Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dion Visits Hiroshima with G7 Ministers, Pledging Renewed Anti-Nukes Effort

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dion Visits Hiroshima with G7 Ministers, Pledging Renewed Anti-Nukes Effort

Article excerpt

Dion looks to kickstart anti-nukes effort

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OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion says Canada can help kickstart the world's stalled nuclear disarmament efforts by pushing for tougher controls to prevent terrorists from building a nuclear weapon.

Dion joined his G7 counterparts on Monday in calling for a renewed effort towards nuclear disarmament after visiting the atomic-bombed Japanese city of Hiroshima.

But the minister also appeared to express frustration at what many see as the glacial pace of nuclear disarmament efforts.

"It's a challenge because over the last 20 years, it's stalled," Dion said in an interview from Tokyo, adding that there's been "no major progress" on ridding the world of nuclear weapons in that time.

Dion said Canada will focus on the growing international effort to revive the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, or FMCT. It has been more than half a century since the United Nations embarked on creating the treaty, which would control the spread of nuclear materials.

"What I think we should do, very strongly, is focus on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty," he said. "It's the one that is the least difficult to reach.

"I'm not saying it's easy."

Canada picked up the ball on the treaty in 2012, sponsoring a resolution at the UN General Assembly establishing a commission of experts to push for its creation.

The proposed treaty would outlaw the production of the highly-enriched uranium and plutonium, the key ingredients for building a bomb. Earlier this month, Canada pledged $42 million towards the global effort to protect fissile materials at the Washington summit hosted by President Barack Obama, where the need to prevent terrorist groups from acquiring bomb making materials was a hot topic.

Paul Meyer, a retired diplomat and former Canadian disarmament ambassador, said Canada's past actions supporting FMCT efforts leave it "uniquely positioned to be the champion among like-minded states" to make sorely needed progress.

"There is a real need to move from talking points to negotiating points on the FMCT if the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime is to retain credibility."

Otherwise, Monday's G7 declaration was filled with "stale slogans" and lacked any concrete plan of action, said Meyer. …

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