The Inaugration of the Conference
on Making Africa a Nuclear Free Zone
April 11, 1996
Ladies and Gentlemen, our August Guests
I have the pleasure to welcome you in this African land which cherishes its affiliation to the glorious continent and its time-honoured civilization. Today Africa witnesses a salient event in our joint history, adding to its numerous great deeds in which we all took part in making and developing in a bid to realize our noble and elevated objectives, thus contributing in creating a world in which peace, security and stability prevail.
History will register on its indelible and non-erroneous tablets that Africa was a pioneer in giving due attention, at an early stage, to the issue of nuclear weapons, and sought to protect its land as well as the entire world from its dreads and dangers.
You recall that this capital of yours, had witnessed in 1964 the convocation of the first African Summit of the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity. The Summit issued the first Cairo Declaration which called for making all Africa a nuclear-free zone, giving up the production, and possession of such a lethal weapon, in accordance with a clear-cut, mandatory treaty to which African countries are committed and join.
That call came as an expression of the insight of those great founding leaders to a world that discards nuclear weapons, liberates itself from the fear of an all out nuclear confrontation which annihilates man's civilization, and pre-empt its march towards further prosperity and progress.
Today, after the elapse of more than thirty years, we celebrate, at this same place in Northern Africa, the realization of that great dream and fulfilment of that foresight which some had considered to be some sort of imagination at a time the world had witnessed a frantic race to possess and stockpile nuclear arms, under the illusion of attaining security from all dangers and procuring a unique source of an overwhelming power that provides its possessor with a prestigious position among nations and peoples.
Following three decades of grievous events, far-reaching and radical developments from which the World Community has suffered in as much as it did from renewed forms of conflicts and the use of force, Africa adopted another pioneer measure. It has set an example to all continents of the world and its various groupings by celebrating the signing of a treaty that constitutes a tangible achievement towards nuclear non-proliferation at both the regional and international levels, at a time mass rejection for the possession of nuclear arms has become a general phenomenon in the different countries of the world, east and west, north and south. Human civilization has now surpassed the stage of arms race for self security represented in the possession of the most lethal and devastating weapons. The power of a nation is now being measured by its scientific progress and its ability to compete in the production and reconstruction arenas.
The International Community, which is now on the threshold of a new era, should change the concepts that prevailed previously and whose errors and dangers time has proved.
It should realize that "nuclear deterrence" which some have spoken and insisted upon, is nothing but an impediment on the road to security and development , as well as a direct threat not only confined to one country or a certain international grouping, but rather to the security and stability of the entire world.
All-out destruction and devastation caused by nuclear weapons has no limits, does not differentiate between one country or another and does not stop at the borders of one continent or region without the other.
No doubt your participation in this conference, representing Africa as well as countries from other continents of the world, prestigious international orgainsations and other nuclear demilitarized regions, is an important event stressing that the International Community is determined, despite all the difficulties and hindrances to proceed towards the realization of the most sublime goal, namely, redeeming the world from nuclear arms and all other weapons of mass destruction.
In the meantime, the human community is currently witnessing a radical change in concepts and viewpoints. Man was confident that resorting to the use and the threat of force was the only means to restore rights and defend interests. However, we have become aware that there is an increasing tendency to call peaceful means whereby rights prevail over power, and principles and values rise above manoeuvers and ambitions. Thus the human community opens a new page in its history of development and progress.
Though this tendency is not yet deeply-rooted in our contemporary world, and we still witness numerous examples of the use of force, no doubt we have to extend help gradually limit the probabilities of armed conflicts among the different countries and groups. As a consequence it is of great importance to redeem the entire world from the dangers of nuclear arms and all weapons of mass destruction, which are of the utmost degree of force and danger, and a threat to human civilization.
Egypt, together with a group of sisterly African countries, were the vanguards calling for the renunciation of the nuclear military choice. Hence it signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on the first day of its initiation. Egypt has sincerely and persistently sought to make it an international treaty comprising all the World Community without exception or discrimination between a big or small country.
Truly, Egypt and its sisterly African countries have shouldered the responsibility of playing a prominent role in maintaining peace and stability not only in Africa but in other parts of the world with which we have common interests and concerns, such as the Middle East which has a special strategic importance to Africa and the various countries of the world . Among issues of special interest to Africa is rendering the Middle East a nuclear free zone and urging all countries of the region to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to be committed to it and enjoy all its safeguards,thus furthering the regional drive to create nuclear free zones and eventually acquire the aspired international character.
Perhaps it is convenient to avail myself of this opportunity to call for concerted efforts to urge the entire world, particularly the nuclear state, to avoid adopting any measures or policies that might aggravate the nuclear issue, or increase the horizontal and vertical spread of such weapons. We, in fact, appeal to these countries to take prompt measures in the sphere of nuclear disarmament, within the framework of more serious steps towards reducing nuclear arsenals. We also urge these countries to promptly reach an agreement on a comprehensive ban on all nuclear tests without exceptions, regardless of their environment, their strength or their purpose.
In the meantime, I call upon you all to precipitate the implementation of our African Treaty, and urge all Middle East countries to adopt similar steps among themselves in order to protect this region from the threats of these devastating weapons, and defend African security against the aftermaths of dangers in neighbouring regions. Undoubtedly, the creation of a nuclear demilitarized zone is an important step towards their non-proliferation in a bid to attain our ultimate goal of completely eliminating world arsenals.
As this step completes efforts exerted to spread the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we appeal to the World Community, foremost among which the nuclear states, to enhance it and give it momentum by adopting practical and effective measures that promote the commitment to texts related to international agreements on establishing nuclear free zones.
On the other hand, we call upon these countries to present securities to countries that join these treaties as well as to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, that they will not use nor threaten them with these nuclear weapons. They should also guarantee that no other country will resort to the use of these weapons. You may agree with me that the least the non-nuclear states may demand is to have guarantees against the dangers of these weapons, and to witness practical development towards reaching nuclear disarmament by nuclear states which have pledged to seriously hold negotiations to this effect since the very beginning.
All the African peoples take pride in that its leaders are capable of attaining this historic achievement which reveals to the world Africa's determination to bear its share of the responsibility of redeeming mankind from the curse of nuclear weapons, and urge other international forces to shoulder their responsibilities in a bid to save the world from the dangers of possessing nuclear weapons, and the negative aspects of preserving them on the security and stability of mankind at present and in future.
We are confident that the signing of this treaty today will open new vistas of peaceful nuclear cooperation among African countries as well as other international parties as this promotes the prosperity and progress of their peoples as well as their economic and social development, including their protection from the dangers of environmental pollution resulting from nuclear wastes and other radiations, which affect all forms of natural life on our planet in a time man is in need of deepening his feeling of security in a safe environment.
Long live the peoples of Africa in peace and security.
Long live the African struggle for stability, prosperity and development.
Peace be upon every African step towards a better future.
May God's peace and mercy be upon you.
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