2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

International Meeting
2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Alice Slater
Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE)/
Abolition 2000


This May, the nations of the world will gather at the United Nations in New York City for the 2005 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, 35 years after the treaty was ratified by the United States Senate, in which the then existing nuclear powers, the US, USSR, UK, France and China promised to give up their nuclear weapons in return for a promise from all the nations in the world, except four-- India, Pakistan, Israel, and Cuba-never to acquire nuclear weapons. Cuba joined the NPT two years ago. The Treaty is in tatters. At the last Preparatory Committee Meeting in May 2004, the meeting ended in total disarray, the delegates unable to even reach agreement on their mandate to produce an agenda and background documentation for the 2005 Review. With more than 30,000 nuclear weapons on the planet, the US arrogantly insisted that the NPT should be dealing only with problems of nuclear proliferation by other countries such as North Korea and Iran, maintaining that it had no obligation to comply with its obligation to eliminate its own massive nuclear arsenal-- while hypocritically dismissing any relationship between its aggressive program to build new kinds of nuclear weapons-bunker busters and more gusableh mini-nukes, a program now budgeted at $6.8 billion annually-and the desire of states, which it has characterized as groguesh to acquire their own nuclear deterrents to help them avert the onslaught of the Empire. At the NPT, the Brazilian delegate said in the face of this blatant double standard, gOne cannot worship at the altar of nuclear weapons and raise heresy charges against those who want to join the sect.h

The 1970 NPT provided that the States would hold a Review and Extension Conference in 25 years to evaluate what progress had been made towards nuclear disarmament and whether the Treaty should be renewed. The number of nuclear bombs on the planet had more than doubled since the treaty was signed. NGOs from all over the world gathered to lobby the delegates for swifter measures towards disarmament. We were appalled that there was no thought of exacting conditions as the US and its allies twisted arms-- and more-- to get the treaty extended indefinitely and unconditionally. Only vague assurances were given for systematic and progressive efforts for nuclear disarmament, the establishment of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East, and a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which the Clinton administration riddled with loopholes to buy the support of the weapons labs by giving them a $4.5 billion program annually that enabled them to design new nuclear weapons in computer simulated virtual reality with the help of gsub-criticalh tests 1000 feet below the Nevada desert floor. .

During that Conference, the Abolition 2000 Network was born. A statement was drafted calling for a treaty for the elimination of nuclear weapons to be negotiated by the year 2000. Before the end of the four week conference, the statement was faxed around the world and more than 600 organizations had signed on. We produced a model nuclear weapons convention, drafted by scientists, lawyers, and policy makers, which is now an official UN document. We organized in nations around the world to bring a lawsuit for a Declaratory Judgement from the International Court of Justice which ruled that there exists an obligation gto bring to a conclusion, negotiations for nuclear disarmament, in all its aspects.h In 1999, we organized an enrollment campaign and got more than 2000 organizations in 95 countries to join our Network as it became apparent to us that Abolition 2000 would no longer stand for the completion of nuclear disarmament negotiations by the year 2000.

The 2000 NPT review extracted some new promises from the nuclear weapons states. Spearheaded by a groups of six nations, Ireland, Sweden, Mexico, Egypt, Brazil, and South Africa, the New Agenda Coalition, with the help of the NGO effort led by the Middle Powers Initiative, the nuclear weapons states pledged an gunequivocal commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weaponsh and set forth 13 steps on the path, such as ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, making nuclear disarmament measures irreversible, a diminished role for nuclear weapons in national security policies, and maintaining the gstrategic stabilityh of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Bush has no intention of submitting the CTB to the Senate for ratification, says that nuclear weapons are a cornerstone of our national security policy, is developing new nuclear weapons and, most egregiously has withdrawn from the ABM Treaty which is provoking a new arms race to the heavens. Indeed I was present at the tough bargaining during the 2000 NPT final session, which went past midnight on the last day, when a diplomatic device called stopping the clock took place and the meeting went on till 5 am, adjourned until 11pm on the next day under the stopped clock rule, and finally resulted in agreement to the 13 steps. Nevertheless, both China and Russia took exception to the final report, while not blocking consensus, noting that if the US did not maintain the ABM Treaty, all bets would be off. And now we see Russia and China matching the US, tit for tat, as they beef up their arsenals, and in Russia, back down from their prior START II agreements for disarming some of their missiles. Because of these regressive policies and actions, provoked by the US the NPT may not survive the 2005 Review.

But all is not lost! The rising power of the people is now focused on what to do after the NPT Review. The Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are spearheading a Mayors for Peace Campaign, proposing a realistic timetable for achieving a nuclear-weapon free world by 2020 with negotiations to being in 2005 and to conclude by 2010 with global nuclear disarmament implemented no later than 2020. They succeeded in having the US Conference of Mayors pass a resolution that they gshall remain engaged in this matter until our cities are no longer under the threat of nuclear devastation.h At the 2004 NPT Preparatory Committee Meeting, they brought 15 Mayors to New York, including the Mayor of Kiev, in the Chernobyl area, and the Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv. Four of them addressed the delegates. Next year, we hope to have 100 Mayors in New York, and plan to hold a World Peace Fair for Nuclear Disarmament with the Mayors, the many ethnic communities of New York which they represent, and as many visitors as possible, on May 1st, the day before the NPT opens. The Mayors are also calling on Heads of States to show up at the UN with the authority to authorize negotiations.

