An Analysis of the Second Preparatory Committee Meeting for the 2000 Review of the Non-ProliferationTreaty
Table of Contents
- China's Biting Attack
- U.S. Achievements
- Comprehensive Negotiations Urged
- South Africa's Initiative
- Canada's Working Text
- The NPT In Crisis
- Undersecretary-General Dhanapala's Views
- Why India Tested
- NWS' Nuclear Development
- NGO Presentations
- Abolition 2000 Recommendations
APPENDIX A: An Analysis of the First Prepartory Committee Meeting for the 2000 Review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty
The second PrepComm preparing for the 2000 Review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty collapsed at midnight May 8, 1998. Though the immediate cause was failure to agree on references to the resolution on the Middle East adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, the real cause of the breakdown was the intransigence of four of the five Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) who refuse to enter into any comprehensive negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), citing the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that nations are obliged to conclude negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament, called once again for the Conference on Disarmament to "commence negotiations on a phased programme of nuclear disarmament and for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework of time, including a nuclear weapons conventionÖ ." The atmosphere of NPT PrepComm II, though starting amiably, turned increasingly sour and even acrimonious. Thirteen NGO statements, praised by PrepComm Chairman Eugeniusz Wyzner of Poland for their "professionalism," were presented at a Plenary meeting on the second day. In general, the NGO recommendations and proposals for strengthening the non-proliferation regime were lost in the incessant governmental wrangling over procedures to be followed in developing the PrepComm process. In the end, PrepComm II failed, though compromise language on several points, including negotiations on a fissile material cut-off, nuclear weapons free zones, and export controls, was achieved in draft form which eventually fell by the wayside. PrepComm II revealed the crisis the NPT 2000 Review has been plunged into. Bridge-building can still be done to save the NPT in 2000 but only if the Western NWS recognize that their continued maintenance of nuclear weapons is the core of the non-proliferation problem. The nuclear weapon tests by India and promised reprisals by Pakistan, coming on the heels of the failed NPT PrepComm
A discriminatory regime can no longer hold. The international community must choose: either an enforceable global ban on all nuclear weapons, or nuclear weapons will spread beyond the present club. The crisis, as the Chinese (who vote at the U.N. for negotiations for nuclear disarmament) would say, presents an opportunity.
- This analysis of the Second Preparatory Committee Meeting for the 2000 Review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, April 27-May 8, 1998, should be read in the context of my report on the First PrepComm in 1997 (Appendix "A"; also available on Internet
). Although the nuclear testing by India and promised reprisals by Pakistan occurred after the conclusion of PrepComm II (India and Pakistan are not members of the NPT), it would be totally unrealistic to present an analysis of PrepComm II that ignored the actions by India and Pakistan. Indiaís five underground tests, including that of a hydrogen bomb, should be seen as a "wake-up call" to the world: the status quo, in which the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council keep their nuclear weapons while all others are proscribed from acquiring them, is unsustainable.
- There are 186 States Parties to the NPT; 97 attended PrepComm II. Brazil recently signed and, while awaiting ratification, attended as an Observer, as did Israel which, along with India, Pakistan and Cuba, remain the principal holdouts. Representatives of 76 Non Governmental Organizations attended.
- A strengthened Review process was an integral part of the 1995 indefinite extension of the NPT. The annual PrepComms are to prepare for the quinquennial reviews which "should look forward as well as back" in addressing what specifically should be done to strengthen the implementation of the Treaty. Thus PrepComm II opened with a general debate, in which 33 statements were made.
B. China's Biting Attack
- China made the most remarkable speech, criticizing forthrightly their fellow members of the nuclear club:"Some countries cling to the Cold War mentality, stick to the military doctrines of the Cold War era, and adhere to the nuclear deterrence policy. They keep on expanding their military blocks, strengthening their military alliances, and developing sophisticated hi-tech weapons. Making use of multilateral arms control treaties and international non-proliferation mechanisms, they attempt to restrain and weaken other countriesí military capabilities, so as to seek absolute security for themselves. Such mentality and practices run counter to the trend of the times, spoil the atmosphere of multilateral arms control negotiations and hamper further progress in the field of international arms control."
Criticizing the U.S. and Russia for retaining large numbers of warheads even after the implementation of START II, China then attacked countries conducting research on and development of advanced strategic missile defense systems and outer space weapons "in an attempt to consolidate and even expand their strategic advantage acquired in the Cold War era, and to seek absolute security for themselves." This activity may trigger a new nuclear arms race, the Chinese spokesman, Ambassador Sha Zakang added. The warning to the United States was unmistakable.
China called for the "complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons at an early date," and appealed for the early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention "like the conventions banning chemical and biological weapons," along with a legally binding international instrument on negative security assurances.
- Having made this striking criticism of its fellow NWS and appeal for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, China then joined in a statement issued by all five NWS that was distinguished by its blandness. The familiar refrain of the NWS commitment to ultimate disarmament preceded by regional security was repeated:"It is the responsibility and obligation of all States to contribute to the relaxation of international tension and to the strengthening of international peace and security. We underscore the important and tangible progress achieved in the area of nuclear disarmament and reaffirm our determination to continue the pursuit by the nuclear- weapons States of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons, and by all States of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."When asked privately how China could sign both statements, the Chinese representative said that the vague common statement was the price of getting along with its fellow club members.
C. U.S. Achievements
- A lengthy statement by the United States, whose 12-person delegation was led by Norman A. Wulf, Acting Assistant Director for Nonproliferation and Regional Arms Control, set out the steps that the U.S. has taken to demonstrate "a strong commitment to nuclear disarmament and to the elimination of nuclear weapons as an ultimate goal":
- START I. With the elimination of 900 heavy bombers and missilelaunchers, which carried over 4,000 accountable warheads, "we are nearly three quarters of the way to full realization of planned eliminationÖ"
- Once START II has been fully implemented, the U.S. will have reduced itsstrategic nuclear forces by two-thirds from Cold War levels. Negotiations on START III, to include the destruction of strategic nuclear warheads, will begin immediately after START II enters into force. To help promote Russian ratification of START II, the U.S. and Russia have exchanged letters legally codifying the commitment to deactivate by December 31, 2003, the strategic nuclear delivery vehicles that will be eliminated under START II.
- The U.S. was the first nation to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test BanTreaty, which "constrains the development of more advanced nuclear weapons" by the NWS; the U.S. has shut down the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and is working with Russia to convert Russiaís three remaining plutonium-production reactors to civilian use only; 90 per cent of U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons have been eliminated.
