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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 7, July - August 1996

A monthly digest of news and documents edited by Sean Howard. Credits

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Editor's introduction

The July-August issue of Disarmament Diplomacy seeks to document and consider a flurry of important developments, including: the failure of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to agree a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), reported and interpreted by Rebecca Johnson; the World Court's complicated and inconclusive ruling on the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons; the report of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons; and initial agreement on a major new arms exports regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement. Other areas featured in Documents and Sources and News Review include missile defence, landmines, US arms transfers policy, and the ongoing Iraq-UNSCOM and North Korea- KEDO sagas.

The issue also features two Opinion Pieces - from former US Senator Alan Cranston and former UK Labour Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerald Kaufman - and a Guest Analysis by Dr. Marie Chevrier on the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

Senator Cranston's paper is an impassioned appeal on behalf of "a mission as important as any ever undertaken by humankind" - the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Though fearful of the consequences of continued nuclear-weapon State refusal to embrace this goal, Senator Cranston detects increasing, and increasingly powerful, political support for the pro-zero cause: "leaders in and out of public office, including major powers and nations very influential in world affairs, are consulting and cooperating increasingly in an effort to establish the goal of abolition."

Gerald Kaufman's paper identifies radical nuclear disarmament as an important means of improving the perilous condition of the post- Cold War international system. He advocates an international conference dedicated to setting in train deep cuts in nuclear arsenals, and reductions in the number of nuclear-weapon States. Kaufman argues that "France and Britain should offer to give up all their nuclear weapons," and adds that "even if France is not prepared to make this concession, I believe that Britain should."

In her analysis of the condition of the BWC, Marie Chevrier contends that "current negotiations" designed at strengthening it "are in danger of bogging down because some States Parties appear to be dragging their feet and the Ad Hoc Group process...lacks important principles to guide its deliberations." The United States is singled out and rebuked for evincing a "conspicuous lack of participation or leadership" on the issue.

The CD Agenda: a summary

Since its inception, Disarmament Diplomacy has featured a series of opinion pieces on the future of the CD, and in particular its agenda, currently under review. Contributors are invited to treat the subject as broadly or narrowly as they desire. Readers' comments on the issue are also invited.

The agenda, in place since 1978, has ten items, known collectively as The Decalogue.

The Decalogue

Item 1. Nuclear Test Ban

Item 2. Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and Nuclear Disarmament

Item 3. Prevention of Nuclear War, including all Related Measures

Item 4. Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space

Item 5. Effective International Arrangements to Assure Non-Nuclear- Weapon States Against the Use or Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons

Item 6. New Types of Weapons of Mass Destruction and New Systems of Such Weapons; Radiological Weapons

Item 7. Comprehensive Programme of Disarmament

Item 8. Transparency in Armaments

Item 9. Consideration of Other Areas Dealing with the Cessation of the Arms Race and Disarmament and Other Relevant Measures

Item 10. Consideration and Adoption of the Annual Report of the Conference and any other Report as Appropriate to the General Assembly of the United Nations

The review so far

For the 1994 Session of the Conference, Sweden's Ambassador, Lars Norberg, was appointed Special Co-ordinator on Review of the Agenda. No Special Co-ordinator was appointed for the 1995 or 1996 Sessions.

The fullest account of the review so far came on 1 September 1994 with Ambassador Norberg's report to the Conference, in which he observed:

"...consultations have revealed conflicting views among delegations as to the appropriate balance between nuclear weapons and conventional weapons on the agenda. Divergent views have also been expressed with regard to the question of a possible widening of the CD's scope of activities to include the negotiation of politically binding agreements covering, for example, global confidence building measures or regional questions."

The review of the CD Agenda - Opinion

Abolish and Survive: The case and prospects for a nuclear-weapons- free world

By Alan Cranston

Introduction: causes for hope and concern

I met Albert Einstein shortly after Hiroshima. He warned me, as he warned others, that all-out nuclear war could exterminate all life on this planet. Ever since then - before, during, and after my time in the US Senate - I've been devoted to the cause of preventing nuclear war.

