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Conference on Disarmament (CD)

Conference on Disarmament Completes Another Barren Year

ON SEPTEMBER 8, the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) ended its annual 24 weeks of talks without launching any arms control negotiations for the second time in three years. China and members of the Group of 21 (G-21) non-aligned movement, led by Pakistan, would not allow fissile material cutoff treaty negotiations, which no countries publicly opposed, to begin without a work program agreement. At the same time, sole U.S. refusal to negotiate on the agenda item of prevention of an arms race in outer space and the continued unwillingness of the nuclear-weapon states, minus China, to hold formal talks on nuclear disarmament prevented the now 66-member conference from passing a work program.

The long-standing dispute between the nuclear-weapon states, except China, and the G-21 over how to address nuclear disarmament was superseded this year by a growing clash over the outer space issue. NATO's 11-week bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, particularly the May 7 bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, further soured the CD atmosphere.

Secretary of Defense William Cohen's January 20 announcement on funding for deployment of a national missile defense (NMD) system and President Clinton's subsequent July 22 signing of legislation that made it U.S. policy to deploy an NMD system as soon as "technologically possible" provoked a wave of calls, led by China, for the CD to hold negotiations on arms and outer space. Chinese CD Ambassador Li Changhe set the terms of the CD debate on May 27 by noting that Beijing, among others, believed that the "importance" of outer space, as well as nuclear disarmament, was "no less than" that of a fissile cutoff.

While CD members neared, but did not reach, a compromise on nuclear disarmament that would have established a working group for exchanging views on the issue, the United States, which claimed that there is no arms race in outer space, remained steadfast in its opposition to outer space talks.

In closing remarks on September 7, U.S. Ambassador Robert Grey decried the 1999 session as "especially impoverished." He did, however, note that "at least the parameters of the debate have been clarified," which provides the "possibility of preparing the CD to begin work rapidly in the next session." Grey also pledged that he would "take advantage of any flexibility that may exist on the part of my government" so that a work program could be achieved next year.

Not everyone shared Ambassador Grey's cautious optimism. French Representative Hubert de la Fortelle, in his closing statement, described the conference as "gravely ill" and termed the prospects for the 2000 session as "very bleak." He further charged that the "practice of links, all or nothing, was in the process of killing an irreplaceable organization."

Finland, speaking for the European Union, called for an early decision on cutoff talks next year. Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram, however, circulated a statement by Islamabad's Foreign Secretary warning that if India intended to manufacture 400 or more nuclear warheads—as hinted at by one of the designers of India's August 17 draft nuclear doctrine (See ACT, July/August 1999)—then "neither India nor Pakistan could accept the conclusion" of a fissile material cutoff treaty.

The CD's 2000 session will be divided into three parts: January 17-March 24, May 22-July 7 and August 7-September 22.

CD Adds Five Members

Though unable to start any negotiations since resuming its third and final working period of the year on July 26, the 61-member Conference on Disarmament (CD) expanded its membership to 66 on August 5. Membership for the five new states—Ecuador, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Tunisia—had been blocked at various times during the past year by Iran, Pakistan and India.

With the September 8 close for negotiations fast approaching, U.S. Ambassador Robert Grey welcomed the new members, but ruled out any further membership expansion until the conference has demonstrated that it can do substantive work—such as completing a fissile material cutoff treaty—at its current size. In addition to the organizational problems inherent in a committee with 66 independent members, the CD faces the challenge of having to operate by consensus, meaning that each new member represents another potential veto of the conference's work.

Originally an 18-member body in 1962, the conference last expanded in June 1996 to its previous size of 61 with 23 new members. On August 12, Malaysia noted that 21 countries are still awaiting membership.

After agreeing in August 1998 to start fissile cutoff negotiations, the conference was expected to resume those talks this year. However, as a result of U.S. resistance to working on preventing an arms race in outer space, the refusal of the nuclear-weapon states (except China) to negotiate on nuclear disarmament, and the unwillingness of some states to start any negotiations without passage of a comprehensive work program, this year will probably see a repeat of 1997, when the CD held no formal talks.

CD Ends Second Session With Little Progress

Wade Boese

THE 61-MEMBER UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) remained deadlocked at the June 25 conclusion of its second working period of the year, having failed to begin any negotiations or to resolve any outstanding issues. Sole U.S. resistance to initiating work on prevention of an arms race in outer space may forestall any talks—including those on a fissile material cutoff treaty—in the conference's third and final working part, scheduled to take place July 26–September 8. No delegation opposes fissile cutoff talks, but the CD has yet to adopt a consensus work program for 1999, a prerequisite to negotiations.

The conference did, however, move closer to a compromise on the long-divisive issue of nuclear disarmament. Speaking on June 17, CD President Ambassador Mohamed-Salah Dembri of Algeria indicated unanimous acceptance for a nuclear disarmament ad hoc working group, though he added that its mandate still needed to be resolved. If finalized, the mandate would likely resemble the February 2 proposal by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway calling on the CD to "study ways and means of establishing an exchange of information and views" on nuclear disarmament.

Despite the apparent readiness of the nuclear-weapon states to agree to a working group, their staunch opposition—with the exception of China—to formal CD negotiations remains unchanged. A working group on nuclear disarmament, however, would mark a step up from last year's "troika" process where the past, present and future presidents of the conference simply held consultations with delegations on the issue.

In past years, the Group of 21 (G-21) non-aligned countries, led by India and Pakistan, has sought time-bound negotiations on nuclear disarmament as its highest priority, while the nuclear-weapon states, minus China, have opposed any formal negotiations on that subject. Because the conference operates by consensus, this central disagreement has impeded any substantive work since completion in 1996 of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Outer Space

While most member-states, including Russia, China and France, favor an ad hoc committee on outer space, the CD is weighing a working group because the United States will support nothing more formal. Washington, which has repeatedly claimed that there is no arms race in outer space, may oppose even a working group, partly out of concern for the implications such a move could hold for U.S. national missile defense (NMD) plans.

Uncertainty over an outer space mandate has further reinforced U.S. reluctance to work on the issue. Beijing and Moscow, worried about U.S. NMD plans, have called for preventing the "weaponization" of outer space, while some non-aligned states use the much broader term of "militarization," which is aimed at checking the military use of space for command, control, communication and intelligence purposes.

Also in the second working part, India termed a U.S., British and French proposal to exempt fissile cutoff talks from the annual, standard practice of agreeing on a work program "unacceptable." (See ACT, April/May 1999.) Indian Ambassador Savitri Kunadi said June 24 that such a move "divorces the work of the CD from the overall reality in which that work is undertaken."