Beyond these "classic examples" of nuclear weapons reductions, Mr. Wulf added:"The United States has underway a range of programs and other measures that together make an extensive and invaluable contribution to nuclear disarmament through: (1) reducing the roles of, and risks associated with, nuclear weapons; (2) modifying the U.S. nuclear force posture to rationalize it with post-Cold War security realities; and (3) ensuring that nuclear material declared excess to defense needs is never again available for weapons use."As happened at PrepComm I, the U.S. insisted that regional security is a precondition to nuclear disarmament. Mr. Wulf said: "The process of nuclear disarmament also cannot be separated completely from efforts to control more traditional conventional weapons that continue to threaten the security of many States in all parts of the world." (Ten days later, the U.S., the largest arms exporter in the world, was offering advanced conventional armaments to Pakistan as an inducement not to conduct nuclear tests.)
- The case for continuing the incremental approach to nuclear disarmament, as opposed to comprehensive, was made by the U.K. whose spokesman, Ambassador Ian Soutar, rejected a Nuclear Weapons Convention as "unrealistic idealism.""To re-focus now on rigid time-frames or single instruments would be to jettison a tried and tested method for moving towards our goal in order to repeat the errors of the past."This theme was picked up by Russia, which has completely reversed the Gorbachev and early Yeltsin administration proposals for complete elimination in specific phases. Ambassador G.V. Berdennikov told the PrepComm:"We believe it is untimely and, consequently, counter productive to start talks at the Conference on Disarmament on a programme for nuclear disarmament within specific time limits. We are convinced that it is not the right time to be seriously engaged in something that could even hardly acquire practical grounds during the first decade of the next century."
D. Comprehensive Negotiations Urged
- The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), operating in a more unified way than at PrepComm I, held out for the comprehensive approach because the incremental approach allows the NWS to keep their nuclear weapons, even at reduced numbers, into the indefinite future. NAM based its case on "the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control." Referring to the three-phase plan for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020 submitted by a Group of 28 nations in 1996, NAM called for the Conference on Disarmament:"To commence negotiations on a phased programme of nuclear disarmament and for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework of time, including a nuclear-weapons convention prohibiting the development, production, testing, employment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination."
The 61-member Conference on Disarmament (C.D.), which operates by consensus, is blocked by the Western NWS, however, in even setting up an ad hoc committee to discuss nuclear disarmament. The impasse on negotiations to ban the production of fissile material illustrates the current deadlock at the C.D. The NWS are willing to negotiate such a ban because they have sufficient stocks of fissile material in existence. As Indonesia observed at PrepComm II, leading Non Nuclear Weapons States (NNWS) consider a fissile cut off meaningless unless it includes a commitment to future negotiations on nuclear disarmament. Ambassador Makarim Wibisono stated:"A cut off, like the CTBT with its loophole for tests in a laboratory and the indefinitely-extended NPT, would do little more than preserve the nuclear status quo."
E. South Africa's Initiative
- Both South Africa and Canada made significant efforts at PrepComm II to work around the deadlock on the substantive issues of Article VI by trying to enhance the Review process itself.
At PrepComm I, a decision was taken by the Chairman to send to PrepComm II a recommendation that special attention be given three items: security assurances, the 1995 resolution aimed at getting Israel to join the NPT; progress toward negotiations for a global ban on the production of fissile material. This was done. But Mexicoís request for similar attention to nuclear disarmament was denied.
To the above list of three items, South Africa this time requested that, at the 1999 PrepComm, special time be devoted to deliberations on the nuclear disarmament issue. South Africa argued that such a step would provide the NWS with a "structured opportunity" to state what they are doing; the NNWS could then engage the NWS as to "the practical steps and systematic and progressive efforts" which have been identified; the international community could then jointly support or assist initiatives undertaken or agreements achieved.
Such a discussion in 1999 would prepare the way for the establishment at the 2000 Review of a subsidiary body to Main Committee I, which traditionally includes Article VI among many other issues, such as nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear weapon-free-zones and security assurances. The subsidiary body on nuclear disarmament would then be ingrained into future Reviews and PrepComm, thus putting a clear spotlight on NWS actions, or lack thereof, in implementing Article VI.
But this spotlight was precisely what the Western NWS (with Russia) objected to. In the Chairmanís consultations, the South African proposal was repeatedly rejected by the U.S., the U.K., France and Russia. The NNWS argued: How could the NPT Review Process possibly be "strengthened" if the NWS deny it the right to focus on the heart of the Treaty? The NWS responded that the traditional Main Committees, which allow for working groups are sufficient. This debate might appear, on the surface, to be about terminology. But terminology and procedure are but a surrogate for the real debate over a comprehensive program to eliminate nuclear weapons.
- The strong hold of the NWS over the PrepComm was further seen in the results of the Chairmanís attempts to find workable compromises. Chairman Wyzner produced a "Non-Paper" which in draft form included this key paragraph:"The nuclear-weapon States reaffirm their commitment to fulfill with determination their obligations under Article VI, and undertake to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control. In this context, the nuclear-weapon States parties declare unequivocally their commitment to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons and to that end agree to pursue vigorously systematic and progressive efforts to further reduce nuclear weapons globally."
When the "Non-Paper" emerged from the consultations and achieved the status of "Chairmanís Working Paper," the above paragraph had been changed to read:"All States parties reaffirm their commitment to fulfill with determination their obligations under Article VI. In this context, the nuclear-weapon States parties declare their commitment to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons and to that end agree to pursue vigorously systematic and progressive efforts to further reduce nuclear weapons globally. All States parties declare their commitment to the achievement of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. All States parties further declare that general and complete disarmament, specially including nuclear disarmament, necessitates the cooperation of all States."The proposed undertaking of the NWS to negotiate nuclear disarmament, the centre-piece of the "Non-Paper," was stripped out of the Chairmanís Working Paper, to be replaced by the vague words of the 1995 Extension, namely that the NWS would "pursue vigorously systematic and progressive effortsÖ"
Although rebuffed by the NWS on the issue of a subsidiary body, this weakened language might have been allowed by the NNWS to go forward but for what then happened.
F. Canada's Working Text
- The Canadian delegation, led by Ambassador Mark Moher, tried to advance both the substantive and procedural issues at the same time through a paper that sought to capture minimal levels of agreement on the START II process, non-proliferation, the CTBT and safeguards. The U.S. and U.K. objected to the Canadian proposal on the grounds that a PrepComm ought not to be deciding on language in advance of the 2000 Review itself. But many States (including, Chile, Morocco, New Zealand, Egypt, South Africa, Syria and Norway) supported Canadaís "moderate" stance.
The Canadian proposals were sent to a consultation and emerged, amended, as a document intended for inclusion in the PrepCommís report. The amended Canadian paper dealt with:
- Security Assurances. The NPT parties would examine further steps which"could take the form of an internationally legally binding instrument."
- Middle East. The wording of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East,calling for "the establishment by regional parties of a Middle East zone free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems" was repeated.
- Fissile Cut-off. Immediate commencement of negotiations on a fissile cutoff was urged.
