Login/Logout

*
*  

ACA’s journal, Arms Control Today, remains the best in the market. Well focused. Solidly researched. Prudent.

– Hans Blix,
former IAEA Director-General

Multilateral Arms Control: Can the CD Break the Impasse?
Share this

The end of the Cold War shifted a log jam in both bilateral U.S.-Soviet and multilateral arms control efforts, and generated a number of opportunities allowing for significant gains in nuclear weapon and conventional arms control. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, all Soviet nuclear weapons were removed from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and all three former Soviet republics joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear-weapon states. Ukraine's accession to the NPT cleared the way for the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) to enter into force and for ratification of the START II agreement, which the United States has done.

In addition to the strategic nuclear reductions under START, the United States, Britain and France have withdrawn substantial numbers of tactical nuclear weapons and cancelled future programs. In 1995, NPT parties agreed to the indefinite extension of the treaty and to a more exacting structure for its review and implementation. In 1997, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) entered into force, and the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty was overwhelmingly approved by the UN General Assembly and signed by the five nuclear-weapon states. During 1997 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) adopted more effective safeguards and inspections procedures, and negotiations continued on strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) prohibiting biological weapons. In early December, more than 120 countries signed the Ottawa Treaty, pledging to eliminate anti-personnel landmines from their arsenals and foreswear production, use and transfer. All good news, but that is where it appears to stop. The prospects for further significant progress on arms control and disarmament, particularly through the multilateral Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, are certainly not encouraging.

Ratification of START II and the CWC did not come easily in the United States. The price exacted by some senators may have fatally weakened the U.S. commitment and ability to initiate or carry through more far-reaching arms control initiatives. Though Russia managed to ratify the CWC only after it entered into force in April 1997, the Duma has still failed to move on START II, despite the March 1997 Helsinki summit agreements which identified targets for START III, to be negotiated as soon as START II is ratified. The major reasons for Duma reluctance cited by Russian officials are concerns over NATO expansion, U.S. programs for theater and national ballistic missile defenses, and lack of money and facilities for the safe destruction of old weapons and the maintenance of current arsenals. Russia has called for removal of the remaining U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe, some 150 gravity bombs kept on U.S. bases in seven NATO countries.

The 61-member CD, the primary multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations established under UN auspices, has done little but talk around in circles since it ended its negotiations on the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty in August 1996. Several different issues have been proposed for negotiations at the CD, including a ban on the production of fissile materials for weapons purposes, nuclear disarmament and a ban on anti-personnel landmines. In addition, there are regular demands from different groups of countries for the CD to address the question of the militarization of space, transparency in armaments and legally binding security guarantees from the nuclear-weapon states to the non-nuclear-weapon states (so-called negative security assurances). The CD works by consensus, whereby any member can block action, and for each of the significant proposals put forward there are opponents. Some proposals are opposed outright, with members arguing that the CD is not the appropriate forum, or the time is not right, or the issue is not relevant. Others link their support for negotiations on one issue with commitments that the CD will work on specified others as well. As a result, the CD was not able to agree to any program of work at all throughout 1997.

Somewhat parallel to the work of the CD, the UN First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, debated and adopted 45 draft resolutions and decisions in November 1997 on a wide range of arms control and disarmament issues. Endorsed by the 52nd UN General Assembly in December, this annual consideration of First Committee recommendations reveals current priorities of and alliances among UN member-states, which can be useful indicators for forecasting future progress.<1> Judging from the debates and voting patterns at the United Nations, it will be difficult to resolve the impasse in the CD in the coming year.

 

Fissile Material Cutoff

Despite having agreed on a mandate in March 1995 to negotiate a fissile material production cutoff for weapons purposes, the CD has failed to start the process. India, which opposed the CD's finalized test ban treaty in 1996, refuses to let the negotiations commence without a binding commitment by the nuclear-weapon states that they will negotiate on nuclear disarmament in a time-bound framework. Other non-aligned countries in the CD are also pushing hard to establish an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament, although they are not as inflexible as India and would likely accept a non-negotiating mandate to begin with.