The CD is facing a repeat of the 1997 conference, in which no negotiations took place. Even if a work program is adopted in this year's final six working weeks, a new work program will have to be agreed upon next year for any negotiations in 2000.

CD Remains in Stalemate; U.S. Criticized for NMD Plans

Wade Boese

HALFWAY THROUGH its 1999 negotiating session, the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) is no closer to beginning negotiations than when the session started in January. Differences on nuclear disarmament and preventing an arms race in outer space are holding up agreement on an initial work program—thereby blocking all negotiations, including talks on banning the production of fissile material for weapons purposes, which no delegation opposes. A May 27 Chinese statement describing those three issues, as well as negative security assurances, as "inter-related" points to a continued impasse as the United States opposes negotiations on nuclear disarmament and outer space. The U.S. negotiating priority at the CD remains the fissile material cutoff talks.

In August 1998, the CD started negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty, but the talks ended in September with the close of the 1998 negotiating session. Frustrated by the failure to renew negotiations this year, the United States, Britain and France proposed on May 20 a new work program that includes an unprecedented move to exempt the cutoff talks from the conference's rules of operation. The three nuclear-weapon states proposed establishing an ad hoc committee on a fissile cutoff treaty that would run for successive CD sessions until negotiations are completed. Currently, annual authorization is required for any conference subsidiary body, which, in the past, expired with the end of each year's negotiating session.

U.S. Ambassador to the CD Robert Grey said on May 20 that the three sponsors could not believe that the international community wanted fissile cutoff talks to "proceed in fits and starts." He further charged that it would be "irresponsible for the conference to make limited progress this year" and then delay renewing negotiations next year.

However, without an annual means to withhold consent on conducting cutoff talks, other delegations would lose leverage to push Washington on issues that it refuses to negotiate on, such as nuclear disarmament. Because the conference operates by consensus, the May 20 proposal is unlikely to win approval.

U.S. national missile defense (NMD) plans and the new NATO "strategic concept" (see story) drew heavy fire within the conference beginning on May 11, the first plenary of the second of three working parts of the 1999 negotiating session. Moscow warned Washington that deployment of an NMD system could trigger a new strategic arms race, including in outer space, and undermine the existing non-proliferation regime. China echoed Moscow's fears about a new arms race, while Pakistan charged that deployment of an NMD, as well as theater missile defenses, could have "grave consequences in South Asia and elsewhere." Pakistan further claimed that NATO's new strategic concept would "set back" disarmament and non-proliferation.

China, alluding to U.S. NMD plans, charged on May 27 that one country has "ambitious programs" to extend weapons systems into outer space. Perhaps as much a by-product of souring Sino-U.S. relations—particularly after the May 7 NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade—as of anxiety with U.S. NMD plans, Beijing has stiffened its position for an outer space ad hoc committee, which China noted is only opposed by one country. China's ambassador to the CD, Li Changhe, warned that the conference's work program needed to be treated as a whole and that "singling out any one of the items while excluding the others is unjustified and unhelpful." Washington contends that there is no arms race in outer space.

The current working period of the 1999 negotiating session ends June 25, and the final part is scheduled from July 26 to September 8. A member of one CD delegation noted that most members are simply "watching and waiting."

CD Ends First '99 Session Without Agreement on Work Program

Wade Boese

THE 61-MEMBER UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) finished the first third of its 1999 negotiating session in Geneva on March 26 without beginning any negotiations. Despite a repeat of last year's consensus to work on a fissile material cutoff treaty, these negotiations have not been renewed as the Group of 21 (G-21) non-aligned countries have pressed for inclusion of nuclear disarmament and preventing an arms race in outer space in the CD's work program. The United States opposes formal negotiations on both issues, and without agreement on an initial work program, talks on any subject cannot start.

Due to international concerns that a U.S. national missile defense (NMD) may include space-based components, Secretary of Defense William Cohen's January 20 announcement on funding for NMD deployment sparked strong calls, particularly by the non-aligned and China, for the CD to address the space issue. China proposed on March 11 the establishment of an ad hoc negotiating committee to prevent the "weaponization" of space, while Pakistan and others have used the broader term of "militarization," which could include satellites used for military purposes. Whereas most delegations favor an ad hoc committee of some type for negotiations, Washington objects to any committee, even one whose mandate is limited to deliberating.

Long-standing disagreements over nuclear disarmament, however, continue to be the largest hurdle to adopting a work program. Though the non-aligned favor formal negotiations on a phased program of nuclear disarmament, the G-21 have stated a willingness to explore options between formal negotiations and last year's troika construct, in which the past, present and future presidents of the conference consulted member delegations on nuclear disarmament. Some Western states, including Canada and Germany, expressed readiness to discuss nuclear disarmament. Yet the United States, Russia, France and the United Kingdom remain adamantly opposed to formal negotiations.

Despite the consensus for negotiating a cutoff treaty, members remain deeply divided over the treaty's scope. Pakistan reiterated its long-standing position that the treaty should account for fissile stockpiles, arguing that Islamabad could not agree to a treaty that would "freeze inequality." The five nuclear-weapon states, India and Israel—which have larger fissile stockpiles than Pakistan—oppose including stocks.

On March 18, Canada called on the nuclear-weapon states to deal with fissile stockpiles in parallel with cutoff negotiations by increasing transparency through declarations and taking steps to reduce stocks "irreversibly," such as disposition of declared excess fissile material. Canada also criticized the nuclear-weapon states for failing to undertake a formal production moratorium. While all five have reportedly ceased fissile production for weapons purposes, Beijing and Paris previously rejected Washington's proposal for a joint declared moratorium prior to the 1995 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review and extension conference.

A few states, including Austria, Canada and South Africa, called on the CD to address small arms and light weapons, while Bulgaria, on behalf of 22 members, recommended negotiations on a transfer ban for anti-personnel landmines. Mexico responded that the conference did not have the necessary expertise to deal with either issue.

The conference will reconvene for the second part of its 1999 negotiating session on May 10, the same day that the third Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting for the 2000 review conference of the NPT opens in New York.

CD Progress Slowed by Nuclear Disarmament Issue

Wade Boese

AFTER CLOSING the 1998 negotiating session with ad hoc committees on a fissile material cutoff treaty and negative security assurances, the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) failed during its first six working weeks of 1999 to resume negotiations on these two subjects. The delay in adopting a work program stemmed from long-standing disagreements among the 61 members over nuclear disarmament.