- Non-Proliferation. Universal adherence to the NPT and the creation ofMiddle East and South Asia NWFZs were advocated.
- Nuclear Disarmament. The START process should be recognized as akey element in "systematic and progressive efforts"; the U.S. and Russia should implement START II; "this process of negotiated nuclear weapons reductions and transparency measures should be expanded at an appropriate point in the near future to include all five nuclear-weapons States Parties."
- CTBT. The uncertainty of full ratification of the CTBT notwithstanding,the CTBT should be fully observed by all.
- Safeguards. The upgrading of the International Atomic Energy Agencyíssafeguards system should be completed by the 2000 Review.
- This was not ground-breaking material. Nonetheless, when Ambassador Moher introduced the amended paper at the final informal plenary meeting, the U.S. immediately objected. This process was making the PrepComm more than it should be, Mr. Wulf maintained, and entered a lone objection when the Chairman asked if there was consensus on the Security Assurances paragraph.
Next came the paragraph on the Middle East. No, said the U.S. That was the breaking point. Egypt pointed out that the U.S. objection was unreasonable, since the Canadian language did not go beyond the 1995 resolution which the U.S. at the time supported. Ambassador Andelfo Garcia of Colombia, who will chair PrepComm III in 1999, read a NAM paper asserting that if the Canadian language on the Middle East was not passed, NAM would not agree to any substantive item. The U.K. supported the U.S., but France, Russia and Germany tried to find some compromise. China said it understood the Arab concern and Middle East language should be considered in this yearís PrepComm. If not now, when? Egypt and Iran warned that Middle East language was the unmovable bottom line.
Chairman Wyzner suspended the meeting for private consultations for an hour and a half. Resuming, he reported no progress at breaking the stalemate. Mr. Wulf, under renewed instructions from Washington, caught up at that moment in the deteriorating Middle East peace talks, would not relent. Russia called for another recess and another hour went by.
At 11:23 p.m. the plenary resumed to concede stalemate. The formal plenary opened and a procedural report was adopted. Not even a passage on the preparation of documentation for the 2000 Review could be passed because of U.S. refusal to allow any documentation on the Middle East. The Chairmanís Paper had no status and thus nothing of substance could be sent to PrepComm III. Mr. Wyzner later said he would nonetheless informally send existing papers forward for PrepComm III to decide on.
A final round of speeches ensued, China calling the outcome "unfortunate and disappointing." The Review process was jeopardized, but the outcome, hopefully, would not be in vain. Putting the best diplomatic face on a disaster, Chairman Wyzner averred that the meeting had been "quite successful." Now, he said, the world must see that "the nuclear threat is still the biggest threat to humankindís survival."
G. The NPT In Crisis
- Out of the disarray, States will now go forward to the Third PrepComm, to be held April 12-23, 1999 in New York. Not to recognize that the NPT is in crisis would be the height of folly. It must be remembered that the Middle East issue was only the immediate cause of the breakdown. The real cause was the widening gap between the leading NNWS and the NWS over the implementation of Article VI. The NWS rejection of South Africaís attempts to launch focused discussion on Article VI reveal their intransigence, which the NNWS increasingly find unacceptable. It should further be remembered that what happened at PrepComm II was not an aberration. The history of the NPT shows increasing disenchantment at the NWS promise of "ultimate" nuclear disarmament. The NPT came into existence in 1970. At the first Review in 1975, the Treaty was endorsed only by the aggressive action of the Chair (the late Inga Thorssen). In 1980, there was no agreement. In 1985, the only way a "consensus" was maintained was to state in the final document that some States agreed and others did not. In 1990, there was no agreement. In 1995, despite the indefinite extension, the Review process again broke down. And at the time of the actual extension, through a package crafted by Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka, 13 States denounced the extension. Egypt, presciently, warned at the time that the method adopted to achieve the decision "may lead to negative consequences." A few months after the Extension, Amb. Dhanapala warned:"Any departure from the sincere implementation of the decisions will lead not only to cynicism over the freedom and democratization of the post-Cold War order but also to a dangerous build-up of dissatisfaction amongst a majority of Treaty parties, who could at any moment invoke their rights under Article 10:1 and leave the Treaty."
Since then, Mexico issued a warning when presenting its testimony to the International Court of Justice that if the disarmament obligations of the NPT are not met, "we would need to revise our continuation as party to the Treaty.""As a country, we are not prepared under any circumstances to accept a monopoly in the possession of nuclear weapons or to allow the modernization of these devices through tests whose legality we also respectfully question."
Three days after PrepComm I, which took a step back from the Extension Conference, India warmed the U.N.:"The stubborn position of nuclear-weapon States has paralyzed the debate on nuclear disarmament. The window of opportunity opened at the end of the Cold War is closing."
H. Undersecretary-General Dhanapalaís Views
- A few months before PrepComm II, Ambassador Dhanapala was appointed U.N. Undersecretary-General for Disarmament. His views on the present course of the disarmament process are important. Speaking to an NGO briefing during PrepComm II, Mr. Dhanapala noted:
- The NPT PrepComm process must be more than a "talk shop." Failure toadvance substantive discussion at PrepComm II would be "very serious." There has been, since 1995, "inadequate movement" on the Principles and Objectives document. On the particular failure of fissile cutoff, we "cannot exculpate some NNWS." Mr. Dhanapala would like to see the NWS attempt to "achieve some of the Objectives." On the Middle East, the current refusal by some delegations to refer to the 1995 resolution on the Middle East as part of the final package is a "step backward," and could contribute to a "deep disquiet across the Arab States" concerning the future of the NPT.
- The ICJ Advisory Opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons must beadvanced. "Efforts to hide this opinion under the carpet must be rejected." A UNGA resolution calling for a study would be welcome.
- Franceís suggestion that the U.N. Fourth Special Session on Disarmamentbe held in 2001 is a hopeful sign, given the failure of the UNDC, after three years of discussion, to come to a consensus on UNSSOD IVís date. "The effort by some important delegations to derail progress on this subject has produced a strange form of diplomacy in which silence conveys negative views."
- Mr. Dhanapala has raised with U.N. Senior Management Group"equitable" access for Disarmament NGOs to U.N. meetings on same basis as Human Rights and Environment NGOsí current much wider access. He called for pressure to counter the "active discouragement" of this by some delegations.
I. Why India Tested
- As noted above, the NPT PrepComm cannot be viewed in a vacuum. India tested as a deliberate act of defiance of the NWS mixture of threats, cajoling and promises.
India did not test because it fears Pakistan or is having trouble with its other neighbour China. India tested out of Indian pride. There is overwhelming public support for India to assert itself on the world stage. With nearly one billion people, India will become the largest nation on earth (overtaking China in about 20 years). Its economy, despite deep political divisions, is roaring along at about 7 percent annual growth, and its new foreign investment laws, particularly for the energy industry, are among the most attractive in the world. Sanctions will make but a small dent in the Indian economy, which is largely domestically based.