For a small but influential group of countries, led by Pakistan and Egypt, which are concerned about India and Israel, the real problem lies in the existing fissile material stockpiles. They insist that the regime should not be limited to halting future production of fissile materials but should also address the plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) already in the military stockpiles, something which the nuclear-weapon states have so far refused to consider. Adding to the difficulties, there are several different interpretations of the 1995 agreement, known as the "Shannon mandate," named after Canada's ambassador to the CD, Gerald Shannon, who managed to blur the issue of stockpiles sufficiently to get consensus on a negotiating mandate. Although the mandate is based on the December 1993 General Assembly resolution that seeks to ban future production, Shannon's consensus language "does not preclude any delegation from raising for consideration" issues related to existing stockpiles.

According to the nuclear-weapon states, that mandate limits negotiations to a ban on future production. Western delegations tend to take a flexible line, claiming, in the words of Hungary's CD ambassador, that the Shannon mandate "accommodates the different shades of opinion."<2> However, many privately agreed with Austria's representative that negotiations "would inevitably have to touch upon the question of [existing] stockpiles, even if they would remain outside of the treaty, because it is hard to see how [a] cutoff could be verified without transparency with regard to existing stockpiles."<3>

For the third consecutive year, there was not enough support for sponsors of a cutoff treaty to table a resolution at the United Nations. Advocates feared that a split vote at the United Nations would undermine the consensus achieved in December 1993, which had resulted in the March 1995 CD negotiating mandate. At the root of the arguments blocking the cutoff is a fundamental difference of perspective over the relationship between non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. The majority of countries in the Group of 21 (G-21) non-aligned states agreed with the Indonesian CD ambassador that "brushing aside the issue of stockpiles, would, once again, render the cutoff treaty a mere non-proliferation measure...[with] no added value to date."<4>

The United States publicly disagreed, arguing that a cutoff treaty would reinforce parallel efforts to dismantle nuclear warheads, place fissile materials deemed to be "excess to national security requirements" under safeguards, and achieve "even deeper nuclear weapons reductions leading toward their eventual elimination."<5> In May, the director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), John Holum, told the CD that the cutoff treaty "should be simple and straightforward...[and] accomplished relatively quickly." He argued that without fissile material production, "arsenals can neither be established nor expanded" and portrayed the measure as "a constraint specifically on the nuclear-weapon states," instituting a "universal bound on how much fissile material can ever be devoted to nuclear weapons."<6> Holum's deputy, Ralph Earle II, reinforced this message in July, arguing that a cutoff treaty would apply "without discrimination" to all parties.<7>

This is not the view of India and Pakistan, which insist that a treaty that bans future production but does not address the large military stockpiles already in existence would freeze the status quo, thereby discriminating in favor of those countries that already have sizeable stockpiles. Confirming Pakistan's willingness to commence work on a cutoff treaty, Foreign Minister Muhammad Siddique Khan Kanju told the First Committee that the regime must address the "problems created by unequal stockpiles of fissile materials." India, which began by sharing the view of the nuclear-weapon states that the cutoff should only cover future production, has sought to counteract the regime's perceived discriminatory approach from a different angle. Rather than pushing for consideration of existingstockpiles, where India is at a significant advantage vis-à-vis Pakistan, New Delhi's representatives at the CD now argue that negotiations on banning fissile materials production should only go ahead if "part and parcel" of concurrent negotiations on time-bound nuclear disarmament.<8> India told the First Committee that "through the indefinite extension of [the] NPT, the nuclear-weapon states have perpetuated their retention of nuclear weapons and having achieved this, become more insistent on 'stand alone' treaties rather than a comprehensive approach." In New Delhi's view, "mere non-proliferation treaties have been promoted as disarmament measures to serve this nuclear monopoly and perpetuate inequality."<9>

 

Nuclear Disarmament

Following action by the First Committee, the General Assembly voted for several different resolutions on nuclear arms control and disarmament. On bilateral arms control issues, there was only one resolution (A/52/38M) rather than the two rivals of past years. Sponsored by the United States, Russia, France and Britain and supported by 161 countries including China (with eight abstentions), the resolution endorsed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the START process and U.S.-Russian progress on nuclear arms control, including the September 26 agreements relating to START II, the ABM Treaty and early deactivations of some START II-limited weapons. It also urged the two powers to "commence negotiations on a START III agreement immediately after START II enters into force" on the basis of the Helsinki understandings. Eight countries, including Cuba, India, Iran and North Korea abstained.

There were three other contrasting resolutions on nuclear disarmament: from Japan, calling for implementation of the NPT; from Malaysia, calling for negotiations leading to a nuclear weapons convention; and from Myanmar, calling for the CD to convene a committee to negotiate a phased program of nuclear disarmament in a time-bound framework. All the resolutions were adopted by a large majority, but what really matters is which countries co-sponsored and which opposed, the balance of power and the level of cross-group support. None of the nuclear disarmament resolutions achieved consensus.