Today, as we help Russia dismantle much of its nuclear arsenal, the danger of a Superpower holocaust is greatly reduced.

But the danger of nuclear war is not gone. Not as long as nuclear weapons exist. Not as long as rogue States work to acquire - and possibly use - nuclear weapons. Not as long as the world is awash in nuclear weapons-grade materials.

Public interest and concern has waned since the fearful days of the Cuban missile crisis - when American parents frantically dug bomb shelters, and their children were taught to cower under their desks - and since the nuclear freeze movement of the early 1980s.

But thoughtful, experienced and active leaders in many nations believe that a great opportunity presently exists to reduce, restrain, and ultimately abolish nuclear weapons.

How long the opportunity will last, no one can foretell. So we must act decisively.

Consider just a few recent events that give cause for concern, but more importantly for hope.

In terms of concern:

* Chinese nuclear tests; and speculation that India was planning a test.

* Fears that Iran, Iraq and Libya seek nuclear weapons.

* China's transfers of nuclear technology to Iran.

* Troubled efforts to finalize the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), marked by China's opposition to adequate inspection, and hung up as I write over the entry into force issue precipitated by India's refusal to sign unless a timetable for abolition is signed and sealed.

* Indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), achieved midst acrimony between the five nuclear powers and nations that perceive the five as intending to retain for all eternity the capacity to threaten their very existence. The US, for its part, gave credence to this view when its most recent Nuclear Posture Review, conducted by the Pentagon, concluded that the current nuclear posture was optimal for the post-Cold War period. Extension of the NPT was finally achieved only on the basis of an ostensible understanding that there will be meaningful progress on nuclear disarmament.

In terms of hope:

* The worldwide uproar stirred by French tests demonstrated that people are not as apathetic as many leaders assume.

* The apparent success in freezing North Korea's nuclear weapons programme and the powerful evidence that diplomacy, engagement, and cooperation can work even against rogue States.

* Innovative efforts at the Conference on Disarmament to cope with an array of war-peace issues involving nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and the conventional weapons that have maimed and killed so many millions since World War II.

* The International Court of Justice declaration - in an advisory ruling requested by the World Health Organisation and the UN General Assembly - that under most circumstances the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be "contrary to the rules of international law."

* The rapidly spreading movement to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones; zones, in other words, where nuclear weapons are not viewed as legitimate tools of State power. These zones already cover all of Africa, Latin America, South East Asia, and the South Pacific.

* The completion of denuclearisation in Kazakstan and Ukraine, and progress toward completion in Belarus by the end of 1996.

The growing clamour for an abolitionist agenda

All this has happened just in the past year. A great deal more will happen before this year is over, the cumulative effect of which should place firmly on the international agenda the issue of whether the presence on this planet of nuclear weapons is worthy of civilisation and compatible with survival.

There will be a series of important reports, statements and actions involving many individuals respected and greatly experienced in security matters. They will give a powerful voice to the view that far deeper reductions and restraints on nuclear weapons than those now contemplated are realistic, attainable and necessary - and that concrete steps can open the way to final abolition.

A consensus is rapidly growing among these individuals - including professional military leaders who have had direct command and control responsibilities over nuclear weapons - around the need for the following steps:

* Completion of the CTBT.

* Dismantling of all nuclear warheads withdrawn under the Strategic Arms Reduction (START) and subsequent agreements.

* Strengthening the enforcement mechanisms of the NPT, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the entire international non-proliferation regime.

* Rendering remaining nuclear weapons inoperable for surprise attacks or accidental launches by transparent separation of warheads from delivery systems, and by going to zero alert.

* Banning further production of fissile materials.

* Transferring existing fissile material into internationally monitored storage.

* Banning production and possession of large, long-range ballistic missiles.

