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Letter to President Macron: The Paris Peace Forum and the Question of Disarmament

Published 31 October 2018

Saintes, 31 October 2018

Monsieur le Président,

For the centenary of the Armistice of 1918 you will soon inaugurate the Paris Peace Forum, which you set up for 11-13 November.

ACDN would have liked to have a stand at it, so as to publicise the project we have pursued since 1996: a referendum on France’s participation in the abolition of nuclear weapons. But the fee of 2000 euros required of all exhibitors deterred us. AXA or BNP-Paribas (the bank that invests 7 billion dollars into nuclear arms enterprises) did not have that problem.

We hoped at least that we could follow the proceedings of the Forum, so as to report on our bilingual website, as we do for the UN meetings concerning non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament held in Geneva, Vienna or New York. Back in July we sought media accreditation. The decision made by the "Paris Peace Forum team" has just reached us: a refusal. "The constraints of space and the exceptional security measures for this event limit the number of media that we can welcome on this first occasion."

So visitors to ACDN’s bilingual site (over 830,000 visits so far, half francophone, half anglophone) will not be able to read there any report on this major event. Is it through "lack of space" for one solo person? That is hard to believe. So, as an "exceptional security measure"?

It is true that the "security measures" currently operating in Paris are "exceptional", judging by the appearance of riot police at an open-air working meeting on 24 October organised by Greenpeace to discuss the Pluri-annual Energy Programme - an event reported on our side, with photographic evidence. Could that be the explanation?

But how would the presence of our special correspondent threaten the security of the Paris Peace Forum? Through his freedom of speech? Or is it through ACDN’s viewpoint, shared by 85% of French citizens (according to a recent IFOP poll )? Because our media release of 24 October said: "We must stop exporting our so-called know-how, our nuclear reactors... and our weapons"? Because we want France to work for the abolition of nuclear arms and stop arms exports, even to Saudi Arabia, even for 7 billion euros? Is that the real danger and ground for censoring us?

But in that case, Monsieur le Président, what is the objective of the Paris Peace Forum? To maintain peace or to polish France’s reputation while preserving her from the gravest danger that threatens her as a nuclear power and as the world’s number 3 arms-merchant: the danger of disarmament?

To prove the contrary, Monsieur le Président, please make at least one gesture: act on the undertaking which France made in article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty: to negotiate the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Take advantage of the presence of Heads of State in Paris to set up - without delay - negotiations involving all the concerned states. The French people and all of humanity would be grateful to you.

Jean-Marie Matagne, President

L'argent est le nerf de la paix ! ACDN vous remercie de lui faire un DON

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