The CD opened its 1999 negotiating session on January 19 and adopted an agenda two days later. As in past years, the agenda included seven topics under which negotiations can be held: cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war; prevention of an arms race in outer space; negative security assurances; new types of weapons of mass destruction; a comprehensive program of disarmament and transparency in armaments. Although the conference agreed last year to form two ad hoc committees and appoint six special coordinators, member-states must reach consensus this year to reconvene the committees and reappoint the coordinators because CD mandates expire at the end of the year's negotiating session.

In addition to last year's ad hoc committees, the Group of 21 (G-21) non-aligned members proposed the creation of an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament, which the G-21 called its highest priority. However, the United States and the other nuclear-weapon states, except China, continue to oppose the negotiation of nuclear disarmament within the CD. Washington argues that nuclear disarmament should remain a bilateral issue between Russia and the United States until weapons levels reach a point where other nuclear-weapon states can join in a multilateral reduction process.

South Africa pushed for appointment of a special coordinator on nuclear disarmament, citing a 1990 rule that if consensus cannot be reached on formation of an ad hoc committee or other body for an issue, the CD president can appoint a special coordinator to help find consensus.

U.S. Ambassador Robert Grey, who held the rotating presidency of the conference for its first four weeks, opted not to appoint a special coordinator, claiming that no consensus would be found on a mandate for a coordinator on nuclear disarmament.

Canada renewed a proposal for an ad hoc committee to discuss nuclear disarmament, while five NATO states (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Norway) proposed that the conference establish an ad hoc working group to study and exchange views on the issue. Other delegations within the western group, including the United States, have not ruled out the five-nation proposal.

Other CD Issues

Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and Disarmament John Holum outlined Washington's position on a fissile material cutoff treaty before the conference on January 21. Holum called for a strict monitoring and verification regime, run by the International Atomic Energy Agency, that would apply to all enrichment and reprocessing facilities as well as all facilities that "use, process or store newly produced fissile material."

Holum reiterated the U.S. position—shared by the other nuclear-weapon states, Israel and India—that verification provisions should apply only to fissile material produced after the treaty's agreed cutoff date. The United States will accept no restrictions on existing stocks, stated Holum, who claimed that even declarations of existing stocks could risk legitimizing the nuclear weapons programs of states outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

However, Egyptian Ambassador Mounir Zahran, speaking on January 26, implied that failure to address existing stocks would confer "de-facto recognition or acceptance for the possession of nuclear weapons" by non-NPT states, as well as the "indefinite possession" of nuclear weapons by the five nuclear-weapon states.

Both China and the G-21 proposed the formation of an ad hoc committee on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, speaking before the conference on January 26, noted that more than 30 countries are involved in space-related activities and that the goal of keeping outer space free of weapons is widely shared. The United States, however, opposes formal negotiations on this issue.

Despite a plea by the Secretary-General, prospects for negotiations on a transfer ban on anti-personnel landmines also appear dim. Mexico, a signatory of the Ottawa Convention (which enters into force on March 1; see Factfile), expressed doubts with negotiating another instrument on landmines.

In his final statement as president of the conference, Grey lamented on February 11 that the conference could not even agree to extend membership to Ecuador, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Tunisia. While Iran has dropped its opposition from last year, India and Pakistan are now blocking membership for this group of states to punish Ecuador and Kazakhstan for condemning the May 1998 Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests.

The first part of the conference's 1999 negotiating session concludes on March 26, followed by a second part from May 10 to June 25 and a final part from July 26 to September 8.

U.S. Interests and Priorities at the CD: Interview with Robert T. Grey, Jr.

Named U.S. permanent representative to the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) in October 1997, Ambassador Robert T. Grey, Jr. completed his first year as head of the U.S. CD delegation on September 9, the close of the 1998 negotiating session. On November 20, Arms Control Association Research Analyst Wade Boese met with Ambassador Grey to discuss the CD's progress during 1998 and its prospects for the 1999 session, scheduled to begin January 18.

Ambassador Grey joined the Foreign Service in 1960 and held positions including executive assistant to the under secretary of state for political affairs and deputy office director in the Office of Military Sales and Assistance, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. He has also served as acting deputy director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1981–1983) and counselor for political affairs to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (1989–1994). Prior to his CD appointment, Grey led the State Department UN Reform Team.

The following is an edited version of the interview.


Arms Control Today: After a disappointing 1997 session of the conference, the CD took some positive steps this year, in particular, agreement to begin work on a fissile material cutoff treaty. What do you attribute as the cause for the CD's success this year as opposed to last year?

Robert Grey: I think basically there was a little bit of fatigue in 1997. The CTBT [Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, completed in 1996] negotiation was long and protracted. Then folks took a pause; they wanted to take a look at which way to proceed at the following year's session. The obvious thing to work on was the FMCT, the fissile material cutoff treaty, but there was resistance on the part of India and Pakistan. Then the [Indian and Pakistani nuclear] testing took place [in May] and there was renewed pressure from the rest of the international community. Ultimately, at the last week of this year's CD, we got a week's work in on the FMCT, and I hope we can pick up where we left off on that and a number of other subjects when we reconvene on January 18.

ACT: Do you feel there was a sense of urgency among the delegations of the CD this year—that they had to do something or risk losing the CD's credibility as a multilateral negotiating forum?

Grey: I think there's always a sense in the CD that we're not perceived to be working actively on what we've set out to do. There's a risk that people will begin to consider the conference irrelevant; so yes, that's a concern. It's always there; I don't think it's any more urgent or less urgent than at any other time.

ACT: The 1997 deadlock was widely attributed to a standoff over negotiating priorities within the conference—the nuclear-weapon states and West European states favored negotiations on a cutoff treaty, whereas the non-aligned movement linked such talks to a timebound framework for nuclear disarmament. What broke this particular impasse this year? How much did the nuclear tests of India and Pakistan contribute to this shift in the non-aligneds' position?

Grey: There has been an evolution, and there is an interest on the part of a number of delegations, as you can see by the recently passed resolution in the [UN General Assembly's] First Committee on nuclear disarmament, in which a number of countries, both Western and G-77 [the non-aligned group], want to discuss nuclear disarmament in the CD. Some want to negotiate it, some only want to discuss it, but there's pressure to do something. So it's not just a North-South issue, if you will, or a West-versus-the-others type of proposition. It's a more widely felt sentiment. Some of our own allies would be interested in having the CD look at nuclear disarmament in a way that didn't have a negative impact on the ongoing U.S.-Russian bilateral negotiations.

So there's been an evolution from a timebound framework to something less than a timebound framework on the part of the G-77, and a push from some Western delegations to at least discuss nuclear disarmament without impeding or impacting negatively on U.S.-Russian negotiations. But I do think the Indian-Pakistani tests were a wake-up call for the entire community that we had to get on with our work; 47 members of the CD formally expressed concern and dismay at the tests when they occurred. And that was across a broad spectrum of CD membership.

