Conference on Disarmament (CD)
CD BULLETIN, May 31, 2001
By Jenni Rissanen
Ambassador Camilo Reyes Rodriguez of Colombia chaired the short 875th plenary of the Conference on Disarmament (CD). Reyes made a short opening statement as the new CD president and Ambassador Sergei Martynov of Belarus informed the CD that Belarus had approved on May 17 the Open Skies Treaty, bringing the ratification process to a close. Russia is expected to soon table a document containing their proposals for subsidiary body mandates on nuclear disarmament and PAROS.
There were no plenary statements other than by the new CD president. Ambassador Reyes, who took over the CD presidency from Ambassador Hu Xiaodi of China this week, highlighted Colombia's dedication to multilateralism and said that as CD president, he would spend most of his time "seeking variations" to the Amorim proposal1 in an effort to achieve consensus.
Reyes commented on Hu's closing remarks on the CD being in a "period of waiting" due to the complex international security situation. Reyes did not believe that such a waiting period should "imply paralysis or total inactivity" in the CD. While waiting for a change in international circumstances that could make substantive progress possible, the CD should continue to seek agreement of the work programme and "forge ahead with those issues which have general support of the Conference". He had begun his consultations and hoped to come up with some "alternative solutions".
In the Corridors
The president is reportedly considering proposing the establishment of three special coordinators to address procedural issues on the CD: the review of its agenda, the expansion of its membership and its improved and effective functioning and he is expected, if consultations show a green light for this idea, to make formal proposal to this effect.
Russia is expected to table a formal proposal on two outstanding issues in the programme of work: nuclear disarmament and prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS). Russia began circulating an informal proposal on these two topics earlier in the spring (see Disarmament Diplomacy No.55) and has now revised them as a result of the feedback they received. The proposal envisages ad hoc committees, for the duration of the 2001 session: the nuclear disarmament committee would "deal with" the topic by "taking into consideration" relevant views and proposals and by "addressing" questions related to its mandate. The committee on PAROS would "negotiate with a view of reaching agreement" on a regime, possibly a legally binding instrument, preventing the weaponization of outer space. Like the nuclear disarmament committee, it would "take into consideration" relevant views and proposals and "address" questions related to its mandate.
The next plenary will be held on June 7, 2001 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, and will be chaired by Ambassador Reyes Rodriguez.
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.