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The Death of Paul Quilès, former Minister of Defense, who later worked to abolish nuclear weapons

Published 25 September 2021

Media Release from ACDN, Saturday 25 September 2021

Paul Quilès passed away in a Paris hospice on Friday 24 September 2021.

After being the campaign director for François Mitterrand in 1981, he was appointed to several ministerial posts between 1983 and 1993 (Housing, Tourism, Transport, Defense, Post and Telecommunicatons, Interior...). An MP for Paris and then for the Tarn, he played various eminent roles. In particular, after the Rainbow Warrior Affair he succeeded Charles Hernu at the head of the Defense Ministry, from September 1985 to March 1986. Later he was elected president of the Defense Commisssion of the Natioanl Assembly from 1997 to 2002 and vice-president of its Foreign Affairs Commission from 2004 to 2007.

Subsequently he became a resolute opponent of nuclear weapons and an advocate of multilateral muclear disrmament - incremental and controlled disarmament - in the context of the group Initiatives for Nuclear Disarmament (IDN in French) which he co-founded in 2016. It set that objective and later urged France to sign the Nuclear Ban Treaty, which is a general ban treaty and a treaty for unilateral disarmament.

Quilès was author or co-author of several books about nuclear disarmament (Nucléaire, un mensonge français ; Arrêtez la bombe ! ; L’Illusion nucléaire. La face cachée de la bombe atomique) which describe nuclear deterrence as a lie or illusion.

This last stage in his life and his political actions is the one we should particularly emphasise, although the French media tend as usual to forget it. Paul Quilès is one of numerous important political and military figures, belonging notably to the group Global Zero, who, in several countries, regret that they took part in the conception and implementation of nuclear arms policies which, in hindsight, they judge to be absurd, incoherent and criminal.

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