Our own view is very clear: we don't think it is helpful or useful to discuss nuclear disarmament or negotiate nuclear disarmament in a multilateral context. We are prepared to keep people abreast of where we are in the negotiations with the Russians. But we don't think it would be productive, given the track record we have by proceeding step by step, to take nuclear disarmament and throw it into a multilateral context. The clear multilateral job to do in the future is the FMCT, and we will continue to push for progress there.

ACT: What impact do you feel that the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests had on the conference in general?

Grey: As I said, I think they were a wake-up call to all of us that we have to get on with our work. The resolution in this year's First Committee, in which a strong majority deeply deplored the Indian and Pakistani tests, was a clear sign that the international community is very, very concerned and upset about them. There were a number of "killer" amendments attached to that resolution by Pakistan and India, and they all were voted down; this is an indication that the world is deeply concerned and entirely serious about trying to keep the NPT [nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] regime in place and to make progress toward disarmament. There's been a sort of sea change here, this being the biggest threat to the effectiveness of the NPT in many years. This is because the tests represent the most serious challenge to the non-proliferation regime as anchored by the NPT. We don't want the world to think that the NPT is hollow.

ACT: The United States will assume the rotating presidency of the conference for the first four working weeks of the 1999 session. What will be your goals as the president of the conference? What do you hope will be accomplished during that period?

Grey: What I would like to do is to get the conference up and running, as early and quickly as possible, on all the subjects that were being discussed and along the same general lines that prevailed when the session ended in September: two ad hoc committees, one on negative security assurances and one on FMCT, and special coordinators to deal with the other items that were being considered—membership expansion, the form of the agenda, outer space, APLs [anti-personnel landmines], transparency in armaments, and improving the functioning of the conference. In addition, the troika of the past, present and future CD presidents were responsible for working on ways in which the conference might usefully address nuclear disarmament.

In general, I would like to see us begin in January where we ended up in September. It's not an unreasonable ambition but one that, given the curious nature of the CD, would probably take at least month to accomplish.

ACT: Can you explain what you mean by the curious nature of the CD?

Grey: Everyone has a different agenda, and in any negotiation, people sometimes advance maximalist positions even though they have already compromised and reached a satisfactory outcome the year before. That's especially true when the Americans are in the chair.

ACT: In August the CD decided to start negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty, but this mandate will have to be renewed in 1999. Do you foresee any problems winning the necessary consensus next year to resume these negotiations?

Grey: I'm confident that we will resume work on an FMCT. I can't predict when. My own hope and expectation would be that we can do it very early—that we can agree to continue the work program on which we had agreed at the end of September, and continue it into the new year. But that is always subject to negotiation.

A vast majority of the non-aligned want to do nuclear disarmament in the CD. That is not our position and it's not the position of the French, the British, the Russians, the Chinese, and many others. So, the [non-aligned] G-21 will push for more on nuclear disarmament and we will have to respond in our own interest. We can't agree on nuclear disarmament but we can agree on the program we agreed on last year, and over time, it will fall into place. It took a lot of skilled work by my Swiss colleague last year to get this program of work established. If it hadn't been for his very, very skillful diplomatic tactics we could still be at loggerheads. I give Ambassador [Erwin] Hofer of Switzerland a great deal of credit for getting us as far as we are now.

ACT: Do you think the deadlock over negotiating priorities could reappear?

Grey: It's always a possibility, but my expectation would be that since we made such good progress last year, we should build on that and not get down into burdensome deals about package arrangements. We should look at each issue on its merits and decide whether or not to pursue it. That's the ideal world; I must say that sometimes in diplomacy you don't live in ideal worlds. But you've got to be prepared to work on that basis.

ACT: With regards to the FMCT ad hoc committee that was formed last year, there was some disagreement over naming a chair for the committee. Would you explain the reasons why? Will this issue be revisited to a more significant degree this year?

Grey: It's hard to say at this time. The Canadians have been staunch advocates of an FMCT for more than 40 years, in one form or another; they're closely identified with it. There's a concern on the part of some countries that having a Canadian in the chair might give too positive a push to the issue, given the well-known Canadian national position. In the course of discussions, it emerged that there would be a Western chair during the first year of the committee's deliberations. We didn't really have deliberations last session, so my anticipation would be that a Western chair would be reappointed, and my hope would be that it would be Ambassador [Mark] Moher of Canada, who is a very skilled and very able diplomat. There is a little fallout from the First Committee, where the Canadians and the Australians and the New Zealanders took the lead on a resolution that deeply deplored the testing of India and Pakistan, and one doesn't know whether there's any ill will after that or not. Our hope and expectation is that our Canadian colleague will be reappointed.

ACT: Many states, led by Pakistan and Egypt, are calling for a fissile material treaty that goes beyond merely a cutoff and extends to the issue of stockpiles or past production. Why does the United States oppose this move?

Grey: Our view is that it's impossible to get into existing stocks at this stage, and that is a view shared by many in the international community. We approach things a step at a time, and we feel that this is the logical way to get progress on an FMCT.

Everyone knows that some time in the future, the question of existing stocks will have to be addressed. But I can assure you we would not have a successful negotiation on FMCT at this time if we tried to address existing stocks. In practice, the five nuclear-weapon states will have to address existing stocks during the long-term process of arms reductions that currently involves bilateral negotiations between the U.S. and Russia. I think that most people, on reflection, would agree with that. In addition, inserting existing stocks into the FMCT negotiations would give the two states that recently tested a sort of nuclear status, because the proposed provisions on existing stocks would implicitly put them in the same box as the five nuclear states, given that no one but the five NPT-defined nuclear-weapon states are supposed to have such stocks. I don't think that is something the rest of the international community wants to do.

But it is a sensitive issue, and we are working hard, bilaterally and unilaterally with the other nuclear states, to reduce these stocks. We recently agreed with Russia to place 50 tons of plutonium under IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] safeguards. I went down to Savannah River the other day and they are indeed digging the hole and getting ready to build the facility in which some of this material will be stored and monitored. So we are already spending big bucks to get ready for this.

ACT: Does the issue of existing fissile material stockpiles have the same potential for blocking conference progress as the issue of nuclear disarmament has in the past?

Grey: It is a possibility. One can never predict with any degree of accuracy what is going to happen. But one could debate this endlessly, and if we start on the question of scope it could quickly degenerate into people making maximalist statements without looking for a way forward. My expectation and hope is that this isn't going to happen. This is a very complicated and very difficult treaty, and we would be best advised to get started on all the issues in which we can see ways forward, such as identifying the key choke points in the production cycle and developing appropriate methods for ensuring compliance. There cannot be an FMCT if we try to include existing stocks. The nuclear states and India will not play. And I am sure the Israelis will not play. It is a very sensitive and delicate issue.

