2000 World Conference against A & H Bomb - Hiroshima
Special Program (1)
Embassy of Sweden
1. Let me first express how grateful I am for this opportunity to give
a presentation of Swedish policy for disarmament and non-proliferation
here in Hiroshima, the very symbol of the global quest for a peaceful world
free of nuclear weapons.
2. This conference takes place at a crucial moment in time. Over the
past five years, there has been a number of serious setbacks in the nuclear
disarmament process. However, the outcome of the NPT Review Conference
this spring was a positive and gratifying development. A major step forward
was taken when the nuclear weapon-states made an uneqivocal undertaking
to achieve a total elimination of nuclear weapons. It was also important
that the conference could agree on a number of principles and concrete
steps toward that goal. Among these, Sweden values in particular the promise
made by the nuclear weapon states to reduce the number of non-strategic
nuclear weapons - there is a large quantity of tactical nuclear weapons
close to our country.
3. I have been asked to comment in particular on the work of the so-called
New Agenda Coalition, of which Sweden is one among seven partner states.
The other members are Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and South
Africa. The background of the NAC was a deep concern among these countries
over the difficulties facing the nuclear disarmament process.
4. Everyone present here today knows all too well which difficulties
and setbacks that I am referring to:
- The nuclear weapon test explosions carried out by India and Pakistan,
which shocked the world two years ago and which have resulted in a deteriorating
regional security situation in South Asia.
- The problems in East Asia, where North Korea continues to violate
its NPT obligations and China has yet to ratify the CTBT.
- The US Senate decision not to ratify the CTBT and the American plans
for a national missile defence system, which could help trigger a new nuclear
- The nuclear dangers Middle East etc. etc. - I could go on even further.
5. Against this backdrop, the New Agenda initiative was launched in
June 1998 in an effort to inject new political momentum into the disarmament
process. The initiative met with strong support from other non-nuclear-weapon
states and from the NGO community. In Sweden, the strong support also became
evident by the very large number of positive reactions from individuals,
through mail, e-mail and telephone calls to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
6. What The New Agenda Coalition proposed was a road map of concrete
measures with the ultimate aim of achieving a nuclear-weapons-free world.
It included, i.a.:
- a call for an unequivocal commitment from the nuclear weapon states
to fulfil their obligations to disarm and eventually eliminate their nuclear
- a call upon the nuclear weapons capable states India, Israel and
Pakistan to enter the CTBT on a speedy basis;
- a call upon the nuclear weapon states to de-alert and de-activate
their nuclear weapons and to remove non-strategic nuclear weapons from
- a call for an international ban on the production of fissile material
for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (a so-called cut-off
7. While the serious nuclear threats remain, the NPT Conference this
spring has somewhat brightened the gloomy picture. The positive results
of the Conference were very much in line with the demands made by the New
Agenda Coalition, and with goals that Sweden has been working for over
many years. The outcome of the NPT showed the importance of consistent
work focussed on clear and realistic goals. Sweden is very satisfied that
the NAC-cooperation paid off and that the Coalition managed to play an
important role in the negotiations on the final documents.
8. Now, it is our hope that the favourable outcome of the NPT will contribute
to reversing the previous negative trend in the disarmament process. Focus
should be on consolidating the results of the NPT. The commitments and
promises made in the final documents must be fulfilled. In particular,
the nuclear weapon states must show that they are ready to take action.
They will be closely observed by all states, NGOs and individuals committed
to disarmament. For Sweden, the results of the Review Conference will be
the point of reference in our continued work for disarmament. We will strive
towards realizing the NPT goals in cooperation with others, including,
of course the NAC countries.
9. Finally, let me say a few words about another topic which I have
been asked to comment on: the Swedish government's cooperations with NGOs
in the field of disarmament.
The popular movement for disarmament has a long tradition in Sweden.
Since the 1950s, there have been different groups particularly focussed
on combatting the threats posed by nuclear weapons. The number of actively
engaged grew significantly larger during the 1980s. However, after the
end of the Cold War in Europe, the popular involvement has decreased. In
fact, the popular movement probably lost proportionally more members in
Sweden than in many other countries. To many people, there were other problems
in the world which seemed more pressing. When escalating nuclear arsenals
at last started to decrease, many therefore turned to other types of organizations.
Nevertheless, the peace movement in Sweden is still relatively strong,
and the government is eager to keep close and cooperative relations with
civil society in the field of disarmament. For instance, the Swedish Ministry
for Foreign Affairs held a meeting with some ten Swedish NGOs in preparation
for the NPT Conference. The NGOs could thereby give valueable input directly
to the members of the delegation representing Sweden at the NPT. The Ministry
for Foreign Affairs also gave financial contributions enabling NGO-representatives
to take part in the NPT Conference itself. After the conference, a new
meeting with the same ten NGOs was held, to sum up and evaluate the results.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs made a very positive assessment of the
participation of and close contacts with the Swedish NGOs.
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