By Daryl G. Kimball
Earlier today, the original five nuclear weapon states issued a statement following their meeting earlier this week in Geneva regarding the impasse at the Conference on Disarmament and efforts to move forward on talks on a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT).
In the statement issued by the U.S. Department of State spokesperson, the group (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States) said:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
August 30, 2011
STATEMENT BY VICTORIA NULAND, SPOKESPERSON
P-5 Meeting in Geneva
Following up on their commitment made during the July Paris Conference, the P-5 met in Geneva on August 30 to take stock of developments regarding the Conference on Disarmament (CD). They discussed how to achieve at the earliest possible date in the CD their shared goal of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes. They expressed their determination to this end. In that context, they look forward to meeting again, with other relevant parties, during the United Nations General Assembly First Committee.
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The short statement suggests that despite the efforts of the United States, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and others to jump start action, key states including China, India, and others remain reluctant about pursuing creative solutions to stop fissile production for weapons and to account for existing fissile stockpiles.
Meanwhile, Pakistan (and India) continue to amass more and more bomb grade material that they don't need and can't afford. Both India and Pakistan already have more than enough nuclear firepower to destroy each other and to deter potential attack by other states.
When the five original nuclear weapon states meet again in the context of the UN General Assembly First Committee next month in New York, they need to come up with a framework for pursuing the FMCT involving states with unsafeguarded enrichment and/or reprocessing facilities (India, Pakistan, Israel), plus certain other states with safeguarded enrichment and reprocessing facilities.
If not, responsible states may need to increase their pressure on the nuclear-armed states to either break the impasse at the Conference on Disarmament or seek a fissile material cut off outside the CD.
For more on the subject, see "Time for Leadership on the Fissile Cutoff," from the October 2010 Arms Control Today. Look for more new reporting on the subject in the forthcoming (September) issue of Arms Control Today.