Minister Dermot Ahern Urges Action on Nuclear Disarmament
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern T.D. today said that the threat of international terrorism had deflected attention away from the pressing issue of nuclear disarmament. Speaking in Dublin, Minister Ahern said there needed to be renewed focus on nuclear disarmament despite the pressing issue of terrorism.
Addressing a nuclear disarmament conference at Dublin Castle which attracted delegates from around the world, Minister Ahern stated: “In the aftermath of the Cold War, such threats as international terrorism and climate change have often been seen as demanding more urgent attention than nuclear weapons. But the risks remain very great. There is a growing realisation that maintaining a strong international coalition on non-proliferation requires credible and effective action on disarmament. I welcome the return over the past year of serious debate on nuclear disarmament, particularly in the nuclear weapons states.
“Ireland’s highest priority in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation has been support for efforts to strengthen the non proliferation treaty and ensure full respect for all its provisions. The treaty remains the only multilateral legally binding commitment by the nuclear weapon States to nuclear disarmament.”
“Commitments undertaken by all Non Proliferation States in 1995 and 2000 must be taken forward and implemented, including further steps to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons and to ensure the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
“Maintaining a strong international coalition on non-proliferation requires credible and effective action on disarmament. I welcome the return over the past year of serious debate on nuclear disarmament, particularly in the nuclear weapons states.”
“Universal nuclear disarmament remains a central plank of Ireland’s foreign policy. I believe that, after a period where this objective seemed impossibly remote, the tide may be starting to turn. But if we are indeed to make progress in this direction it is vital that those of us who share that goal make every effort to ensure that the necessary preparations are in place.”
Note to Editors:
The Middle Powers Initiative is an initiative by eight international NGOs, working with "middle power" governments, to encourage and educate the nuclear weapons states to take immediate practical steps to reduce nuclear dangers and commence negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons. The Article VI Forum takes its name from the article of the NPT in which the nuclear states commit themselves to the elimination of their nuclear weapons intended to stimulate and shape effective responses to the crisis of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime manifested by the breakdown of the 2005 NPT Review Conference. It has become an annual event with the two-day meeting in Dublin Castle on Thursday and Friday the fifth since 2006. Seventy senior personalities and Government and international officials attended, including Baroness Shirley Williams and UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Sergio Duarte. The value of the Forum lies in its contribution to focusing the attention of Governments, civil society and the wider public on the threat and key challenges posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons. Further information on this initiative can be found on www.middlepowers.org.
The full text of the Minister’s speech can be seen on www.dfa.ie
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