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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 34, February 1999

Editor's Introduction

In Disarmament Diplomacy No. 29, Harald Müller contemplated the possible "death of arms control" in the wake of the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan. In this issue, French analyst Camille Grand presents a different scenario, namely that arms control "has in fact entered a new phase characterised by new trends" which have the potential to create "a new, more stable security environment." One important element of such an environment would certainly be a fissile materials treaty. Annette Schaper, from the Frankfurt Peace Research Institute, reflects on the current debate over the scope and objectives of such a treaty.

The issue features two other guest contributions. From the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Raúl Benítez-Manaut surveys developments in the struggle for a just and stable security environment in Latin America. From Human Rights Watch, E. J. Hogendoorn supplies a chilling survey of new and emerging weapons technologies which he argues represent a formidable, but not insurmountable, arms control challenge.

In Geneva Update, Rebecca Johnson reports on the latest, scant developments at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva. Johnson concludes: "Although a number of interesting and thoughtful statements have been made in the plenary sessions…they are little more than floating rhetoric if not anchored in a programme of work involving negotiations…and discussions aimed at preparing the ground for future multilateral negotiations."

The main feature in Documents and Sources is a major new non-governmental organization (NGO) initiative aimed at nothing less than the phased elimination of armed conflict - the 'Global Action to Prevent War' programme pioneered by former US arms control ambassador Jonathan Dean and others. Also featured extensively is the entry-into-force of the Ottawa Landmines Convention; the 'Lahore Declaration' between India and Pakistan attempting to reduce nuclear tensions in South Asia; US Congressional testimony; and speeches on disarmament by Australia's Foreign Minister and Britain's Defence Secretary. News Review reflects international coverage of ongoing diplomatic initiatives and military confrontation in the wake of the US-UK bombardment of Iraq; an American sub-critical nuclear test; apparently constructive movement in US discussions with India and Pakistan; seemingly fruitless attempts to get the US-North Korea Framework Agreement back on track; and growing controversy over possible missile defence systems in Asia.

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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