By Center for Citizen Initiatives
In advance of the first summit between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joseph R. Biden in Geneva on June 16, a group of more than 30 American and Russian organizations, international nuclear policy experts, and former senior officials have issued an appeal to the two Presidents calling upon them to launch a regular dialogue on strategic stability, to take meaningful steps to reduce the risk of nuclear war, and make further progress on nuclear arms control and disarmament.
The statement was organized by leaders of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Pugwash Conference on Science and Global Affairs, the recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Peace, and the Arms Control Association.
In the statement, which was delivered to the two governments on June 7, the signatories urge the two presidents to: “Commit to a bilateral strategic dialogue that is regular, frequent, comprehensive and result oriented leading to further reduction of the nuclear risk hanging over the world and to the re-discovery of the road to a world free of nuclear weapons.â€
Sergey Batsanov of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs emphasized that the summit “could be a launching point for talks on strategic stability in all its aspects. Stability is being eroded by multiple factors- geopolitical, technological, military, doctrinal and others – raising the threat of nuclear war and undermining security of all states. Addressing this issue would also facilitate new nuclear arms control and disarmament negotiations.â€
Ira Helfand, past president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, said: â€œIt is urgent that President Biden and President Putin reaffirm the ground-breaking statement issued by Gorbachev and Reagan in 1985 that ‘a nuclear war can not be won and must never be fought.â€™â€
â€œU.S. and Russia are still armed with thousands of nuclear weapons. It is by no means certain that the two sides will continue to have enough good luck, responsible leadership, and managerial competence to avoid catastrophe,â€ warned Rachel Bronson, president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. â€œWe urge the two presidents to seize the opportunity their summit provides to put us back on the road toward a world free of nuclear weapons.â€
Among the other signatories of the Appeal are: Peter Buijs, M.D., chair of the Netherlands IPPNW, who initiated the Appeal; Igor Ivanov, former Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation; Academician Alexandre Dynkin, Chair, Russian Pugwash Committee; William J. Perry, former U.S. Secretary of Defense; Amb. Sergio Duarte, president of the Pugwash Conferences; General Vyacheslav Trubnikov, IMEMO (Institute of World Economy and International Relations); Joan Rohlfing, president of the Nuclear Threat Initiative; Edmund G. Brown Jr., former Governor of California Executive Chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; and Colonel General Victor Esin, former chief of staff, Russian Strategic Missile Forces.
The full text of the appeal and the complete list of signers is available online at the websites of the Arms Control Association, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and the Pugwash Conference. One source is Open Letter to Presidents Putin and Biden June 7, 2021.
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This appeal was published on June 10 at Center for Citizen Initiatives.