Lost in the international ire directed at India is that countryís long record in working for nuclear disarmament, dating back to Prime Minister Nehru. Following Indiaís original nuclear detonation in 1974, successive governments advanced plans to eliminate all nuclear weapons.
In the early 1980s, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the first to join the Six-Nation Initiative aimed at getting the Soviets and the Americans back to the bargaining table at the height of the Cold War. In 1988, her son Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi brought to the U.N. a three-phased plan for world elimination of nuclear weapons. In 1994, India submitted strong arguments to the ICJ asking it to confirm the "generally accepted view among nations that the use of nuclear weapons is illegal." India has also argued that neither self-defense nor reprisals justified the use of nuclear weapons. In 1996, it joined the 28 nations proposing a plan for nuclear weapons abolition.
For the past two years, India has voted for the U.N. General Assembly resolutions calling for multilateral negotiations.
The Indian record in working for nuclear disarmament is clear. But Indiaís efforts have been rebuffed by the Western nuclear powers, who keep voting down all resolutions calling for a time-bound program for elimination. India has been scorned because it has consistently refused to join the NPT. India maintains that the NPT is discriminatory because it allows the nuclear weapons countries to retain their arsenals and ignore the requirement to negotiate elimination.
Announcing its testing, India said it remained "committed to a speedy process of nuclear disarmament leading to total and global elimination of nuclear weapons. Our adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention is evidence of our commitment to any global disarmament regime which is non-discriminatory and verifiable.""The Government would like to reiterate its support to efforts to realize the goal of a truly comprehensive international arrangement which would prohibit underground testing of all weapons as well as related experiments described as subcritical of ëhydronuclearí."
J. NWS' Nuclear Development
- India's reference to "subcritical" testing was a clear reference to U.S. ongoing nuclear testing. In a report issued in April, 1998, and distributed at the PrepComm, the U.S.-based National Resources Defense Council states: "The U.S. government clearly intends to maintain under the CTBT, and indeed significantly enhance, its scientific and technical capabilities for undertaking ëdevelopment of advanced new types of nuclear weaponsí." The report, "End Run: The U.S. Governmentís Plan for Designing Nuclear Weapons and Simulating Nuclear Explosions Under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty," stated that the U.S. has embarked on a program "to design, develop, prototype and flight test an indisputably new-design warhead for the Trident II missile to replace the current W76 and W88 warheads."
The U.S. government maintains a "Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program," funded at $4.5 billion annually, under which simulated laboratory nuclear testing is carried out. Maintaining and strengthening its nuclear weapons capacity in this manner is held to be necessary in order to convince the U.S. Senate that ratification of the CTBT will not jeopardize U.S. nuclear superiority. This is what the Western States Legal Foundation, Oakland, Calif., calls "A Faustian Bargain." Jacqueline Cabasso, Executive Director of the Foundation, told the PrepComm:"In the U.S., nuclear weapons design will be advanced through simulations carried out using superfast computers costing hundreds of millions of dollars, coupled with archived data from more than 1,000 past tests, and new diagnostic information obtained from inertial confinement fusion facilities, including the national Ignition Facility (NIF), pulsed power and chemical explosive driven pulsed power fusion experiments, above ground hydrodynamic explosions, including at the Dual AXIS Radiographic Hydrotest Facility (DARHT), and subcritical zero yield underground tests. Over the next decade, the U.S. plans to invest $45 billion in the deceptively named Stockpile Stewardship program, an amount well above the Cold War annual spending average for nuclear weapons research, development, testing, production and disassembly directly comparable activities."The U.S. activity is done under the authority of the 1997 Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) which re-commits the U.S. to policies of threatened first use and threatened retaliation, and affirms, according to Robert Bell, National Security assistant to the President, "that the U.S. will continue to rely on nuclear arms as a cornerstone of its national security for the indefinite future."
The U.S. is not alone in planning new generations of weaponry. The U.S. and Russia are conducting an extensive joint program of explosive pulsed-power experiments. France is conducting its own lab testing program, which will allow sophisticated flash x-ray images of hydrodynamic explosions to be produced, thus allowing physicists to see inside surrogate nuclear explosions.
All this advanced experimentation by the NWS is seen by the NNWS as the antithesis of the NPTís Article VI obligation to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament "in good faith." Moreover, the close interconnections between research, design and testing of advanced weapons have the potential to ignite a new arms race.
K. NGO Presentations
- The NGO presentations to PrepComm II took the large view of reminding all parties to the NPT of their responsibilities to humanity. They also made concrete suggestions. Here are excerpts from the texts (Jacqueline Cabassoís is quoted above):
- Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, representing Pax Christi and speakingalso for Methodists United for Peace and Justice: "Nuclear weapons, whether used or threatened, are grossly evil and morally wrong. As an instrument of mass destruction, nuclear weapons slaughter the innocent and ravage the environment. ÖAs an instrument of deterrence, nuclear weapons hold innocent people hostage for political and military purposes. Therefore, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence is morally corrupt. This view stems from a belief in the sanctity of life, a perspective shared by other world religions: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism."
- Myrla Baldonado, Peopleís Task Force for Bases Cleanup, Philippines: "We come here to the table as victims of the nuclear age. While it is difficult to transcend the nature of what it is to be the sacrificial lambs of military imposed "peace," we seek to transcend mere victimization in demanding and calling for a final cessation to these genocidal acts of nuclear colonialism. We are inspired by the work of the recently-deceased Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, who spoke of strategy on behalf of oppressed peoples working to liberate themselves from the oppression that dehumanizes both the oppressor and the oppressed. Being the victims of the nuclear age, we ask you to listen to the suffering voices silenced by attribution of priority to a precarious "peace" maintained by military means. The Pacific, like most Indigenous communities around the world, is heavily militarized. Genuine peace can only begin to emerge when the nations of the world start to dismantle military and nuclear installations now dominating the entire Pacific from Guam to Hawaii to French Polynesia."
- Oliver Meier, Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security (BITS): "Including NATO nuclear sharing in the work of the NPT Review process is especially timely, because NATO is in the process of entirely revising its strategy. This process is taking place in secret. NATOís new Strategic Concept is supposed to be finished in April 1999 shortly before the Third PrepComm for the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT. Statements from NATO countries indicate that there are no plans to change the key nuclear aspects of the Allianceís policy: nuclear deterrence, nuclear sharing arrangements and the first use policy. If NATO will not change the nuclear paragraphs of its current Strategic Concepts, current NATO nuclear policies will be extended for the foreseeable future. NATOís strategy will not reflect the on-going changes in Europe, nor the commitments made at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. In particular, the expansion of NATO, and the extension of the nuclear guarantee that implies, are antithetical to the commitment to pursue systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons as agreed in 1995 in the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament."