ACT: What elements would the United States like to see in a fissile material cutoff treaty?

Grey: Well, I don't want to tip my hand completely. It's quite clear that we want to see a system in place—and there are many ways to do this—in which there is no production of fissile material for nuclear explosive devices, as well as a verification regime in which people can clearly see that production has ceased. We have several ways to do that, which we are now discussing. We are laying our propositions on the table and have been working very hard with a number of states to come up with positions that meet our common concerns. But it's a major challenge.

One of the elements that we have to consider is the cost factor. The more intrusive, the more rigid the verification regime, the more costly this whole thing becomes. It's going to be very, very expensive, even with the kinds of safeguards we'd be interested in. If you want perfect safeguards, it becomes untenable.

ACT: What kinds of cost estimates are we looking at?

Grey: Each person you ask will give you a different answer, so I'm not going to give you one. It varies from the ridiculous to the sublime, but it's going to be a substantial increase in the cost of the inspection process. And how you do it—some people have reservations about the role of the IAEA, for example—those are matters that have to be addressed in the conference.

ACT: Do you foresee safeguards being placed on maintenance and dismantlement facilities in addition to reprocessing and enrichment facilities?

Grey: Our preference would be for reprocessing and enrichment. There are obviously other elements that will have to be considered, but we think that with those two you capture most of the problem.

ACT: Will the verification regime include confirming that past production facilities are not operational?

Grey: That's part of it. We believe that can be done. As a matter of fact, everyone under the IAEA safeguards—every non-nuclear state—has agreed to set up a regime that's much more intrusive and covers the full fuel cycle, so it probably wouldn't be a concern. If previous production facilities have been stripped of key equipment or otherwise put into mothballs, it should be very easy to verify that. It's not a complicated thing. The reality is that when a reprocessing or enrichment plant has been shut down, especially in our country, you couldn't simply start it up again even if you wanted to; it'd take several years and billions of dollars.

ACT: The other negotiating priority of the United States has been a transfer ban on anti-personnel landmines. Many states consider that work on such a treaty would duplicate work already done through the Ottawa Convention, which will soon enter into force for those states that have ratified it. How do you respond to such criticism?

Grey: It seems to me sort of silly. Most of the countries that export landmines have ceased doing it, but the major producers of landmines, and the exporters in the past, are all in the CD. As a complement to the Ottawa process, a simple export ban, in which people take a collective pledge to do what they're already individually committed to do, would be a useful step forward and would reinforce Ottawa. Some countries, frankly, will not be in a position to sign the Ottawa Convention in the near term or indefinite future and they have made that very clear. Why not get them to sign on to something they can sign?

There are two kinds of opposition to an export ban on APLs in the CD. There are those who signed on to Ottawa and think it's perfection. They wouldn't vote on any attempt to buttress it or to encourage other people to do anything but sign on to it; it'd be a sort of heresy. The others are dependent on landmines for their own self-defense and are suspicious of signing anything. We think an export ban is a sensible way to go for the short term.

We've made very clear our commitment to sign on to Ottawa ultimately. We have made it very clear to the Canadians and others that we don't see any contradiction between what we are seeking in the CD and ultimately signing on to the Ottawa Convention. We're not prepared to do anything that would affect in any way the kinds of terms and conditions of the Ottawa Convention.

In our view, a transfer ban is a step to move other countries which have not signed the Ottawa Convention in the direction of getting rid of these kinds of weapons. The fact of the matter is that people who haven't signed on to Ottawa still have the right to export mines. We think a transfer ban is a good interim step.

ACT: Will the United States seek to go beyond the transfer ban in the context of the CD?

Grey: No. We've made that pretty clear.

ACT: The Chinese ambassador, Li Changhe, made a very strong call for establishing an ad hoc committee for the prevention of an arms race in outer space, but the United States opposes this move. Why?

Grey: In our view, it's not an issue that deserves a major share of the time and effort the CD has available for negotiating arms control agreements. Outer space work is certainly not one of our priorities in the CD. There is no arms race in outer space. We have an unprecedented degree of international cooperation in outer space. And we think that rather than concentrating on getting involved in an issue that's not a problem now, we should concentrate on the real problem, the real job that we've been trying to get done for the last several years in the CD, which is the FMCT. That's our priority. And our second priority is APLs, because we think that's something that can be solved quickly, is a positive step forward, and addresses a real issue.

As long as there is no threat of an arms race in outer space, it is far from clear what the CD would gain by addressing it. Work on outer space would divert the attention of the CD from other things. Speaking personally, I have the view that given the resource limitations—both in terms of personnel and in terms of time—a step-by-step approach in the CD is probably all that can be expected. It can take on one big issue at a time. I think the way the CTBT was negotiated illustrates that.

ACT: If there is no arms race in outer space, wouldn't it be in the U.S. interest to negotiate a treaty that would freeze the status quo so there would be no possibility of an arms race?

Grey: We've got an agreement that bans the emplacement of weapons of mass destruction in outer space. We think that's enough; we don't anticipate any other problems.

ACT: A lot of countries have raised the concern of militarization of outer space, rather than an arms race in outer space.

Grey: The commercial and other civilian uses of outer space have long outpaced military uses such as communications, early warning and self-defense. It is therefore strange to hear talk about militarization occurring in outer space, and the prospect seems quite unlikely in the near future or the far future, for that matter. Our time could be more usefully spent dealing with the real emerging problem, and that is the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the threat posed to the NPT regime by the Indian and Pakistani testing. You're not going to get significant arms control, in terms of nuclear arms reductions, in the future unless we have a lid on the production of fissile material, and that's in all our interest to do. When we get START III, and we're going to get it, the fact of an FMCT in force will make it significantly less difficult to negotiate even deeper reductions. At some point you have to capture the production of fissile material, and that's what we're trying to do.

ACT: The conference also started discussions regarding negative security assurances. However, the United States, among others, has opposed the negotiation of a treaty on negative security assurances. Why, and what does the United States advocate as an alternative?

Grey: We think the best way to do it is to continue to work on the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones [NWFZs]. I think we've captured about 99 countries under those regimes now. If we can get the Southeast Asian zone and the Central Asian zone in satisfactory terms, we will capture well over a hundred. We think that's the way to go. It's a more productive way; it's a more effective way. That is a view shared by three of the other nuclear-weapon states as well.

