4 government representatives and NGOs discuss ways to speed up nuclear abolition

Government officials representing four countries in the 2004 World Conference against A and H Bombs-Hiroshima held a discussion on August 5 with about 450 Japanese delegates and non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives on ways to make the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings in 2005 a milestone on the road to nuclear weapons abolition.

Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, who will chair the First Committee of the next United Nations General Assembly, said that he wanted the movement of nuclear-free zone countries to apply pressure on the nuclear weapons states to implement the "unequivocal undertaking" they promised in the 2000 NPT Review Conference.

Ambassador Hussein Haniff of Malaysia expressed hope that Japanese NGOs will play a central role in urging nuclear weapons states to keep their promise to eliminate their nuclear weapons.

Looking back on Egyptian history from the time of British colonial rule to participation in the non-aligned movement, Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohamed Ezzel Din stressed the importance of increasing political will to achieve results.

Cuba's charge d'affaires to Japan Hermino Lopez said that the issue of nuclear proliferation should be resolved by political and diplomatic means, and criticized the U.S. Bush administration for promoting the so-called proliferation security initiative (PSI) that involves the use of military measures to contain nuclear proliferation.

Asked how he came to be involved in nuclear disarmament efforts, the Egyptian assistant foreign minister spoke about his experiences in WW II and said that his attendance in the World Conference is based on government orders but that he will take up nuclear disarmament as his personal task.

Some NGO activists said that they were impressed that government representatives view NGOs as playing a decisive role in nuclear abolition. (end)

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