• ACI Russia

08/06/1998 04:00:57 Carter, Gorbachev, others urge talks to end nukes

WASHINGTON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Former President Jimmy Carter

and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev appealed on Thursday

for talks to abolish nuclear weapons, citing new global dangers

created by India and Pakistan's atomic tests.

In an appeal to mark the 53rd anniversary of America's use

of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Carter, Gorbachev and other

luminaries said the India-Pakistan tests in May magnified the

risks of proliferation and cast a harsh light on the arsenals

of declared nuclear powers.

"The two main components of nuclear danger - proliferation

on the one hand, and the remaining Cold War arsenals on the

other -- can no longer be considered in isolation. They must be

addressed together," the appeal said.

It called for negotiations to reduce and eliminate nuclear

weapons "in a series of well-defined stages accompanied by

increasing verification and control."

The declared nuclear powers -- the United States, Russia,

China, Britain and France -- jointly possess some 35,000

nuclear weapons.

They have made a vague commitment to abolish them one day,

but believe that for the present, residual stockpiles serve as

a useful deterrent to each other and to other countries that

might seek to acquire atomic arms.

As well as Carter and Gorbachev, signatories of the appeal

included former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, a Nobel

Peace prize winner, and former Sens. Alan Cranston, a

California Democrat, and Mark Hatfield, an Oregon Republican.

The Fourth Freedom Forum, a U.S. anti-nuclear group which

organized the appeal, said it would be used as the basis for a

worldwide campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, gathering

signatures from key defense figures and opinion makers.

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