Blix Cairo Speach
Cairo, AFP, Jan 25, 2007

Global warming more dangerous than N-weapons: Blix

Published Jan 26, 2007.

CAIRO, Jan 25: Former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix warned on Thursday that global warming was a greater threat than weapons of mass destruction, and advocated promoting peaceful nuclear technology around the world.

“The threat against the global environment and global warming are a greater threat than weapons of mass destruction,” he told journalists on the final day of a visit to Egypt promoting his commission's report on reducing weapons of mass destruction worldwide.

“It is of utmost imperative that the whole world reduces the emission of greenhouse gases,” Mr Blix said. “Nuclear power can give the world enormous amounts of electricity without giving any greenhouse gases.” Mr Blix gained prominence as the UN inspector who maintained ahead of the US-led invasion in 2003 that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.

After leaving the United Nations, he was commissioned in 2003 by the Swedish government to lead a 14-member international commission to study how to end the presence of weapons of mass destruction in the world.

His remarks on Thursday came as the nuclear temperature in the Middle East was rising over Iran's decision to continuing enriching uranium in its own nuclear programme -- a move the US fears will result in the development of nuclear weapons.

Last month both Egypt and Jordan also asserted their right to develop peaceful nuclear technology, prompting fears of a regional nuclear arms race.

“The (nuclear non-proliferation) treaty is under strain, but I think it is an exaggeration to say it is falling apart,” Mr Blix said, while admitting that Iran obtaining nuclear weapons would create “a long-term domino effect which would be very serious for this part of the world.” ”The region would be much less tense if they didn't enrich their own fuel,” Mr Blix said, while conceding that Iran had the right to do so to support civilian nuclear technology. “But you don't need to exercise every right.” Instead he urged Iran to buy enriched uranium, as most countries with much large civilian nuclear programmes do, while calling for a system that would ensure Iran did so.Mr Blix also dismissed the notion that the United States would use the pretext of nuclear weapons to justify a strike on Iran, as it did against Iraq in 2003.

“I think after Iraq and Lebanon, the US public are increasingly against military measures,” he said.

Mr Blix singled out countries with nuclear weapons for not holding up their side of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and not reducing their weapons stocks or helping other countries develop civilian nuclear technology.

“Disarmament has been dead for several years,” he said, referring to the lack of progress over the past decade at UN nuclear disarmament talks in Geneva as well as in the UN General Assembly.

“Nuclear weapon states have not fulfilled their part of the bargain,” Mr Blix said, explaining that if Russia, the United States and other countries eliminated their weapons, non-treaty adherents such as Israel, India and Pakistan would gradually get rid of their own as well.--AFP