2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs
Hiroshima, 3 August 2004
Dr. Mohamed Ezzeldine Abdel-Moneim
Assistant Foreign Minister, Egypt
Professor, International Law and Organization
Suez Canal University
Actions for a World Without Nuclear Weapons and War
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour for me to address the 2004 World Conference against
Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. As you already know, we the Egyptians,
have much esteem for you, your dedication and sense of commitment.
The theme you have chosen for today reflects a universal aspiration:
a World Without Nuclear Weapons and Without War. This aspiration
existed long time before the world has known nuclear weapons. When
nuclear weapons came into existence, the aspiration for a World
Without War has faced the biggest threat ever. This is the lesson
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If we want to have a world without war,
we have to keep Hiroshima and Nagasaki vivid in our memory, and
that is exactly what you are doing.
The topic we have today is action-oriented and that is what we
do need. We can talk for long about a world without nuclear weapons
and without war. But, whether our talk will be translated into action
or not, is the real question. For any action-oriented effort to
be successful, it should first identify the obstacles so that we
can overcome them. And the fact is that there are several obstacles
against the establishment of a world without nuclear weapons and
without war. Of these, I shall mention a few, which I think should
be given special priority.
The first of these is the lack of a comprehensive approach. The
Charter of the United Nations defined the goal as ggeneral and complete
disarmamenth. This is meant as a negation or an action contrary
to gthe armament policiesh and the stockpiling of weapons, which
had inevitably led to the first and the second World Wars. Now,
it is fifty-nine years after the establishment of the United Nations
and we are still far away from general and complete disarmament.
This unfortunately applies to nuclear weapons more than any other
form of weapons. So far, no single international agreement related
to nuclear weapons in really comprehensive though some already bear
this word. The very concept of gnon-proliferationh is fraught with
shortcomings because, in letter, it entails that nuclear weapons
should not be possessed by all but by some nations. It falls short
of the goal of a world without nuclear weapons and, of course, without
war. Nevertheless, those whom we call gThe Nuclear-Weapons Satesh
did not fulfill their obligations in accordance with the Non-Proliferation
Treaty in any sufficient manner. Nuclear arsenals are still maintained
and many commitments taken in previous Review Conferences are not
fulfilled, including the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free
zone in the Middle East.
The second obstacle against the sacred goal of a world without
nuclear weapons and without war is the lack of devotion to the peaceful
settlement of disputes. This, as we all know, is one of the main
objectives sought by the Charter of the United Nations. War, it
should be emphasized, is outlawed by the United Nations Charter.
Only self-defence is allowed under very strict conditions and serious
limitations. The Security Council is the only body with authority
to use force. But, unfortunately, the power of the Security Council
to use force is mandatory and applies to all. However, the power
of the Security Council to the peaceful settlement of disputes is
not equally mandatory, it is simply under Chapter VI of the Charter
and, so far, the Security Council has been reluctant to enforce
a settlement even in some cases where aggression was clear and even
though the terms of settlement were defined by the Security Council
itself! This has led to a situation which, contrary to the principles
of the Charter of the United Nations, double-standards prevailed
and the search for peace was overshadowed by preparations for war.
Armaments policies persisted and nuclear weapons continued to accumulate.
A third obstacle against the achievement of a world without nuclear
weapons and without war is the challenges to a global culture of
peace. The essence of the problem is the gcounter-cultureh of violence.
This is not only due to policies and attitudes of racial discrimination,
foreign occupation, xenophobia, ethnic cleansing, extremism and
terrorism. The reason is also a prevailing culture of violence in
developed societies. Children play with models of fighter-bombers,
warships and aircraft carriers. When they will grow up, they might
play with even more sophisticated weapons systems. And remember
that violence is an escalation from the use of a sharp knife to
the dropping of a nuclear bomb.
Now, what action should one point out to overcome such obstacles?
To overcome the first obstacle, that is the lack of a comprehensive
approach towards nuclear disarmament, a full-scale political and
diplomatic activity should be vigorously carried out before the
next NPT Review Conference. Against the second obstacle, we have
to consolidate the mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes
and, finally, against the culture of violence, we have to work closely
to plant the seeds of a true culture of peace in education systems
all over the world. The task is very hard but we have to work harder,
because the abolition of nuclear weapons is the only way to survival.