- Martin Kalinowski, IANUS: "It is widely accepted that the control of fissile materials plays an important role in the transformation of the non-proliferation regime into a nuclear-weapon-free world regime. The crucial question is how a reduction of unsafeguarded stockpiles of fissile material can be managed in a way that a nuclear-weapon state or a nuclear threshold state can move towards becoming a non-nuclear-weapon state. For declared nuclear-weapon states this transformation will be linked to the destruction of the last remaining nuclear weapons. A clear method for the undeclared nuclear states to join the cut-off and disarmament process needs to be worked out. One component of this would be for them to reduce the upper limit of their stocks of nuclear-weapon-usable materials while the recognized nuclear-weapon-states further reduce their nuclear arsenals. The last step would involve placing all remaining stocks of fissile material in all countries under international safeguards."
- Arjun Makhijani, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research: "Nuclear weapons production and testing has involved extensive health and environmental damage not only in the weapons states, but throughout the world. One of the most remarkable features of this damage has been the readiness of governments to harm the very people that they claimed they were protecting by building these weapons for national security reasons. In general, this harm was inflicted on people in disregard of democratic norms. Secrecy, fabrication of data, cover-ups in the face of attempted public inquiry, and even human experiments without informed consent have all occurred in nuclear weapons production and testing programs. This has been and will continue to be one of the great tragedies of the Cold War."
- Simon Carroll, Greenpeace International: "The energy challenges weface amount to a decision on the type of world we wish our children to inherit. Do we want our children to live in a world in which the inseparable links between military and civil applications of nuclear power exist in every nation and where the environment daily deteriorates? Or do we want to give them opportunities for development based on an energy infrastructure for society which is sustainable? If we are to give them a future, it means that we have to bring about a world in which energy is both used efficiently and is generated through the use of sustainable renewable energy systems. Such a future holds no place for nuclear power."
- Daryl Kimball, Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers: "We respectfully call upon NPT states parties to urge Russia to ratify the START II and the ABM Treaty agreed to by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in 1997. Although implementation of the START II agreement, signed over five years ago, is long overdue, its importance to advancing nuclear disarmament by deep reductions of existing U.S. and Russian strategic arsenals cannot be overemphasized, and its future implementation cannot be assumed. Further, this body should encourage the United States and Russia to promptly initiate and promptly conclude negotiations on START III. These negotiations can and should achieve reductions in actively deployed strategic nuclear forces far deeper than those provisionally outlined at the 1997 Helsinki summit (2,000-2,500 strategic nuclear weapons). The negotiation and ratification of such an agreement by the beginning of the year 2000 is a worthy objective."
- Jonathan Dean, Union of Concerned Scientists: "The united strengthof over 180 countries behind a joint program would be a powerful, irrefutable voice to which the nuclear weapon states will be compelled to listen. Up to now, that force has been divided between those governments which focus on demands for total elimination of nuclear weapons and those which advocate specific steps. Only when these two strands are united, only when the people of the world can back a message which sets forth what they want, total elimination of nuclear weapons, together with a clear program of how that objective can be achieved, will the objective in fact be reached. That is why we appear today to the delegates of countries without nuclear weapons to use the time between now and the review conference in the year 2000 to hammer out such a united program. [The first component] is de-alerting, taking steps to prevent immediate launch of nuclear-tipped missiles. It is a dangerous anachronism that the nuclear strategy of Russia and the United States continues based on deterrence of surprise attack through deployment of hundreds of missiles ready for rapid launch. This is a situation where human or technical error can bring accidental or unauthorized launch of a few missiles followed by massive exchange that could still obliterate most of the Northern Hemisphere, with possible fall-out extended to a still wider area."
- Merav Datan, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy. "A recurrentresponse to the demand for a Nuclear Weapons Convention is that it is premature to consider and discuss a framework for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. It is indeed premature to expect agreement on the objectives of the NWC or the details of its verification regime. But it is not premature to begin devising a plan for complete nuclear disarmament, to be ready when the political climate is favorable. Nor is it premature for States to begin developing the verification mechanisms for nuclear disarmament. For many years, a CTBT seemed beyond reach; yet verification mechanisms were studied by a scientific group of the C.D. and this helped the negotiations once they began. In light of the ongoing threat posed by nuclear weapons, and the damage, both direct and indirect, that they cause, discussions of a Nuclear Weapons Convention should be seen as an urgent need rather than a premature wish. The model NWC is offered to States and NGOs in the hopes that it can inspire and enrich this discussion."
- Bahiq Nassar, Coordinating Centre of Arab Peace Organizations: "Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zones (NWFZs) cover several regions and continents including territories under jurisdiction of big powers. We call on those states that have not already done so to ratify the Nuclear Weapons Free Zones treaties in existence. Taking them together enables a great part of the Southern Hemisphere comprising Latin America, Africa, South East Asia, the South Pacific and the Antarctic Continent to remain outside the nuclear arms race. In addition to these internationally recognized treaties, hundreds of cities and towns have been declared NWFZs by their local authorities. Other initiatives to expand areas free from nuclear weapons are on the agenda of NGOs with the hope that PrepComm delegates will take them in due consideration."
- Janet Bloomfield, Abolition 2000 and Oxford Research Group: "Effective solutions [for global security] will require cooperation, imagination and vision, not nuclear threats and coercion. The ëhardwareí approach of the Cold War must change to a ësoftwareí solution which replaces present military-based notions of security with cooperation, confidence-building, transparency, disarmament, conversion, demobilization and demilitarization. The meeting rooms of the U.N. are familiar with these concepts. Implicit in the agenda of all the U.N. World Conferences in the 1990s beginning with the Childrenís Summit in New York and including the Earth Summit in Rio, the Beijing Womenís Conference and Habitat II, is a refocusing on how human security can be achieved. These conferences generated thorough agendas, embodied in very specific programmes and political commitments reached by consensus with the intense engagement of civil society. These workable programmes will remain unfulfilled and the crises of human suffering increase unless the monetary commitments required are now forthcoming. The tragedy is that these very serious problems increase in magnitude each day whilst military coffers remain bloated."
- Felicity Hill, Womenís International League for Peace and Freedom: "We appreciate that you have agreed to hear NGO views early in the PrepComm. We would urge that you consider expanding the process of broader NGO participation by creating, at next yearís PrepComm, an NGO delegation with observer status, similar to the NGO delegation from the International Campaign to Ban Landmines which contributed so substantively to the CCW Review Conference and subsequently, the Ottawa process. Just as NGOs fully participate in U.N. meetings on Social, Economic, and Human Rights issues, so too should we be welcomed at disarmament talks."
