Socialist Worker

International delegates assemble at CND Global Summit

by Tony Staunton, CND National Council (pc)
Issue No. 2089

Over 200 delegates met in London to hear peace campaigners from five continents discuss strategies for a nuclear weapon-free world last Saturday.

Representatives from the nuclear states of India and Pakistan explained the dangers of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, with tension mounting across the Middle East and beyond.

A speaker from Greenpeace in Israel joined the call for an urgent alliance to create a nuclear free Middle East, but recognised the challenge in forcing Israel to decommission what is reported to be a nuclear arsenal of over 200 warheads.

More than 210,000 people died in 1945 when the US dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in the initial explosions and the six months following. Many more have suffered premature deaths since as a direct consequence.

A survivor from Nagasaki, now in the Gensuikin anti-nuclear group, gave a moving account of being in the city when atomic bomb dropped. He watched his mother die and then fell ill himself.

The conference had a sense of urgency about the need to stop the new proliferation of nuclear weapons. The US has over 2,000 missiles armed and trained on sites across Russia, and is forcing the placement of silos closer to the Russian border. The declaration of support by US and Britain for Kosovan independence was seen as increasing antagonism in the new cold war.

But the key discussion was on the threat to Iran posed by the Bush administration. The US continues to develop new 'tactical' nuclear warheads for use against underground facilities, suggesting that use of low-yield nuclear weapons might become acceptable in conventional wars.

Both the US and Britain have admitted they had contingency plans to use these weapons in Iraq and Iran. Any such use would leave hundreds of thousands dead and immediately raise the potential for holocaust.

The growth of the peace movement across the world was seen as a key motor in preventing George Bush's plans, and actions including 15 March Stop the War demonstration and 24 March Aldermaston demonstration were agreed as key events.

The summit felt that it is important to emphasise how the current development of a new generation of nuclear power plants goes hand in hand with the production of weapons grade plutonium for the new generation of nuclear weapons. Together these pose a renewed and expanded risk for the world.

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Tue 19 Feb 2008, 18:45 GMT
Issue No. 2089
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