Britain ready to put Trident on the table

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PM announcement at G8 Summit

Gordon Brown announced today in Italy at the G8 Summit his willingness to put Britain's nuclear arsenal on the table in negotiations at Obama's nuclear summit next March. Paul Ingram, BASIC's Executive Director said: "This very concrete offer from the UK is clearly designed to create a spirit of multilateral cooperation between the nuclear weapon states in advance of the NPT Review Conference. It is to be strongly welcomed and we hope that other nuclear weapon states can respond accordingly."

While such an offer at this stage does not involve complete nuclear disarmament by Britain, there are very concrete actions the British could and should offer to reduce its arsenal - including reduced numbers of submarines, missiles, warheads, and operational readiness. For example, Britain should now consider reduced patrols at sea, a measure that would demonstrate adjustment to reduced threat, save a great deal of money, and delay the need to move forward with premature replacement of systems.

Paul Ingram went on to say: "The Prime Minister is right to link disarmament with non-proliferation, but there is going to have to be a universal understanding amongst all nuclear weapon states that non-nuclear weapon states will be looking for substantial disarmament commitments before they agree to the further non-proliferation measures essential to build confidence in the international regime. This process is essential to achieving success at the Review Conference next May and beyond, towards building a safer world."