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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 51, October 2000

Editor's Introduction

October's issue highlights ongoing efforts to repair recent, severe damage to the international non-proliferation regime. A year ago, the US Senate voted not to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, in part out of concern over clandestine activity. Trevor Findlay, Executive Director of the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC), reports on the establishment of an Independent Commission on the Verifiability of the CTBT, and details its main finding that the treaty' "verification gauntlet is something that no state is ever likely to contemplate running." Achin Vanaik - recently awarded, along with Praful Bidwai, the International Peace Bureau' Annual MacBride Prize - chronicles and laments the largely hesitant and ineffective response of the international community, and the nuclear-weapon states in particular, to the May 1998 tests by India and Pakistan and the subsequent lurch towards nuclear brinkmanship in the region.

The issue also features an interim report from Jenni Rissanen in New York on the introduction of draft resolutions at the UN General Assembly' First Committee, together with substantial extracts from the Committee' General Debate. Although deliberations can be characterised as generally low-key, extensive negotiations have been held on resolutions intended to consolidate the commitments made at the NPT Review Conference, interwoven concerns over missile proliferation and missile defence, nuclear capabilities in the Middle East, attempts to reinvigorate talks on a fissile material treaty, and next year' UN conference on small arms.

Documents and Sources includes material from the latest cross-purpose discussions between the US and Russia on nuclear arms reductions and missile defence, President Putin' visit to India, the annual plenary meeting of the Missile Technology Control Regime, and a White Paper on China' defence and arms control policy.

News Review summarises the debate in the US election campaign over missile defence, security at nuclear laboratories, and policy towards Iran and Iraq, as well as reporting on a troubling audit of US nuclear weapons facilities, criticism by the US Defense Secretary of international support for non-proliferation programmes, adoption of the latest, gargantuan US defence budget, further remarkable breakthroughs in US-North Korea relations, and ever-widening gaps in the Security Council over sanctions against Iraq.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.