25 May 2005, No. 18
Rhianna Tyson | WILPF
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With several drafts of the reports from each Committee and subsidiary body flying around, each with very different language and objectives, hopes for agreement on a Final Document are slowly dimming.
It seems as if disagreement over the Middle East might bring this fragile house of cards tumbling down. Midway through Tuesday, a draft text of the report from subsidiary body II sparked deep disagreement over every sentence– literally, every sentence. References to Israel seemed to have been the greatest source of controversy; diplomats in that Committee never even got around to debating language on North Korea. If agreement on this highly controversial text cannot be found– as many are betting it won’t– then the Chair may simply report on the number of times that they met, noting only that regional issues were discussed, without any further clarification or recommendations for addressing regional challenges to the Treaty.
The lack of agreement over references to the Middle East may sabotage all other efforts to obtain a Final Document., including those of Main Committee I, which continues to struggle through disputes over language pertaining to disarmament and security assurances.
President Duarte threatened to end the meeting precisely at 6 PM on Friday, deadening any predictions that negotiations would last deep into the night, as they did in 2000. Delegates, he reasoned, have had enough time to sort out their text, and no amount of additional time can build a bridge between the opposing views.
Many delegates, however, believe that if the majority of States wish to press on, the President will have no choice but to stop the clocks and slug it out.
At this point, Duarte has two possible options for wrapping up this Conference. The first is to make a controversial statement in a public plenary, which would force delegates to respond openly with their criticisms, a public display of true colors that have been masked by the secretive nature of subsidiary body negotiations.
His other option is to offer a much more bland statement, one that simply seeks to reaffirm and uphold the integrity of the Treaty. However, even such a benign (yet utterly important) statement may itself prove controversial, as States are already debating the auspices under which this statement would be given– would it be a Chairman’s summary à la Mólnár, a Chair’s working paper à la Sudjadnan, or would it just be a statement from Duarte the President, without any official Conference document number, and therefore political weight, affixed to it?
In the meanwhile, we believe it useful to re-publish the basic recommendations that were presented by civil society two weeks ago, delivered as an Annex to the NGO presentations. These recommendations were offered as the general foundation from which we had hoped negotiations would grow. Now they are offered again as a reminder of the principles and objectives that States parties came to New York to uphold and strengthen. It was this text, distinguished delegates, that we had hoped you would have negotiated.
Even as our hopes for this Review Conference grow dim, we still believe that one day– hopefully one in the near future– we will reach a critical mass of political will necessary to make real progress on international disarmament and nonproliferation. Until that day comes, the recommendations that we offered on May 11, 2005 will continue to have relevance to the regime and legitimacy with the world’s people, who will never cease to demand a nuclear weapon free planet.
Ensure a successful outcome to the 2005 Review. A Final Document must reaffirm:
a. the 1995 and 2000 final consensus documents, including the Resolution on the Middle East of 1995 and the 13 Practical Steps of 2000;
b. the unanimous opinion of the International Court of Justice, formulated in 1996, that "the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law," and that "there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control;" and
c. that the Treaty is binding at all times and under all circumstances.
Honor the commitment to total nuclear disarmament and to good faith negotiations.
Establish and respect timelines for disarmament that are expeditious, feasible, and achievable.
Stand down nuclear forces.
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty must enter-into-force.
Ensure that disarmament is verifiable and irreversible.
Withdraw all tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.
Terminate all programs for the development of new or modified nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon delivery systems, including programs that are characterized as "concept development".
Nuclear and non-nuclear-weapon states should take additional concrete non-proliferation and disarmament steps.
a) a global, verifiable ban on the production of weapon-usable fissile materials by 2010 and the establishment of a global inventory of fissile materials.
b) the adoption of the IAEA Additional Protocol on Safeguards by all states — nuclear as well as non-nuclear-weapon states — by 2010. This voluntary agreement should be made both mandatory and universal.
c) the commitment of all states to work, under the auspices of the IAEA, toward the placement of all nuclear fuel under international control, specifically by:
i. adopting a global ban on spent nuclear fuel reprocessing;
ii. negotiating and adopting a treaty regulating the control and storage of spent nuclear fuel. This commitment would help improve the security of spent nuclear fuel throughout the world, which could be attractive to terrorists seeking to acquire nuclear materials for a “dirty bomb.”
iii. negotiating and adopting a treaty to internationalize the control of all enrichment and reprocessing facilities as well as the production and trade of fissile materials. Tough on-site inspections of nuclear power facilities must be universally applied to all states, and all fissile materials should be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
d) full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540 by 2010, which calls for tougher export controls, collective interdiction capabilities, and the universal criminalization of WMD activities undertaken by non-state actors.
Until nuclear weapons are completely eliminated, the nuclear-weapon states make no-first-use commitments.
Until nuclear weapons are completely eliminated, the nuclear weapons states must provide unconditional negative security assurances to non-nuclear weapon states.
Adopt a supplementary protocol to promote energy security and energy independence through clean, sustainable, renewable energy sources as an alternative to nuclear energy.
Support the creation and integrity of Nuclear Weapons Free Zones.
Commit to accounting, transparency and reporting in order to advance the goal of full compliance with the substantive provisions of the Treaty.
a) act swiftly and decisively in the case of any notice of withdrawal from the Treaty, applying specific, pre-agreed penalties upon withdrawal.
b) provide the IAEA with the tools and funding it needs to verify compliance with the Treaty, and should further develop and universalize those tools in the counter-proliferation toolbox — such as the Proliferation Security Initiative — that strengthen compliance.
c) further afford non-governmental organizations greater access to the NPT review process by allowing NGOs to participate in all NPT plenary and cluster sessions, and to deliver oral and written statements.
Promote disarmament and peace education.
All states should earmark 5 percent of their defense budget for international and national disarmament and peace education initiatives.
The full list of NGO recommendations can be found as an Annex to the NGO presentations, available at: www.reachingcriticalwill.org.