Japan's resolution (A/52/38K), widely viewed as the most moderate, was supported by all five nuclear powers for the first time, but suffered an unexpected challenge from Pakistan. The resolution emphasized the importance of NPT commitments, underlined the measures identified in the 1995 program of action adopted at the time of the treaty's indefinite extension, and called for the "determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapon states of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons...." The resolution emphasized the responsibility of all states in relation to disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and called for the United Nations to be kept informed of the progress and efforts made. Pakistan objected that instead of addressing nuclear disarmament, Japan's approach actually focused on non-proliferation and the NPT, and was "an alibi" for the continued policies of the nuclear powers.<10> In addition to proposing amendments backing a time-table for the elimination of nuclear weapons, Pakistan wanted to emphasize Article VI of the NPT, which commits all states-parties, among other things, "to pursue negotiations in good faith" on nuclear disarmament measures. Japan refused to amend the resolution, which was eventually passed by 156 votes, with 10 abstentions (including India, Iran, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan).

A new resolution introduced by Malaysia (A/52/38O) seeks to implement the July 1996 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), or World Court. (See ACT, July 1996.) Although only in its second year, the ICJ resolution is likely to prove one of the most important gauges to watch in the future. Although the starting point for the resolution is the unanimous opinion of the ICJ judges that there exists an obligation (under customary international law) for states to "pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament," the major thrust of the measure is its call for negotiations leading to "an early conclusion of a nuclear weapon convention prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination."

In the General Assembly, 152 countries approved the portion of the resolution containing the legal ruling, with only the United States, Russia, France, Israel and Monaco voting against, while Britain joined five others in abstaining. The whole resolution, including the call for a nuclear weapons convention, was backed by 116 countries, including China, India, Pakistan, Ukraine and Western allies such as Ireland, New Zealand and Sweden. The other four declared nuclear powers and Israel, however, were among the 26 mainly NATO counties which voted against the measure. Several members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) joined Japan, South Korea and Scandinavian countries in abstaining on the resolution. The voting patterns suggest that if this becomes a yearly resolution, it could be an effective vehicle for uniting Western and developing states and building momentum for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, as chemical and biological arms have been banned. However, this will take time.

The least successful of the resolutions on nuclear disarmament—Myanmar's call for a time-bound framework to eliminate nuclear weapons (A/52/38L)—obtained only 109 votes in favor, with 39 against and 18 abstentions. Some non-aligned countries abstained on the grounds that a rigid time-table would be impractical and could hinder actual progress.

 

Test Ban Issues

Myanmar's resolution also called for an immediate halt to the "qualitative improvement, development, production and stockpiling of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems." During the CD and UN debates, a number of countries expressed serious concerns about sub-critical tests (which do not result in the release of any fission energy) and other aspects of stockpile management programs in the nuclear-weapon states that could lead to modernization. India, which has refused to sign the CTB Treaty, claimed that its apprehensions about the treaty were coming true, citing loopholes and the continuation of nuclear weapon-related activities using non-explosive techniques, through which "new types of weapons are being designed."<11> By the terms of the treaty's entry-into-force provisions, the test ban cannot take legal effect without accession by 44 named countries, including India. There had been some hope that after the furor had died down over the United Nations' adoption of the CTB Treaty over India's veto in the CD, New Delhi would be persuaded to sign. But India's attitude toward the test ban treaty has continued to harden. Refusing to allow consensus on any resolution which mentioned the treaty, India even abstained on a procedural decision to include the treaty on next year's UN agenda.

India, however, is not the only country to raise concerns about a new "technology race" to modernize nuclear arsenals. At the First Committee, sub-critical testing of weapons was condemned by several delegations from among the 44 states named in the CTB Treaty, including Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan. Pakistan, which has refused to sign without India, castigated the "euphemistic cover of 'stockpile stewardship,'" saying that such programs "will erode the prospects for the entry into force of the CTBT."<12>

 

Anti-Personnel Landmines

In addition to wanting the CD to work on a fissile material cutoff treaty, the United States has been pushing even harder for it to address landmines. Despite the wide international support for the Ottawa Treaty, the U.S. government for the past year has been urging the CD to engage in complementary negotiations leading to a phased elimination of anti-personnel mines, starting with restrictions on exports and transfers. Russia and China, which, like the United States, have refused to sign the Ottawa accord, say they prefer the CD, but stress that negotiations would need to meet all their security concerns, sending unmistakable signals that any negotiations would be drawn out and complicated.

