The View From Russia: Two Conferences in St. Petersburg

 

As the Yugoslavia war was winding down, LCNP Executive Director John Burroughs participated in two conferences in St. Petersburg, Russia. At a June 18-20 Abolition 2000 conference sponsored among others by the German and Russian branches of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and the St. Petersburg Peace Council, no one could miss the pervasive sense of betrayal and outrage of Russians arising from the NATO bombing without UN authority, the expansion of NATO, and other post-Cold War developments. Several Russian speakers expressed the conviction that progress in nuclear disarmament will require a renewal of respect for international law and institutions.


Burroughs was one of the drafters of the St. Petersburg Declaration issued by the conference. In addition to hitting now familiar abolition themes, the document speaks to the Kosovo war. It states that "future European security arrangements must comply with international law" and called for "new emphasis on regional security organizations," such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. OSCE is a pan-European security organization, involving 54 countries including Russia, the United States, and Canada, which promotes non-military solutions to conflict.


On June 22-25, Burroughs joined a Hague Appeal for Peace delegation participating in the second phase of the governmental Centennial Conference held to mark the 100th anniversary of the Hague Peace Conference of 1899. Forceful presentations on nuclear and comprehensive disarmament issues were made by Burroughs and others. Some of the points raised by HAP delegates and other civil society organizations will be reflected as positions of participants in the final report of the governmental process, to be circulated at the United Nations this fall.

 

 

 

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