Scottish Frustration as UK government attempts to block progress

Press release: 15th October 2016

In spite of strident interventions by the US, France and the United Kingdom yesterday at the UN First Committee in order to persuade nations to vote against it at the General Assembly, it now seems that a large majority of states will back a resolution to begin negotiations next year for a global treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Over the last year, an overwhelming majority of states have expressed support for starting negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons, even without the participation of the nuclear-armed states, who continue to modernize and upgrade their nuclear arsenals.

Jane Tallents, who watched the sessions live on UN TV said:
“Having watched some of the proceedings at the UN online as they happened I’m hopeful that a huge leap towards a nuclear free world will be taken when this resolution is voted through later this month. The passionate contributions from state after state saying that the humanitarian consequences of a nuclear exchange are too unthinkable for the world community to have to deal with and that they are frustrated with lack of progress on multilateral disarmament were in  sharp contrast to the same old rhetoric trotted out by the nuclear  weapons states present.

The UK’s submission was shameful, trying to position us as a ‘responsible nuclear weapons state’. When on the one hand we say that the future is uncertain and we need to keep nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future and on the other that we are committed to multilateral disarmament I should think that more and more countries that manage fine without them will support a ban. This process has made those that want to continue the nuclear age indefinitely explain themselves on an equal footing with those that want a nuclear free world and we can see who is out of step.”

Scotland has two observers at the First Committee session, Bill Kidd MSP and Janet Fenton of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, reflecting Scotland’s unique position as a nation seeking the autonomy to formally back the proposal to begin the treaty process. Not only is it not able to do so but is instead formally represented by a government which fiercely opposes it.

Janet said:
“Campaigners from all over the world are here at the UN meeting talking to the diplomats and doing our best to ensure that the Nuclear-Armed Stated don’t have it their own way in derailing this important step forward which has come about through the citizens of countries (like Scotland) who understand that nuclear weapons pose a threat to everyone in the world, not just the nine governments that control them.”

Contact: David Mackenzie 07876593016 Jane Tallents 07778267833