L. Abolition 2000 Recommendations
- A summary of actions recommended to NPT PrepComm was issued by Abolition 2000 (a global network to eliminate nuclear weapons). The Summary was contained in a packet published by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and given to every delegate:
We urge you to take the following actions:
- Establish an intersessional NPT working group to assist in the commencement of negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention using the model convention submitted by Costa Rica an official U.N. document (A/C.1.52/7), as a basis for discussions.
- Call for implementation of the Canberra Commission recommendations for immediate action:
- taking nuclear forces off alert;
- removal of warheads from delivery vehicles;
- ending deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons;
- ending nuclear testing;
- initiating negotiations to further reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals; and
- agreement amongst the nuclear states of reciprocal no-first-useundertakings, and of a non-use undertaking by them in relation tothe non-nuclear weapons states.
- Establish a global registry of weapons usable radioactive materials (military and civilian).
- Secure commitments by the nuclear weapons states not to modernize or design nuclear weapons by any means (including subcritical, hydrodynamic, or intertial confinement fusion experiments and supercomputers).
- Require the nuclear weapons states to make public and transparent their policies relating to the deployment, threat or use of nuclear weapons.
- Require the nuclear weapons states to report regularly on progress on the above.
- Support providing an Abolition 2000 delegation observer status at the 1999 PrepComm similar to the status given to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines during the Ottawa process.
- Will NPT PrepComm III deal with these recommendations?
Appendix "A"AN ANALYSIS OF THE FIRST PREPARATORY COMMITTEE MEETING FOR THE 2000 REVIEW OF THE NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY
New York, April 7-18, 1997
Summary. The first PrepComm, preparing for the 2000 Review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, took a step back from 1995 when the NPT was indefinitely extended. The Western Nuclear-Weapon States (NWS), insisting on regional stability as a precondition of nuclear disarmament, made clear they have no intention, in the foreseeable future, of negotiating nuclear disarmament. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), once again calling for negotiations for the "complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified framework of time," was in considerable disarray and did not press its case effectively. Canada tried to strengthen the NPT Review process and explicitly rejected the NWS contention that nuclear disarmament can be achieved only when general and complete disarmament is accomplished, but found itself in a minority position in the Western group, dominated by the U.S., U.K. and France. In the end, a prolonged final meeting softened references to nuclear disarmament. The very process of an annual PrepComm (the second one will be in Geneva April 27-May 8, 1998) cannot be dismissed as an accomplishment; at the same time, the inaugural PrepComm cannot be said to have "strengthened" the NPT review process. NGO presentations, made during an unofficial meeting of the PrepComm, were rich in quality and stood out sharply against the bland governmental interventions. A Model Nuclear Weapons Convention, drafted by an international ad hoc committee of lawyers, scientists and disarmament experts, was presented at an NGO meeting on the first day of the PrepComm but was not formally introduced by any country into the PrepComm.
- In 1995, the 25-year-old NPT was indefinitely extended with a politically-binding package of resolutions which set up an annual PrepComm process in between each five-year formal review; a set of Principles and Objectives specified a programme of action which included: "the determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapon States of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goals of eliminating those weapons, and by all States of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control." Since 1995, eight States have joined the NPT; the total number is now 186, of which 149 participated in the PrepComm. The principal hold-outs are Israel, India, Pakistan, Cuba and Brazil. The Chairman was Ambassador Pasi Patokallio of Finland.
- The structure of the "strengthened review process" consisted of a general debate (38 speeches) and examination of the three elements (called "clusters") of the NPT: nuclear disarmament (including non-proliferation, nuclear-weapon-free zones and security assurances); safeguards; and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. A Chairmanís Working Paper emerged, which was essentially a reaffirmation of the 1995 Principles and Objectives. A list of specific proposals was put forward by delegations for future consideration on the basis that the PrepComm was not committed to them.
The PrepComm report, as drafted, contained a recommendation that the second PrepComm in 1998 give special attention to three items: security assurances; the 1995 resolution aimed at getting Israel to join the NPT; and progress on getting negotiations started for a global ban on the production of fissile material. Mexico insisted on adding nuclear disarmament to this list because of the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) holding that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally contravene international and humanitarian law. The NWS resisted giving nuclear disarmament extra attention beyond its regular place in the first cluster of the Treaty. A stand-off occurred. Finally, the recommendation to discuss the three items was dropped from the report, and the Chairman unilaterally declared that time would be given at the second PrepComm for the three items. There was no objection to this statement, but Mexico registered a reservation.
There was puzzlement in the hall as to why Mexico was taking such a strong stand. Many seemed to have forgotten that, in its testimony before the ICJ, Mexico said that if the nuclear disarmament obligations of the NPT are not met, "we would need to revise our continuation as party to the Treaty." Mexico warned:"As a country we are not prepared under any circumstances to accept a monopoly in the possession of nuclear weapons or to allow the modernization of these devices through tests whose legality we also respectfully question."
- What the PrepComm could agree on was summed up in the Chairmanís working paper, which now goes forward to the second PrepComm. Some said the paper represented the highest common factor existing among the NPT parties at this stage; others saw it as the lowest common denominator. The paper:
- urged the importance of achieving universality of the Treaty;
- reaffirmed the necessity of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons;
- stressed the importance of achieving the earliest entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty;
- urged immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations for a ban on the production of fissile material;
- recognized the progress made by the U.S. and Russia under the START process, and reaffirmed the commitment of the NWS to "the determined pursuit of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons and of the commitment by all States to the achievement of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control";
- welcomed the spread of nuclear-weapon-free zones;
- called for further steps, "which could take the form of an international legally binding instrument," of assurances to non-nuclear States party to the Treaty against the use or threat of nuclear weapons;
- welcomed the strengthening of the safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (called the "93+2 program"), and reaffirmed that the IAEA is the competent authority responsible for verifying compliance with safeguards agreements;
- reaffirmed that all States have the "inalienable right" to peaceful use of nuclear energy,and stressed that attacks on nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes jeopardize nuclear safety.
- The continuing tension between the NWS and the non-nuclear-weapon States was illustrated by an exchange between Ireland and the United States. Expressing appreciation for the progress made in nuclear disarmament, Ireland said that the PrepComm should not ignore "external opinion" to expedite nuclear disarmament negotiations, citing the ICJ Advisory Opinion; the Canberra Commissionís call to the NWS to commit themselves immediately and unequivocally to the elimination of nuclear weapons; the March 13, 1997 resolution of the European Parliament urging the commencement of negotiations in 1997 on the abolition of nuclear weapons; the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention; and the Programme of Action tabled by a group of 28 nations calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. Following such calls and "fixing their sights" on such long-term programmes would enable the NWS to "signal" that "ultimate" nuclear disarmament had real meaning.
