Senior parliamentarians urge nuclear disarmament must remain priority in 2012

London, Friday 11 May 2012

Senior politicians have issued a statement in London today, warning of the world’s growing nuclear dangers. In the statement, the politicians, who are also members of the cross party Top Level Group, raise their concerns over stalled efforts on nuclear disarmament.

The statement outlines measures to address short-term challenges and asks to put in place stronger regimes and controls for the future. With 23,000 nuclear weapons remaining in the world, many of them on high states of alert, and with the number of states in possession of nuclear arsenals increasing over the last year, now is not the time to take the foot off the pedal.

“Despite the many issues jostling for leadership attention in 2012, the nuclear issue is so serious it must be moved up the agenda and action must include but go well beyond Iran. This issue needs sustained political leadership. Nothing less will do.”

More must be done and it must be done now. 2012 holds many opportunities for progress. The sabre rattling in the past weeks between Israel and Iran has shown that serious diplomatic process is needed in this unstable region. Re-starting negotiations with Iran, sustained efforts to facilitate the 2012 conference on the Middle East and kick-starting an incremental process towards a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East are the key milestones which the international community will have to scale in the month to come.

Lord Browne of Ladyton, convenor of the Top Level Group and former Secretary of Defence said: “Britain needs to play its part in 2012. It needs to live up to its responsibility to seek a safer world, free of nuclear weapons.”

Britain must actively seek the start negotiations of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and help to overcome the obstacles of nuclear security and warning and decision times associated with nuclear weapons. As a nuclear NATO member, Britain must also carry the debate about tactical nuclear weapons in Europe with the transatlantic alliance.

Read the full statement here.