15 May 2009

Churches see hopeful future for nuclear disarmament

Three British Churches have expressed optimism following the conclusion of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee meeting in New York.

Leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church are hopeful that real progress towards global disarmament will be made over the next 12 months in the run-up to the NPT Review Conference in 2010.

However, the Church leaders expressed their disappointment that the UK Government continues to support the replacement of Trident, Britain's nuclear weapons system, while also participating in global disarmament discussions.

"I am alarmed by the Government's inconsistency," said the Revd Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. "How can it promote disarmament on the one hand, but be in favour of retaining British nuclear weapons on the other? We want to see all decisions on the replacement of Trident put on hold until after the 2010 Review Conference."

Revd John Marsh, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, said: "New nuclear weapons will cost the British tax-payer billions of pounds. Given that we are already struggling financially, and facing a massive burden of debt, this is particularly obscene. We urge the Government to think again. Parliament must have the opportunity to reconsider major spending in the light of the constraints on the UK economy and the progress on disarmament."

Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser for The Methodist Church, added: "World leaders now have the best chance in years to make positive steps towards total nuclear disarmament. We need decisive leadership to make it happen. Nuclear weapons are totally immoral as their possession implies a willingness to commit mass murder."

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