ANTI-WAR activists gathered in London on Saturday to condemn US plans for a missile defence system in Europe.
At a CND conference named Europe Against US Missile Defence, delegates also attacked Britain’s intention to spend £40 billion on renewing the Trident missile system despite opposition across the political spectrum.
Conference heard that US plans to install so-called “defensive” missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic are designed to create international instability and tension in order to spark a new cold war.
CND parliamentary committee chairman Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said: “We are not going to be divided by US bilateral negotiations designed to create conflict. This is a chronic waste of money and a reigniting of cold-war strategy still present within the Pentagon.”
Representing the Czech Social Democrats, Ivona Novomestska added: “The Czech people have to have a referendum on this and the strategy employed by the government is silence in order to stop people from opposing the plans.”
The conference also praised Russia’s decision not to retaliate by stationing missiles on the Polish border.
In a sign that Moscow could be seeking better ties with the new US administration, it was reported last week that the Russian military had halted plans to deploy its Iskander missile system.
Moscow had previously threatened to install the system in Russia’s western outpost of Kaliningrad as a response to any deployment of the US missile shield in eastern Europe.
Labour MP Michael Connarty said: “As the Soviet Union was forced by the US to spend a fortune on armaments instead of investing in social projects, which brought about its collapse, the same thing is happening to Russia.
“This is a direct invitation from Russia for negotiations.”
CND chairwoman Kate Hudson noted that the structure of power in the world is changing.
“We have to accept a multipolar world with no superpower,” she said.
Delegates also raised the question of whether US President Barack Obama will actually bring about a much-needed change in US foreign policy.