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Media Advisory

MPI Calls for Preparatory Work on a
Nuclear Weapon Convention

SEOUL, Republic of Korea – March 11, 2010 – The Middle Powers Initiative has called on influential non-nuclear weapon states to press for a commitment at the forthcoming Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to start preparatory work on a Nuclear Weapon Convention.

Senator Douglas Roche, O.C.,
MPI Chairman Emeritus

Senator Douglas Roche, O.C., Chairman Emeritus of MPI and former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament, called on the international community to finally stop accepting the existence of nuclear weapons and begin the work necessary to eliminate the most destructive weapons ever created. Speaking at Seoul National University and later at The Summit of Honor on Atoms for Peace and Environment, Senator Roche said the May NPT Review Conference would be the ideal venue for governments to make the commitment to negotiate a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

The elimination of nuclear weapons “has become the irreducible essential for survival. It is the paramount human rights issue of our time,” said Senator Roche, “A Nuclear Weapon Convention prohibiting the production as well as use of all nuclear weapons in all circumstances is urgently needed.” While proliferation – whether to states or terrorists – must be stopped, Senator Roche pointed out that “proliferation is inevitable as long as the nuclear weapon states maintain their nuclear weapons, even in reduced numbers, while proscribing their acquisition by any other state. A two-class nuclear world is not sustainable in the 21 st century. It is time for middle power states to emphasize this point in their discussions with the nuclear powers.”

MPI Chairman
Ambassador Henrik Salander

Ambassador Henrik Salander, Senator Roche's successor as Chairman of MPI, speaking at the same conference, urged the middle power countries – militarily and politically significant countries which do not possess nuclear weapons (for example, the Republic of Korea, Germany, Canada and Brazil) – to follow the MPI recommendation that, “Middle power countries should press for the NPT Review Conference to adopt a commitment to commencement of preparatory work, deliberations and negotiations on a convention or framework of instruments for sustainable, verifiable and enforceable global elimination of nuclear weapons.”

Among the other calls for such a move, Ambassador Salander, the former Swedish Ambassador for Disarmament, cited UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's five-point plan on nuclear disarmament from October 2008. He praised the Secretary-General's bold vision of a framework of mutually reinforcing instruments, or a convention, in order to rid the world of nuclear weapons. He added that promises in 1995 and 2000 from the nuclear weapon states have been broken or unfulfilled, resulting in uncertainty about the value of NPT agreements. Among the minimum requirements for the May 2010 NPT Review Conference to succeed, Ambassador Salander said, are firm commitments from nuclear weapon states to multilateral disarmament processes and to the diminishing role of nuclear weapons, plus progress on the Middle East issues pending since the extension of the NPT in 1995.

Senator Roche also commented upon the nuclear status of the DPRK. “It is unacceptable for the DPRK to become a permanent nuclear weapon state,” he said. As the solution, he embraced a proposal championed by, among others, parliamentarians from the ROK and Japan: a North-East Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. “In such a zone,” Senator Roche said, “The DPRK would relinquish its nuclear arsenal and nuclear weapons capabilities, and receive in return binding assurances against use of nuclear weapons… By providing Japan and the Republic of Korea binding assurances against use of nuclear weapons, a zone could also facilitate their lessening or ending reliance on US nuclear weapons for defense.”

The speeches by Ambassador Salander and Senator Roche are available online at www.middlepowers.org


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