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Disarmament and development at the global level

Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala

President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour and a pleasure to address such a distinguished audience at the Annual Seminar of the International Peace Bureau in this historic city of Alexandria - the Pearl of the Mediterranean. The International Peace Bureau is the world's oldest and most comprehensive civil society coalition dedicated to the cause of peace and disarmament. It was founded in 1891 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910. The fact that we meet in this ancient capital of Alexandria, founded in 331 B.C., and on the site of the famous library which has been known as a beacon of learning and culture for the entire world, heightens the significance of this Seminar.

But antiquity and past laurels alone are not sufficient when we are confronted with the formidable challenges to humanity in today's world. It is vital, of course, that we draw lessons from past experience and the wisdom of our forbears in order to re-tool our skills and re-focus our energies on today's problems. The focus of today's Seminar is entirely appropriate - "Books and Bombs? Sustainable Disarmament for Sustainable Development." For we are in fact addressing the primordial debate in human history on the trade-off between allocations of resources for guns and for butter. It is a reflection of the inherent dichotomy in human nature between the propensity for violence and war and the yearning for peace and stability. More recently, we have seen this debate in terms of the demands for disarmament, so that resources can be released for much needed development to usher in a safer and a better world. In the context of our Seminar, what I mean by "Sustainable Disarmament" is the total and verifiable elimination of all weapons of mass destruction and the regulation of conventional weapons to the lowest possible levels to ensure security.

Fortsetzung im Pdf-Dokument: [Disarmament and development at the global level]

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