ACT: Why does the United States reject the proposal put forth by China that negative security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states should also include a "no-first-use" declaration by all nuclear-weapon states?

Grey: We don't think that's a good way to go. As long as you have a deterrent, you have to be prepared to exercise it. It's fundamental to our national security policy. When the happy day comes that we don't have to rely on nuclear deterrence, we're in a new world. But until then, it makes no sense. Arms control is basically an element of our national security policy, and we're not going to do things in the CD that call into question or alter in any fundamental way our own commitments to our allies and to our own people. We've made that abundantly clear, so many times and in so many places that it would bore your readers, who know the litany and probably wrote the instructions themselves.

ACT: Are there any other issues, besides an FMCT and a transfer ban on APLs, that the United States would like to see addressed by the conference?

Grey: The question of transparency in armaments and the issue of small arms are things that a number of people are concerned about. There is some reluctance on the part of others to address these right now, but these are issues, I think, that will keep coming back. We are sympathetic to that and will work constructively within the conference to see what we can do.

That having been said, if you look at the more urgent matters, we've been wrangling about FMCT for almost a decade. Now's the time to get working on it. That's where we're going to focus our efforts.

ACT: Will the United States continue to oppose moves within the conference to convene a body to discuss nuclear disarmament?

Grey: We're not totally negative. We have some ideas that could create a dialogue on nuclear disarmament within the conference without getting into negotiations. It's something that we've discussed at length with other people. We don't think the conference should set up an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament, but we're prepared to examine methods and approaches in which we could have a dialogue, as we did during the START process, and in which we could perhaps tell people where we've been, what we've accomplished, and where we're going.

ACT: How does that relate to negative security assurances?

Grey: As I said, our preference is to negotiate negative security assurances in the NWFZ context. That said, I'll agree to setting up the ad hoc committee, but the reality is that a global treaty will be far more difficult to reach in view of our known preference for another way of solving this problem.

ACT: Do you think the troika construct of past, present and future CD presidents created earlier this year and tasked with pursuing consultations with delegations on nuclear disarmament has been successful in meeting some countries' demands for work on this issue?

Grey: It's a useful vehicle because it gives them the potential to have something develop out of this. I'm prepared to see what recommendations develop out of this, and also to hold open the possibility, the very real possibility, that you'll get some kind of dialogue going, but not a negotiation.

ACT: What do you believe are the most important steps the nuclear-weapon states can take to assure CD members that the nuclear powers are indeed moving in the right direction with regard to nuclear disarmament?

Grey: The first thing is to keep them informed of what we are doing. We gave them a very comprehensive briefing, both in the NPT context and in the CD, about what we are actually doing with the Russians, and the degree to which we are sawing up weapons, dismantling things, turning stuff over to the IAEA, the fact that we're spending a billion dollars or so to help the Russians dismantle a number of their weapons. This is real; we have a very good track record. A hundred nuclear weapons being sawed up and thrown away every month is not insubstantial.

ACT: An initiative to increase the 61-member CD by five members was blocked by Iran in September. Does the United States support the continued expansion of the conference? Given the rule of consensus, does expansion not make it increasingly difficult to make decisions and accomplish work?

Grey: The expansion to 61 made it increasingly difficult to get the conference to function effectively. I think an expansion of five wouldn't make any difference one way or the other. Beyond that, we're agnostic. Once we achieve an FMCT successfully, maybe we'd be prepared to take another look. Until then, wherever we are when that negotiation starts, that's where we should stay, whether 61 or 66.

ACT: Is there an alternative to the mandate for consensus? Are there any options that the United States would consider worthwhile exploring?

Grey: Not as long as I am there.

ACT: Despite its successes, the CD has found it increasingly difficult to begin formal negotiations on a broad spectrum of issues. What are the principal factors that work against the CD functioning as a multilateral forum?

Grey: The principal difficulty is the perverse practice of packaging things, so that if I don't get "A," you don't get "B." I think it's imperative that we all look at issues in terms of what we're prepared to do collectively to achieve something positive. Our views on certain subjects, like negative security assurances or outer space, are well known. The reservations of other people on progress in transparency in armaments or small arms are well known. Where we have a convergence of interests, however, is in FMCT. Where there's a consensus, where there's a real need for it in the international community, where it's an appropriate subject for the conference to address, I think we should address that issue. If we're successful on that, others will emerge.

ACT: Do you believe there is an alternative approach to multilateral arms control other than the current patchwork of agreements, in which states often pick and choose the treaties they will adhere to and their conditions for participation?

Grey: As Bismarck said, drafting legislation and sausage-making are things you don't want to watch when they're happening. Whether you do it in the CD context or some other context, whenever you have different view on things it's a messy procedure; this is sort of like legislating for the international community. I can see a lot of other ways to do it, but would they be any less messy, or less confusing, or less piecemeal? Probably not.

ACT: Is there anything that you would like to say in general terms about the conference's operation or what you'd like to achieve?

Grey: The conference was conceived and set up and functioned for 40 years in basically a Cold War environment. One of the things I would like to see changed is this whole question of an Eastern group, a Western group, and a non-aligned group. The Western group is not unanimous; we have differences of opinion on lots of things. In a political sense, there is no Eastern group: Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary will be joining the Western group shortly, and a number of other Eastern countries want to join NATO, the European Union, etc. The non-aligned are no longer a unified group, if they ever were. Indian and Pakistani testing clearly was not supported by the non-aligned; you can see it in the voting in the UN First Committee. And an Eastern group that consists of two or three countries doesn't make much sense to me.

My hope would be that we could evolve the conference to reflect today's realities and not the realities of the Cold War. Perhaps the way to do business is to create like-minded groups addressing particular subjects. We've had a like-minded group on APL exports, covering a broad spectrum from the West and the East and the non-aligned, with about 20 countries trying to get progress on it. I think that's the wave of the future. The idea that to get a committee working you have to have one chairman from the East and one from the West and one from the G-21 is ridiculous. We should try to get chairmen, and friends of the chair, and coordinators, on the basis of their interests and their merits and their capabilities, not on the basis of what group they're from, especially when the groups no longer function as groups. It's a real frustration. Arms control is pretty rarefied stuff to begin with, especially multilateral arms control, with all the ideological baggage and yearnings and things people bring to it. It's even more unreal when you're dealing as if there were three blocs in a world when there are no blocs.

ACT: Going back to an earlier point that you mentioned, that APLs are a priority of the United States. Is it possible to do work both on the FMCT and APLs?

Grey: A number of the non-aligned would say that means that they are being forced to accept the U.S. agenda. Therefore, they probably won't let us have both.

ACT: Do a lot of the delegations have the resources to work on two issues simultaneously?

