At a news conference today (Thursday), the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament called for a No vote on the Amsterdam Treaty. "The Treaty greatly undermines Ireland's Neutrality and moves the E.U. closer to a militarised Superstate based on nuclear weapons", said Billy Fitzpatrick, Irish C.N.D. chair.
"We feel that it is necessary to highlight the nuclear nature of the Western European Union, the W.E.U.'s links with N.A.T.O., and the illegality of parts of their defence policies which are based on nuclear weapons. There is no way that Ireland should be cooperating with either the W.E.U. or N.A.T.O. But the Amsterdam Treaty (Article J7.1) will commit this country to the "progressive framing of a common defence policy" with the W.E.U., and this policy must be 'compatible' with the common security and defence policy of N.A.T.O. This is obviously a totally unacceptable position for any neutral country. But it is made all the more outrageous by the fact that W.E.U. and N.A.T.O.'s nuclear policies have been found repugnant to international law."
"The International court of Justice at the Hague (the World Court) issued a famous opinion in 1996, confirming that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would in nearly every conceivable instance be illegal. This means that any 'defence' policy which relies on the 'first use' of nuclear weapons, tactical nuclear weapons, or nuclear-war fighting scenarios would most certainly be deemed illegal and would constitute a crime against humanity if carried out. Both the W.E.U. and N.A.T.O. have such 'defence' policies."
"Therefore, it is appalling that the W.E.U is seen as
1) integral to the development of the E.U.;
2) providing the E.U. with 'access to an operational capability''; and
3) supporting the E.U. in framing the common defence policy.
With the incorporation of the the W.E.U.'s Petersburg Tasks into the E.U., not only will Ireland find itself peacekeeping for an organisation other than the United Nations, but it will find itself fighting alongside the W.E.U. in 'crisis management' and 'peacemaking', an open licence to intervene anywhere. There is also a commitment to draw up arrangements for enhanced cooperation between the W.E.U. and E.U. within a year of the Amsterdam Treaty coming into force. Do the Irish people really want to be associated with such an organisation? We are convinced that if the Government was honest with the voters on what is at stake in Amsterdam, the treaty would receive a resounding 'No'.
'Any E.U. common defence policy or common defence will of necessity be nuclear. The presence of the W.E.U., its inextricable links with nuclear N.A.T.O., and the fact that two of our E.U. partners, France and Britain, are nuclear powers makes any other policy inconceivable. Nuclear weapons are anathema to this country. As the originators of the N.P.T. (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), we are particularly sensitive to the flaunting of its provisions by the Indian Government in its recent nuclear tests, and to its flaunting by the French several years ago in the South Pacific. We mustn't support nuclear weapons or nuclear alliances in any form."
"Finally, Irish C.N.D. is not forgetting other aspects of the Amsterdam Treaty, such as the losing of any independent foreign policy we may possess, the establishment of an embryo Department of Foreign Affairs, and - a very important new element in Amsterdam - the provision for the co-ordination of armaments policies, We are totally opposed to these developments."
"Irish C.N.D. argue that developments in the defence area in the Amsterdam Treaty are counter to Article 29 of the Irish Constitution:
1. Ireland affirms its devotion to the ideal of peace and friendly cooperation amongst nations founded on international justice and morality.
2. Ireland affirms its adherence to the principle of the pacific settlement of international disputes by international arbitration or judicial determination.
3. Ireland accepts the generally accepted principles of international law as its rule of conduct in its relations with other states,"
"Cooperation with nuclear alliances and support for a strong European armaments industry do not fit the aims or ideals of our Constitution."
Contacts: Billy Fitzpatrick, Chair, Irish C.N.D., 087-2364312 (mobile)
Carol Fox, 01-2908247, Brid McGrath, 01-4977043.
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