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Our colleagues at Medact (IPPNW UK) on urgent next steps

Posted by Liz Waterston, International Councillor, Medact on February 14, 2011

The health, welfare and very survival of societies and people thoughout the world, including those not possessing nuclear armaments or involved in nuclear strategies, continue to be threatened by the existence of nuclear arsenals.

We are very  concerned about leaks of nuclear materials as well as the continuing possibility of accidents and false alarms concerning weapons on high alert. Under current diplomatic uncertainties, not only do the chances of a nuclear exchange remain unacceptably high, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) itself is made increasingly vulnerable to the withdrawal of Non Nuclear Weapons states who feel the need to develop  and possess nuclear weapons for their own security, thus encouraging nuclear proliferation.

The new START agreement limiting USA and Russia to 1550 strategic weapons each, is only  a drop in the bucket of the reductions which are required. Furthermore the news that USA is to resume subcritical testing of  nuclear weapons is destabilising to international confidence that the Nuclear Weapons States will adhere to their commitments to nuclear disarmament.

The choices are becoming increasingly stark: either we continue to slide into a multipolar nuclear-capable world in which it is inevitable that a nuclear exchange will ocurr or we give effective support to the NPT by radically reducing nuclear weapons numbers and programmes of research and development, although maintaining research on the challenges of dismantling nuclear weapons.

We believe that the nuclear powers can best support the NPT by an early assumption of negotiations towards a Nuclear Weapons Convention which would lead to a clear timeframe for abolishing all nuclear weapons throughout the world.

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