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Conference on Disarmament (CD)

CD BULLETIN, May 17, 2001

By Jenni Rissanen


Ambassador Hu Xiaodi of China declared open the 873rd plenary of the Conference on Disarmament (CD), marking the start of the second part of the CD's 2001 session. This will run until June 29. Turkey announced Turkey's and Greece's intentions to become parties to the Ottawa Convention, which Belgium welcomed, and France announced that it had created a French CD website

Plenary Proceedings

Ambassador Murat Sungar of Turkey spoke also on behalf of Greece, announcing that Turkey and Greece would become parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention). Sungar read out the statement of April 6, 2001, in which the two countries Foreign Ministers announced that they had "decided to concurrently start the procedures that will make both sides parties" to the Convention. Greece has signed but not ratified the Convention and Turkey would accede to it. The two countries would deposit their instruments of ratification simultaneously. Ambassador Jean Lint of Belgium welcomed the announcement.

Ambassador Seiichiro Noboru of Japan spoke on the joint seminar by Japan and Australia entitled "Geneva Workshop on a treaty to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices", held in Geneva on May 14-15, 2001. Noboru said the workshop was intended "to contribute to deepening the participant's knowledge and expertise on the treaty issues and to developing their views on those issues in order to get ready for the moment the negotiations start in the CD". The workshop had addressed the following topics: the significance of the treaty and the obligations of states parties under that treaty; verification; possible treaty structure including the treaty-implementation organization and entry-into-force. Also under discussion were what the next steps might be in order to commence the negotiations in the near future. Noboru hoped that any future exercises in kind would attract universal attendance.

The current CD President, Ambassador Hu, reported back on the state of his consultations and what steps he intended to take next. Hu said all sides had manifested their concerns about the deadlock in the CD and expressed strong hopes to start substantive work again. However, many had also been concerned about the recent developments outside the CD since the CD last convened and worried about their impact on the CD. All sides agreed that further efforts to get agreement on the programme of work should be based on the Amorim proposal.1 As for the next steps, some delegations felt the CD should continue with its efforts to try to get agreement on the outstanding issues in the programme of work. Others, however, thought more attention needed to be paid to thinking about complementary action pending agreement on the work programme. Hu said he had not had a chance to talk with all delegations and that he would continue with his consultations with the hopes of finding some new thinking and solutions, "not withstanding the overall difficult situation".

In the Corridors

The Netherlands is reportedly conducting consultations on an initiative to begin an exercise - outside the CD - in preparation of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material. This Dutch initiative is understood to be meant to "prepare, facilitate and enhance" work on the topic while the CD remains deadlocked on the work programme. So far, there has been a range of reactions to this initiative. It is still early to say how far this initiative will go and what kind of support it will get.

The next plenary will be held exceptionally on Wednesday May 23, 2001 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva and will be chaired by Ambassador Hu.


1. The Amorim proposal (CD/1624, August 24, 2000) recommends the establishment of four ad hoc committees: one each to "deal with" nuclear disarmament and PAROS, one to negotiate a ban on the production of fissile materials, based on a specific mandate agreed in 1995, and one, with a broader mandate, to negotiate on negative security assurances (NSA). For further details and analysis, see Jenni Rissanen, 'Geneva Update', Disarmament Diplomacy No. 50, September 2000,

To see the speeches, please visit the website of WILPF at http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/cd/thisweek/thisweekindex.html

Jenni Rissanen is the Acronym Institute's Analyst attending the CD in Geneva. For her latest, in-depth assessment of developments see 'Geneva Update' in Disarmament Diplomacy No. 55.

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.