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     Scottish CND      Magazine

Nine Minutes to Midnight

clock

The threat of nuclear war has increased with the recent nuclear tests in India and Pakistan. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists uses a "Doomsday Clock" to illustrate how close the world is to nuclear conflict. It had previously stood at 14 minutes to midnight. The group have just moved their clock forward to only 9 minutes to midnight.

In a statement they said:

"The Bulletin's Board of Directors moves the hand not only in response to the addition of two more states as declared nuclear powers, but also to dramatize the failure of world diplomacy in the nuclear sphere; the increased danger that the non-proliferation regime might ultimately collapse; and the fact that deep reductions in the numbers of nuclear weapons, which seemed possible at the start of the decade, have not been realized."

Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Gohab Ayub Khan, has said that the dispute with India over Kashmir could trigger a nuclear war "at any time". Although Pakistan has also announced a moratorium on further nuclear tests there is great concern that the conflict over Kashmir could escalate.

In response to the new dangers in South Asia a group of countries have made an urgent plea for progress towards nuclear disarmament. The joint declaration was made by Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden.

The statement said:

"The international community must not enter the third millennium with the prospect that the maintenance of these weapons will be considered legitimate for the indefinite future, when the present juncture provides a unique opportunity to eradicate and prohibit them for all time. We therefore call on the governments of each of the nuclear-weapon states and the three nuclear-weapon-capable states to commit themselves unequivocally to the elimination of their respective nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons capability and to agree to start work immediately on the practical steps and negotiations required for its achievement".

Scottish CND      Magazine