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Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Turns 40 Today

As the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty turns 40, nuclear disarmament groups have called for real progress to be made in moving toward a nuclear - weapons - free world. The stakes could not be higher.

According to Australian nuclear disarmament groups:

"We welcome Prime Minister Rudd's initiative to create an International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament to build on the work of the Canberra Commission. It is none too soon."

"The Need for progress on nuclear disarmament has been emphasised in the past 2-3 years by highly distinguished people ranging from the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the current secretary - General Ban Ki Moon, former US secretaries of state and defence Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, and Richard Perry, as well as by the Union of Atomic Scientists advisory Board of 18 Nobels. Today, another highly distinguished group headed up by the UK's Douglas Hurd published an appeal in the Times calling urgently for progress in eliminating nuclear weapons."

"The results of a nuclear conflagration are as spine-chillingly awful as they have always been: The work done in the 1980s on nuclear winter has been done all over again over the last 12 months, and its just as bad in its current version as it was in its 1980s version. It remains the case that large - scale nuclear weapons use will destroy civilisation and 95% of land - based life - forms, and likely put human beings out of business. The apocalypse remains on the agenda but we seem to have forgotten it is there. Whereas global warming may take a century or so to make the planet uninhabitable, a bad decision in Stratcom or Serpukhov-15 can do the job in 40 minutes or so."

"The NPT was not designed to legitimate the holding of nuclear weapons by the nuclear weapons states indefinitely. It was designed on the assumption that it would facilitate the elimination of nuclear weapons in the relatively near term. Already, the number of states with nuclear weapons capabilities has risen from 5 to 9, including Israel, India, Pakistan and the DPRK. If Iran goes nuclear there will be 10."

"Every year or so, governments worldwide agree on perfectly sensible, rational ways forward to eliminate nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons states routinely ignore these calls by the whole world."

"This has got to change. The Rudd Commission is a possible way forward to the elimination of a technology whose continuance is incompatible with the continuance of civilisation and life. The stakes could not be higher. We must succeed."

A Rally will be held in Sydney to commemorate the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by US Nuclear weapons on 2 August at 12.30(Midday) Sydney Town Hall.

Contact:

John Hallam PND
61-2-9319-426 (no messages) 61-2-9810-2598 (leave message)
Pauline Mitchell CICD 61-3-9663-3677 61-3-9555-3076
Irene Gale APC 0419 032 896
Bronwyn Marks, Chair, Hiroshima-Day Cttee 61-2-9982-4192

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