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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 55, March 2001

Editor's Introduction

In a time of growing arms control uncertainty, March's issue features four articles exploring options and requirements for progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. From the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, Fan Jishe analyses the international factors likely to exert the strongest pro-arms-control influences on the Bush administration. Possible initiatives for enhancing nuclear cooperation and confidence-building in South Asia are presented and appraised in a richly detailed paper by Gaurav Rajen, Visiting Research Scholar at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, and Kent Biringer of Sandia's Cooperative Monitoring Center. Jürgen Scheffran, co-founder of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation (INESAP), investigates alternatives to both ballistic missile proliferation and the development of potentially destabilising missile defence systems by the United States.

Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of the Acronym Institute, sets out proposals for addressing the substantive issues currently caught in the stalemate at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva. Underscoring the need for such proposals, Acronym Institute Analyst Jenni Rissanen sums up a gloomy and unproductive opening session of talks at the CD, and also updates us on an important development in efforts to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) - the introduction of a composite, Chair's text designed to focus deliberations.

Documents and Sources and News Review feature a range of statements and developments concerning sharply contrasting US and Russia missile defence plans and the future of US-Russia threat reduction and non-proliferation programmes. The sections also feature the last meeting of the committee preparing for a major UN conference on small arms and light weapons in July; a speech by UN Under-Secretary-General Jayantha Dhanapala on the links between gender and disarmament issues; Washington's suspension of talks with North Korea; controversy over Russia-Iran military cooperation; high-level but so far unproductive talks between the UN and Iraq; and reflections on the second anniversary of the entry-into-force of the Ottawa Convention.

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.