Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK Politics
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's John Pienaar reports
"He is the latest in a new breed of philanthropist"
 real 28k

Michael Douglas
"I'm just trying to bring more awareness to the issue"
 real 28k

Michael Douglas
"The UK has a responsibility"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 21 March, 2000, 11:03 GMT
Star warns Cook of nuclear threat

Michael Douglas met Robin Cook at Carlton House
Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas has made a personal appeal to Foreign Secretary Robin Cook for the UK's help in stopping the slide towards "nuclear anarchy."

Mr Douglas met with Mr Cook at the Foreign Secretary's official residence, Carlton Gardens in London on Tuesday as part of his two day visit to London to promote nuclear disarmament.

The actor pressed Mr Cook to enlist Prime Minister Tony Blair's support to raise the issue internationally.

Speaking in a packed meeting room in the Houses of Parliament on Monday night, Mr Douglas said treaties aimed at stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons were under threat.

The horrific prospect opens up of a world of nuclear anarchy where any feud between countries could degenerate into a death warrant for the entire planet

Michael Douglas
The actor, received with the sort of welcome usually reserved for international statesmen, said the American development of a Star Wars missile defence system was endangering three treaties designed to prevent nuclear proliferation.

'Death warrant'

Mr Douglas was appointed a United Nations ambassador for nuclear disarmament by Secretary General Kofi Annan in 1998.

The actor told MPs: "The treaties are in danger of coming apart at a time when more material for making weapons of mass destruction is available worldwide than ever before.

"The horrific prospect opens up of a world of nuclear anarchy where any feud between countries could degenerate into a death warrant for the entire planet."

With officials from Downing Street and the UK Foreign Office in the audience, Mr Douglas appealed for Mr Blair to take the lead in moves to save the treaties.

He said: "Britain is uniquely placed to assume a leadership role: strong influence is required in Washington and as a result of the special relationship between our two countries, the influence of the British is particularly strong.

"Prime Minister Blair commands great respect. Given the impasse between the US and Russia it is time for another nuclear power to take the initiative."

'Nuclear anoraks'

Mr Douglas was welcomed to the Commons by Aberdeen North MP Malcolm Savidge, chairman of the all-party group on global security and non-proliferation, and Dr Cilla Elworthy of the Oxford Research Group, which studies nuclear disarmament.

UN wants to curb nuclear proliferation in South Asia
Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain told him: "You reach part of public opinion which MPs, ministers and nuclear anoraks have no chance of reaching."

And he added: "Can I also congratulate you for inspiring a mass turn out of MPs - they would not have come to hear me."

Answering questions, Mr Douglas said he was shocked that nuclear proliferation had not been an issue in the US presidential elections.

He said: "We have been trying to make it an issue and both the nominees have been ducking it."

The Non-Proliferation Treaty, which provides for international restraints and inspections of nuclear programmes around the world, is reassessed by its signatories every five years, and it will be reviewed in April at the UN in New York.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

20 Mar 00 | UK
The UN's goodwill hunters
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories