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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 32, November 1998

Editor's Introduction

November's issue features two guest contributions. From the Oslo International Peace Research Institute (PRIO), Lora Lumpe reflects on the "feverish pace of activity" in 1998 in the search for means of controlling small arms. Examining the "breadth and complexity" of the issue, Lumpe identifies a major priority for 1999 and beyond: "Developing international law barring small arms supply...to non-State actors would be one of the most meaningful policies that concerned governments and non-governmental organizations could pursue to curb further dangerous small arms proliferation." Alexander Kelle, from the Frankfurt Peace Research Institute (PRIF), reports on the Third Session of the Conference of States Parties (CSP) to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in The Hague, a meeting revealing ongoing teething problems in establishing the effective operation of the treaty regime. As Kelle notes, the session "became bogged down with administrative questions," a "very unfortunate development" doing no justice to the CSP's role as the treaty's "political decision-making organ".

October's issue included extracts from the General Debate of the United Nations First Committee (Disarmament and International Security). In this issue, Rebecca Johnson provides an overall assessment of the often intense deliberations - "the most dynamic and engaged First Committee for several years" - supplemented by a detailed analysis of each resolution. Judging by both the common ground and faultlines in the Committee, Johnson predicts "an interesting but difficult year" of disarmament discussions ahead.

Documents and Sources features three powerful speeches urging a radicalisation of the nuclear disarmament agenda - from former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, former US Strategic Commander Lee Butler, and US Senator Bob Kerrey - plus a detailed assessment from Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott of US dialogue with India and Pakistan since both States conducted nuclear tests in May.

News Review includes coverage of important progress towards Russian ratification of the START (Strategic Arms Reduction) II Treaty, the latest last-gasp avoidance of a violent breakdown of Iraq-UN relations, the growing threat to the US-North Korea Framework Agreement posed by a suspect underground facility in North Korea, and a difference of opinion between Germany and America over NATO nuclear-use doctrine.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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