Bev Delong (consulting with Ernie Regehr)
Report from the Seventh NPT review conference.
First, some good news. Russia and China have both filed formal reports with the Conference on their implementation of the NPT. The other three Nuclear Weapons States have delivered glossy materials on their actions under the treaty but have not filed final reports – so they will not be translated nor will they form part of the record of the Conference. But all 5 Nuclear Weapons States have again given some form of report so that is good.
Second, within the formal Conference, the States Parties have agreed to accept the President’s proposal for one subsidiary body within each of the three Main Committees (MCs). The subsidiary bodies allow much more focused discussion of specific topics. But the time to be allocated to the MCs versus that for subsidiaries has been a huge topic of dispute over the last few days. There were repeated adjournments yesterday to allow states to consider time allocation options within their regional groupings. The non-aligned want considerable time to discuss the Middle East and the Negative Security Assurances promised to them in 1995. Hopefully this time allocation problem will been resolved overnight. The Conference is starting on Main Committees tomorrow so there will be little time left to negotiate text for a final agreement, if any.
As you will see at the Reaching Critical Will website, many Working Papers were tabled yesterday and today in the plenary sessions because delegations did not want to wait for the opening of the Main Committees to get their ideas circulating. It is becoming a huge rush to get negotiations underway on the text of a final document.
Third, Amb. Paul Meyer provided the Conference with his assessment of progress on the 13 Practical Steps agreed to in 2000. Apparently even any reference to the 13 steps is considered quite courageous due to the U.S. refusal to acknowledge them in any current documentation.
1) The Russians gave their first ever NGO briefing on Monday with a large audience present. Their Powerpoint mirrored their booklet of information giving details of their reductions in warheads, delivery systems and so on. They indicated they would be willing to reduce below the levels set in the SORT agreement (promises reductions to 1700 – 2200 by 2012) depending on the security environment in the world. Their presentation provides only the percentage decrease in their tactical nuclear weapons so they were faced with requests for hard numbers.
2) Dr. Annette Shaper was part of a most interesting panel yesterday on Transparency and Nuclear Disarmament.
(Looking for a Demarcation….)
Dr. Born of the Geneva Institute for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) also participated in this panel and had a long list of requirements for democratic control of nuclear weapons. Excellent work he is doing!
Kind regards to all! And thanks Ernie for your assistance with this report!