Nuclear-Weapon States Meet in Washington

Kelsey Davenport

Officials from the five original nuclear-weapon states reaffirmed their “shared goal of nuclear disarmament” in a joint statement issued at the end of a June 27-29 meeting in Washington designed in part to review the progress on commitments made at the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.

Representatives of the five states—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—also exchanged ideas related to “transparency, mutual confidence, and verification, and considered proposals for a standard reporting form” on progress in those areas. This was the third such meeting of the group, sometimes known as the P5 because the countries are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. The countries met previously in 2009 in London and 2011 in Paris.

According to their joint statement, the five states “agreed on the work plan for a P5 working group led by China, assigned to develop a glossary of definitions for key nuclear terms that will increase P5 mutual understanding and facilitate further P5 discussions on nuclear matters.”

The United States briefed the other four countries on activities being undertaken at the Nevada National Security Site, the former U.S. nuclear testing site, “with a view to demonstrate ideas for additional approaches to transparency.” A tour of the U.S. Nuclear Risk Reduction Center also was offered, to allow officials to observe the communications center that enables the United States to “simultaneously implement notification regimes,” such as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, according to the joint statement. The United Kingdom highlighted advances made in disarmament verification from a project it undertook jointly with Norway.

The five states “reiterated their commitment to promote and ensure the swift entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and its universalization” and discussed ways to achieve a global fissile material cutoff treaty and support the planned 2012 conference on a Middle Eastern zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

The five countries agreed to hold a fourth conference in the “context of the next NPT Preparatory Committee,” which is scheduled for April 22-May 3, 2013, and to continue to meet at “all appropriate levels on nuclear issues.”