18 - 20 April 2010
Over the last year, the world economy and financial markets began to show hopeful signs of recovery. The USA and Russia both agreed to talk seriously about nuclear arms control and there is great hope that conditions for nuclear disarmament are in place. These are reasons for optimism, yet specific challenges require our attention and our resources. Some of these challenges have previously seemed intractable, though today we are hopeful about our collective commitment and new leadership in global affairs.
During its 28th Annual Plenary Session, the InterAction Council assembled in Hiroshima, Japan, in April 2010 to discuss the issues that are most challenging to global stability and nuclear disarmament. With respect to nuclear disarmament, the InterAction Council adopted The Hiroshima Declaration, a plan for zero nuclear weapons.
Present Global Challenges Met through Multilateral Action
Global challenges are too complex and too broad for any solutions other than those formed through cooperation. States must seek opportunities to strengthen multilateral action, adhere to a rules based world, and respect international law. Through multilateral cooperation and through our international institutions, States have a forum to act collaboratively to meet their concomitant responsibilities.
The European Union remains an excellent expression of multilateral cooperation among nations. The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and the success of their common currency have created a European Union that is politically and economically strong, but it will be many years before there is a truly common European defense and foreign policy. Until that time, large states in Europe will continue to exercise independence in foreign policy.
This is unfortunate, because issues such as the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the War in Afghanistan, transitions in Iraq, and international terrorism require global leadership, aligned voices, and unified action. President Obama should be supported when he focuses his attention on intractable issues in where his leadership is critical.
The United Nations Security Council continues to be the primary forum for the maintenance of international peace and security. The five permanent members must realize that they are the bearers of a great responsibility and that they represent all nations and not just their national interests.
Asia is one of the bright spots of the world. Its economies were the first to overcome global recession and its multilateral frameworks are contributing to world stability and growth.
Another area requiring collective action is the global regulation of financial markets. For many years, an excess of freedom in financial markets and an appetite for too much debt, led to an economic catastrophe unprecedented since the end of World War II. It is important to prevent excessive risk taken on irresponsibly. Attention during this crisis was drawn to financial capitals and institutions, at the expense of the developing world which suffered and saw a substantial drop in foreign direct investment, increased unemployment, and negative GDP growth. The world’s governments rightly intervened to support critical financial institutions, but as they did, they diverted resources from other areas such as disaster relief and poverty alleviation. In Africa especially, many who could have been lifted out of poverty, were not. Economic misery leads to political instability, and creates a recruitment platform for terrorist organizations.
Other sources for international terrorism are instability in the Middle East and the issues surrounding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Given the current direction of global leadership, there is an opportunity now to change direction. Doing so will take off the table an issue which is exploited by those who are trying to threaten global peace with terror. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were devastating to an entire region. It is imperative that these conflicts are brought rapidly to a close and that those war-torn states are welcomed into the community nations responsibly.
Therefore, the InterAction Council recommends:
- A return to a truly multilateral world in order to address common challenges most effectively.
- Reinforcing that a primary issue preventing stability in the Middle East is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and that President Obama should be supported in his opposition to the construction of new settlements in Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem.
- Israel should conform with the 2004 Advisory Opinion by the International Court of Justice on the wall constructed on Palestinian territories and comply with 1949 Geneva Conventions.
- States should understand that terrorism is a threat to the world and that there are many causes of terrorism. States should make every effort to understand these causes and, where possible, remedy them.
- Israel should cease construction and expansion of new settlements, and lift the blockade on Gaza that threatens the health and lives of the people of Gaza and impedes the reconstruction of this ravaged land.
- States should respect the democratic process in Palestine and engage with the democratically elected leaders regardless of their political affiliation.
- The war in Afghanistan should end, not through military action alone, but also through engagement with all parties, including the Taliban, who have a stake in building a successful state.
