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Nobel Laureates Call for End to Arm
- Subject: Nobel Laureates Call for End to Arm
- From: FreeBurma@xxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 10:43:00
Subject: Nobel Laureates Call for End to Arms Shipments
Attn: Burma Newsreaders
Re: Nobel Laureates Call for End to Arms Shipments
SAN FRANCISCO, June 25 (Reuter) - Four Nobel Peace Laureates on Sunday
called on the United Nations to do a better job fighting hunger and disease,
but made their strongest plea to the United States to stop trafficking in
``There are some things that are morally unacceptable,'' said Archbishop
Desmond Tutu, who won the peace prize in 1984 for his struggle for human
rights in South Africa.
Oscar Arias Sanchez, former president of Costa Rica who won the prize in
1987, said the United States is responsible for 75 percent of the
conventional weapons sold to developing countries and if America wanted to
exercise leadership it should address this issue first.
Arias, Tutu, Polish President Lech Walesa and Betty Williams of Northern
Ireland were in San Francisco to present a letter to the U.N. applauding the
work of the world body on its fiftieth anniversary.
The group's letter, signed by seven other peace prize winners also made a
passionate plea on behalf of Nobel Laureat Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been
held in solitary detention in Myanmar, formerly Burma, for six years.
The group's letter was also signed by Elie Wiesel, Mikhail Gorbachev,
Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, and sought an end to what it called the
degradation of the environment.
But Williams, who won the prize in 1976 along with Mairead Corrigan for
their work in Northern Ireland, put her two Nobel colleagues on the spot when
she asked Walesa and Tutu about arms shipments from their nations.
Walesa denied his country was selling arms and said instead the focus
should be on big countries who are. ``But these big ones perhaps we don't
speak of because it could be dangerous,'' he said through an interpreter.
Tutu said he was assured by the new South African government of President
Nelson Mandela that arms sales were a part of the former apartheid
government. But he added he was keeping ``a healthy scepticism.''