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Nuclear States Pay Lip Service to Disarmament

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Britain and the rest of the world's nuclear powers are paying "lip service" to the principle of disarmament without putting any efforts into achieving it. Nuclear-armed states do not have a single official whose sole job is devoted to the issue of verifying the decommission of nuclear weapons, a Report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said.

It calls for a "high-level unofficial panel" made up of civilian experts and officials to come up with solutions to the "myriad challenges" of disarmament.

The report, Abolishing Nuclear Weapons, says: "Representatives of nuclear-weapons states pay lip service to the principle of nuclear disarmament, but none of these states has an employee, let alone an inter-agency group, tasked full-time with figuring out what would be required to verifiably decommission all its nuclear weapons."

Its authors argue for disarmament to be successful, states must have a "shared perception" of the challenges.

Britain and the rest of the world's nuclear powers are paying "lip service" to the principle of disarmament without putting any efforts into achieving it. Nuclear-armed states do not have a single official whose sole job is devoted to the issue of verifying the decommission of nuclear weapons, a Report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said.

It calls for a "high-level unofficial panel" made up of civilian experts and officials to come up with solutions to the "myriad challenges" of disarmament.

The report, Abolishing Nuclear Weapons, says: "Representatives of nuclear-weapons states pay lip service to the principle of nuclear disarmament, but none of these states has an employee, let alone an inter-agency group, tasked full-time with figuring out what would be required to verifiably decommission all its nuclear weapons."

Its authors argue for disarmament to be successful, states must have a "shared perception" of the challenges.

They say: "An international consortium of think tanks should convene a high-level unofficial panel to allow experts from civil society and officials from both nuclear-armed states and non-nuclear-weapons states to explore solutions to the myriad challenges of verifiably and securely eliminating nuclear weapons. Governments could assist these explorations by facilitating the participation of their nuclear weapons laboratories and militaries."

Abolishing nuclear weapons "can be a beneficial organising principle for the national security policies of key states," it says.

It adds: "All of the challenges associated with the abolition of nuclear weapons have their roots in today's world. Accordingly, there is much that states can do to start making progress toward a nuclear-weapons-free world."

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament's chairwoman, Kate Hudson, said the call for an international panel would "be a valuable addition" adding: "If our Government is serious about disarmament, it must end its contradictory approach to it. Contributing to nuclear proliferation by pursuing Trident replacement, and backing the missile defence system which is already leading to a new nuclear arms race, is incompatible with the goal of zero nuclear weapons."

Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) agreed in 1968, the states with nuclear weapons - the US, Russia, China, Britain and France - were allowed to keep their weapons but not to give them to anyone else. The non-nuclear-weapon states were allowed to develop nuclear technology but only for peaceful purposes. Critics say the UK's £20bn plan to replace Trident will break its obligations under the NPT.