This article comes from the monthly bulletin of Armes Nucléaires STOP.
The conference proposed by Norway on “humanitarian nuclear disarmament” is judged by France to be an “error”. France’s only problem is that of nuclear proliferation, disarmament is not on the agenda. Explanations.
This categorical position taken by France was expressed by the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris in January 2013 on the occasion of the Conference celebrating the 20 years of the ICBL campaign to ban landmines.
Mr Frédéric Journès stated: “France will not go to Oslo because today’s problem is proliferation. A conference on humanitarian disarmament is suicidal for nuclear disarmament, it constitutes a mental error because it will give easy satisfaction to pious souls and only create difficulties for French and British diplomats since in any case the state authorities are not going to change their position. Those who will really be thrilled, of course, are the Pakistanis, Iranians, and Chinese… Today’s risk is a tactical Pakistani bomb. Taking proliferation out of the debate is a mark of faulty reasoning.”
The incoherence of French diplomacy is perplexing. Whereas official doctrine asserts that French nuclear weapons are necessary to ensure France’s “security”, the only obsession of French politicians is to fight against proliferation. Which implies that other countries would not have the right to ensure their own “security”! The French doctrine, like that of other nuclear countries, is a true incitement to proliferation! France, in forcibly expressing this point of view, is judged very severely by almost all members of the international community. Mr Journès, quoted above, has not understood that “humanitarian disarmament” addresses the cause of proliferation, namely the nuclear weapons of the countries which possess them. It is he who is guilty of “faulty reasoning”!
France’s attitude at the United Nations is even more preoccupying. Four nuclear states NPT members are against the project of a Convention for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom and France. But the three quoted States, China, Iran and Pakistan are in favour! French diplomacy thus wishes to make a clear statement of its refusal to envisage an elimination process.
France recently signed a treaty with the United Kingdom to finance British research in France, at the Valduc Centre, relating to studies in new nuclear warheads. Moreover, France wants American nuclear weapons hosted at European NATO bases to remain in Europe, in order to continue to affirm the principle of “nuclear sharing”. In doing so France is isolated from all other European countries, which contest the presence of nuclear weapons on their continent.
The ICAN campaign (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) in France has a lot of work to do for public opinion to manage to persuade elected representatives of the errors of the French government. However an official opinion poll, conducted at the request of the Mouvement de la paix in 2012, shows that 80% of French people would like France to make a commitment to nuclear disarmament and to eliminate its nuclear weapons. In clear contradiction of official policy.
In Oslo, let us pay tribute to the initiative of the Norwegian government and express the hope that the international community, the NGOs and also individual States, may manage to put pressure on nuclear-armed States, in particular on France, for the idea of nuclear disarmament to be adopted. And put into effect.