The reduction in the number of nuclear warheads deployed on one of the UK's four Vanguard class submarines, announced in a written statement by Liam Fox yesterday (29 June 2011), has been welcomed by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
The decision was anounced as ministers from the US, Russia, UK, France and China (members of the UN permanent security council known as the P5 countries) hold talks on nuclear disarmament in Paris between 29 June and 1 July.
Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said "This is a welcome step towards Britain living up to its commitment to disarm itself of nuclear weapons and we urge the government to rapidly expedite the reductions on all four submarines.
" However, this is only a small stage on the way to fulfilling our disarmament obligations. Even when the current reductions are completed in the 2020s, Britain will still have 180 of these city-destroying bombs.
"The legally binding commitment of the five original nuclear powers - Britain included - is not to nudge down their numbers of warheads. It is to rid themselves of these monstrous weapons entirely."
She added:"This was the grand bargain of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which was struck in return for other states renouncing nuclear weaponry - a deal which becomes ever more fragile whilst there is limited progress on disarmament."
Ministers meeting in Paris are following up on the commitments they made at the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the UN last year.
At the conclusion of the 2010 NPT meeting, the five original nuclear weapon states agreed to "accelerate concrete progress on...steps leading to nuclear disarmament". The conference on 'Confidence Building Measures towards Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation' will discuss what mutual steps may be taken by the five countries.
Kate Hudson continued, "International agreements to ban other weapons of mass destruction - chemical and biological weapons - have been rapidly negotiated once governments committed seriously to ridding themselves of them in parallel. A nuclear weapons convention - ridding the world of all nukes held by the P5 and others - is a necessary and achievable goal. We strongly urge the UK government to put such a plan on the P5 conference agenda and to make a major contribution towards achieving this by cancelling the replacement of Trident entirely."