Abolition 2000 UK Home

 

Briefing 2: NATO Nuclear Sharing

 

 Abolition 2000 Europe Website

 

ABOLITION 2000 EUROPE

Part of a global network to abolish nuclear weapons early in the new century

BRIEFING 1:  INTRODUCING ABOLITION 2000 EUROPE

Abolition 2000 Europe is a coalition of European NGOs committed to the global abolition of nuclear weapons. We believe that there is a special role for Europe in nuclear disarmament based on values shared by politicians, peace activists and officials.  It lies in an identifiable attitude towards global security.  Because of Europe's fraught 20th century history it has come to realise that true security can only be found in a common approach founded on a respect for international law, global structures and some pooling of sovereignty.  The EU itself is a strong expression of this. 

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States. Article VI of the Treaty obliges its signatories "to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament. and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control".

Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. On 11 May 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely.  188 states  have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States. More countries have ratified the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, a testament to the Treaty's significance.

At the sixth NPT Review Conference held in 2000, the Final Document, agreed to by all NPT states contained an "unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament ..." plus a 13-step Programme of Action for the next five years to implement this.   The 13 point action plan for disarmament is at the heart of the successful but hard won consensus.  It is  the path carved out by 187 governments towards the total elimination of the suicidal, genocidal and ecocidal nuclear weapon.

It is now three years since the last Review Conference and there are few signs that the Nuclear Weapon States are treating the realisation of the Programme of Action as a matter of urgency.  Their defence planning presupposes a continuing role for nuclear weapons into the indefinite future  whilst denying them to other states. 

Abolition 2000 Europe aims to enlist the help of MEPs  to consider what could be done on a European level to further the full implementation of the NPT and to enhance the results of the next Review Conference due in New York in 2005.  In particular, the European Parliament could influence the position taken by the EU in its contribution to the Review Conference.

Any specific steps the Parliament recommends  should be seen as part of  progress towards a nuclear weapons-free world.  There should be deadlines to meet and each measures should be subject to international control and verification.. This is because  steps advertised by the Nuclear Weapon States as progress towards achieving NPT obligations are frequently  no more than measures of convenience. An example is the decommissioning of obsolete nuclear weapons and their reduction in numbers. We must recommend the right things for the right reasons, rather than the right things for the wrong reasons.

Central to the purposes of Abolition 2000 Europe is the need to raise awareness of the issue of nuclear weapons among the peoples of Europe and their leaders, and to emphasise the vital importance of maintaining and developing the NPT process.  Promises have been made and obligations undertaken.  These have not yet been fulfilled.

 

For more information contact George Farebrother, Abolition 2000 UK, 67 Summerheath Rd, Hailsham,

Sussex UK BN27 3DR,

+44 (0)1323 844 269, geowcpuk@gn.apc.org