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Québec City: On May 31, the InterAction Council-- an international organization of more than thirty former heads of state or government-- issued a communiqué calling, inter alia, for the "verifiable and irreversible elimination" of nuclear weapons, which they view as "an unacceptable and disproportionate threat to every living thing on the planet."

R to L: Former Norway Prime Minister Dr. Gro Brundtland, former US President Bill Clinton, former Argentina President Fernando De La Rua, former Mexico President Vincente Fox and former Singapore Prime Minister Chok Tong Goh listen during the opening of the InterAction Council meeting at the National Assembly in Quebec City, May 29, 2011.

REUTERS/Jacques Boissinot/Pool

Participants at the 29th Annual meeting in Québec City included former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, former US President Bill Clinton, former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo and a host of other former heads of government.

MPI Chairman Ambassador Richard Butler was asked to deliver a presentation on the topic of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as a contribution to this distinguished group's Final Communiqué on the issue. The disarmament portion of the communiqué is below.

» Download the full text of the Communiqué (PDF)
» Read the IAC's press release
» View the list of participants
» Read more about the InterAction Council

Weapons of Mass Destruction
from the Final Communiqué of the 29th Annual Meeting of the InterAction Council

The continuing existence of nuclear weapons is an unacceptable and disproportionate threat to every living thing on the planet. The only enduring solution to this threat lies in the verifiable and irreversible elimination of these weapons.

As long as nuclear weapons exist in the hands of any state, they will be sought also by others. As long as nuclear weapons exist they will be used one day, either by deliberate action or by accident. Any use of nuclear weapons would be a human, ecological, economic, political and moral catastrophe. States continue to seek nuclear weapons for a number of reasons. The question of proliferation needs to be recognized and addressed.

The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the United States and Russia is a positive step forward in that it will over the next ten years reduce the number of warheads by 30 per cent.

To mark its continued commitment to nuclear disarmament, the Council reiterated its Hiroshima Declaration of 19 April 2010 and its Communiqué of the 29th Annual Plenary and in the process reaffirmed the need for action to seek full implementation of these recommendations.

While nuclear weapons are extremely dangerous, the Council recalled that small arms and light weapons kill over 500,000 people annually, approximately one person per minute, day and night.

Lasting peace remains just out of reach, despite all our efforts. It is up to us to ensure that our children do not experience the horrors of nuclear weapons.

Therefore the InterAction Council recommends:

1. Taking into account the Hiroshima Declaration of 2010 as well as the Communiqué of the 29th Annual Plenary of the InterAction Council.

2. Welcoming the entry into force of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and Russia.

3. Implementing the UN Secretary General’s Five-Point Proposal on Nuclear Disarmament as well as the decisions of the 2010 Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

4. Issuing as an immediate first step a commitment to non-first use of nuclear weapons by all states.

5. Initiating discussions on a framework of mutually reinforcing agreements or a convention on nuclear weapons, in order to develop without further delay ‘a comprehensive nuclear treaty architecture aiming at the elimination of nuclear weapons’.

6. Concluding a convention prohibiting nuclear weapons, in the same manner as conventions prohibiting biological and chemical weapons.

7. Calling on nuclear weapon states to confirm and implement their obligations under article VI of the NPT, to negotiate and achieve nuclear disarmament.

8. Emphasizing that all states possessing nuclear weapons should reduce and eventually eliminate their arsenals.

9. Restricting and regulating international production and trade in small arms by supporting the draft International Arms Trade Treaty and in this regard, continuing constructive negotiations on the treaty.