Letter to Disarmament Minister Phil Twyford, 14 September 2022
Kia Ora Hon Disarmament Minister Phil Twyford
I read your recent statement of 31 August accusing Russia of “sabotaging” the Non-Proliferation Treaty meeting. This is incorrect. The problem is not Russia, but the comprehensive illegal sanctions placed on Russia that prevent terms of the New Start Treaty being fulfilled by Russia. Andrey Belousov, deputy Russian representative to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva has pointed out that US sanctions have created a disparity between working conditions of American and Russian inspectors, which was not appropriate. “Russia finds itself in a difficult position that prevents inspections on US territory. Meanwhile, the American side is in no hurry to change the situation,” Belousov said. “We will be ready to consider the issue of resuming inspection activities as soon as appropriate conditions are created for this.” As an example, Belosov cited the US announcement that some of its strategic bombers and missile-carrying submarines have been converted and could no longer be used to deploy nuclear weapons. “However, in the context of the Treaty we can’t verify that, so the US de facto now has more platforms for deploying nuclear weapons than the treaty allows,” the diplomat said.
The treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year for U.S. and Russian inspection teams: Type One inspections focus on sites with deployed and non-deployed strategic systems (up to 10 per year), and Type Two inspections focus on sites with only non-deployed strategic systems (up to 8 per year). Permitted inspection activities include confirming the number of reentry vehicles on one deployed ICBM or SLBM per Type One inspection, counting nuclear weapons onboard or attached to deployed heavy bombers, counting numbers of non-deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, confirming weapon system conversions or eliminations are conducted in the way proposed, and confirming facility eliminations
The United Nations believes that both Russia and the US have no objections to negotiating a successor to New START. “We’ve been calling on both parties to resume their engagement as soon as possible,” the official noted. Under-secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins said that the conflict in Ukraine has disrupted the nuclear talks with Moscow. “I think we all realize that discussions between the US and Russia about the next steps in relation to the New START treaty are not happening right now because of the situation we’re dealing with. These talks will continue in the future.”
Vital to prioritise nuclear-free policy
It’s very disappointing that Aotearoa-New Zealand has not been speaking up against NATO/US continued expansion over decades of its military bases and nuclear armaments on Russia’s borders, along with frequent dangerous military exercises. It only takes one mistake for a nuclear exchange to happen, even accidentally. All this is a real violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty which has not been challenged by Aotearoa. Now more than ever before our voice against nuclear catastrophe should be being heard. I emailed you a submission detailing this a few weeks ago. This crisis is a real threat, not only to Russia’s security but the world’s security.
Aotearoa/New Zealand has a wonderful past record, appreciated by millions of concerned people worldwide of opposing American, British and French deadly nuclear experiments in the Pacific and nuclear ships in our ports. Our French “allies,” who experimented with nuke weapons in French Polynesia, even criminally bombed the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior ship in Auckland harbour, killing someone on board. Despite potential discord with our Five Eyes allies, it’s high time for Aotearoa/New Zealand to revive its concerns about nuclear annihilation, in view of the reckless US/NATO threatening of Russia. They continue to endanger the lives of Russians, all Europeans and the entire world.
Wellington, Aotearoa/ New Zealand