Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 19, 2010
Activists tell Harper of growing hope for non-nuclear world
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA - Unprecedented momentum is building towards a nuclear weapon-free world and the opportunity must not be lost says retired Senator Douglas Roche.
"This is certainly the most opportune moment that I have experienced in my lifetime for real concrete movement towards the elimination of nuclear weapons," Roche told journalists after an April 9 meeting with Stephen Harper.
"We are not a bunch of naive people who think this can be done overnight, but the failure to start down the road toward verifiable phased reduction of nuclear weapons with a visible intent to get to zero will mean we are going to have the status quo prevail," he said.
That status quo is 23,000 nuclear weapons, held by nine countries that are trying to prevent others from acquiring them, Roche said, calling it "unsustainable."
Joined by Nobel Prize-winning chemist John Polanyi and Pearson Peace Medal winner Murray Thompson, Roche said they found the meeting with Harper "very positive."
"We are hopeful the prime minister will give very serious consideration to having Canada play a strong role in the development of international dialogue which has been given a resurgence by President Obama," said Roche.
The delegation, representing 505 fellow Order of Canada (OC) recipients, met with Harper one day after Obama signed a strategic arms reduction treaty (START) with the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Prague and just before the Nuclear Security Summit Obama convened in Washington April 12-13.
The delegation presented Harper with an aide-memoire that says Obama's vision of a world without nuclear weapons has raised hopes around the world.
It also looked ahead to the upcoming review next month of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at the United Nations.
Roche described the latest START treaty as "very modest," but said he supports any movement in the right direction.
He said the Nuclear Security Summit was even more important because it attracted India to the table of 47 countries sending representatives. India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which comes up for review next month at the United Nations.
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