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Greenpeace comment on BLIX WMD Report: to be published today

New York, 1 June 2006 -Greenpeace welcomes the publication of the much anticipated Weapons of Terror report from the Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction chaired by Hans Blix.

Due to be presented to Kofi Annan today at the United Nations in New York, the 204-page report was temporarily available on the WMD Commissions website for several hours last night.

From the very beginning the report reminds us: “So long as any state has nuclear weapons, others will want them. So long as any such weapons remain, there is a risk that they will one day be used, by design or accident. And any such use would be catastrophic.”

Further: “The Commission rejects the suggestion that nuclear weapons in the hands of some pose no threat, while in the hands of others they place the world in mortal jeopardy.”

“While the world watches with concern at the heated political negotiation over Iran’s nuclear programme and holds its breath to see what the Unites States will do next, Blix and his team have produced a state of the art report on all of the pressures and problems surrounding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Commission criticizes all countries involved in the proliferation debate. Iran is not excluded for its continued obfuscation nor the Unites States for its illegal doctrine of preemption and more than 5,000 US nuclear weapons which are in active service, which are a major provocation for further proliferation,” said Felicity Hill, Greenpeace International Disarmament Policy Adviser.

The report says what we all know but rarely hear discussed in the nuclear weapons state dominated UN Security Council when it passes resolutions on other nations with suspected WMD programmes. It clearly states that the nuclear weapons states are in breach of their NPT commitment to disarm and “no longer seem to take their commitment to nuclear disarmament seriously – even though this was an essential part of the NPT bargain, both at the treaty’s birth in 1968 and when it was extended indefinitely in 1995.”

Greenpeace endorses the Commission’s call that countries “Accept the principle that nuclear weapons should be outlawed, as are biological and chemical weapons, and explore the political, legal, technical and procedural options for achieving this within a reasonable time.”

The report also observes: “While the reaction of most states to the treaty violations was to strengthen and develop the existing treaties and institutions, the US, the sole superpower, has looked more to its own military power for remedies. The US National Security Strategy of 2002 made it clear that the US would feel free to use armed force without authorization of the United Nations Security Council to counter not only an actual or imminent attack involving WMD but also a WMD threat that might be uncertain as to time and place.”

“The question is will the US heed Blix’s call and lead by example or continue to undermine international diplomacy and peace by pursuing its policy of leading by force,” said Felicity Hill.

Greenpeace does not believe that Commissions proposed solution to the threat posed by the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear power is viable. The report correctly observes: “The plutonium obtained from spent reactor fuel can be used to make bombs but its isotopic composition is not ideal for the purpose.”

“Having correctly identified the problem, the WMDC reaches the wrong conclusion. In recognising that nuclear power and nuclear weapons are inextricably linked the only rationale conclusion is to reject nuclear power. Instead the world should urgently take up the challenge of developing and deploying renewable energy sources which have the double benefit of being both climate friendly and have no weapons utility whatsoever.”

“No notion of controlling and safeguarding the production, transport and use of nuclear weapons materials can ever be one hundred percent guaranteed, and the only way to eliminate the risk of diversion or theft by terrorists is to eliminate the materials themselves which means no nuclear power,” concluded Felicity Hill.

While Greenpeace is wary that yet another international talking shop will be blocked by certain states it supports the Commission’s recommendation that: “The United Nations General Assembly should convene a World Summit on disarmament, non-proliferation and terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction, to meet after thorough preparation. This World Summit should also discuss and decide on reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the UN disarmament machinery.”


For further information:

Felicity Hill, Greenpeace International Disarmament Policy advisor, + 31 64616 2018 (mobile)
William Peden, Greenpeace International Disarmament Analyst, + +31 65350 4731 (mobile)
Mike Townsley Greenpeace International Communications, +31 621 296 918 (mobile)

Notes to Editors:

The key recommendations in the report are:

  • Calls for nuclear weapons to be outlawed, just like landmines and biological and chemical weapons are banned;
  • Emphasizes the agreed, achievable and sane goal of disarmament – the steady reduction and actual elimination of these inhumane weapons – on moral, economic, environmental and psychological grounds;
  • Strongly argues for a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, and for the removal of the 480 US NATO weapons remaining in Europe, which the majority of citizens in those countries want sent back to the US for dismantlement;1
  • Tests a new framework, adding “terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction” to the usual mantra of “non-proliferation and disarmament;”
  • Recommends a “World Summit on disarmament, non proliferation and terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction” to generate new momentum for concerted international action, and calls on governments and NGOs, which are strongly praised in the report, to make it happen.

This long report will be analyzed by Greenpeace in more depth in the coming days.

[1] Two thirds of the public in the 6 European countries that host the US NATO nuclear weapons do not want them according to recent public opinion polling conducted by Greenpeace released on 30 May 2006

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