Grey: Negotiations would be much easier to manage if there were 18 delegations doing this, as in the 1960s. But at the end of the day, when you're working these things, it's only about 15 or 20 delegations that make a major effort to stay actively involved. If delegations want to be active, they will find the resources to do so.

ACT: Do you think the non-aligned will be even less effective as a bloc now that India and Pakistan have conducted nuclear tests?

Grey: They've been quite effective in terms of beating up on a couple of their own. But it's one thing to beat up on one of your own, or a country that is perceived to be one of your own. Scolding the United States, however, comes naturally to them.

CD Convenes Committee to Work on Fissile Cutoff

THE UN CONFERENCE on Disarmament (CD) agreed on August 11 to start talks on banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes. Israel, the last holdout among the 61 member-states, made clear that although it did not object to beginning negotiations, it did have "fundamental problems" with a cutoff treaty. Other members, led by Pakistan and Egypt, called for inclusion of fissile stockpiles under the treaty, a view not shared by the five nuclear-weapon states, India and Israel.

Conference members agreed to base the talks on the March 1995 "Shannon" mandate and its accompanying report, which permitted states to raise the issue of past fissile material production. Despite reaching consensus on the Shannon mandate in 1995, the CD had proved unable to start cutoff talks because members of the non-aligned movement, led by India, linked work on a cutoff treaty to negotiations on a timebound framework for nuclear disarmament, a condition unacceptable to the nuclear-weapon states. India dropped the linkage in May following its nuclear tests and Pakistan, another principal obstacle, signed on to the talks in July. Israel was not a conference member in 1995 and thus had not consented to the Shannon mandate.

In remarks to the Israeli cabinet on August 11, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said President Clinton had asked Israel not to block establishment of the ad hoc committee. Netanyahu told the cabinet that convening the committee does not "indicate that we [Israel] are taking a position on the treaty and its contents" and that Jerusalem would voice its concerns to Washington. Israel is concerned that a cutoff treaty with an intrusive inspection regime of its Dimona reactor could remove the ambiguity surrounding the Israeli nuclear program.

India, voicing a view shared by the nuclear-weapon states, emphasized on August 11 that the purpose of the treaty is to ban future production. Washington, for its part, envisions a treaty limited to banning future production, verification measures focusing on newly produced fissile material and uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing facilities, routine inspections and some type of challenge or non-routine inspections.

However, Pakistani CD Ambassador Munir Akram, speaking on August 11, said a "vast majority" of conference members want a treaty that also addresses stockpiles. Akram said that Pakistan could not "agree to freeze inequality" vis-a-vis India by endorsing a treaty that only halted future production. New Delhi is estimated to possess enough fissile material to make two to three times as many nuclear weapons as Pakistan.

Syria claimed that a treaty not accounting for past production would be "discriminatory," while Iran expressed concern that leaving out stockpiles would legitimize their possession. In general, most non-aligned states agree with Egypt that a treaty would only be effective if it included stockpiles. Otherwise, they claim, the treaty would merely be another non-proliferation mechanism that has no "real disarmament value" since the five declared nuclear-weapon states have already reportedly stopped production of fissile material for weapons purposes.

Members could not agree on a chairman for the committee until August 20, thereby limiting the committee to two meetings before the negotiating mandate expired on September 9, the close of the 1998 negotiating session. In order to reopen negotiations next year, the conference will need to reach consensus again on forming the committee and appointing a chairman.


Other CD Business

Despite earlier promising signs, Australian Ambassador John Campbell, the special coordinator on anti-personnel landmines (APLs), reported to the CD on August 27 that the non-aligned states could not reach consensus to negotiate an APL transfer ban. He recommended a special rapporteur be appointed next year to win the necessary consensus to start talks.

Ambassador Li Changhe of China pressed the conference on August 13 to establish an ad hoc committee for the prevention of an arms race in outer space. Calling it an "urgent issue," he charged that the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty has been "seriously weakened through…re-interpretation" and cited U.S. programs, including theater missile defense systems and the Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL), as evidence that weapon systems could appear in space in the near future. The United States does not support establishing an ad hoc committee, claiming that there is no arms race in outer space.

At the last plenary meeting of the 1998 session on September 8, the application of Ireland, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Tunisia and Ecuador for CD membership was blocked. According to Rebecca Johnson of the Acronym Institute, Iran vetoed the admission of these states in order to punish Ireland for its criticisms of Iranian human rights policies. Members expect the conference to revisit the issue of new members at the start of next year's session, which will be divided into three parts: January 18–March 26; May 10–June 25 and July 26–September 8.

Pakistan Supports Cutoff Talks At Opening of Third CD Session

Pakistan Supports Cutoff Talks At Opening of Third CD Session

Wade Boese

AT THE OPENING plenary of the third and final 1998 session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on July 30, Pakistan announced its support for starting negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty. The move by Pakistan, along with India's pledge following its May nuclear tests to participate in cutoff talks, removes a significant obstacle to what the United States considers to be a top negotiating priority for the conference.

While India and Pakistan had been the principal holdouts during the past three years to establishing cutoff talks, prospects for commencing work remain uncertain because all 61 members, including Israel, must support or not block the establishment of an ad hoc negotiating committee. A special plenary will be held on August 4 to determine if a consensus exists. However, the conference will only have until the close of the third session on September 9 to conduct any negotiations because a mandate ends with the final session of each year. Conference members would need to reach consensus again to reopen the negotiations in 1999.

As recently as May, Pakistan had declared that work on a cutoff regime would be a "waste of time." But according to a July 30 statement to the conference by Munir Akram, Pakistan's CD ambassador, agreement was reached during a July 21–23 visit to Islamabad by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott to support "the immediate commencement of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, universal and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material" for weapons purposes based on the March 1995 "Shannon" mandate. Under that document (CD/1299), negotiations would not preclude discussion of existing stockpiles.

If an ad hoc committee is convened, Akram said that Pakistan will "seek a solution to the problem of unequal stockpiles," which Islamabad believes "could erode the stability of nuclear deterrence" in South Asia. Pakistan, Egypt and other non-aligned countries have declared that a ban limited to future production of fissile material would merely freeze in place existing stockpile disparities and serve as only another non-proliferation measure rather than as a step toward nuclear disarmament, the highest priority of the non-aligned countries. So far, none of the five nuclear-weapon states have declared support for a fissile material regime that takes into account existing stockpiles.


