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World – Barack “No Bomb” Obama pushes for world without nukes

Chidanand Rajghatta

PITTSBURGH: In the years and decades to come, he may well be celebrated as Barack “Banned the Bomb” Obama.

In a historic moment in time on Thursday, the UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously approved a US-drafted, Obama-authored resolution in New York committing to work towards a world without nuclear weapons. ( Watch Video )

The new measure, formally titled UNSC Resolution 1887, expresses the Council’s grave concern about the threat of nuclear proliferation and the need for international action to prevent it with a series of conferences leading to treaties to ban nuclear testing and production of fissile (bomb-making) material.

The resolution also supports “universality” of the NPT, calling on all states to adhere to its terms — an oblique reference to hold-outs such as India and Pakistan — and makes clear the Council’s intent to immediately address any notice of intent to withdraw from the Treaty.

The resolution also calls for better security for nuclear weapons materials to prevent terrorists from acquiring materials essential to make a bomb, including through the convening of a Nuclear Security Summit in 2010, locking down vulnerable nuclear weapons materials in four years, minimizing the civil use of highly enriched uranium to the extent feasible, and encouraging the sharing of best practices as a practical way to strengthen nuclear security.

The resolution does not come as a bombshell, although the speed and resolve with which President Obama has presented it came as a surprise to many.

To doubters who believe this is only for show and possibly aimed at only some ‘renegade’ countries, Obama had this to say: “We harbor no illusions about the difficulty of bringing about a world without nuclear weapons. We know there are plenty of cynics, and that there will be setbacks to prove their point. But there will also be days like today that push us forward – days that tell a different story. It is the story of a world that understands that no difference or division is worth destroying all that we have built and all that we love.”

The Obama resolution was backed by Russia and China among other countries in what is only the fifth meeting of the Security Council involving heads of government of its member states, and the first time the US President has chaired such as meeting. “I called for this one so that we may address at the highest level a fundamental threat to the security of all peoples and all nations: the spread and use of nuclear weapons,” Obama explained.

But aside from presenting a time-table of agenda-packed conferences, the US Presdient did not present any specific numbers, metrics, or dates on the road to eliminating nuclear weapons.

Obama said the “next 12 months will be absolutely critical in determining whether this resolution and our overall efforts to stop the spread and use of nuclear weapons are successful,” and urged “all nations must do their part to make this work.” He said the US will move forward with the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and open the door to deeper cuts in its own arsenal (no dates or numbers here).

In January, Obama said, the US will call upon countries to begin negotiations on a treaty (FMCT) to end the production of fissile material for weapons, following up with a Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May that will strengthen that agreement.

‘India not obliged to adhere to any treaty’

The reaction from New Delhi was swift and unequivocal: India is not obliged to adhere to any treaty (such as NPT) it has not signed, and it will not sign it as long as it is discriminatory, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN said.

The position was conveyed by H S Puri, India’s permanent representative to the UN, to his US counterpart as well as the Security Council. The US is the current UNSC head.

Stressing that India cannot accept obligations arising out of a treaty which it hasn’t signed, the letter said nuclear weapons were vital for the country’s security.

‘‘This position is consistent with the fundamental principles of international law and the Law of Treaties. India cannot accept calls for universalization of the NPT. As India’s Prime Minister stated in Parliament on 29 July, 2009, there is no question of India joining the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state. Nuclear weapons are an integral part of India’s national security and will remain so, pending non-discriminatory and global nuclear disarmament,’’ stated the letter.

It also said pressure on India to conform to an agreement that has not been approved by its Parliament will conflict with its sovereignty.

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September 25, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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