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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 14, April 1997

Editor's Introduction

April's issue of Disarmament Diplomacy, the first to be published by Disarmament Intelligence Review, features a CD Opinion Piece by two senior Romanian diplomats, and an NPT Focus Paper by former US arms control ambassador Jonathan Dean.

Looking back on Romania's recent experience as holders of the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament (CD), Minister-Counsellor Pavel Grecu and Deputy Head of Delegation Cristian Istrate outline their efforts to encourage the Conference to agree a programme of work. They conclude: "the proposals [we] put forward...do not, of course, constitute a magic solution. They merely represent an attempt to break out of the long-standing stalemate which so badly affects the CD's credibility..."

April saw the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) since the 1995 Review and Extension Conference which indefinitely extended the Treaty and established a bolstered review process. Jonathan Dean ponders the prospects for disarmament under the new regime. He sets out a number of steps which he believes could now be taken, including the "de-alerting" and "rapid immobilization" of nuclear forces; exchange of information on arsenals; discussion of conventional arms control; and discussion of the likely circumstances of complete nuclear disarmament. In addition to a Geneva Update on developments at the CD, Rebecca Johnson provides an extensive assessment of the NPT PrepCom, concluding: "while early reactions...among diplomats and officials were mixed, the general verdict seems to be cautiously positive."

A Landmines Watching Brief is provided by journalist Jo-Anne Velin. Her report makes clear that, while there is a great deal of activity aimed at achieving a landmines ban, the picture is also confused, with different routes being suggested (the fast-track 'Ottawa Process' "vying for pro-ban support" with proposals for negotiations in the CD), and US support for a ban undermined, in some eyes, by its advocacy of "exceptions".

April also saw US ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). This breakthrough features prominently in Documents and Sources, along with materials from the US-Russia Helsinki Summit. News Review also includes coverage of these developments.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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