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Report from NPT 3 May

Alan Mackinnon reports from NPT Conference New York -

Yesterday tens of thousands of people filled the streets of New York to demand a world free from nuclear weapons and war. In brilliant sunshine and temperatures of over 30 degrees, the demonstrators from across the world were warmly greeted by local people. The demonstration marks the start of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference which starts on Monday 3rd May.


Expectations for a successful outcome to the treaty have been raised by the growing pressure for nuclear weapons states to begin preparations for negotiating a nuclear weapons convention. The proposals of UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, Five Steps to a Nuclear Free World, are attracting widespread support as a basis for starting the process, but so far the response from the nuclear weapon states has been muted and the official UK representation, Ambassador Duncan, has reiterated the British government position of support for US policy. Today British CND is hosting a public meeting with a wide range of international speakers from Britain, the United States, France, China and Japan. The event will be chaired by CND vice chair Dave Webb.

Alan Mackinnon
Chair, Scottish CND

Sunday 2nd May, 8.30am

Ban ki-Moon: "The World is Watching!"

At a packed Riverside Church in upper Manhattan on Saturday night, United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon called on the world’s nuclear powers to "Disarm, Disarm Now". The 1000 strong audience cheered when he said that from his first day as Secretary General he vowed to make nuclear disarmament his top priority. This was the rousing final  session of the International Conference for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World. Delegates from peace organisations from the United States and all over the world assembled for the conference in preparation for the opening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference which starts on 3rd May.

There is an atmosphere of optimism that this Review Conference can avoid the disaster of the last one in 2005 which ended in disarray with no final agreement. Since then the election of Barack Obama, his commitment to the goal of nuclear disarmament in the Prague Speech of April 2009, the negotiation of the new START treaty on strategic weapons reductions with the United States and Russia, the publication of the US Nuclear Posture Review and the recent Nuclear Security Summit have all represented small but positive steps forward.

Delegates from the peace organisations are pressing that this review conference agrees a comprehensive process which will involve all five original nuclear powers - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - with the objective of a Nuclear Weapons Convention which will ban the possession or use of nuclear weapons across the world. Such an agreement will almost certainly require parallel negotiations on conventional force reductions in various locations including Europe, the Middle East and North East Asia. Many of the delegates have described the negotiation of a Nuclear Free Middle East as a key part of the strategy. The final outcome of the conference is not likely to be known until it finishes at the end of May.

Alan Mackinnon
NGO delegate to the conference representing the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Chair of Scottish CND