Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Norwegian Leadership toward a Nuclear Weapon Free World

"Nuclear proliferation is not yesterday's news," Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre told an audience organized by the Norwegian Red Cross, "it's a burning question for both today and the future,” Aftenpoften reported today.

The Foreign Minister’s remarks celebrated the 10th anniversary of the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer or Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, also known as the Ottawa Treaty. Recalling complex and stalled efforts to regulate landmines, Foreign Minister Støre observed that:

“The Ottawa process turned these dynamics upside down. Instead of a ‘race to the bottom,’ the participants found themselves in a process where they were constantly being challenged by civil society actors – not on the streets, but in conference halls, at roundtables, in the day-to-day negotiations.”

The Foreign Minister discussed landmines, small arms, and cluster munitions, but expanded significantly on the potential to bring more international voices into the nuclear disarmament discussion:

“In the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Norway is leading a seven-nation initiative to bring states together, on a cross-regional basis, to deal with common challenges. All stakeholders are needed, and in this particular process we have succeeded in mobilising the UK - a nuclear-weapon state - and South Africa - a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.”
Could this effort grow into an “Oslo Process,” broadly engaging global civil society in an effort to promote prudent and verifiable progress toward a world free of nuclear weapons? Many important building blocks of such an effort are already in place or under development, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapon Free World, the call for a 2010 World Summit to eliminate nuclear weapons, the Mayors for Peace Program to Promote Solidarity of Cities Toward the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, the Middle Powers Initiative, the New Agenda Coalition, former Senator Sam Nunn’s vision of “The Mountaintop,” and, of course, the stunningly progressive “Hoover Plan” articulated in a January 4, 2007 Wall Street Journal op-ed by George Schultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, and Sam Nunn.

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