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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Review Conference, April 25, 2000

The 2000 Review Conference on the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(April 24-May 19, 2000)

Update from WILPF - April 25 2000
Update # 2: NPT Opens: And A Good START TOO

Diplomats and Foreign Ministers looked up to a packed public gallery in the General Assembly hall yesterday, the first day of the month-long NPT Review Conference. In addition to the opening speeches from Conference Chair Ambassador Baali, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Director-General of the IAEA Mohamed el-Baradei, the conference adopted a decision on

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2000 NPT Index

establishing Subsidiary Bodies. Resolving the question of Subsidiary Bodies so early in the meeting bodes well for Ambassador Baali's chairmanship and helped start the meeting on a positive note. Baali went on to swiftly gavel through procedural decisions such as appointing most of the 34 Vice Presidents and 10 Vice Chairs of the Committees and confirming Hannelore Hoppe of the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs as the Secretary General of the Conference.

As promised, Baali started the afternoon session at 3pm sharp to hear twelve speeches. Ambassador Monteiro of Portugal spoke on behalf of the European Union followed by Foreign Minister of Mexico Roasario Green on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition (NAC). Green attached to her speech the anticipated Working Document on Nuclear Disarmament endorsed by the seven NAC countries. Represented at Minister or equivalent levels, statements were made by Algeria, Ireland, South Africa, USA, Germany, China, Colombia, Japan and New Zealand. (these texts will be available at http://www.basicint.org/)

Ambassador Baali predicted a long, painful and particularly delicate Review Conference because of the current 'uncertain international context.' He went on to list reasons for concern which were reiterated by the bulk of today's speakers: the non adherence of Cuba, Israel, India, and Pakistan to the non-proliferation regime; the refusal of the United States Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT); the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament between the Russian Federation and the United States; the new nuclear strategies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Russian Federation; the challenges to the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the intention of the United States to deploy an anti-missile defence system; the impasse in the Conference on Disarmament; and the fact that there were 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world capable of obliterating everything that humanity has accomplished.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that, "Much of the established multilateral disarmament machinery has started to rust - a problem due not to the machinery itself but to the apparent lack of political will to use it." The most effective way of overcoming the challenges ahead, he said, would be to embark on a results-based Treaty review process that focused on specific benchmarks. One benchmark would be the entry into force of the CTBT. Another would be the deep, irreversible reduction in stocks of nuclear weapons, wherever they might be. A third would be the consolidation of existing nuclear-weapon-free zones and negotiation of new zones. A fourth would be binding security guarantees to non-nuclear-weapon States Parties. Yet another would be improvements in the transparency of nuclear weapon arsenals and nuclear materials.

The Decision on Subsidiary Bodies

The text of the decision reads as follows:

" The Conference of States parties to the NPT decides to establish for the duration of the 2000 Review Conference a subsidiary body under Main Committee 1 and Main Committee II, respectively. The Conference further decides that

(i) The subsidiary body established under Main Committee 1 as subsidiary body 1 will discuss and consider the practical steps for systematic and progressive efforts to implement article VI of the NPT and paragraphs 3 and 4(c) of the 1995 Decisions on "Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament". The subsidiary body will be chaired by Ambassador Clive Pearson of New Zealand. The subsidiary body will be open-ended. It will hold 4 meetings within the overall time allocated to the Main Committee. The meetings will be held in private.

(ii) The subsidiary body established under Main Committee II as subsidiary body 2 will examine the regional issues, including with respect to the Middle East and implementation of the 1995 Middle East resolution. The subsidiary body will be open-ended. It will hold 4 meetings within the overall times allocated to the Main Committee. The meetings will be held in private. The outcome of the work of the subsidiary body will be reflected in the report of the respective Main Committees to the Conference."
The Chair for the subsidiary body of Main Committee II has yet to be chosen. Of the four meetings planned, two will be devoted to the Middle East.

The New Agenda Coalition Working Document on Nuclear Disarmament

Foreign Minister Green introduced this four-page paper as " a working document with measures and steps regarding the obligation under Article VI to achieve nuclear disarmament."

The text, drafted in the style of a final conference document, opens with preambular paragraphs affirming the treaty, the 1995 decisions, the legally binding nature of the NPT commitment by the nuclear-weapon states to the pursuit in good faith of nuclear disarmament and the ICJ Advisory Opinion. After listing concerns regarding stalled negotiations on arms reductions and the continued retention of the nuclear-weapon option by three states, the text goes on stress the ABM Treaty as a cornerstone of stability, stresses the need to lessen the role of nuclear weapons in security policies and affirms that "the maintenance of a nuclear-weapon-free world will require the underpinnings of a universal and multilaterally negotiated legally binding instrument or a framework encompassing a mutually reinforcing set of instruments."

The measures identified by the NAC for the implementation of the NPT are that:
1. the five nuclear-weapon States make an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, and engage in an accelerated process of negotiation, taking steps leading to nuclear disarmament in the coming five year period;

2. the USA and the Russian Federation undertake to fully implement START II and begin negotiations on START III;

3. all five nuclear weapon-states are integrated into the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons.

Six interim steps were identified:

1. an adaptation of policy and posture to preclude the use of nuclear weapons;

2. de-alerting;

3. the reduction of tactical nuclear weapons towards their elimination;

4. a demonstration of greater transparency regarding arsenals and fissile materials;

5. further development of the Trilateral Initiative; and

6. the application of the principle of irreversibility in all nuclear disarmament, arms reduction and arms control measures.

The document then goes on to call for the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, a treaty to ban the production of fissile materials and the establishment of a subsidiary body in the Conference on Disarmament to deal with nuclear disarmament. The benefits of Nuclear Weapon Free Zones and negative security assurances are outlined and the paper concludes by calling on those not party to the treaty to accede and to renounce the nuclear weapons option.

Tuesday's list of speakers includes Belgium, Australia, Brazil, Lithuania, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, France, Russia, Sweden, Canada and Costa Rica.

Felicity Hill, Director, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, United Nations Office, 777 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA Ph: 1 212 682 1265, Fax: 1 212 286 8211, email: flick@igc.apc.org
web: www.wilpf.int.ch www.reachingcriticalwill.org