By Judith Le Blanc, Field Director, Peace Action
On Wednesday, President Obama said, “So long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe.”
And that is why Peace Action and over 20 national organizations are urging President Obama to join in multilateral negotiations to achieve the global elimination of nuclear weapons.
As Paul Kawika Martin,political and policy director, said in Peace Action’s press release in response to the President’s speech in Berlin, “Military leaders and a bipartisan list of experts agree that the U.S. can be completely secure with only a few hundred nuclear warheads. While the maximum reduction to around 1,000 strategic, deployed warheads is a long overdue and a welcomed step, deeper reductions are possible without affecting American security,”
The US can and will do more to eliminate nuclear weapons, if we maximize public pressure on the administration.
Please take a look at the letter below outlining the immediate steps we urge the Obama administration to take. Between now and 2015 there are opportunities for the US to engage with countries around the world and the United Nations to negotiate a real end to nuclear weapons proliferation and reduce the stockpiles that stand in the way of a nuclear free world.
In the next days, we will launch a petition drive which we hope you will join, in support of multilateral negotiations stressing that, “The world and our country must prioritize meeting human needs over weapons of mass destruction.”
It will take a grassroots movement to move incremental changes into an irreversible shift towards nuclear weapons abolition. The time is now to act!
June 6, 2013
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
As representatives of national organizations working for the global elimination of nuclear weapons, we respectfully urge that you speak at the September 26, 2013 High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament at the United Nations and:
- Reaffirm your determination expressed in Prague to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons and endorse UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Five-Point Proposal on Nuclear Disarmament;
- Announce your convening of a series of Nuclear Disarmament Summits beginning in 2014, if possible under UN auspices;
- Support extending the General Assembly’s Open-Ended Working Group to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons;
- • Announce that the United States will participate in the follow-on conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons to take place in Mexico in early 2014.
President Obama – our organizations are counting on you to be bold in your second term actions and to put your principles into practice. The time is right; the world is ready.
The Nuclear Security Summit process you initiated has been a success. However, securing nuclear materials, while significant, falls well short of what civil society expected following your Prague speech. A Nuclear Disarmament Summit process would take the logical next step by expanding the scope of nuclear dangers to be addressed to the many thousands of nuclear weapons held by states, a large number of which are deployed and ready for use.
The Open-Ended Working Group is a good-faith effort open to all UN members to determine how to proceed with negotiations on nuclear disarmament within the UN framework. You can demonstrate the United States’ good faith by directing that the State Department change its current position and participate constructively in the working group this summer, and by supporting extension of the group’s mandate.
One-hundred twenty seven countries participated in the March conference in Oslo on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, but not the United States and other members of the Permanent Five. You can demonstrate United States’ readiness to act in the spirit of Prague by committing to participate constructively in the follow-on conference in Mexico in early 2014.
In closing, we strongly urge that the United States take advantage of the present opportunities to pursue with vigor a nuclear weapons-free world in accordance with the UN Charter and the Non-Proliferation Treaty obligation to conduct negotiations in good faith on cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and nuclear disarmament. We appreciate your attention and would be happy to meet with you about the matters addressed by this letter.
John Burroughs, Ph.D., Executive Director, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy
Joseph Gerson, Disarmament Coordinator, American Friends Service Committee
Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action
Jacqueline Cabasso, Executive Director, Western States Legal Foundation
Jonathan Granoff, President, Global Security Institute
David Krieger, Ph.D., President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Catherine Thomasson, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Susan Shaer, Executive Director, Women’s Action for New Directions
Paul F. Walker, Ph.D., Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Global Green USA
Katherine Fuchs, Program Director, Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
Marylia Kelley, Executive Director, Tri-Valley CARES (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
Ralph Hutchison, Coordinator, Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance
Jay Coghlan, Executive Director, Nuclear Watch New Mexico
Joni Arends, Executive Director, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety
Harvey Zendt, 2020 Vision Campaigner, Mayors For Peace
Mark Johnson, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
David Swanson, Co-Founder, WarIsACrime.org
Valerie Heinonen, OSU, Leadership Team, Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk – US Province
Odile Hugonot Haber, Co-Chair, Middle East Committee of WILPF-US
Alan Haber, Megiddo Peace Project, Ann Arbor Grey Panthers
Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA
Ellen Rosser, President, World Peace Now
Kathleen Sullivan, Ph.D., Program Director, Hibakusha Stories
Steven G. Gilbert, Ph.D., DABT, Executive Director, INND (Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders)
John Kerry, Secretary of State,Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Thomas M. Countryman, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, Thomas Donilon, National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, Permanent Representative to the United Nations