February 2, 1998 in Nation/World

Leaders Urge Removal Of Nuclear Alert Status

Compiled From Wire Services
 

More than 100 former or current heads of state and civilian leaders from around the world, including ex-presidents Jimmy Carter and Mikhail Gorbachev, have signed a statement that calls for removing nuclear weapons from alert status and other measures aimed at the eventual elimination of atomic arsenals.

The statement, scheduled for release today, reflects mounting support for the cause of nuclear abolition among those who have had direct responsibility for atomic weapons programs.

“The world is not condemned to live forever with threats of nuclear conflict, or the anxious fragile peace imposed by nuclear deterrence,” the document says, according to a copy made available in advance. “Such threats are intolerable and such a peace unworthy. The sheer destructiveness of nuclear weapons invokes a moral imperative for their elimination.”

To hasten the disappearance of nuclear weapons, the signatories advocate placing all atomic warheads in storage away from launchers, halting production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and initiating U.S.-Russian talks immediately to achieve deeper reductions in arsenals.

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