- Coalition states should prepare Iraq, its neighbours and allies for Coalition withdrawal to mitigate intra-Iraq religious based conflict and prevent terrorist attacks.
- NATO states should recognize that continuous NATO expansion antagonizes Russia. European security can also be guaranteed through dialogue and cooperation with Russia.
- Governments should reaffirm that banks, hedge funds, private equity funds, financial institutions, and financial instruments are subject to adequate and responsible supervision and regulation.
- States should commit to investment and aid to Africa where millions remain living in poverty and without proper medical care.
- States should recognize that Haiti requires much more than foreign aid, for example, reforestation and institution building, before it can realize long-term sustainable growth.
- China should continue to manage its peaceful development. We welcome China’s participation in the world economy and her contribution to growth and stability which has helped put in place the conditions for world economic recovery.
A plan for Zero Nuclear Weapons
In August 1945 the USA dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and two hundred and thirty thousand Japanese and Koreans lost their lives by the end of that year. The devastating and lasting consequences of accidental or intentional use of nuclear weapons are well-known. Yet, nuclear disarmament has been prevented by remnants of the Cold War; outdated security frameworks, including the principle of nuclear deterrence. There is now a legitimate plea to renounce the relics of the Cold War era. Nuclear disarmament is urgently needed and it is now becoming increasingly feasible.
By concluding the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970, States agreed on disarmament, peaceful nuclear technology and nuclear non-proliferation. Today we know that the NPT has failed to prevent further proliferation. Today we know that the nuclear weapon states have failed to fulfil their obligation to disarm under the NPT. Today we are aware of other threats - most notably, nuclear terrorism and further proliferation of nuclear weapons to new states or non-state actors who may not adhere to the rule of law. These new threats have to be addressed immediately and with a new approach.
The American ‘Gang of Four’ Henry Kissinger, William Perry, Sam Nunn, and George Shultz revived nuclear disarmament in 2007 by providing a new look on the perceived threats and calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Their calls have been reiterated by former statesmen in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom – many are members of this Council. There are further signs of progress and world leaders have welcomed these initiatives. President Obama and President Medvedev confirmed their commitment in the new START to prevent nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism and endorsed the elimination of nuclear weapons. The recent Nuclear Security Summit affirmed that there is a determination among world leaders to address proliferation and nuclear terrorism. Future success will however depend on the extent of multilateral cooperation and in particular on whether or not Russia and China support these initiatives.
Nuclear disarmament does not and will not take place in a vacuum. It takes place in the present state of the world. It can best be achieved in a security landscape wherein the rule of law is adhered to and the sovereignty, security and safety of States is respected. That goal cannot be reached unless regional issues are solved. Nuclear weapons states have to reassess their conceptions of security in order to be less reliant upon their nuclear arsenals and reassure their allies currently under the nuclear umbrella. The controversy concerning Iran’s program for the enrichment of uranium is at a dangerous level and must be defused. Questions remain concerning Iran’s compliance with the IAEA regime. Article 7 of the NPT provides for regional negotiations on nuclear weapons free zones, which have positive contributions on global disarmament.
Ending nuclear weapons as a threat to the world is certainly a challenge, but one we must meet. While the long term objective is important, it is equally important to define certain short, medium and long-term benchmarks to guide the path ahead. One of the short-term goals must be for the United States and Russia to remove launch on warning for nuclear weapons. Currently there are thousands of warheads on prompt launch. One human error may lead to catastrophic impact.
The ultimate objective is a nuclear weapons free world. It is important to note that the current arsenal of over 20,000 nuclear warheads is large enough to destroy the world many times. Yet, international law has not completely prohibited the use of nuclear weapons. A commitment among the nuclear powers to ban the first use of nuclear weapons is therefore needed to support disarmament efforts. The NPT Review Conference in May provides an excellent forum for fostering global disarmament in a multilateral and inclusive framework. The failures of the 2005 Review Conference must not be repeated. The recent report by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament sponsored by Australia and Japan contains seventy-six recommendations for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The InterAction Council submits its own report and the Hiroshima Declaration for the consideration of the Review Conference.
