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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 36, April 1999

Editor's Introduction

Much of April's issue is devoted to consideration of the current, precarious state of the international nuclear disarmament regime. May 1999 sees the final meeting of States Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to prepare for the treaty's Review Conference next year. Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of the Acronym Institute, provides a brief overview of the issues likely to be raised. Zia Mian and M. V. Ramana, Research Associates at Princeton University's Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, present an invigorating case for using the treaty's amendment process to chart "a route by which the States possessing nuclear weapons can be brought lawfully to the negotiating table by those that don't." Miguel Marin-Bosch, former Ambassador of Mexico to the Conference on Disarmament, expresses deep pessimism about the prospects for a successful review process, arguing that "it is hard to repress fundamental concerns for the future of the treaty... Some States are trying to address...those fundamental concerns. The nuclear-weapon States, however, are not among them." The issue's fourth opinion paper, from Giri Deshingkar of the Center for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi, looks at the state of play - fluid, unpredictable and disconcerting - in the development of India's nuclear weapons policy.

The discussions over the future of the NPT are likely to take place at a time of a continuing war in the Balkans which may have grave implications for international relations and arms control. The latest diplomatic efforts to end the fighting are set out in Documents and Sources, which also includes substantial documentation from the NATO Summit in Washington, details of and reaction to ballistic missile tests by India and Pakistan, and the detailed response of the Canadian Government to a Parliamentary report into the country's nuclear weapons policy.

News Review includes coverage of the deepening controversy over alleged Chinese espionage in US nuclear weapons laboratories, the angry reaction from China and Russia to ever-accelerating US missile defence plans, the resumption of cooperative relations in the implementation of the US-North Korea Framework Agreement, and the continuing, troubled search for a diplomatic renovation of UN-Iraq relations.

Note: John Edmonds and Dr. Stephen Pullinger, two of the Directors of the Acronym Institute, wish to disassociate themselves from the Special Editorial on the War in Kosovo contained in the last issue of this journal.

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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