urged the United States, Russia, the UK, France and China to undertake “genuine action” to change current nuclear-war fighting policies, end the costly and destabilizing nuclear arms race, and eliminate nuclear weapons.
The Global Network recalls that in 1970, at the height of the Cold War, the NPT came into force. Under the Treaty, the five states agreed to pursue nuclear disarmament, and all other states agreed not to acquire nuclear weapons.
52 years later, this NPT core bargain has still not been fulfilled. Four more countries outside the NPT now have nuclear weapons (Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea), and there are still over 13,000 nuclear weapons distributed among the nine countries.
States parties to the NPT meet every five years to assess progress and agree on further steps. The 10th NPT Review Conference was due to take place in May 2020 and, having been postponed several times, was scheduled to start on January 4 in New York.
“This latest attempt to convene the conference has sadly also been scuppered due to the omicron variant currently rampaging across the world.”
On the eve of the conference, scheduled on January 3, the Five issued a statement reiterating the statement by Presidents Gorbachev and Reagan on November 21, 1985, in Geneva that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”.
In its own statement, Abolition 2000 has called out the Orwellian “Nuke-speak” of the Five’s statement. Immediately after affirming the Reagan-Gorbachev statement, it says, the Five backtrack by saying: “[W]e also affirm that nuclear weapons—for as long as they continue to exist—should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war”.
According to the Abolition 2000 statement: “This reflects the reality that most of the nuclear-armed states maintain first use/first strike doctrines, and on one or more occasions during international crises and wars have prepared and/or threatened to initiate nuclear war. The inconvenient truth is that nuclear weapons will continue to exist as long as nuclear-armed states continue to cling to the dangerous doctrine of ‘nuclear deterrence’ —the threatened use of nuclear weapons.”
Despite the Five saying in their statement that, “We remain committed to our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, including our Article VI obligation ‘to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament…’.” the reality is that all countries with nuclear weapons continue to modernise, upgrade and in some cases even expand their nuclear arsenals.
The Abolition 2000 points out that “with potential flashpoints over Ukraine and Taiwan, the risk of another use of nuclear weapons is as high as it has ever been. The nuclear disarmament process is stalled, and the five NPT Nuclear-Weapon States cannot credibly claim they are meeting their NPT Article VI obligations”.
The Global Network statement concludes:
In George Orwell’s novel “1984”, Newspeak words/phrases were created by the government to placate the public and disguise the reality which was often the opposite of those words/phrases. It is well past time for the five NPT Nuclear-Weapon States to stop issuing Orwellian “nuke-speak” statements and commence negotiations in good faith on the elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
The Network Abolition 2000 points out three possible pathways to abolish nuclear weapons:
- The negotiation of a framework agreement which includes the legal commitment to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world identifies the measures and pathways required in general terms, and provides a process for agreeing on details over time;
- The negotiation of protocols to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which nuclear-armed and allied states would sign as part of a process for them to join the TPNW and build the nuclear destruction, elimination, verification and compliance process through the TPNW;
- The negotiation of a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention or package of agreements.
“There are important choices to be made about the path to abolition of nuclear arms. But what is most critical is that the process of negotiating the elimination of nuclear weapons begin immediately, without further delay,” noted the Abolition 2000. [Read the full statement here] [IDN-InDepthNews – 10 January 2022]
Image source: The Abolition 2000.
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