The United States rejoined that non-nuclear-weapon States were sometimes too quick to dismiss the "historic progress" made to date in nuclear disarmament and should remain realistic about the pace of progress in the near-term. Progress could only be made step-by-step, carefully calibrated to maintain stability and ensure verification and enforceability. The Canberra report was "tantalizing," but could not be imposed on the NWS; nuclear disarmament will not take place on demand, but could only come about as a consequence of conventional disarmament and regional stability. This does not mean that non-nuclear-weapon States have no role to play in implementing Article VI of the NPT. All must help to create the conditions of enhanced stability that will make regional disarmament possible.
This rejoinder followed on from the principal U.S. address which emphasized the U.S. commitment to nuclear disarmament: "The United States has already eliminated nearly 10,000 strategic and non-strategic nuclear warheads, and will continue to do so at a safe and effective rate. At this point in time, the U.S. has reduced from its cold War peak 90 percent of its non-strategic nuclear stockpile and 47 percent of its strategic nuclear stockpile. In addition, the United States has unilaterally removed more than 225 metric tons of fissile material from its nuclear stockpile and has voluntarily offered to place this excess material under IAEA safeguards. Twelve tons of HEU and PU are already under IAEA safeguards." However, a Fact Sheet attached to the U.S. address pointed out that "the basic premise" of the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review of 1994 is that "nuclear weapons play a role." (In fact, on February 12, 1997, U.S. Department of Defence testimony before Congress stated: "Nuclear weapons remain essential to deter against the gravest threats, actual and foreseeable.")
- Canada (in a speech supported, inter alia, by Japan, China, South Africa and New Zealand) spoke against the idea that going to zero nuclear weapons depends on general disarmament first. "We do not accept any explicit or implicate linkage, or interpretation of Article VI, that nuclear disarmament will be achieved only when general and complete disarmament has been achieved, or when every last bow and arrow or Swiss Army knife is gone."
But this seminal point did not take hold in the Western group. The European Union, as the largest bloc in the Western group, continues to be dominated by the U.K. and France whose status in the U.N. Security Council (and continued veto power) is clearly dependent on their possession of nuclear weapons. On October 30, 1995 (after the NPT Review and Extension Conference), the U.K. and France issued a Joint Statement on Nuclear Cooperation, in which for the first time two nuclear weapon States announced convergence of national deterrence policies. Moreover, France has proposed a policy of "concerted deterrence" between EU member States; the possibility of a European nuclear force raises questions of a breach of Article I of the NPT.
- The contrast between the positions of the NWS and NAM was also seen in their respective papers. France, on behalf of the NWS, underscored the important and tangible progress achieved so far in nuclear disarmament and, repeating the Principles and Objectives of 1995, pledged to continue "systematic and progressive efforts." This statement followed a sentence which said: "It is the responsibility of all States to contribute to the relaxation of international tension and to the strengthening of international peace and security." The NAM paper called for the Conference on Disarmament to give priority to an ad hoc committee "to commence negotiations on a phased programme of nuclear disarmament and for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified framework of time, including a nuclear weapons convention."
- The Irish mention of the model Nuclear Weapons Convention referred to a set of documents released on the first day of the PrepComm. In February 1996, the Lawyersí Committee on Nuclear Policy, New York, established a committee of lawyers, academics, scientists, disarmament experts and diplomats to begin the drafting of a model Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC), which would prohibit the development, production, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons and provide for their elimination. The aim of the model NWC is to demonstrate the feasibility of the elimination of nuclear weapons through such an international agreement. It is intended to stimulate negotiations by States on the elimination of nuclear weapons, and to provide guidance and focus for such negotiations. In addition, establishing a framework for the elimination of nuclear weapons, will assist in achieving steps towards that goal.
A large number of citizensí organizations are supportive of, or participating in this effort, including the Abolition 2000 Network, comprised of over 700 organizations worldwide, which calls for the negotiation and conclusion of a Nuclear Weapons Convention by the year 2000.
The documents discuss the rationale for nuclear abolition, the desirability of a comprehensive approach, alternative processes for negotiation of a NWC and the necessity of developing political will for such negotiations. A draft Preamble and an Outline of the draft model NWC are included.
The documents are now circulating informally but have yet to be introduced into any governmental disarmament forum.
- More than 100 NGOs attended the PrepComm, although they were barred from most of the sessions. Consequently, they spent most of their time in forums organized by the NGO Committee on Disarmament. Abolition 2000 members convened every day at 8:00 a.m. to plan lobbying measures and long-range education campaigns. On Wednesday morning of the second week, 10 NGOs made presentations at an informal meeting of the NPT PrepComm. The following is a selection of comments:
- Clayton Rannie, Fellowship of Reconciliation: The maintenance of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War era is unconscionable and contrary to every moral standard.
- Zia Mian, Sustainable Development Institute, Pakistan: The challenge andresponsibility to begin negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention could be taken up by the NPT PrepComm. Under Article VIII of the NPT, it requires only one party to submit an amendment to the Treaty, and only one third of the parties to support it, for a conference of all the parties to be convened to consider the amendment. This amendment could transform the NPT into a negotiation on a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
- Peter Weiss, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy: The ICJ Presidentísassessment that nuclear weapons are "the ultimate evil" is correct. The NWS siren song of "ultimately" sounds suspiciously like "never."
- Jonathan Dean, Union of Concerned Scientists: Continuing pressures for time-based commitments are essential; they keep the urgency of the task and the existence of the unfulfilled commitment before world opinion. In successive PrepComms, the NWS should be asked to describe the specific circumstances under which they will be prepared to carry out their obligation. The answers they present should be discussed and analyzed as to whether they have some substance or are excuses for maintaining the status quo. Where NWS answers are shown to be excuses, they can be refuted and the debate over elimination of nuclear weapons will be simplified. If some of the circumstances that the NWS cite are found to have objective justification -- for example, assured transparency, improved peacekeeping capability of the U.N. and of regional security organizations, or improved verification measures -- they could become common goals of all NPT member States.
- Jacqueline Cabasso, Western States Legal Foundation: Each of the NWS has a formidable program to maintain the "safety and reliability" of its nuclear arsenal for the foreseeable future, with or without underground tests. Further, the U.S. and France have publicly proclaimed that their programs are intended to preserve the capability to make militarily significant modifications of existing weapons and design new ones. The U.S. plans to invest $40 billion over the next ten years in the "Stockpile Stewardship" program, which encompasses dozens of existing and planned high-tech laboratory facilities.
The NPT PrepComm should seek commitments by the nuclear weapon states not to carry out subcritical test explosions, hydrodynamic test explosions, miniature thermonuclear test explosions using inertial confinement fusion or pulsed power or other technology, or like test explosions, as inconsistent with good faith fulfillment of the Article VI obligation, and contrary to the purposed of the CTBT. We further urge this Committee to seek closure of all nuclear test sites, in consultation with the affected indigenous peoples.
