Pledges For Peace

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is collecting pledges as part of its World Campaign to abolish Nuclear Weapons. The pledges will be presented to the delegates at the NPT Extension Conference in April, and to the Secretary General of the United Nations on the 50th anniversaries of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Aug. 6 and 9.

Pledge forms should include the printed names/organizations, addresses, and signatures, and read: I support the goal of nuclear disarmament. I urge all governments, and specifically my own government, to immediately initiate negotiations for an International Treaty on Comprehensive Nuclear Disarmament. Forms should be returned, as they are completed, to Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 1187 Coast Village Road, suite 123, Santa Barbara, CA 93108.

Current Work Toward A Comprehensive Test Ban

The prospect of a CTBT by April (before the Extension Conference in May of the Non-Proliferation Treaty) now looks remote. Indeed, some states would prefer to wait until after next April before concluding a treaty. The U.K. and France may oppose conclusion of a CTBT before the decision on extending the NPT is taken. France will not consider a CTBT ready to sign unless the verification regime is in place, which could not be before 1996 at the earliest. Most states would want the verification regime to be defined at time of signing, but not necessarily in place until entry into force.

In a statement on Oct. 5, 1993, after conducting a nuclear test, China committed itself to a CTBT "no later than 1996." China is the only nuclear weapon state currently testing. The U.S., France, and Russia are observing a moratorium. The U.K. has not declared a moratorium but cannot test, as it shares the U.S. test site in Nevada.

The fundamental part of the treaty is the Scope and Basic Obligations Article, which will determine what shall be prohibited and what permitted. The "P5"-the five nuclear weapon states which are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council-all want to protect their future weapons capability. At China's insistence, the rolling text currently contains a section in brackets permitting the peaceful use of nuclear energy and peaceful nuclear explosions (PNEs). Some states have insisted on a footnote, opposing inclusion of any section on "so-called PNEs." The U.S. Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Association (ACDA), John D Holum, declared:

"The United States seeks a CTBT that will bring an end to all nuclear explosions -period. No thresholds. No exceptions."

However, apparently as part of a deal with the nuclear weapons laboratories and their advocates, the Clinton Administration agreed that "zero yield" hydronuclear tests would not be considered nuclear explosions per se. Britain and France argue that some day it may be necessary for the existing nuclear weapon states to conduct tests to "ensure the safety and reliability of weapons in their arsenals." The majority, however, want all nuclear explosions banned-this is their understanding of the term "comprehensive." For them, the main outstanding issue is whether to include preparations. Sweden's 1993 draft treaty proposed that the prohibition should include preparing to test.

Most other states lean towards the Australian argument that it is legally unnecessary and would greatly complicate verification. The nuclear weapon states oppose a provision on preparing to test, in part because they want to maintain a state of "preparedness" as both insurance and a deterrent against breakout. There is no proposal in the rolling text to close the test sites, but this issue is still being debated. Many states now consider that, while in principle closure and clean-up of the test sites would be desirable, the strength of opposition from the P5 mean that this cannot be achieved. However, there is still strong pressure for close monitoring of the existing sites.

For implementing and verifying the CTBT, the choice is between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), proposed by the 1993 Swedish draft treaty, and a new agency. Doubts remain about the IAEA's lack of overall relevant expertise. The Australian draft envisages an independent organization co-located in Vienna. The supreme decision-making body would be the Conference of States Parties. The nuclear weapon states will probably expect to have permanent seats, but not necessarily the power of veto.

Some states fear that requiring a full international regime in place from the outset would make early entry into force impossible. France in particular has indicated that the verification regime should not only be designed, but in place before the CTBT is signed. The core of the verification regime will be a seismic network.

Intersessional negotiations are planned in November, December, and possibly January. The rolling text now on the table still is heavily-bracketed and unwieldy, but the negotiators consider that the relevant ground has now been covered.

Source: fhit.newsltr.

Pickering Station Review Urged

Durham Nuclear Awareness will attend a meeting of the Atomic Energy Control Board on Nov. 10. The group will request an assessment hearing before the licence for the Pickering nuclear generating station is renewed this winter.

Source: The Toronto Star.

Arms To South Africa?

Peace reader Helen Hansen of Willowdale, Ontario asked the following question of MP Jim Peterson:

A news report today said that the arms embargo against South Africa is now lifted. Does this mean that Canada may start selling arms to South Africa, and if so, why?

And here is a response from the Minister of International Trade, Roy MacLaren:

Jim Peterson, MP for Willowdale, forwarded to me your letter.

As you are aware, Canada lifted trade, investment, and financial sanctions against South Africa in September, 1993 as a result of progress being made at that time toward the establishment of a democratic non-racial society. On April 27 of this year, South Africa successfully held the first multi-racial elections. In response, the United Nations lifted its embargo on military goods to South Africa. Consistent with the U.N. decision, Canada has now removed the remaining restrictions on military and dual-usage industrial technology exports-effectively normalizing Canadian trade relations with South Africa.

Accordingly, general Canadian guidelines for exports of military and strategic goods now apply to South Africa. These guidelines permit the export of military goods and technology unless the destination country:

In view of the dramatic and positive changes which have taken place in South African society over the recent period, none of the above scenarios currently apply to South Africa.

Nuclear Waste Blocked In Lower Saxony

For 20 years, the residents of Gorleben, a German village in Lower Saxony, have been fighting plans to store high-level radioactive waste there.

The nuclear industry had already tried four times to bring their "Castor" transporters to the designated site.

The fifth time, demonstrators built a hut village near the site. By mid-July, 1,000 people were living there, and over 300 people blocked a railway line likely to be used by the convoy.

Police evicted the hut village's inhabitants, and declared a ban on demonstrations. The protesters appealed.

Their actions paid off. On July 15 the government of Lower Saxony, claiming technical difficulties, announced that the Castor transport had been postponed until after the summer and the ban had been lifted.

The activists enthusiastically moved back into "Castornix" and continued their surveillance of the site. Despite threats from right-wing extremists, the indomitable villagers are there to stay until this fifth attempt at storing nuclear waste in Gorleben is abandoned.

Source: Peace News.

Close Bases, Not Communities

Once unlikely allies, the peace movement and labor groups have joined together to send a message to Minister of Defence David Collenette.

The Canadian Peace Alliance, the Union of National Defence Employees, the Canadian Labour Congress, and the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade have appealed to Collenette to work with local government, labor, social justice, and peace organizations during the closure of bases to ensure that employees be fairly compensated or retrained. "We need to convert military spending. ...We don't need to put more Canadians out of work," says CLC executive vice-president Jean-Claude Parrot.

The Liberals promised during their election campaign to take such steps before announcing a series of base closures in February.

Source: CLC fax Press.

Ye Are The Leaven

One World Research and Education Network has published a workbook called The Leaven Program for Social Justice. It invites adults and high school students to come together to study and work for social justice. While written from the standpoint of concerned Christians, its subject matter should have wide appeal. Subjects covered include Canadian culture in the 1990s, poverty and affluence, conflict and resolution, war, and peace and militarism.

Contact One World Research and Education Network at Box 23051, Belleville, Ont.K8P 5J3.

Peace Magazine Nov-Dec 1994

Peace Magazine Nov-Dec 1994, page 30. Some rights reserved.

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