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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 35, March 1999

Editor's Introduction

The end of March saw the long-running crisis over Kosovo erupt into war between NATO and Yugoslavia. In a Special Editorial, the staff of the Acronym Institute set out their concerns about the consequences of NATO's decision to start bombing. The Acronym Institute will be setting up a special website feature to cover the conflict.

The future role of NATO is considered in an Opinion & Analysis paper by Nicola Butler, who concludes: "As NATO celebrates 50 years, the highlights of those years have been the breakthroughs in arms control and the end of the Cold War. The question is whether NATO leaders now have the vision to make progress on disarmament a key component of European security for the future, and not just enlargement."

The issue features three other Opinion & Analysis papers. The hesitant development of the UN Register of Conventional Arms is considered by Malcolm Chalmers and Owen Greene of Bradford University's Department of Peace Studies. From the same Department, Jez Littlewood reports on the latest discussions over a Protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention. From the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, John Endicott summarises attempts to establish a limited nuclear-weapon-free zone in Northeast Asia.

The first part of the 1999 session of the Conference on Disarmament concluded in late March with no progress to report. In Geneva Update, Rebecca Johnson reflects on the reasons for the Conference's continuing failure to get down to business.

Documents and Sources features President Clinton's reaction to Senate legislation on the deployment of a national missile defence system; agreement between the US and North Korea over a suspect facility; details of attempts to improve security at US nuclear laboratories; and a wealth of information on the US nuclear stockpile contained in Department of Energy statements and testimony. News Review includes coverage of the admission to NATO of three new members; cooperation between Russia and America on minimising any destabilisation of nuclear-weapons systems by the 'millenium bug' - cooperation subsequently terminated by Russia in protest at NATO's bombardment of Serbia; and agreement between the Russian Parliament and President on the terms and conditions required for ratifying the Strategic Arms Reduction (START) II Treaty - a ratification also now imperilled by the conflict in the Balkans.

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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