Thank you for inviting me to the 2001 World Conference against A and H Bombs. I bring greetings from all anti-nuclear activists and peace workers in Britain and the European Parliament.
It is now 56 years since the US dropped the nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sad to say, we still have not reached even the setting up of a UN committee to negotiate a Global Ban on Nuclear Weapons. Despite last year's UN statement where an gunequivocalh undertaking to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons was given, little positive progress has been made.
Despite some progress on arms limitation treaties the world is still bristling with nuclear weapons. Each US Trident nuclear armed submarine, of which the US has 18 and the UK 4, carries enough killing power on board to blow the world up several times. NATO, the nuclear armed military alliance, still has not abandoned its policy of gfirst useh of nuclear weapons. The US is actively developing gmini nukes,h which US spokespeople claim gcould be usedh and the US administration is now studying how quickly the Nevada nuclear test sites could be brought back in to use.
Above all of this, the USA now wants to impose its Ballistic Missile, so-called, Defence systems in defiance of opposition from nations and peoples across the world. The publicly declared aim is for gfull spectrum dominanceh which will lead to the militarisation of space or gStar Wars.h Other states and alliances such as NATO are colluding with the US by developing regional missile defence, Theatre Missile Defence or TMD, both on this side of the globe and in Europe.
It is clear for all to see that Ballistic Missile Defence is provoking a new arms race and seriously affecting global stability.
By pushing ahead with Ballistic Missile Defence, the US is arrogantly breaking the 1972 ABM Treaty, which is the corner stone of all later disarmament treaties and we all know that if you remove the cornerstone you threaten the whole structure. They are also threatening the Outer Space Treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Bush administration has made it clear it will not ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
The US now views the ABM Treaty as an outdated relic of the Cold War. Russia, however, had made it clear that it would not renegotiate the Treaty and would not go further in nuclear arms reduction negotiations. It is not yet clear what the apparent "new deal" between the USA and Russia brokered at the recent G8 Summit means. I feel that the UK peace movement was probably not alone in worrying about the implications of the recently signed "friendship agreement" between Russia and China. I am also deeply concerned at the signals being sent to the new nuclear states of India and Pakistan. How can they be persuaded to sign up to the Non-Proliferation Treaty when international agreements are being treated with such apparent disdain?
In addition the whole BMD scheme will eventually cost hundreds of billions of dollars: Bush has asked Congress for over $8 billion for 2002 for missile defence research and testing. Yet the President tells us that he is worried about cost for the United States of combating climate change and we are supposed to see the recent Health Package for Africa as a breakthrough: the G7 (the world's richest nations) are putting up just over $1 billion. Consider this cost, too, in a world where over 1.5 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. We do not need to develop the systems for clean drinking water, that technology is known and proven to work and will do more for global security than BMD. The only people who will benefit from this will be the, mainly US, huge corporate defence contractors.
We must all work together to say "No" to this new threat. The European Parliament has just made a declaration stating that the gAmerican plans for a Missile Defence System are a threat to European and global security.h They urge member states to start a thorough public debate on this issue. The German and French governments have rejected the USA proposals, unfortunately the British Government has not. Indeed, it may well support it through providing our intelligence gathering stations to participate. Thus, we become a potential target and will be viewed as part of the escalation process.
Friends, we must now all cooperate to say gnoh to nuclear weapons, gnoh to weapons in space. This madness must be stopped. I welcome the chance to meet you and offer the hand of friendship to work together for a nuclear free world and to keep space for peace.