From 24-28 April 2010, former UK Defence Secretary Des Browne led a delegation of senior European leaders to Moscow to discuss European attitudes to nuclear arms and disarmament policy with key policy makers and experts.
This project on “New Nuclear Reality” was organized by the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Russian Pugwash Committee, Center for Euro-Atlantic Security of the MGIMO University, Russian Political Science Association, and with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Russia, Connect US, and the Ploughshares Fund.
The delegation also included Baroness Shirley Williams, former Adviser on Nuclear Proliferation to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and current member of the Top Level of UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. Together with Williams and Browne, European delegates such as Jan Kavan, Former Czech Deputy Prime Minister, Giorgio La Malfa MP, Former Italian Minister for European Affairs, and Vappu Taipale, Former Finnish Health Minister joined the delegation.
The meetings ranged from discussions with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Atomic Energy, the Defence and Security committees of the Russian State Duma (lower Chamber of the Parliament), the Council of Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs (upper Chamber of Parliament) and a discussion at the Institute for Contemporary Development, International Federation for Peace and Conciliation, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Institute for Strategic Stability of the “ROSATOM” State Corporation.
The delegation’s message was to express the view that across the political spectrum Europeans unanimously welcome the leadership Presidents Medvedev and Obama have shown in negotiating the follow-on to START treaty and to express appreciation of the tremendous political significance of this ‘re-set’ of Russian-US relations and the impetus and energy it provides for further progress.
Browne stated that the “leadership of President Obama and President Medvedev in encouraging international progress on the move to a world free of nuclear weapons deserves the support of the rest of Europe.”
Browne, who chairs the Top Level Group, led a similar successful delegation to Washington in early March where he engaged with the US President’s key advisers, just before the agreement of a new US-Russia arms reduction treaty.