By Lowana Veal
REYKJAVIK (IDN) - At a time when there is a sharp deterioration in relations between the United States and Russia, triggered by disputes over Ukraine, the Crimea and Syria, the capital of Iceland hosted experts, diplomats and researchers on October 10-11 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the historic Reykjavik Summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.
IDN, a flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate group, spoke to some of the participants of the commemorative event, the initiative for which came from the International Peace Institute (IPI) in New York. What prompted them to organize the event? [P26]
By J Nastranis
NEW YORK (IDN) – Faith groups have called on the United Nations General Assembly to heed the voices of the survivors of atomic bombings 71 years ago (hibakusha) urging the abolition of nuclear weapons, and vote in favour of the resolution submitted by Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa.
Dr. Emily Welty, Vice Moderator of the World Council of Churches Commission on International Affairs, introduced the joint statement during the civil society presentations at the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security on October 12.
Viewpoint by Jayantha Dhanapala*
This is an expanded version of thoughts expressed by the author at a conference organized by the International Peace Institute (IPI) with the Foreign Ministry of Iceland on October 10-11 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Summit meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev.
REYKJAVIK (IDN) - Richard Rhodes, the famous author of several books on nuclear weapons, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” (1986), has written a play entitled “Reykjavik” dramatizing the famous Summit. At the conclusion he has Gorbachev say, “Reykjavik is not a failure – it’s a breakthrough”.
REYKJAVIK - At an IPI seminar in Reykjavik, Iceland on October 11, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said via video, “I would like to emphasize something, with all the emotions I have in my soul: the worst thing that has happened over the past few years is the collapse of trust in relations between the major powers, which, according to the UN Charter, bear primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, and which still have enormous stockpiles of nuclear weapons and must reduce them, up to and including their elimination.”
By J Nastranis
NEW YORK (IDN) - The 'International Hibakusha Appeal Signature Campaign', launched early 2016, aims to collect hundreds of millions of signatures by 2020 in the hope that a treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons will be achieved in their lifetime.
As of October 1, 2016, the Campaign had gathered 564,260 signatures in Japan and in several other countries around the world.
Analysis by Lowana Veal
REYKJAVIK (IDN) - Recently released declassified documents by Washington have unleashed a debate whether the U.S. ever deployed nuclear weapons in Iceland, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since its foundation in 1949.
Experts are of the view that though the U.S. claims to have never deployed nuclear weapons in a country at a strategic juncture of the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, it does not mean that it had no nuclear plans for Iceland. Previous research by Valur Ingimundarson and William Arkin demonstrates that during the Cold War Iceland was considered a potential storage site. [P25]
By Ramesh Jaura
BERLIN (IDN) - "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed," declares the Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO. This is also the crux of the message emerging from the World Congress titled 'Disarm! For a Climate of Peace – Creating an Action Agenda' from September 30 to October 3, 2016 in Berlin.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's famous remark, "The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded”, reverberated in the halls of Berlin's Technical University. [P24] JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF
Viewpoint by Jayantha Dhanapala*
The following is a slightly abridged version of Jayantha Dhanapala's address to the International Peace Bureau (IPB) World Congress 'Disarm! For a Climate of Peace' from September 30 to October 03, 2016 at the Technical University Berlin, Germany.
BERLIN (IDN) - We are at a tipping point in history. The interconnected threats of nuclear weapons use, climate change and increasing inequality not only imperil the fabric of global society but also the very existence of human life and the eco-system that sustains it.
By Jamshed Baruah
GENEVA (IDN) - The United Nations General Assembly will consider during the period October 24 to November 2 a resolution to launch formal, multilateral negotiations in 2017 on a “legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.
Sponsored by Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, and South Africa, the resolution has been submitted on September 28. "It will likely be approved with more than 120 states in support", said Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association (ACA). "The proposal may allow for consideration of several options and proposals, including a ban treaty," he added.
David Hall, of Lopez Island, and Leonard Eiger, of North Bend, are active members of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
SEATTLE (IDN | The Seattle Times) - Have you seen the Seattle bus ads? They read: “20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.”
In light of recent media attention on who should have their finger on the nuclear button, this statement seems to beg the question: With so many nuclear weapons, what would happen should the president order their use?