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Ireland at forefront of nuke-free-world group

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN – Ireland is among the leaders in a group of eight countries – known as the New Agenda Coalition – calling for a nuclear-free world. The group released a declaration last week that sets out what it calls a “road map” for getting rid of weapons of mass destruction.

The core group of Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden and South Africa has been working on the plan for months, but it has been given new urgency by the recent weapons testing by Pakistan and India.

Four other countries, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt and Slovenia have backed the initiative, which was announced simultaneously in their capitals around the globe.

Ireland has been a prime mover in efforts to scale down the arms race with the Non-Proliferation Treaty process launched by Frank Aiken in 1958.

Foreign Affairs Minister David Andrews said opportunities for a final thrust to eliminate nuclear weapons at the end of the Cold War had been “squandered” and efforts that had been made produced “meager and disappointing” results.

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“The nuclear weapon states have let slip the opportunities for the

elimination of their own nuclear arsenals. We now face further nuclear proliferation,” Andrews said.

“The only valid response to this situation or to any situation

involving the retention of nuclear weapons is to eliminate them for all time.”

Andrews said the new measures would “begin the unfinished business which we set in motion 30 years ago” at the UN General Assembly.

The new agenda declaration says that the world must not enter the third millennium with a continued nuclear threat to humanity and lays down a series of steps to de-escalate the threat and finally do away with nuclear weapons. These include:

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