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Nuclear powers must renounce pre-emptive use by 2025

TOKYO (AFP/PTI): An international panel on nuclear disarmament called on all nuclear-armed nations Wednesday to renounce pre-emptive use of the arms by the year 2025, Japanese media reported.

The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), made the call at the end of a three-day meeting in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, site of a US atomic bombing at the end of World War II.

Former Japanese foreign minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, a co-chairwoman of the commission, said that the panel also urged the United States and Russia to conclude talks on reducing strategic arms by 2012, according to local media.

These demands will be contained in a report to be published by the commission in January next year, Kawaguchi was quoted as saying.

Kawaguchi said the report would set the target of a drastic reduction in the number of nuclear warheads in the world from more than 20,000 at present.

But she added that the report would not set a deadline for the total abolition of nuclear weapons.

"I think there has been no report more comprehensive than this one," she said, according to the public broadcaster NHK.

The ICNND, which was launched by Japan and Australia last year, is made up of two dozen specialists including academics and former government leaders.

The report contains a three-phase action agenda for the short, medium and long terms covering the periods to 2012, 2025 and beyond 2025 to achieve its key recommendations.

A draft report compiled previously called for reducing the number of nuclear warheads in the world from more than 20,000 at present to 1,000 or fewer by 2025, while urging every nuclear state to commit to a no-first-use doctrine by that year.

The commission members also agreed to stipulate in the final report another nuclear doctrine linked to no-first-use, under which all nuclear armed states would declare by 2012 that the sole purpose of retaining their nuclear arsenals is to deter others from using such weapons against them or their allies.

George Perkovich, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a member of the commission's advisory board, described a draft of the report that the commission is preparing to issue as "sophisticated, realistic yet progressive."

The draft "is far more detailed and comprehensive than any other commission's" such as the Canberra Commission, Parkovich said.

The Canberra Commission, launched by the Australian government, called for five nuclear powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- to take immediate actions to halt nuclear testing and adopt a no-first-use nuclear doctrine in its report released in 1996 but did not set a specific timetable.

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