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Global Zero Launch, Paris, 9 December 2008

Launch Press Release

100 International Leaders Launch Global Zero Campaign To Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

Distinguished Group Developing Step-by-Step Plan for Phased, Verified Reductions to Zero Nuclear Weapons

Leaders Agree That Eliminating Nuclear Weapons Is Only Way To Stop Proliferation and That a Special Russia-U.S. Partnership is Needed

New Worldwide Poll Shows Overwhelming Support For Getting To Zero Nuclear Weapons

PARIS, France – One hundred international political, military, business, and civic leaders from across political lines launched a new initiative today in Paris to eliminate nuclear weapons globally to combat the threat of proliferation and nuclear terrorism. Called Global Zero, the initiative will combine high-level policy work with global public outreach to achieve a binding agreement to eliminate all nuclear weapons through phased and verified reductions.

Each leader has signed a Global Zero declaration calling for a binding, verifiable agreement to eliminate all nuclear weapons by a date certain. The group is developing a step-by-step plan to eliminate nuclear weapons. They met in Paris yesterday and today in their inaugural conference to review and discuss the key steps.

In recent months, the threat of proliferation and nuclear terrorism has led to a growing chorus of government leaders from across political lines calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons, including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. This new and unprecedented political support for getting to zero nuclear weapons from key governments around the world has made this goal – while still difficult – possible.

Global Zero’s public outreach will occur through worldwide media, online communications and grassroots organizing. The Global Zero website (www.globalzero.org) unveiled today will give the public the opportunity to get involved, beginning with signing the same declaration the Global Zero leaders have signed.

Global Zero also announced new polling results showing that international public opinion strongly favors this goal.

Global Zero leaders emphasized that eliminating nuclear weapons will not happen overnight but instead must be done through phased and verified reductions over a period of years. Key steps include:

  • Deep reductions to Russian-U.S. arsenals, which comprise 96% of the world’s 27,000 nuclear weapons.
  • Russia and the United States, joined by other nuclear weapons states, cut arsenals to zero in phased reductions.
  • Establishing verification systems and international management of the fuel cycle to prevent future development of nuclear weapons.

Following the Paris announcement, a Global Zero leadership delegation will travel to Moscow and Washington, D.C. to discuss the plan with key leaders.

To finalize the step-by-step plan, Global Zero will form an international commission of distinguished political and military leaders and policy experts from key countries. Jointly led by two prominent individuals – one from Russia and one from the United States – to be named soon, the Global Zero Commission will emphasize establishing a Russian-U.S. partnership to work for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The leaders also announced that they will convene a Global Zero World Summit bringing together 500 political, military, business, and civic leaders in January 2010.

In addition to its policy and diplomatic work, Global Zero is committed to building broad-based and sustained public support for political leaders to pursue and achieve their vision of zero nuclear weapons.

Global Zero released a poll of 21 countries that found global public opinion overwhelmingly favors an international agreement for eliminating all nuclear weapons according to a timetable – 76 percent of respondents across all countries polled favor such an agreement. The question specified that “all countries would be monitored to ensure they follow the agreement.” In the five nations with large nuclear arsenals and advanced delivery systems, large majorities favor the plan – Russia (69%), the United States (77%), China (83%), France (86%), and Great Britain (81%). In nations that do not have nuclear weapons, similarly large majorities favor it. The poll, commissioned by Global Zero, was conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland.

Source: Global Zero website, www.globalzero.org.

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