And if the US wonft participate in negotiations, we will see if we can get the talks started in an Ottawa-like process. This is not completely out of the question. There are promising developments outside of the NPT process. The new Congress government in India is revising the Rajiv Gandhi plan for nuclear disarmament. Perhaps India will take the lead in a Delhi process. If it does, Pakistan will surely follow. And China has repeatedly supported General Assembly resolutions calling for nuclear disarmament over a number of years. Perhaps Asia can be persuaded to lead the way. And while we Americans must all do whatever it takes to defeat George Bush, electing John Kerry will not solve our problem. As Zia Mian said at our Abolition 2000 Town Meeting during the 2004 NPT Conference, g Americans must defeat Bush. The world will never forgive you if he returns to office. But then, we will still have to deal with the Empire-a kinder, gentler Empire. g Kerry has taken a strong position, in the current climate of fear of nuclear terror, to safeguard all nuclear materials on a four year timetable. We will have to press him to go beyond mere non-proliferation measures while applauding his good judgement in placing a priority on securing all nuclear materials world-wide. After all, we canft have nuclear disarmament until we know where all the stuff is and put it under lock and key-overseen by international guards.

And the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace-donft be confused by the name-they are the quintessential arms controllers-continuing to promote 20th century methods to keep a lid on the inevitable spread of nuclear weapons and terror while maintaining US hegemony and not addressing the imperative need to finally negotiate an end to nuclear arms-as they advise that the US use threats of military gsticksh against recalcitrant grogueh proliferators if gcarrots wonft work-even they, in their recent report, gUniversal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Securityh, are calling for the US to move from a defensive to an offensive strategy for nuclear disarmament, by setting out a minimal PLAN for the dismantlement of nuclear arsenals to save the NPT by showing that the nuclear weapons states take their disarmament obligations seriously. Let us take them up on their call for a plan. What would disarmament look like in the United States? In Russia? In France? In England? In China? In India? In Pakistan? In Israel? What conditions would have to be met in order for them to start seriously dismantling-in an irreversible manner-their nuclear stockpiles? Such a plan would manifest a Statefs leadership ability, around which the non-nuclear weapons states and NGOs could rally. It would give disarmament advocates-on the non-governmental as well as the governmental side-something to work with, a point of reference and food for thought. Non-nuclear weapons states, in the meanwhile, should be drafting their own plans for disarmament, plans that also incorporate serious and verifiable non-proliferation initiatives including existing nuclear power and research reactor facilities. Abolition 2000 already has a plan. The Model Nuclear Weapons Convention is our plan that we can distribute to willing nations as a starting point for making their plans!!
In the coming year, our Abolition 2000 Network will focus our energies and resources in a new Campaign, Abolition Now! Dare to Plan! to create the political will, through the mobilization of civil society, for backing the Mayors plan for a nuclear weapons free world by by 2020. In the lead-up to the NPT Review Conference at the UN in New York this May, Abolition Now! asks individuals, citizen groups, and community and civic leaders to make a personal commitment to support the call for concrete plans for a nuclear free world during the 60th Anniversary Year of Remembrance and Action for a Nuclear Weapons Free World from August 6, 2004 to August 9, 2005.

The Time to Dare to Plan is NOW!

What You Can Doc

1. Enroll your Mayor in the Mayorfs Campaign, endorsing the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention, and calling for negotiations to begin in 2005 to ban the bomb.
2. Join the Mayors in calling on your Heads of Government to go to the NPT Review Conference in 2005, to be held on May 2nd through May 28th , with their plans in hand telling the world what steps they will take to eliminate nuclear weapons under strict and effective international control. Endorsing our Model Nuclear Weapons Convention is the starting point for negotiations and the Mayorfs 2020 Vision is the timetable for achieving a nuclear-free world.
3. Create a grassroots effort to raise the profile of nuclear abolition in your community and sign up as many people you can in our Abolition NOW! Campaign. Keep working to enroll your Mayors.
4. Come to the First Committee of the General Assembly in New York, October 4th to Novemer 12th, to lobby delegates before the NPT Review conference. Reaching Critical Will plans to facilitate workshops and teach-ins for diplomats to teach them and urge them to bring workable plans for nuclear disarmament from their governments to the NPT. For more information, please contact Rhianna - (212) 682 1265, rhianna@reachingcriticalwill.org <mailto:rhianna@reachingcriticalwill.org>
5. Come to the NPT 2005RevCon in New York City.
6. Spread the word about the May 1st 2005 International Peace Fair for Nuclear Disarmament in NYC, before the opening day of the NPT Review and please join us there.
7. Join an Abolition 2000 Working Group. New groups include the Citizens Inspections Working Group and the Youth Outreach Working Group. Sign up on the Abolition Caucus (Write to:abolition-caucus-subscribe@yahoogroups.com) Check out our Abolition 2000 website at www.abolition2000.org <http://www.abolition2000.org>

This is a very exciting stage in the development of the work of Abolition 2000, as we approach our 10th anniversary. There are countless millions of people around the world who are deeply concerned about the direction our world is taking into greater and greater insecurity. The time is ripe for us to engage with them in a campaign to rid the world of the threat of nuclear disaster. With a new government in India, the call led by Russia and China for a treaty to prevent the weaponization of space, the rising tide of grassroots protest across the globe against militarism and war, we cannot ignore this opportunity to unite in focused action to rid the world of the nuclear scourge.


Alice Slater
Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE)
215 Lexington Ave., Room 1001, New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 726-9161 Fax: (212) 726-9160
email: aslater@gracelinks.org
GRACE is a member of Abolition 2000, a global network for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

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