Church groups push global leaders on nuclear disarmament

By agency reporter
November 2, 2009

Now is the time to continue the trend toward nuclear disarmament, four global, regional and national ecumenical organizations have told leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union, the United States and Russia.

"The present opportunity must be transformed into conclusive actions", they declare

"The new striving to abolish nuclear weapons" is a sign able to "raise hope in the world", said leaders of four ecumenical groupings which jointly represent nearly 200 churches in Europe and North America in a 28 October 2009 letter.

"We appeal to all nuclear-weapon states and states with nuclear weapons on their soil to contribute to progress under the new political dynamic", the ecumenical leaders added.

The letter was sent to US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, "as leaders of the states with more than 95 percent of the world's nuclear weapons", as well as to NATO's Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt (Presidency of the European Union), and the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union, Javier Solana.

Signed by the General Secretaries of the World Council of Churches, (Samuel Kobia), the Conference of European Churches (Colin Williams), the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (Michael Kinnamon) and the Canadian Council of Churches (Karen Hamilton), the letter was meant to encourage the world leaders addressed in it "to pursue this new course".

The letter's signatories acknowledge a number of recent positive developments in the field of nuclear disarmament which had as its protagonists the United States, Russia, NATO and Germany. They also point out forthcoming opportunities such as the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) follow-on agreement, the development of NATO's new Strategic Concept and the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.

* Full text of the joint letter by ecumenical organizations to world leaders:

* WCC Central Committee "Statement of hope in a year of opportunity: seeking a nuclear-weapon-free world":

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