APL Transfer Ban

On June 25, a day before the end of the CD's second session, conference delegates heard a proposed mandate to negotiate a transfer ban on anti-personnel landmines (APLs), another U.S. negotiating priority, from Ambassador John Campbell, the CD's special coordinator for APLs. He cautioned that the recently signed Ottawa Treaty, which prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of APLs, would have to be the standard for definitions, and that there existed "no shared willingness" to go beyond a transfer ban.

Campbell further recommended that a "statement of understanding" accompany the proposed mandate to leave open for discussion such issues as individual country's national security concerns, demining, availability of alternative technologies, the nature of APL trade and the impact of a transfer ban on indigenous production. The statement would also stress the "need for consistency with the terms of existing international instruments."

Canadian Ambassador to the CD, Mark Moher, warned the conference on June 25 that Canada would not support a transfer ban framed as a first step in a more comprehensive treaty, or the creation of any bureaucracy or verification regime since the Ottawa Treaty did not create such a body. If the conference "confuses or undermines in any way the global prohibition on APLs entrenched in the Ottawa Convention," Canada would withdraw from the negotiations and not sign any final document, Moher said. Other Ottawa Treaty signatories and Western European states have expressed similar views.

Moreover, Mexico and South Africa may block consensus at the CD, as both states have expressed reservations with negotiating a transfer ban at the conference because it could detract from the Ottawa Treaty as well as other CD priorities such as nuclear disarmament.

In other conference business during the second session, the two special coordinators for prevention of an arms race in outer space and transparency in armaments did not propose any negotiating mandates, while the ad hoc committee on negative security assurances made no headway as members reiterated prior positions. China maintained that negative security assurances should include no-first-use pledges by the nuclear-weapon states for each other, a view not shared by the other four, and the United States continued to insist that the way to secure legally binding negative security assurances is through the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free-zones and not a negative security assurances treaty.

The Western group will be in a position to steer conference discussions for the near future as the United Kingdom will assume the presidency of the conference for the close of the final 1998 session. The United States will accede to the presidency for the start of the first session of 1999.

Indian, Pakistani Nuclear Tests Elicit Condemnation at CD

Indian, Pakistani Nuclear Tests Elicit Condemnation at CD

Wade Boese

THE MAY nuclear tests of India and Pakistan elicited widespread condemnation and regret during the second session of the 61-member Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, which opened the day after India completed its second set of tests. India's subsequent pledge to participate in future negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty removed a leading obstacle to starting talks in the CD, but Pakistan and Egypt must still be won over before work can begin on this initiative, a priority of the nuclear-weapon states and Western group at the conference. Non-aligned members, including India, continued to press for negotiations on nuclear disarmament.

During the opening plenary meeting on May 14, more than 40 states rose to criticize and express concern over India's tests on May 11 and 13. Members from both the Western group and the non-aligned condemned New Delhi's actions as violating the international norm against testing established by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). However, not all the criticism was directed at India and Pakistan. Colombia, for example, accused the nuclear-weapon states of failing to show a commitment to nuclear disarmament. Egypt reiterated the same point May 28, the day Pakistan first tested, when it charged that the nuclear-weapon states "have not convinced countries with nuclear capabilities to adhere to the nuclear non-proliferation regime."

Following Pakistan's tests on May 28 and 30, the CD convened a special plenary on June 2. New Zealand and 46 other states, including all five nuclear-weapon states, issued a statement accusing India and Pakistan of "blatantly" undermining the international non-proliferation regime. The statement demanded that both states renounce their nuclear weapons programs, accede unconditionally to the CTBT and the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and to begin negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty. While seven non-aligned members signed the statement, others, including Egypt and Iran, opted not to because the statement did not call for negotiations on nuclear disarmament.

In announcing its first set of tests on May 11, India declared that it would be "happy to participate" in fissile material cutoff negotiations. The CD agreed in March 1995 on a mandate to negotiate a ban on fissile material production for weapons purposes, but India has led a number of non-aligned members in refusing to take part unless the talks were subsumed within or conducted in parallel with negotiations on a timebound framework for nuclear disarmament. However, India made no such linkage in the May 11 statement or in a May 30 statement on its willingness to participate in the talks.

According to Rebecca Johnson, director of the Acronym Institute in London, the non-aligned statement at the second Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the NPT review conference in 2000, held from April 27 to May 8, also did not condition the start of fissile cutoff talks on the negotiation of a timebound framework for nuclear disarmament.

In a May 19 statement, Islamabad criticized a fissile cutoff as "entirely irrelevant" and called the establishment of an ad hoc committee at the CD a "waste of time." At the June 2 plenary, the Pakistani CD ambassador, Munir Akram, explained that Islamabad's position on a fissile cutoff depended on "India's nuclear status, its degree of weaponization and size and quality of its fissile material stockpiles." In the past, Pakistan, along with Egypt, has called for a cutoff treaty that accounts for past production rather than one that is limited to a ban on future production that would freeze in place existing stockpiles of fissile materials, which heavily favors India in terms of producable weapons.

Addressing the conference on May 28, Egypt's CD ambassador, Mounir Zahran, said that cutoff talks should be held within an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament and that such talks should be based on the CD's 1995 mandate, which many members interpret as allowing for discussion of existing stockpiles. Zahran said a cutoff treaty that ignored current stockpiles would be a "limited non-proliferation measure with no real disarmament value." All five nuclear-weapon states reportedly have ceased production of fissile materials for weapons purposes, although China has not made an official declaration.

Despite its nuclear tests, India insisted that it remains committed to the "complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified framework of time" and called on all states to join in a nuclear weapons convention. In a May 15 press release, New Delhi warned that the nuclear-weapon states were trying to deflect attention away from their own nuclear doctrines, which according to India are being altered "to justify the possible use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states."

Non-aligned members and observers at the CD asserted that the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests demonstrated the need for establishing an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament. Iran and Malaysia called for a timebound framework, while Egypt and Syria warned the conference against confining its attention to only India and Pakistan, but to include Israel as well.

The 113-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), of which 29 are CD members, declared at the Cartagena Summit meeting of the NAM Coordinating Bureau, May 19-20, that its highest priority at the CD continues to be a phased program for nuclear disarmament within a timebound framework. In the final summit document, the NAM expressed "concern over the failure of the nuclear-weapon states to demonstrate a genuine commitment with regard to complete nuclear disarmament."

While nuclear testing seized the attention of the CD, the conference did name Antonio de Icaza of Mexico as chairman of the negative security assurances ad hoc committee and filled the six special coordinator positions, including reappointment of Australian Ambassador John Campbell on anti-personnel landmines. The special coordinators are expected to provide interim reports on their consultations with member-states before this session concludes on June 26 in order to assess what work can be accomplished during the third and final session for 1998, scheduled from July 27 to September 9.


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