International Meeting
2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Ole Kopreitan
General Secretary, No to Nuclear Weapons
Norway


Dear delegates, dear friends and colleagues.

I have attended the World Conference against A and H Bombs since 1990. I will bring warm solidarity greetings from No to Nuclear Weapons and from the whole peace movement in Norway. The discussions and experiences from the world conference have been great value for our work in Norway and have indeed resulted in a glorious peace monument in the centre of Oslo.

Since last world conference there have been important developments on issues concerning nuclear disarmament. At the last UN General Assembly discussion on nuclear disarmament, the resolution from the New Agenda Coalition (NAC), which claims immediate and substantial nuclear disarmament, was successfully adopted with a great majority in the UN General Assembly. The pressure from the world society was so persistent that even all Nato countries except France voted for this No to Nuclear Resolution. Of course, USA tried to stop the resolution, but after having got some concessions they accepted the proposal.

However, this happened in the days of president Bill Clinton. The situation today, as all of us know, is much more difficult. The United States of America have elected a new president, George W. Bush, which obviously seems to be willing to provoke and cancel former nuclear disarmament agreements. The most frightening aspect on the policy of the new administration is the plan on the National Missile Defence program (NMD). This program is a sort of a follow-up of former president Reaganfs Star War program, which in fact was cancelled in the mid-1980s, due to technical and economical reasons. The bulding up of the NMD requires among other things radar installations in Alaska, Greenland (at the Thule Base) and in England, at the very least. In Norway, there has been a great discussion about the new radar installation, Globus 2, in the north of Norway on the Russia boarder. It has been suspected that the USA has planned to implement this radar in the new anti-missile system.

President Bush and his administration admit that NMD is in strong contradiction to the ABM-treaty from 1972. This treaty prohibits building up of extensive anti-missile systems. The Bush-administration has declared that they will try to renegotiate the ABM-treaty with Russia. Otherwise they are willing to violate the ABM-treaty and continuing the development of the NMD. As we all know, Russia is against renegotiation of the ABM-treaty, and Russia and China have announced a mutual agreement to resist the USA-nuclear domination of the world.

In addition to the resistance from Russia and China, many Nato-countries are very sceptical to NMD, and in the best-case scenario we may hope that this opposition from other Nato-countries may make USA reconsider this dangerous project. The worst-case scenario is that USA follows up its offensive plans for NMD. Russia has already declared that they are willing to start nuclear armament by putting more nuclear warheads on existing missiles. There is no doubt that China will speed up its nuclear weapons production, in order to be able to break through the US anti-missile system. The conclusion is that the US NMD program obviously will cause a new nuclear armament, with proliferation of nuclear weapons to new countries. Another consequence is that the entire system of nuclear treaties can collapse. Russia has already threatened with such a consequence.

On the national level in Norway, I can report of certain progress in our lobbying activities concerning central politicians in the Government and in the Parliament. As a model from the Netherlands, we are trying to build a contact and information group within the Parliament with politicians from all political parties. This work has already started, and we hope to conclude this work this autumn. As a part of this work, we hope to motivate these parliamentarians to arrange seminars on actual nuclear disarmament issues with representatives from other Nato parliaments.

In May this year, the central trade union in Norway (LO) held their 7 days congress. The LO confirmed the strong determination to follow up and support the anti-nuclear activity in Norway. The LO concluded this disarmament session of the congress by donating 100,000 Norwegian kroner to the work against nuclear weapons.

In September of this year we have a parliament election in Norway. On the background that more than 90% of the population of Norway are strongly against use and threaten of use of nuclear weapons, it is an obligation for our organisation to confront the politicians on the questions of nuclear disarmament. In practice, this is not an easy task, because many politicians refuse to talk about this topic. But we have not intends to let the politicians escape from this necessary political clarification.

In the last years, No to Nuclear Weapons has made it an institution to invite former high-ranking US politicians who have changed their minds in favour of nuclear disarmament. Last year we invited the former US governmental chief negotiator for disarmament, ambassador Thomas Graham. He held a speech for high-ranking Norwegian politicians in the Nobel institute, where he recommended resolute nuclear disarmament as fast as possible. This year, we have invited former Secretary of Defence, Robert McNamara, to make a speech on the UN-day, 24th of October, at the Nobel institute. His issue is the need of a comprehensive and rapid nuclear disarmament. The audience of Mr. Mcnamara will be most of the high-ranking Norwegian politicians both from the Government and the Parliament. If course we really donft know the exact effect of this advanced educational program, but we consider this a part of the pressure we are building up against Norwegian politicians in order to change their mind in anti-nuclear direction. In all cases, this meeting gives us good admission to the newspapers, radio and television.

At last, I will bring a report about the nuclear prisoner of Israel. His name is Mordechai Vanunu, who has been in prison for almost 14 years, of this 11 in total isolation. His only gcrimeh was that he told the world through the English newspaper Sunday Times that Israel illegally has produced a considerable number of nuclear weapons, based on Norwegian heavy water. In Norway and in a lot of other countries there have been a campaign to free Vanunu from prison. In May this year, Mordechai Vanunu was appointed a honorary doctor at the University of Tromso, Norway. Of course, he was not allowed to go to Tromso himself, but his brother Meir Vanunu was representing him at the seremony. We think that nuclear whistleblowers like Vanunu has a strong impact on the opinion, due to to his moral example. In Norway we have even achieved that the Government supports the immediate release of Mordechai Vanunu, and specially in our work among young people and visits to high schools the case of Mordechai Vanunu is strongly motivating.

I thank you all for your attention.


To the 2001 Wolrd Conference against A & H Bombs