Monday, June 29, 2009

Global Zero roles forward

The Global Zero Commission announced an “Action Plan,” a “step-by-step process to achieve total elimination of nuclear weapons,” today in press conference at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C. ahead of the scheduled Moscow Summit between President Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev.

The Commission is comprised of experts from seven states that maintain nuclear arsenals, as well as Japan and Germany.

Global Zero Commission member and former U.S. Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty negotiator Ambassador Richard Burt explained that the Global Zero Commission does not have all the answers or the only possible solution and looks to be collaborative with others engaged in the work of nuclear disarmament, but that today’s plan adds something different to this discussion because it is focused on the long-term development of a multilateral process for getting to zero nuclear weapons. Ambassador Burt and other Commission members emphasized that their effort was realistic, practical and pragmatic and that the:
“risks of nuclear weapons outweigh any stabilizing effect of nuclear weapons…We’re at a point where nuclear weapons will no longer be a weapon of the strong, they will increasingly be a weapon of the weak.”
Ambassador Burt carefully observed that testimony provided to the Commission suggests that governments and intelligence agencies have in every case been able to provide clear indication when and in what countries nuclear weapons development was underway. Former Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations, Russia, and India Thomas Pickering explained that the Global Zero Commission’s plan extends over fourteen years for the negotiation of the various constituent agreements and another seven years to complete dismantlement of existing nuclear arsenals.

Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Ambassador Shahryar Khan affirmed that “Pakistan has absolutely no reservations” about going forward on the Global Zero path, and that with Pakistan’s leadership, most other Islamic countries would follow suit.

Former Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, Ambassador Jianmin Wu, observed that:
“the threat is felt not only by developed countries, but also by developing countries."
The Commission will convene again in the fall (probably in Moscow) to more thoroughly flesh out the plan, while continuing to consult with governments and reach out the public. A “Global Zero Summit” is planned for January of next year in Paris.

We applaud this effort and agree that the prompt creation of an inclusive global dialogue about the future of nuclear weapons that engages governments not yet involved in the nuclear arms reduction process as well as international civil society and the global public is extremely important.


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