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June 2, 2022
CD Ends First Part of 2000 Session
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April 2000

The UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) concluded the first part of its 2000 negotiating session March 23 without a work program agreement, thereby preventing any negotiations from starting. Germany, on behalf of 22 members, including the United States, tried to break the CD deadlock with a work program proposal on the final day, but failed.

The 66-member conference, which operates by consensus, has not conducted any substantive negotiations since completing the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and has not agreed on a work program for two of the last three years. The current impediment to a work program agreement is a dispute between the United States and China over negotiating priorities. Beijing wants formal negotiations on the prevention of an arms race in outer space, while Washington wants to renew negotiations, agreed to in both 1995 and 1998, on a fissile material cutoff treaty.

The German proposal called for establishing ad hoc committees—the CD subsidiary body for negotiations—on a cutoff treaty and negative security assurances, as well as for appointing special coordinators to head consultations on anti-personnel landmines, transparency in armaments, review of the conference agenda, expansion of CD membership, and improvement of the conference's functioning. On nuclear disarmament and outer space, Germany proposed continuing talks to agree on the appropriate way to deal with these issues. Though countries in addition to the 22 associated with the statement voiced support for the German proposal, it failed to elicit the necessary consensus for action. The conference will start the second of three parts of its 2000 negotiating session May 22.