Nuke nations urged to take weapons off high alert status

by Thomas C. Fox

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This from Pax Christi:

Washington, D.C.--Abolition 2000, the global umbrella group representing over 2000 peace and nuclear disarmament groups worldwide, has written to the heads of states that have nuclear weapons capabilities, urging them to move to as low an operational status for those nuclear weapon systems as possible as a first step to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and the implementation of a global nuclear weapons convention that would provide a legal framework permanently outlawing nuclear weapons.

According to Abolition 2000 spokesperson, Manuel Padilla of the United States, "There have been, over the years, a number of incidents, especially involving U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons systems, in which it is not an exaggeration to say that the end of the world was potentially minutes away. We've been saved by a cool Russian colonel who didn't press a red button, by an aide to President Yeltsin who said, 'Excuse me Mr. President, let's wait another minute,' and by a U.S. Minuteman launch control officer who, as a practice launch sequence turned into the real thing and wouldn't stop, ordered heavy military vehicles driven on top of silo doors."

"We can't, in effect, keep on relying on divine intervention to save us from the consequences of our own stupidity," said Abolition 2000 spokesperson Dominique Lalanne of France. "Nuclear weapons need to be taken off quick launch status and we need to redouble our efforts to abolish them."

The letter has been sent to Presidents, as well as Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and Secretaries of State, and UN diplomatic missions in the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Pakistan, and Israel.

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