This first world conference against A and H bombs in the 21st century is very important.
At the beginning of this new millennium, after a very deadly century where human beings invented ways to destroy the entire planet, we must state again our opposition to nuclear weapons. Yes, itfs time to make a new start and to give to young people a future of a peaceful planet without atomic bombs. These weapons, which were used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki fifty-six years ago are cold war symbols. The Cold War has been over for more than ten years now. Nuclear weapons make no sense.
This new millennium could and should mark the prospect for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. This is a must. For decades, those in power in nuclear states argued for deterrence. But recent armed conflicts - like the Gulf war or the war in the Balkans - are evidence that all manufactured arms eventually come to be used. Today itfs wrong to say that nuclear weapons are just for deterrence. All arms can be used one day. The Hibakusha have survived to testify about suffering. I would like to express to the Hibakusha the solidarity and friendship of French peace activists. American soldiers, French soldiers, suffer from the consequence of depleted uranium weapons. At the start of the twenty-first century, we must start up debate and action to demand the abolition of nuclear weapons and a treaty for a complete ban on these weapons. It is all the more urgent after US plans for NMD. There is a risk that people may now talk about the need for protection, instead of referring to abolition. The best way to protect people and countries against missiles is to eliminate them, along with the atomic bombs which they deliver. The greatest danger comes from missile loads.
This is why the French Peace Movement has launched a campaign called gneither NMD, nor missiles - Give peace to the stars - Eliminate nuclear weapons.h
Whatfs really a matter of concern with the American nuclear shield, is that nuclear states appear not to be in a hurry to do away with nuclear arms. Yet in New York in May last year they agreed to accomplish total elimination. They were under pressure from non-nuclear states. Itfs also and foremostly the result of the mobilisation of public opinion all around the world. Itfs evidence that we must never let up the pressure.
How can we develop mobilisation against nuclear weapons and make a significant move towards their elimination? We must make it difficult for nuclear states to breach treaties. It is necessary to broaden the pressure of public opinion to enforce treaties. Thatfs why it is so important to develop active solidarity between peace forces that act for nuclear weaponsf elimination and between everybody working to promote a culture of peace. This is particularly important with peace movements from nuclear weapon states.
This is why we have started a mobilization and consciousness-raising campaign. Last year, with our gImagine a peaceful planeth campaign, 130 youth from France were able to go to the UN, during the last disarmament week. This year, we have started a new campaign, called gLetfs open up the avenues of peace.h It focuses on three issues, and three figures:
These demands constitute a call for a human 21st century with:
I propose to send them a message from Hiroshima.
Because we are convinced that public opinion holds the key to nuclear disarmament we are favourable to developing co-operation between peace forces of nuclear states. It is very important for each of us to acquaint ourselves with other peace activistsf actions. It is a decisive element in increasing mobilisation.
The 13 of October - chosen as the international day against space militarization - can be the next step in the mobilization against nuclear weapons and toward making the 21st century the century of their abolition and of advent of a real peace culture.