Bridging the Divide: Addressing key challenges to the NPT

Tasneem Jamal

Author
Bill Robinson

Working Paper 05-3

Prepared on behalf of The Canadian Pugwash Group, Physicians for Global Survival, Project Ploughshares, Lawyers for Social Responsibility, and the Middle Powers Initiative.

The persistent and serious erosion of confidence in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) means that the Treaty is in crisis and that the 2005 Treaty Review Conference must begin to rebuild commitment to the Treaty and its full implementation.

The sources of the crisis are multiple. Many of the non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS) parties to the Treaty charge that the nuclear disarmament process is stalled and that the United States and the other nuclear weapon states (NWS) do not take their nuclear
disarmament obligations under Article VI seriously. At the same time, recent established and alleged violations of the Treaty by NNWS, notably North Korea, Libya, and Iran, call into question the Treaty’s non-proliferation effectiveness. The de facto acceptance of the nuclear status of the non-signatory states of India, Israel, and Pakistan further undermines nonproliferation efforts.

In addition the Treaty lacks the institutional infrastructure needed for effective decisionmaking and compliance monitoring.

The Government of Canada is challenged to become part of a “bridging” strategy at the Review Conference by working with like-minded NATO and New Agenda Coalition states to pursue the kind of balanced attention to both disarmament and non-proliferation that recognizes the foundational bargain of the NPT, and through such an approach to build a bridge between the NWS and the NNWS.

A balanced approach to disarmament and non-proliferation must include increased attention to Treaty verification measures, drawing on inspection expertise gained through the UN operations in Iraq, and strengthened safeguards administered by the IAEA. At the same time, heightened attention to disarmament should include renewed efforts to redefine NATO’s strategic doctrine to end its reliance on nuclear weapons and to end the nuclearsharing arrangements with some NATO NNWS members of the NPT. All states parties to the Treaty would benefit from an improved institutional framework, including a small secretariat, a timely decision-making mechanism, improved transparency through reporting, and more formalized engagement with civil society.

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