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Group seeks deep cuts in nuclear arsenals

Associated Press / December 7, 2008
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WASHINGTON - A new international group committed to eliminating nuclear weapons over the next 25 years has enlisted scores of world leaders as it prepares to launch its campaign at a conference in Paris on Tuesday.

The group, Global Zero, is proposing deep cuts in US and Russian nuclear arsenals, a verification and enforcement system, and phased reduction leading to the elimination of all stockpiles.

After the kickoff meeting, delegations will go to Moscow for talks with Russian officials on Wednesday and to Washington to see Bush administration officials and possibly advisers to President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday. Ultimately, the planners are hoping to stage a world summit in January 2010.

The launching in Paris follows 18 months of consultations among diplomats and military leaders. Listed supporters include: former president Jimmy Carter; former secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger; former defense secretary Frank Carlucci; former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; Shaharyar Khan, a former Pakistani foreign minister; retired air chief marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi of India; and Malcolm Rifkind, a former British foreign secretary.

There are an estimated 20,000 or more nuclear weapons around the world. The nuclear-armed nations are the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and, presumably, Israel.

Global Zero envisions US-Russian negotiations to cut back nuclear stockpiles to roughly 1,000 weapons apiece, from current arsenals of about 5,000 warheads each, followed by a second phase bringing in countries such as China, Britain, and France.

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