PM Gordon Brown and President Gorbachev Discuss a Wide Range of Issues
Report from GSI President Jonathan Granoff,
an IPB Representative to the Nobel Peace Laureate Summit
On January 28, 2008, President Mikhail Gorbachev and I were hosted to breakfast and a private meeting with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, at No. 10 Downing Street. The meeting was divided into two distinct parts. The first hour included Tom Fletcher, Private Secretary to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, and myself. The second hour was only President Gorbachev and the Prime Minister.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
photo courtesy of AP
During the meeting, Prime Minister Brown expressed his serious concerns on a wide range of issues, from poverty to the development of environmentally-friendly technologies. He emphasized the importance of making necessary progress on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in order to ensure the success of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons. President Gorbachev highlighted the problems with nuclear energy, reminding the Prime Minister about Chernobyl, and the need to focus on the abolition of nuclear weapons and not just preventing them from coming into the hands of unfriendly states or non-state actors.
The Prime Minister discussed the threats to our global economy, both internationally and in the United States, which has a disproportionate influence on global economic stability. The economic fundamentals of both the US and the global economy are sufficiently sound as to be able to weather current challenges arising from an overextended mortgage market in the US and the general weakness of the dollar. Prime Minister Brown was exceptionally respectful and afforded every courtesy toward President Gorbachev, engaging him in a wide range of inquiries on current affairs — from the need for greater international cooperation to expanding the UN Security Council.
President Gorbachev expressed confidence that bilateral relations between the UK and Russia has reached a high level of economic and cultural cooperation and that there is an interest in regularizing and developing stronger cooperation and improved understanding.
I explained the work of the Middle Powers Initiative (MPI) and shared two MPI briefs (see below). President Gorbachev highlighted the good work done in Rome at the Nobel Peace Laureate Summits. We shared the Charter for a World Without Violence and the Three Questions to Fulfil Our Duty to the Next Generation that arose at the last Summit this past December in Rome. I also shared Axis of Responsibility and Freedom from the Scourge of War, (see below for all Nobel Summit docs) the presentations that I made at the Summit on behalf of the International Peace Bureau and suggested that arranging a meeting in the UK with Nobel Peace Laureates could be done in a manner that was supportive of the excellent points the Prime Minister made in a recent speech in India. The Prime Minister accepted the papers and the ideas shared in a most respectful and positive manner. Within a few days, follow up meetings were arranged for Senator Douglas Roche, Chairman of MPI, to meet with senior policy officials in the Foreign Ministry. Also, the serious manner in which Prime Minister Brown’s administration is addressing nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament was recently affirmed when Defense Minister Des Browne offered the UK as a host of a high level meeting of leaders of nuclear weapons states to address how to strengthen verification measures needed to move toward a nuclear weapons free world. This is a welcome tangible expression of the uplifting sentiments Prime Minister Brown has expressed.
Former Soviet President Gorbachev and GSI President Jonathan Granoff
I am always humbled when working with President Gorbachev, an advisor to GSI, by his wisdom, humility, courage, and commitment to making the world better for everyone. I felt particularly honored to see how he provided inspiration and encouragement to Prime Minister Brown on the good positions they shared and how he looked to build on such work. For example, when speaking about threats posed by nuclear weapons, President Gorbachev immediately offered the work that he has stimulated through a working group, of which I am a part, created through the Belfer Center at Harvard and with George Schultz, Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan. This group aims to put forth policy suggestions for the next presidents of Russia and the US. President Gorbachev highlighted how this work might benefit the UK and that we would share our work products with the Prime Minister.
I would like to personally thank my friend Lord Peter Goldsmith QC, PC, former Attorney General of the United Kingdom, for helping to arrange this valuable meeting.
The two MPI briefs that were presented were:
Jonathan Granoff’s presentations to the Nobel Summit:
GSI President, an IPB Representative to the Nobel Peace Laureate Summit, and Senior Advisor to the Nobel Peace Laureate Summit Permanent Secretariat