The Elders warn of escalating nuclear tensions following termination of INF Treaty

Alarmed over the imminent termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, The Elders call on US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to act in the interests of all humanity rather than following short-sighted agendas.

The Elders warned on July 29th that the imminent termination of the INF Treaty between the United States and Russia risks sparking an ever greater escalation of nuclear tensions and a breakdown of global security structures.

They noted that each side has blamed the other in a deepening cycle of recrimination. Even if the responsibilities for this breakdown of the INF Treaty are not shared, both sides share responsibility for the future to uphold arms control treaties and pursue disarmament.

The Elders thus called on US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to act in the interests of all humanity rather than following short-sighted agendas, noting that the consequences of the termination of the INF will be acutely felt in Europe and Asia and will exacerbate global tensions ahead of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in 2020.

Gro Harlem Brundtland, Elder and former Prime Minister of Norway, said:

“The INF Treaty helped to end the Cold War and restore peace and security in Europe. I fear this legacy risks being squandered by one side or the other through a mix of bellicosity and hubris. The leaders of Russia and the United States must refocus their strategies in favour of nuclear disarmament, not escalation. Both leaders have at times spoken in this sense. They must turn their positive words into realistic action.”

The Elders noted with alarm that the probable termination of the INF is only one element of destabilising uncertainty around the future of arms control, given the lack of clarity around the extension of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), reports that the US could “unsign” the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and the overall lack of dialogue on any form of arms control between the US and Russia.

Increased geopolitical tensions from the Korean Peninsula to the Indo-Pakistan frontier and the Gulf make it all the more imperative to have a serious, substantial discussion between the nuclear powers to defuse tensions and restore trusted channels of dialogue.

Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General, said:

“There is a very real risk that the whole security architecture around nuclear non-proliferation that was built up during the decades of superpower confrontation may collapse, through neglect, miscalculation and ill-founded threat analysis. It is crucial that the US and Russia agree to extend New START as soon as possible, and for the P5 states to get serious about making progress on disarmament ahead of the NPT Review Conference in 2020.”

In the event that the United States proceeds with its intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty by 2 August, 2019, The Elders called on all leaders to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from actions that would further raise security tensions in the European arena. They urged Russia and the US in particular not to unilaterally develop or deploy new INF-range weapons systems, and to consider creative solutions that could help preserve the benefits provided by the INF Treaty as far as possible.
Existing arms control frameworks need not only to be preserved but expanded to counter new technological developments such as hypersonic weapons and space-based delivery systems. This should be done on a multilateral basis with all parties acting in good faith.

Ernesto Zedillo, Elder and former President of Mexico, said:

“The world cannot afford a return to the threat of nuclear annihilation we endured in the Cold War. Multilateral engagement is crucial to securing global peace and disarmament. Today’s leaders need to reassert the key message of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev a generation ago: a nuclear war can never be won, and must never be fought.”

Source: https://theelders.org/news/elders-warn-escalating-nuclear-tensions-following-termination-inf-treaty
Photo: President of The Russian Federation

Ban Ki-moon concerns about “what is happening over multilateralism”

On June 11th, 2019, a morning briefing session was held by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, US. President Richard Haass of the Council moderated the session and introduced the high-level speakers:

  • Ban Ki-moon, BKMC Co-chair and a member of The Elders
  • Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland
  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia

On stage, the world leaders discussed on the topic of “Leveraging Multilateralism to Prevent Conflict.” Asked about the current tensions regarding North Korea’s nuclear program, Ban regretted failure of Hanoi Summit and called for more concerted trust-building between the US and North Korea, stressing the need for more focus on humanitarian crisis and food shortage.

“As a global citizen, I am deeply concerned and angry at what’s happening over multilateralism,” said Ban. He praised the US leadership on climate change under former President Barack Obama and expressed his concerns on withdrawal from the Paris Agreement under the current US government.

Robinson explained why climate change and nuclear threat are two priorities existential threats to humanity. On the current issues in Sudan, Sirleaf said that “the will of the people must be respected” but that this requires strong institutions that can withstand pressures to retain military rule and oppression.

Learn more about the Council on Foreign Relations: https://www.cfr.org/
Source: The Elders

Ban Ki-moon underlines healthcare is a “human right” and should be “for the people”

On September 25th in New York, the US, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon made comments on the US healthcare system at an interview with the Guardian. As Ban has worked on promoting the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a member of the Elders, he urged the leaders in the US to enact publicly-financed healthcare.

Having the most expensive healthcare system in the world, the US citizens have to bear more than 10,348 USD for their health insurance that accounts for nearly one-fifth of their GDP.

“Why such a country like the United States, the most resourceful and richest country in the world, does not introduce universal health coverage,” said Ban.

He expressed his concerns that “almost 30 million people are not covered by insurance” in the US and emphasized that a healthcare system is a “human right” and thus it should be “for the people.” Ban suggested that the UHC could be introduced either in California or in New York, which then may encourage other states to follow.

He said, “leaders are elected because they vowed that they would work for the people” and “they are abandoning people because they are poor, then these poor people cannot find a proper medical support.”

Read the original article here: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/25/ex-un-chief-ban-kioon-says-us-healthcare-system-is-morally-wrong

Photo: Ali Smith for the Guardian

Ban Ki-moon Urges Global Citizens to Act Proactively for the Climate Issues at the SIWW Water Dialogue

During the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW), Ban Ki-moon gave a keynote address as a distinguished guest to open the Water Dialogue session. The session was part of the Water Leaders Summit on the topic of “Create: Solutions for our Future” and saught to share insights, trends, and solutions concerning water management and sanitation.

Ban emphasized the importance of the water issues and working together to combat climate change, stating that at least 2 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water. He reminded the attendees that “we are all global citizens” and that we have to proactively take actions for the climate issues that are global issues.

During the SIWW, Ban also mentioned about the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in an interview with CNBC:

“Now with the United States pulling from this Paris agreement, I’m concerned now how to mobilize the necessary financial support for many developing countries who do not have the capacity to address this climate change issues. They do not have any responsibilities historically speaking. Therefore it is absolute necessary that the international community uses its political will to work on this matter.”

Source: https://www.siww.com.sg/
Source & Photo: https://www.facebook.com/siww.com.sg
Interview: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/10/i-sincerely-hope-that-the-us-will-come-back-says-ban-ki-moon.html