Vienna, 2 June 1998/P/K/15979c-is


In a statement issued today, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, criticized the traditional nuclear powers for their failure to commit themselves to the goal of total nuclear disarmament. Referring to I.P.O.ís earlier declarations on the issue of the extension of the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), Dr. Koechler stated that the insistence on non-proliferation by the traditional nuclear powers, the holders of the veto privilege in the Security Council, has no credibility at all as long as those powers do not make the first step towards general nuclear disarmament. As long as those nuclear powers want to preserve their privilege as the sole possessors of nuclear arms, non-nuclear nations will inevitably be tempted to develop their own potential so as to correct this imbalance in terms of arms potential and in view of self-defense and the exercise of international influence.

The President of the I.P.O. stated that economic sanctions by the United States or the United Nations are not the appropriate reaction to these new developments. The peoples of India and Pakistan or any other country must not be punished for a game of power politics which essentially has been initiated by those powers who established themselves as nuclear powers after World War II and who have refused to dismantle their huge nuclear arsenals. In regard to the strategic situation in Asia, Dr. Koechler also pointed to the fact that Israel secretly has acquired an enormous nuclear potential with which it threatens the whole region of the Middle East. Israelís so far undeclared nuclear arsenal must not be ignored by those who are honestly concerned about international security. The United States administration is once more applying a policy of double standards when it quietly endorses Israelís status as a major nuclear power but openly threatens any other country that may acquire a nuclear capability.

The President of the I.P.O. expressed the hope that India and Pakistan will mutually agree on the non-first use of nuclear arms and that the issue of Kashmir will be settled by peaceful means in conformity with basic principles of international law and on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions.