2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

International Meeting
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 disarmamenth. This is meant as a negation or an action contrary to gthe armament policiesh 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-proliferationh 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 Satesh 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-cultureh 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.



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