The problems of widely differing approaches and security considerations were illustrated by the three landmines resolutions adopted by the General Assembly: Canada's resolution (A/52/38A) supported the Ottawa process; Sweden's resolution (A/52/42) backed the process under- way to strengthen the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW); and Australia's measure (A/52/38H) pushed for the CD to work on landmines. Of these, only the CCW resolution gained consensus (adopted without a vote), because it avoided controversy by not mentioning the attempts to address landmines comprehensively. The Ottawa resolution, demanding a total ban on production, stockpiling, transfer and, most importantly, the use of anti-personnel landmines, surprised many observers by achieving 142 votes in favor, with only 18 abstentions. This high vote was partly because the treaty has been completed and is now a fact of life, but the abstentions included some key countries including the United States, Russia and China. The Australian landmine resolution was approved by 147 states (including the United States, Russia and China) with 15 abstentions.

This tally, however, concealed some contradictions which do not augur well for those who want negotiations on landmines to take place in the CD in 1998. Some countries supported Australia's resolution as a counterweight to the Ottawa Treaty, but neither expect, nor in some cases desire, the CD to negotiate an effective instrument. The United States, in particular, needed this resolution in order to tell the U.S. public, which backs a total ban, that it is trying to get a more comprehensive ban negotiated in the CD. The landmines issue cuts across group allegiances in the CD that were traditionally drawn on nuclear and Cold War lines. Among non-aligned countries, there are supporters of using the CD to address landmines as a way of deflecting pressure to sign the Ottawa Treaty, but there is also quite strong opposition to putting landmines on the CD agenda, in case it takes precedence over nuclear disarmament issues. Other delegations (comprising both Ottawa Treaty signatories and hold-outs), which for political reasons supported this resolution, do not think the CD is capable of making progress on landmines in the near future. Many see the resolution as little more than a face-saver for the United States, with minimal hope of being implemented.

 

Transparency in Armaments

There were two resolutions on transparency in armaments. The traditional resolution, backing the implementation and further development of the UN Register of Conventional Arms (A/52/38R), achieved 155 votes (including all five permanent members of the UN Security Council), with 11 abstentions. There was opposition, however, in the form of abstentions from China and several non-aligned members of the CD, to paragraphs calling for a group of governmental experts to be convened in 2000 and for the CD to continue work on the issue. On this basis, it will take some hard bargaining for there to be any chance for the CD to convene an ad hoc committee on transparency in armaments in 1998.

This year Egypt put in a rival resolution on transparency (A/52/38B), which focused on weapons of mass destruction, arguing that inventories and information should be provided on holdings of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, as well as conventional arms. Declarations of biological and chemical stockpiles and facilities are part of the BWC and CWC, respectively, so the primary aim of this resolution is to have nuclear arms included. There is already a growing level of transparency in the post-Cold War era. The United States and Russia have bilateral arrangements for information exchanges; France went public last year with information on its nuclear arsenal; and Britain's new foreign secretary, Robin Cook, is on the record from 1995 as an advocate of a nuclear arms register.

Nevertheless, Egypt's resolution was opposed by NATO states (including the United States), Russia and Australia. Some said they supported the principle of transparency, but feared that the UN register would be weakened if it were now made to deal with all weapons. Supporters of a nuclear arms register have pointed out that the concept does not require the UN register itself to include weapons of mass destruction. They suggest that if transparency procedures on nuclear arms were set up under other auspices, they would not interfere with the UN register, but would instead enhance its credibility. Stigmatizing the UN register for being selective and discriminatory has been a favorite excuse from countries that do not wish to participate in greater transparency.

 

Security Assurances

Pakistan obtained 116 votes for its resolution calling for the CD to "actively continue intensive negotiations" on guarantees to non-nuclear-weapon states that nuclear weapons will not be threatened or used against them (A/52/36). Among the 51 countries which abstained were the NATO states (including the United States, Britain and France), Russia and South Africa. The purpose of such a resolution is to harmonize and extend the security assurances given individually by the five declared nuclear-weapon states into a legally binding treaty. Many Western delegations question the necessity for this, while others states such as South Africa consider that the NPT is a more appropriate forum for addressing security assurances, regarding them as a benefit for adherents of the non-proliferation regime. At the April 1997 Preparatory Committee meeting of NPT parties, South Africa pushed hard for time to be allocated in 1998 for the NPT review process to consider security assurances more specifically.

