Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 25, April 1998
Editor's IntroductionThe Second Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting for the 2000 Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was held in Geneva from 27 April - 8 May. A full report on this important and disturbing meeting, which failed to produce any agreement, will be provided by Rebecca Johnson in the next issue of Disarmament Diplomacy. In this issue, we feature a summary of the outcome plus extracts from ten updates issued by Johnson during the meeting.
Three days after the disappointing end to the PrepCom, the non-proliferation regime received a blow with the announcement by India that it had conducted three underground nuclear-weapons tests: Documents and Sources features initial statements and reaction to the news. Documents and Sources also features material from the UN Disarmament Commission, a major report by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) on Iraq's biological weapons programme, and Congressional testimony on US nuclear posture and strategy.
Three papers are featured in the issue's Opinion & Analysis section. Sean Howard, the Editor of Disarmament Diplomacy, considers the debate over one of the most important and problematic features of the NPT, its commitment to the promotion of both nuclear non-proliferation and the civil use of nuclear power. Dr. Yuri Pinchukov, Chair of the Moscow Non-Proliferation Association, analyses the nature and degree of uncertainty surrounding Russia's nuclear weapons policy, and the impact of that uncertainty on the nuclear disarmament process. Pinchukov presents a strong case for his conclusion that "Russia needs to update its nuclear weapon posture to better accord with both the changing international political environment and the global economic realities Russia is just beginning to learn." Douglas Scott, President of the Markland Group for the Integrity of Disarmament Treaties, based in Canada, provides a thorough investigation into the political role and practical effect of sanctions against Iraq, focusing on the impact of the oil-for-food programme.
News Review includes coverage of apparent progress toward START II ratification in the Russian Duma; ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by France and Britain; a ballistic missile test by Pakistan; early signs of renewed strains in UN-Iraq relations; the furore over a shipment of highly-enriched uranium from Georgia to the United Kingdom; and comments by the US Strategic Commander, Eugene Habiger, about the future of the US nuclear 'triad'.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.