- Mary Olson, Nuclear Information and Resource Service: When the NPT was negotiated, nuclear power was a new technology, and there was widespread optimism in the possibilities of this largely untried energy source. It was expected to be "clean", "cheap" and "safe". The experience over the following decades has proven otherwise, with nuclear programmes running up enormous debts, ever-accumulating quantities of radioactive waste and a legacy of health and environmental problems. As the "nuclear age" has lengthened, our knowledge of the delayed and serious consequences of some of the problems of the nuclear power technology has grown and it is clear that the risks were gravely underestimated.
Today, an estimated 2 billion people world-wide lack access to modern energy services. The recent report of the United Nations Development Programme ("Energy after Rio"), emphasized the critical importance for people in these countries of attaining both development and environmental goals of increasing investment in developing renewable energy resources and improving the efficiency with which energy is used. The report concluded that "a revival of nuclear power is not a necessary component of the energy supply system in a world where emphasis is given to the efficient use of energy and innovation in energy supply technologies".
- George Bunn, Lawyers Alliance for World Security: It has been estimated that at the end of 1996 there were 1300 tonnes of plutonium and 1770 tonnes of highly-enriched uranium in existence. The vast majority of plutonium is in civilian spend fuel while almost all of the highly-enriched uranium is in military stocks in the United States and Russia. Virtually all of this uranium is unsafeguarded while almost one third of all plutonium is under safeguards. World stocks of highly enriched uranium are expected to decline due to the blending down of excess material resulting from disarmament measures in the United States and Russia.
However, the stocks of civil plutonium continue to grown at a rate of about 70 tonnes annually. In the next decade separated civil plutonium stocks are expected to grow from 140 tonnes at the end of 1995 to 250 tonnes due to increased reprocessing, primarily in Europe and Japan. Ten years from now, under existing plans, the separated plutonium inventory will be as high as the current military plutonium stockpiles.
It is important to note that reactor-grade plutonium can be used for nuclear weapons, though it requires more material, greater expertise and the weapons may be less reliable. While there is some debate within the scientific community as to the scale of the proliferation threat posed by such material, there is consensus that this proliferation threat is not zero.
The task of making plutonium inaccessible is of the greatest importance and urgency. However, the solutions of how to achieve this are not clear cut. All possible solutions have technical and political drawbacks. There is an urgent need to reduce access to weapons-usable nuclear materials. This may be achieved by unilateral steps or by agreements between states. Measures that could be taken in pursuit of these goals in the near future could include formal statements by States that their production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium has ceased. Transparency in inventories and capacities should be enhanced by publication of detailed balances of plutonium and HEU and this information should be updated regularly.
Complimenting the NGOs at the end of their presentations, Chairman Patokallio said the comments were "valuable, interesting, knowledgeable and passionate." Mexico thanked the NGOs for their "technical, specialized information." The NAM paper said NGOs could make "a positive contribution" to the attainment of NPT objectives.
Author's Postscript: The 1997 NPT PrepComm pointed up the nuclear weapons dilemma. The NWS are holding onto nuclear weapons as the currency of power, using as an excuse that world conditions are not stable enough to go to zero. Since the NWS plus Germany are the worldís biggest arms merchants, they are directly contributing to the de-stabilization. The leading non-nuclear weapons States along with the de facto NWS (India, Pakistan, Israel) will not allow this two-class world to continue. Mexico has already formally warned it will withdraw from the Treaty unless nuclear disarmament occurs. Three days after the close of the NPT PrepComm, India warned the U.N.: "The stubborn position of nuclear-weapon States has paralyzed the debate on nuclear disarmament. The window of opportunity opened at the end of the Cold War is closing."
While the U.S.-Russian reductions lull the media and the public into complacency, the present situation is alarming. The NPT is in jeopardy. Continuing the status quo into the 21st century will lead to proliferation of nuclear weapons. Proliferation will lead to use, either by accident, terrorism or a rogue political decision. Use anywhere would be a human catastrophe, potentially repeating itself to unimaginable proportions. In his An Agenda for Peace, former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali emphasized the need for preventive diplomacy to head off security problems. No issue so demands preventive diplomacy today as nuclear weapons. The ICJ, Canberra, the Generals and the Group of 28 nations are right: the NWS must make an unequivocal commitment to move to zero as soon as possible. That would be an exercise in preventive diplomacy.
Far from helping to fulfill the NPT (or even staying in neutral), the Western NWS are actively working to impede discussions and negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons. It is their outright rejection of the ICJ Advisory Opinion that is the most stunning manifestation of their disregard for world opinion against nuclear weapons, expressed today by high legal, political, military, academic and spiritual leaders, buttressed by a gathering public opinion channeled through the Abolition 2000 movement. The continuation of the status quo, in which the most powerful countries rank their outmoded military doctrine over the development of international law, poses the gravest consequences for humankind. The Western NWS use every diplomatic trick to stifle discussions and inhibit even those governments that want to move forward. It is not too strong to state that the U.S., the U.K. and France are bullying the non-nuclear weapons States, which are themselves not united and give every appearance of being fearful of the economic consequences of pushing the NWS too hard.
In the governmental discussion in the uni-polar post-Cold War era, there is virtually no significant leadership to move to nuclear zero. A new coalition of like-minded States must be formed that breaks out of the old West-East-NAM ideologies. Canada, Norway, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Mexico, Malaysia, Sweden, Egypt and a few others would be prime members of such a coalition.
The strongest hope for moving to nuclear zero lies in the NGO community which has demonstrated, once again, that it is ahead of governments and possesses the expertise to command respect. Abolition 2000 is beginning to make its mark. This is not a time for NGO disillusionment (let along passivity) but for aggressive lobbying of governments, and not accepting rebuffs from either politicians or bureaucrats who donít know any better.
The Canadian NGO community in disarmament is stronger than generally recognized. Chairman Bill Graham said the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee had received more mail on the government-requested nuclear weapons study than any other subject. He said, "The Canadian public is very interested in the issue of nuclear disarmament." The Project Ploughshares-sponsored Roundtables in 18 cities in Canada showed that people do express concern -- after the issue, ignored by the media, is explained to them. Canada is going into a federal election. Candidates should be challenged on the nuclear abolition issue, which cuts to the heart of Canadian values.
As Canada tries to figure out what to do before the second NPT PrepComm in 1998, Canadian NGOs should write to Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, making at least these points:
- Why is Canada not demanding that NATO review its nuclear weapons policy in the light of the ICJ, the highest legal authority in the world?
- Why is Canada not implementing the ICJ decision by voting at the U.N. for negotiations to begin on a Nuclear Weapons Convention?
- Has the Canadian government examined the model Nuclear Weapons Convention and, if so, what precisely is in it that Canada objects to?
- Could Canadian diplomats actively work with their counterparts in like-minded countries to move the international community forward to nuclear zero?