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In New York, they’re playing Russian Roulette with the fate of the world

Published 21 May 2015

Media release from ACDN, Wednesday 20 May 2015

The chambers of the cylinder are loaded, and five fingers hover over the trigger: those of USA, Russia, the UK, France and China – the fingers of five heads of states possessing nuclear weapons. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force 45 years ago, obliges them to sit round a negotiating table with a view to eliminating all their nuclear weapons. Yet that’s something they have never done.

Since 27 April, the 9th NPT Review Conference has been meeting at the UNHQ in New York. It ends on May 22. It ought to have recorded the implementation by the nuclear-armed states of the promises (limited ones) that they made in 2010. But there has been nothing to record except words: a few soothing words, and the terms of a “glossary” which France is proud of having compiled in the last five years with her fellow-members of the P5 club.

Each of these states is polishing up its new-generation weapons, while declaring, hand on heart, that it “shares the objective of a world without nuclear weapons”. That’s exactly what France’s representative did, adding straight away: “when the strategic context will permit.”

Here’s the thing: we know from a reliable source that a simple initiative that would perhaps permit the unblocking of the “strategic situation” was suggested to France in early May, and that it was referred since then to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. There are only just two days left to make this gesture. Will France do so?