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58th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs - Justice, Peace and Nuclear Disarmament

Conference Statement of the Pugwash Council

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22 April 2009, The Hague, Netherland

The Council of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, recipient of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize, welcomes the new international climate that is being generated which makes it possible for multilateral cooperative solutions to be negotiated for the critical issues affecting the global community. On nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction terrorism, the international economic crisis, the urgent problem of climate change, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the strengthening of the rule of law, human rights, and other issues, the moment has arrived and we must seize the opportunity. As always, Pugwash stands ready to play its part.

Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

From its inception in 1957 the Pugwash Conferences has focused on the threat posed by nuclear weapons to humanity. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate indiscriminate genocidal weapon of warfare, and as such must be eliminated and declared illegal and immoral. Recent statements by many senior political leaders and others around the world calling for a nuclear weapon-free world are surely welcomed, and give credence to a goal that Pugwash has espoused for more than 50 years.

The Pugwash Council applauds the April 1 joint statement of President Obama of the US and President Medvedev of Russia, where the two leaders pledged to work for the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world. The two Presidents enumerated a wide range of steps that would facilitate the elimination of nuclear weapons. These include US-Russian negotiation of a new verifiable strategic arms treaty, support for efforts to conclude a verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty, US ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), consultation and possible cooperation on missile defense, and many others. In doing so, Russia and the United States appeared poised to put behind them several years of deteriorating relations over NATO expansion, the Russia-Georgia conflict, missile defense, the suspension of the CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) Treaty, and other divisive issues.

Several days later, on April 5 in Prague, President Obama delivered an historic speech that firmly committed his administration to fulfilling its obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to reduce nuclear stockpiles through significant progress in reducing nuclear weapons toward the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. If followed up by concrete action, this renewed US commitment will set a positive example for the other original nuclear weapons states, as well as those countries with nuclear weapons that remain outside the NPT Treaty, to take seriously the prospect of joining the nuclear disarmament process leading to zero.

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