The InterAction Council has called for the abolition of nuclear weapons in nearly every annual meeting since its establishment in 1983. This year our determination was reinforced more than ever. The members of the Council met with the hibakusha, the survivors of the nuclear attack in Hiroshima, who demand that no one else shall suffer as they did. Now, 65 years later, the Council is determined to make certain that the wishes of the hibakusha come true. We must eliminate nuclear weapons to honour the pledge on the Memorial Cenotaph in Hiroshima’s Peace Park – ‘Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil’.
Therefore the InterAction Council recommends that:
- Nuclear weapon states should confirm and implement their obligations under article VI of the NPT, to negotiate and achieve nuclear disarmament.
- All states possessing nuclear weapons should reduce and eventually eliminate their arsenals.
- In particular, Russia and the United States, who have the largest stocks, should sharply reduce the number of warheads, including non-strategic weapons.
- States should commit to a non first use of nuclear weapons.
- A convention prohibiting nuclear weapons should be concluded in the same manner as conventions prohibiting biological and chemical weapons.
- All non-strategic nuclear weapons should be removed to national territory and they should be dismantled and eliminated as soon as possible.
- All remaining states should promptly ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and bring it into force without delay.
- Negotiations should start without delay on a treaty prohibiting further production of fissile material for weapons and address the issue of existing stocks.
- States party to the NPT should be urged to accept and ratify the additional protocol of the IAEA safeguard verification and nuclear weapons states should be encouraged to place enrichment and reprocessing plants under safeguards.
- All nuclear arms states should remove their nuclear weapons from prompt launch posture and increase the warning and decision time.
- States possessing nuclear weapons should increase transparency of their capabilities, postures, and strategies.
- Efforts to foster global détente and regional stability should be pursued alongside disarmament.
- Within national governments, units should be created to deal with and support nuclear disarmament and to consider how states can manage their defense without nuclear weapons. Resources for the pursuit and implementation of disarmament should be allocated.
- States should replace the philosophy of nuclear deterrence with the concept of common security.
- The UN Security Council should make nuclear disarmament a central part of its mission. The Security Council could explore the possibility of considering a full inventory of nuclear weapons in all countries.
- The UN resolutions calling for a nuclear-weapon free zone in the Middle-East have to be implemented.
- States should actively consider the establishment of additional nuclear weapon free zones for example the Middle-East, including Israel and Iran, and the Arctic.
- The Arctic Council should take on security issues within its mandate and start discussing a possible nuclear weapons free zone in the Arctic.
- Through the Six Party talks, the DPRK should be induced to abandon its nuclear weapons programme by economic incentives and disincentives, and security guarantees. The DPRK should rejoin the NPT as a non nuclear weapon state.
- South Korea and the DPRK should reaffirm their joint declaration of 1992 to keep the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons.
- The direct discussions on Iran should be resumed, solutions must be found that recognise Iran’s right to nuclear power for electricity generation and other peaceful purposes but not a right to nuclear weapons.
- Nuclear Security should be universally strengthened in accordance with the conclusions of the Nuclear Security Summit.
- The fuel bank mechanism should be developed under the auspices of the IAEA to reduce the incentive of states to build new facilities for enrichment and reprocessing.
- Steps should be taken toward the internationalization of the nuclear fuel cycle.
- Funding of the IAEA should be increased.
- States selling uranium should do so only on condition that the recipient country has in place safeguards, including the additional protocol and that the sold uranium should be subject to safeguards.
- World leaders, especially from nuclear arms States, should visit Hiroshima to understand the suffering and destruction caused by nuclear weapons and help to inform the public about the dangers of nuclear weapons.
- States and civil society should support the Mayors for Peace initiative, founded by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, towards the total abolition of nuclear weapons.