Disarmament Insight


Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Love in the Afternoon

In the warm afterglow of the decision to adopt the agenda, the States Parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) got quickly down to the business of reviewing the Treaty and preparing for 2010.

Yesterday afternoon was allocated to discussion of Cluster 1 issues, namely implementation of the provisions of the Treaty relating to: non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, disarmament and international peace and security; NPT articles I and II and preambular paragraphs 1 to 3, Article VI and preambular paragraphs 8 to 12, and security assurances.

There was a scramble for speaking slots. This will undoubtedly be the recurring complaint as we try to squeeze in 10 days work into three and half – a bit like going clothes shopping after holiday eating. Tomorrow morning will be dedicated to the specific issues of nuclear disarmament and security assurances; a little spillover into tomorrow will not be noticeable.

More verbal overspill however will make listening uncomfortable in the conference room as speakers either speak for too long or speak at too fast a pace in order to get through their points in record time. Having said that, there were ten minutes left at the end of yesterday for interactive debate – an opportunity taken up by Canada and Germany. Not long enough but at least something.

One key feature of the this NPT meeting is that the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden are once again cohesive and active. On behalf of the NAC, Ambassador Paul Kavanagh of Ireland characterized the task for review cycle to identify particular aspects on which incremental progress can be made with a view to advancing the objective of a nuclear weapon free world. (A link to the NAC working paper is included below).

The US, France, the UK and China all spoke in the afternoon session, all – as we well know – committed to nuclear disarmament (and singing their own praises on how much they have achieved). As mentioned in Disarmament Insight’s blog posting of 8 May, the US has produced a whole set of papers that they circulated in advance of the NPT preparatory meeting (link below), part of a new approach to engage and enhance dialogue.

The US has confirmed its commitment to nuclear disarmament and refers frequently to “our shared vision for a nuclear weapons free-world”. The papers produced by the US are detailed, informative and engaging. Not everyone will agree with everything in them, of course, but why should they? Indeed, we need to set out our views and interests so that others can engage in debate. The US is to be applauded for the effort and for their openness. They’re worth a read and, if you’re so moved, you can respond to their challenges by commenting on this post.

This is a guest blog from Dr Patricia Lewis. Patricia is Director of UNIDIR.


The New Agenda Coalition’s working paper mentioned above (NPT/CONF.2010/PC.1/WP.15) can be found at: http://www.un.org/NPT2010/documents.html

US papers presented to the NPT preparatory meeting are available at: http://www.state.gov/t/isn/rls/rm/c20988.htm

Photo of the Austria Centre Vienna, where the NPT meeting is taking place (retrieved from the Austria Centre Vienna website)