UK urged to include Trident in nuclear disarmament talks


London : The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has welcomed the conclusion of a new nuclear arms reduction treaty between the US and Russia, while urging Britain to include its Trident missiles in disarmament negotiations.

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“World leaders must now build on this momentum to secure further rounds of cuts, bringing the other nuclear weapon states into the process,” CND chair Kate Hudson said following Friday’s agreement reached by US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

“With both Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit next month and the review of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in May, this is a most timely advance which must be exploited to the full,” Hudson said in a statement obtained by IRNA.

She said that Britain also has a role to play, recalling that Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged last year to include Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent in broader negotiations “as soon as it becomes useful.”

“Were Britain to put Trident on the negotiating table at the NPT Review Conference this could be a real game-changer,” said the chair of Britain’s oldest and one of Europe’s largest single-issue peace movements.

“Scrapping the ruinously expensive Trident and any replacement would put pressure on France and China to consider parallel cuts,” she said.

Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable also said Trident was “vastly expensive” and “a relic of the Cold War” and should not be replaced.

But Foreign Secretary David Miliband said no more than repeating Britain’s readiness of including Trident’s submarine-based nuclear missile system in the negotiations when hailing the US-Russia agreement as “historic.”

“As soon as it becomes useful to do so, the UK stands ready to include our nuclear arsenal in a future multilateral disarmament process,” Miliband said.

“We have already taken a number of steps to ensure we retain only the absolute minimum capability required to provide effective deterrence,” he said.

Miliband argued that Britain was the “only nuclear weapon state to move to a single warhead, a single delivery system and a single launch platform.”