Churches see hopeful future for nuclear disarmament

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

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

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

"I am alarmed by the Government's inconsistency," said the RevdJonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of GreatBritain. "How can it promote disarmament on the one hand, but be infavour of retaining British nuclear weapons on the other? We wantto see all decisions on the replacement of Trident put on holduntil after the 2010 Review Conference."

Revd John Marsh, Moderator of the United Reformed Church GeneralAssembly, said: "New nuclear weapons will cost the Britishtax-payer billions of pounds. Given that we are already strugglingfinancially, and facing a massive burden of debt, this isparticularly obscene. We urge the Government to think again.Parliament must have the opportunity to reconsider major spendingin the light of the constraints on the UK economy and the progresson disarmament."

Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser for The Methodist Church, added:"World leaders now have the best chance in years to make positivesteps towards total nuclear disarmament. We need decisiveleadership to make it happen. Nuclear weapons are totally immoralas their possession implies a willingness to commit massmurder."