The Chair of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and the Chairs of the NFLA National Forums in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have signed an open letter with the likes of Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Setsuko Thurlow, Oliver Stone, and many others to President-elect Donald Trump, calling on him “to choose the course of negotiations for a nuclear weapons-free world”. (1)
The NFLA Steering Committee and Welsh Forum Chair, Councillor Ernie Galsworthy, the NFLA All Ireland Forum Chairs, Councillor John Trainor and Councillor Mark Dearey, the NFLA England Chair Councillor David Blackburn, and the NFLA Scotland Chair Councillor Bill Butler all strongly support and endorse the letter counter-signed by the leaders of nuclear disarmament groups, prominent individuals and survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks in calling for the President-elect to play a prominent role in achieving nuclear disarmament. The letter has been organised and co-ordinated by the US based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
The letter raises concerns over conflicting statements by the President-elect and reminds him of his critical responsibilities as the political leader of the United States, which owns thousands of nuclear weapons. NFLA has noted that in one tweet the President-elect has suggested a new nuclear arms race and increase nuclear weapons proliferation to include states like South Korea, Japan and even Saudi Arabia. Yet, in other interviews and statements he has suggested working with Russian President Putin to reduce nuclear proliferation.
2017 is a pivotal year in the nuclear weapons debate as for the first time the United Nations will discuss in conferences in March and June / July the development of a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. This follows a December 2016 vote of the United Nations at which the large majority of states voted for this action. As the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has said this will be the first time in more than two decades that multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations have taken place. The last such negotiations were in 1996, when the international community concluded a global ban on all forms of nuclear testing. (2)
NFLA Steering Committee Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
I am delighted and honoured to sign and endorse this open letter with my fellow NFLA National Chairs and so many prominent groups and individuals calling on President-elect Trump to play a pivotal role in removing the threat and danger of nuclear weapons. The world appears to be at its most unstable time since the end of the Cold War and there is real fear of a new cold war occurring between nuclear weapon states, as well as from the threat of a terrorist incident using radioactive materials. It is clear much concern and uncertainty exists around the world with the election of President-elect Trump. I hope he proves to be a beacon of progress when it comes to nuclear weapons and he actively works for multilateral nuclear disarmament in his term of office.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) Open Letter to President-elect Trump: Negotiate Nuclear Zero
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation thanks NFLA for joining with Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Setsuko Thurlow, Oliver Stone, and many others in signing this Open Letter to President-elect Trump, calling on him “to choose the course of negotiations for a nuclear weapons-free world.”
The letter being sent is as follows:
“As president of the United States, you will have the grave responsibility of assuring that nuclear weapons are not overtly threatened or used during your term of office.
The most certain way to fulfil this responsibility is to negotiate with the other possessors of nuclear weapons for their total elimination. The U.S. is obligated under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to engage in such negotiations in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms race and for nuclear disarmament.
A nuclear war, any nuclear war, would be an act of insanity. Between nuclear weapons states, it would lead to the destruction of the attacking nation as well as the attacked. Between the U.S. and Russia, it would threaten the survival of humanity.
There are still more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, of which the United States possesses approximately 7,000. Some 1,000 of these remain on hair-trigger alert. A similar number remain on hair-trigger alert in Russia. This is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Even if nuclear weapons are not used intentionally, they could be used inadvertently by accident or miscalculation. Nuclear weapons and human fallibility are a dangerous mix.
Nuclear deterrence presupposes a certain view of human behaviour. It depends on the willingness of political leaders to act rationally under all circumstances, even those of extreme stress. It provides no guarantees or physical protection. It could fail spectacularly and tragically.
You have suggested that more nations – such as Japan, South Korea and even Saudi Arabia – may need to develop their own nuclear arsenals because the U.S. spends too much money protecting other countries. This nuclear proliferation would make for a far more dangerous world. It is also worrisome that you have spoken of dismantling or reinterpreting the international agreement that places appropriate limitations on Iran’s nuclear program and has the support of all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany.
As other presidents have had, you will have at your disposal the power to end civilization, the human species and most other forms of complex life. You will also have the opportunity, should you choose, to lead in ending the nuclear weapons era and achieving nuclear zero through negotiations on a treaty for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons.
We, the undersigned, urge you to choose the course of negotiations for a nuclear weapons-free world. It would be a great gift to all humanity and all future generations.”
Amongst the signatories are:
– Councillor Ernie Galsworthy, NFLA Steering Committee Chair / Welsh Forum Co-chair
– Councillor John Trainor, NFLA All Ireland Forum Chair
– Councillor Mark Dearey, NFLA All Ireland Forum Chair
– Councillor David Blackburn, NFLA English Forum Chair
– Councillor Bill Butler, NFLA English Forum Chair
(2) ICAN, January 12th 2016 http://www.icanw.org/campaign-news/blog