India's traditional resolution calling for a treaty prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons (A/52/39C) received 109 votes in favor, with 30 against (mostly NATO countries, including the United States, Britain and France) and 27 abstentions (including Russia). It is no accident that India and Pakistan, which remain outside the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, sponsor these resolutions that seek to bypass the conditions imposed on assurances granted in the context of nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties and the NPT.

 

Outer Space

For years the item on preventing an arms race in outer space seemed to be a hangover from the Cold War. With new developments in laser technology and the U.S.-driven pressure to weaken the ABM Treaty, the militarization of space has garnered renewed interest and concern. This year's resolution (A/52/37), which called for the CD to re-examine and update the mandate for establishing an ad hoc committee, was backed by 128 countries. The support cut across all groups, and included non-aligned states, China, Russia, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand (the United States, Britain and France were among the 39 abstentions).

 

The Conference on Disarmament

There are two ways of regarding the ongoing tribulations of the CD. The conference may be viewed as "resting between jobs," recovering from the exertions of achieving two major treaties (the CWC and the test ban) in six years, and therefore, like a fallow field, preparing for when the right seeds are sown. Alternatively, the CD may be suffering from terminal decline, turning into an outdated forum with unwieldy structures and too many competing national interests and egos to be able to function effectively in its present form. The consensus resolution on the CD approved by the General Assembly (A/52/40A) emphasized the conference's importance as the "single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community." But the CD has been dented from two sides: its failure to corral India into the CTB Treaty and the success of the Ottawa process in achieving a treaty banning landmines through negotiations—outside the CD—among like-minded states.

India's veto of the CTB Treaty at the CD and its continuing refusal to sign the accord undermines the argument that through the process of multilateral negotiations among the relevant states, reluctant governments can be brought on board. This argument underpins both the view of the nuclear-weapon states with regard to a fissile material cutoff treaty and the U.S. position that CD negotiations on landmines will bring in the big producers such as China and Russia, which have rejected the Ottawa Treaty. The Ottawa process showed how in just one year, with public pressure and political will, a treaty could be negotiated, concluded and signed by over 120 states, while the CD simply talked about "approaches" and "phases."

The CD is caught between two cultures. Despite having for years had a deliberative function on a number of issues, some of which eventually came to fruition as treaties, this role is now regarded by some as unacceptable. Emphasizing the negotiating function of the CD, the non-aligned countries have called for it to negotiate a time-table for nuclear disarmament and/or legally binding treaties on security assurances and non-use of nuclear weapons. ACDA Director John Holum, rejecting a role for the CD in nuclear disarmament, likewise characterized the CD as "the body where arms control negotiations, not merely discussions are conducted," and where "the world's substantive expertise on arms control" resides.<13> Some countries have been trying without success to broker a compromise, whereby the CD would complement negotiations on a cutoff regime by convening a nuclear disarmament committee without an immediate negotiating mandate, perhaps to play a different kind of multilateral role such as encouraging, defining and preparing the technical and political ground for further steps—much as the Group of Scientific Experts did for the CTB Treaty.

Contradictions and hypocrisies riddle the insistence by the extremes (represented by the United States and India) that the only legitimate role for the CD is multilateral negotiations. India wants nuclear disarmament negotiations but walked away from the test ban treaty, in which it was a full negotiating participant, and refuses to join the NPT. The nuclear*weapon states insist that a cutoff treaty must be negotiated nowhere but the CD, because that is the only way to ensure the inclusion of India, Israel and Pakistan. Moments after insisting that the CD must negotiate a landmines ban, Holum said "the real obstacle to nuclear disarmament negotiations [in the CD] is not the willingness of the parties, but the capacity of the forum." Yet, instead of seeking ways to make the successfully concluded Ottawa Treaty universal, the United States seeks to put the issue onto the CD agenda.

The conference should neither be overloaded nor written off. Trying to have it both ways risks destroying the CD's real, but limited, potential.

