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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 18, September 1997

Editor's Introduction

September's issue reviews a hectic and potentially momentous month. In Oslo, the text of a Convention banning all anti-personnel mines was agreed by nearly 100 States. Jo-Anne Velin provides an extensive analysis of the Convention and its chances of success. In New York, a series of agreements concerning the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the Strategic Arms Reduction (START) Treaties were concluded by the US, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. In Moscow, the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission agreed important new measures on nuclear materials. Documents and Sources covers these developments, plus the start of the UN General Assembly's General Debate, President Clinton's submission of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) for ratification by the Senate, a further US 'subcritical' test, and comments on nuclear policy by the French Prime Minister and President.

The issue also features two contributions likely to stimulate debate. In an Opinion Piece entitled 'The CD on the Brink,' Jozef Goldblat, the Vice-President of the Geneva International Peace Research Institute, argues that "the 'single' negotiating body should be replaced by specialized open-ended negotiating conferences." Goldblat reasons: "there is no reason why global arms control problems must be dealt with in one international forum, while global economic or environmental problems are dealt with in several fora." In an equally hard-hitting Guest Analysis, Lucy Amis and Tasos Kokkinides, of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), argue that the enlargement of the NATO Alliance is being accompanied by an extraordinary and frightening increase in arms sales: "NATO expansion has turned central and eastern Europe into a lucrative arms market worth in excess of US $35 billion." The authors allege that NATO "is using weapons transfers as a foreign-policy tool for a region that has in recent history been tension-ridden."

Finally, News Review features coverage of apparently positive moves to end the Iraq-UNSCOM saga, concern over a seismic event in Russia, the return of a supercomputer by China to the US, further hair-raising claims about Russia's nuclear arsenal, speculation of a US laser test in space (speculation since confirmed), and alleged revelations about US capability and intent to design new nuclear weapons.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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