Letter calls for nuclear free zone

The following letter from MAPW President was published in The Age on 31 January 2012. The letter calls for the establishment of a nuclear free zone in the Middle East.

Survival strategy

AMID all the coverage of Iran and its nuclear bomb potential, and now talk of Saudi Arabia (''Saudis may seek nuclear deterrent'', The Age, 30/1), little, if anything, is said of the widely supported solution to the problem - a Middle East nuclear-free zone. This was proposed in 1995 by Russia, the UK and the United States, and endorsed by the UN General Assembly.

Finland has promised to host a conference this year to get the ball rolling, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and leaders such as Qatar's president are strongly behind it. The US and other friends would need to put some pressure on Israel to come clean about, and then remove, its nuclear arsenal. Then perhaps the US could do the same through the adoption of a nuclear weapons convention to which all nuclear-armed states would sign.

It's cheaper than an arms race, avoids bloodshed and encourages dialogue between countries. And it's crucial for the long-term survival of humanity. All we need is the political will.

Dr Jenny Grounds, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Riddells Creek