 

Hard Choices

It is very unlikely that the CD will negotiate on landmines or nuclear disarmament in the near term, and the prospects for a cutoff treaty hang in the balance. If enough CD members want to avoid the ignominy and risks of another year without a program of work, there is some chance that committees or coordinators may be established on issues such as prevention of an arms race in outer space, transparency in armaments and security assurances. While structured discussion of these issues may be useful, alternative ways of addressing the larger arms control issues will have to be found.

As the Ottawa Treaty seeks to establish an international legal norm against the production and use of anti-personnel landmines, its supporters should consider ways of addressing the regional and national security concerns of hold-out states, with a view to enabling more states to join. Rather than seeking to set up a full set of parallel negotiations at the CD, which might undermine Ottawa, the international community would be better advised to bridge the gap between the CCW and the Ottawa Treaty, perhaps starting with a ban on exports negotiated as an additional protocol to the CCW.

Nuclear disarmament presents a different set of problems. The CTB Treaty may well be the last nuclear arms control treaty on the multilateral agenda for many years. In the long term, the demand for a nuclear weapons convention will gather momentum. In the interim, however, any progress on nuclear arms control will most likely take place by means of bilateral (the United States and Russia) and five-power (the declared nuclear-weapon states) negotiating tracks. That does not mean that the international community has no role to play. On the contrary, left to their own national considerations, the United States and Russia are slow movers, unlikely to go beyond the START process. Even if START III is achieved, the two sides could retain more than 4,000 deployed strategic weapons and possibly as many as 20,000 to 30,000 more weapons in their inactive stockpiles. Nor are China, France and Britain likely to engage in nuclear arms reduction talks while the United States and Russian arsenals remain so large.

In view of the growing importance of engaging China and the current political constraints on the CD, five-power talks between the declared nuclear-weapon states, coupled with greater emphasis on regional confidence building in the Middle East and South Asia, offer the best hope of reducing nuclear threats and making progress on nuclear disarmament in the coming years. Five-power talks could contribute to enhanced safety and security, and the progressive marginalization of nuclear weapons by addressing a range of "qualitative" issues, including alert levels, no first use, transparency, accounting of fissile materials and weapons holdings, and commitments not to modernize or increase existing arsenals. If the non-nuclear-weapon "middle powers" on all the major continents can develop the political will, alliances and strategies, they could help to establish the agenda and pace of qualitative nuclear disarmament negotiations among the five weapon states, which, in turn, would reinforce and enhance the START process and other bilateral initiatives.

If they are willing to work out an effective role and the appropriate mechanisms, the states involved in the NPT review process and the CD could ensure that both these fora play a useful role in setting the agenda for five-power talks, sustaining the pressure, assisting with verification research and implementation, and monitoring progress. Such efforts would do much to reinforce the wider credibility of the multilateral non-proliferation regime. If these efforts are not forthcoming, and especially if CD members were to regard five-power talks as treading on multilateral toes, the alternative is continued impasse, the discrediting of multilateralism and perhaps a reversal of the progress achieved in the last decade.

 


NOTES

1. Fifty-eight of the CD's 61 members voted in the 52nd UN General Assembly. The voting rights of Iraq and Yugoslavia have been suspended; Switzerland, a member of the CD, is not a member of the United Nations. [Back]

2. Peter Naray, Hungarian ambassador to the CD, Geneva, February 20, 1997, CD/PV.756. [Back]

3. Harald Kreid, Austrian ambassador to the CD, Geneva, March 13, 1997, CD/PV.760. [Back]

4. Agus Tarmidzi, Indonesian ambassador to the CD, Geneva, February 20, 1997, CD/PV.756. [Back]

5. Ralph Earle II, deputy director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), statement to the CD plenary, Geneva, July 31, 1997, CD/PV.771. [Back]

6. John Holum, ACDA director, statement to the CD plenary, Geneva, May 15, 1997, CD/PV.763. [Back]

7. Earle, op. cit. [Back]

8. Bharati Ray, member of Indian parliament, statement to the UN First Committee, New York, October 17, 1997. [Back]

9. Bharati, op. cit.[Back]

10. See Rebecca Johnson, First Committee Report, Disarmament Diplomacy, No. 20, November 1997. [Back]

11. Bharati, op. cit. [Back]

12. Muhammad Siddique Khan Kanju, Pakistan's minister of state for foreign affairs, statement to the UN First Committee, New York, October 17, 1997. [Back]

13. Holum, op. cit. [Back]

 


Rebecca Johnson is director of the Acronym Institute in London.

Posted: November 1, 1997