Speaking to some 700 University of Washington students last week, Dr Hans Blix bluntly warned that the world is “sleepwalking into new armed races”.
The 2007 Sydney Peace Prize recipient said the reasons for war between the superpowers in the past – ideological, religious and territorial borders – are no longer valid reasons for open warfare and arms build up.
He pointed to areas in the Nordic territories and Europe as examples where warfare is no longer a solution to conflict.
Click here to listen to an ABC Melbourne interview with 2007 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Dr Hans Blix, together with former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans who now heads the International Crisis Group.
Blix was in Melbourne to attend the United Nations Association of Australia National Conference.
Dr Hans Blix, Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC), has told Israel to stop the work at its Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev desert. Israeli online news website Ynetnews reported Blix’s call for a nuclear free Middle East.
The 2007 Sydney Peace Prize recipient urged Israel to consider a “cessation of reprocessing of uranium” as a step to “contribute to the collective security of the Middle East.”
The former UN wespons inspector said “the best way to guarantee security is a WMD free zone” which can be created “if all countries in the Middle East commit themselves not to have a nuclear fuel cycle”.
This point is a reiteration of that made in the WMDC’s Final Report launched last year: “While Israel, feeling under threat from Iran and others, is not likely to discard its nuclear-weapon capability except as a part of a peace settlement, it could help to reduce tension, as is now asked of Iran, by joining Iran and all other states in the region in a commitment to suspend and renounce any fuel-cycle activities for a prolonged period of time.”
Read the full final report, titled Weapons of Terror.
Dr Hans Blix (left) is the chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission. Trained as a lawyer, the disarmament campaigner was the Sydney Peace Prize Jury’s unanimous choice.The citation for the award reads: ‘Hans Blix, for principled and courageous opposition to proponents of war in Iraq, for life long advocacy of humanitarian law and non violence and for leadership of disarmament programs to rid the world of weapons of terror.’
Alan Cameron, Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation, says, ‘It is highly relevant that in this 10th anniversary year of the Sydney Peace Prize, the jury focussed on universal disarmament as a major peace issue and chose one of the most significant campaigner against the manufacture and possession of arms of all kinds. We are honoured to welcome Dr. Blix to Sydney in November.’
Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Professor Emeritus Stuart Rees, says that the choice of Dr. Blix ‘signals a need for an Australian Government to revive the work of the 1996 Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons although, as chair of the WMD Commission, Hans Blix’s interpretation of disarmament ranges from small guns to biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.’
Professor Rees adds: ‘It was impressive that other members of the Commission praised Hans Blix for his personal diplomacy and unique skills as chairman. These qualities enabled the Commission to reach a successful outcome.’
Dr Blix will deliver the City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture on 7 November in Sydney. He will receive the award at a gala dinner and award ceremony on the following night.
Read the Sydney Morning Herald’s article – Sydney Peace Prize for blunt Blix