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Statement of the Group of 78

The Group of 78 is an informal association of Canadians seeking the integration of global priorities for peace and disarmament, equitable development for all, and a strong and revitalized United Nations system. On March 22, 1988, the Executive of Science for Peace endorsed a statement of the Group calling for demilitarization of the Arctic.

The statement argues that, although the Government has recently sought a stronger military presence in the Arctic through nuclear powered submarines, there are strong reasons to adopt an earlier recommendation of the Special Joint Committee on Canada’s International Relations that Canada seek demilitarization and cooperation. The recent conclusion of the INF treaty and joint initiatives between the USSR and Scandinavian countries raise hopes that Mr. Gorbachev’s October 1987 proposal for Northern cooperation can bear fruit. Such an approach, in keeping with Canada’s traditional peacekeeping role, is supported by an increasing public opinion that the USSR does not pose the major threat to Canadian security.

As a major Arctic power, Canada is in a strong position to give leadership in demilitarization and in a fully cooperative approach to surveillance and verification. With others, Canada can develop the resources of the region, coordinate scientific research, protect the fragile northern environment, and bring into being a just and peaceful community. The Canadian government is urged, in the statement, to negotiate with the Soviet Union and other northern nations in order to stop and reverse the militarization of the Arctic and create instead a zone of peaceful cooperation for the benefit of all.

This statement will be published in the newspapers.

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