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Regional Organizations

European Union (EU)

The European Union (EU) comprises 25 member states, two of which, France and the United Kingdom, are nuclear-weapon states (NWS). The EU, with its five institutions and various bodies,

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aims to organize relations between members and their policies in a coherent fashion. These efforts, guided by effective multilateralism, also include the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSC) which was first conceived in 1993 to preserve peace and strengthen international security.

The EU is engaged in various nonproliferation and disarmament activities to promote international peace and security. Active participation in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committees and Review Conference has been consistent and fruitful. At the 2000 Review Conference, the EU issued a Common Position statement that represented a consensus agreement by all 15 EU members. In 1999, the Council of the EU initiated a Joint Action program to support Russia’s nonproliferation efforts. In accordance with its emphasis on multilateralism, the Council of the EU adopted the
EU Strategy Against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Another Joint Action was launched in 2004 to support the International Atomic Energy Agency’s nuclear security program.

Considering the broad and diverse membership of the EU, such agreements are the result of major efforts to represent all member states. In addition to the two nuclear-weapon states ( France and the United Kingdom), four other EU members host US nuclear weapons on their territory. Under the policy of nuclear sharing of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a wide range of different types of US nuclear weapons are based in Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. NATO’s Strategy Concept of 1999 promoting the reliance on nuclear weapons’ deployment has recently sparked renewed calls by Belgian, Dutch, and German politicians for the removal of such weapons from non-nuclear-weapon states’ territories. One main argument for such a move is the incompatibility of nuclear sharing with Article 1 of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which prohibits the transfer of nuclear weapons.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed in 1955 to provide its 26 member states with an umbrella of collective security. NATO countries argue that its nuclear policy of basing nuclear weapons on the territories of non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS) is central to maintaining this security. In addition to the three NATO members – France, the United Kingdom, and the United States – that are recognized by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as nuclear-weapon states (NWS), Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey host US nuclear weapons. This policy of nuclear sharing is reiterated in the Strategic Concept made public in 1999, which declared that nuclear weapons will remain in Europe indefinitely.

NATO’s nuclear policy also targets the security challenges posed by the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). In 1994, NATO declared as its main goal the Alliance Policy Framework on the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction . Along with its Strategic Concept, NATO announced a new initiative on WMD that serves as a consultative forum. The initiative was followed by the creation of a Center on WMD at NATO Headquarters. NATO also organizes frequent seminars and workshops on issues regarding WMD terrorism and proliferation, such as the seminar held in Sofia, Bulgaria in June 2005.

Arms Control and Regional Security in the Middle East (ACRS) Working Group

The Arms Control and Regional Security in the Middle East (ACRS) Working Group was formed after the opening round of the Middle East Peace Process in Madrid in 1991. This multilateral working group addresses security issues that are specific to the region and its 13 Arab member states, Israel, and Palestine. A range of extra-regional entities, including the European Union, United Nations, and the United States, also participate in plenary meetings to discuss regional confidence building measures, arms control education, and the prospects of a Middle East Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. The group has managed to agree on arms control measures, but none have been implemented. No formal plenary session has taken place since 1995.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in 1967. ASEAN, comprising 10 members today, furthers economic and social development in the region and promotes regional security for its members. Its main achievement in regional arms control was the conclusion of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaty in 1995. This zone covers the territories of all 10 ASEAN members, which are obligated not to develop, acquire, and possess nuclear weapons. The Treaty also provides for a Protocol that protects states parties from the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against them. The Protocol is open to signature by the five nuclear-weapon states, but none of them has ratified it yet.

Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO)

The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) was founded in 1994 to facilitate the implementation of the 1994 Agreed Framework between the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea and the United States. Under the Agreement, North Korea agreed to freeze and ultimately dismantle its nuclear program, while the United States pledged to assist in the building of two light water reactors. In 2003, KEDO, comprised of 13 countries, suspended the light water reactors project, claiming that North Korea had not met the necessary conditions for receiving technical assistance. Internal organizational problems may further obstruct KEDO’s work. In May 2005, the executive director Charles Kartman resigned, and further downsizing of the organizations’ staff is planned.

Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL)

The Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) is an inter-governmental agency created by the Treaty of Tlatelolco to ensure that the obligations of the Treaty be met. OPANAL is responsible for arranging regular and special general conferences and consultation meetings related to the established purposes, means, and procedures of the Treaty.

The Treaty of Tlatelolco prohibits the development, testing, and use of nuclear weapons in the region. All five nuclear-weapon states have ratified the Protocol to the Treaty, which provides negative security assurances for non-nuclear states that are parties to the Treaty.