“Declare SEE a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone of Peace under NATO,” SEED
Delegates from most countries of the South East Asian Division (SEED) of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) meeting in Zagreb on April 18-19, called for declaration of SE Europe as a nuclear free zone with guarantees for peace and security under the umbrella of NATO. SEED also emphasized the benefits of collaborating in NATO’s civilian scientific program.
Originally founded in 1960 by eminent intellectuals such as Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell concerned with the dangers of nuclear annihilation, spokesmen for the World Academy and SEED pointed out that the threat of nuclear weapons is still very real. Sixteen years after the end of the Cold War, thousands of nuclear missiles are on active alert targeting major population centers in hundreds of cities in Europe, Russia and North America. The refusal of the nuclear weapon states to renounce possession and use of these weapons according to their legal commitments under the Non-proliferation Treat are providing an incentive and justification for other countries to drop out of NPT or clandestinely develop weapons of their own.
A recent meeting of 24 non-nuclear states in Vienna, including Canada, Italy, and Netherlands, co-sponsored by the Academy also expressed deep concern over the refusal of the nuclear powers to provide positive assurances that nuclear weapons will never be used against non-nuclear countries. The increased reliance on nuclear energy is also increasing the concern over nuclear proliferation, since the conversion of peaceful nuclear programs into military programs has become relatively easy. Therefore, the Academy asserts that only a total abolition and legal ban on the production, possession and use of nuclear weapons can eliminate the threat of nuclear war. Assurances of peace and security are essential for the stability and rapid development of the war-ravaged Balkan region. Stability in the region can best be ensured under the NATO umbrella. At the same time, the extension of NATO should not bring with it the introduction of nuclear weapons or the targeting of civilian populations in the region. Therefore, hand in hand with the move toward NATO membership, the countries of SEE should join together in declaring the region a nuclear weapon-free zone (NWFZ) similar to the NWFZ recently established in Central Asia and those already existing in Latin America and the South Pacific.