The developing consensus behind these steps will be expressed in the coming months in a variety of ways involving a literal whirlwind of activities:

* As I write, the Canberra Commission, a group of 15 eminent and experienced leaders from nine countries including the US and Russia, appointed by the Australian government, is about to issue a detailed and, I predict, compellingly convincing report proposing steps towards a nuclear-free world. It will spell out the sort of surveillance, inspection, security and enforcement procedures that must be in place before nations possessing nuclear weapons are likely to relinquish them. And it will express with eloquence and passion why, for the sake of all humanity for all time, abolition must be set as a goal, pursued, achieved.

* Early this Fall, the State of the World Forum in San Francisco will bring together leaders, including Mikhail Gorbachev, who with Ronald Reagan ended and reversed the nuclear arms race. A discussion on reducing and abolishing nuclear weapons by retired US and Russian military and security professionals will be central to the Conference.

* Before the year is over, several statements will be issued by US, Russian and other international military and security experts and other leaders who have influence in their homelands and elsewhere calling for actions to put an end to the nuclear nightmlare.

* A distinguished group of international security experts appointed by the government of Japan will meet in Kyoto in December to consider and propose ways to achieve total nuclear disarmament.

* The US National Academy of Science will issue a report on the general subject of arms, both conventional and nuclear, and what to do about the threats they pose to humanity. I expect the report to advocate nuclear abolition.

* The Lawyers Alliance for World Security is planning a major abolitionist effort; the Council on Foreign Relations is conducting relevant studies; and many other groups will be heard from. A number of foundations are playing a significant role in all this. Over 600 grass roots non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are increasingly active in the abolition movement.

* Leaders in and out of public office in a number of nations, including major powers and nations very influential in world affairs, are consulting and cooperating increasingly in an effort to establish the goal of abolition. These are nations that do not possess nuclear weapons. They are nations that do not presently want to possess them. But they are nations that do not find it acceptable that the US, Russia, China, France and the UK possess them and show no significant signs of keeping their commitment to negotiate nuclear disarmament.

These nations will be heard from more and more in the time ahead. What they are telling the US, and the other nuclear powers, is: you cannot forever be the only nuclear powers - you can either negotiate in good faith for nuclear disarmament, or you can watch as nuclear weapons proliferate. Since it is widely believed that the major military danger facing the US is the threat of nuclear proliferation, the US should listen to this logic. So should the other nuclear nations.

It is most of all important that the US, the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons, and now the pre-eminent world power, respond to these and other coming events and actions, and the circumstances that cause them, by leading the way in nuclear matters. It should do so for deeply moral reasons; for highly ethical reasons; and for eminently practical reasons.

Conclusion: an appeal

I congratulate and thank those of you reading these words who are engaged in the cause for what you have done over the years to bring us to this moment of opportunity. And to you I address the following request.

As several of the statements that world leaders plan to make take shape, and as signatures are gathered, help is needed to enlist the support of highly respected leaders whose participation would lend credence to the cause of abolition in their own nations and throughout the world.

I'm sure that many of you can suggest such individuals.

More precisely, what is needed are figures such as greatly respected past or present Presidents or Prime Ministers, parliamentary leaders, defense and foreign ministers, military and security experts, Nobel laureates, and others of prominence and prestige who you believe might be willing to join with those who are lending their names and voices to this cause.

Please send any suggestions you have to me - preferably by fax (see below) - and I will pass them along to those taking the lead in making the statements.

Once again, I thank you for your vision, your determination, and your dedication to a mission as important as any ever undertaken by humankind.

Alan Cranston was a member of the United States Senate, 1969-93. He is the Chair of the Gorbachev Foundation in the United States. He can be contacted at: State of the World Forum, The Presidio, P.O. Box 29434, San Francisco, CA 94129, US, fax +1 415 771 4443.

Nuclear Disarmament and the post-Cold War crisis

By Gerald Kaufman

Introduction: the origins and scale of the post-Cold War crisis

The world is a far more dangerous place today than it was in the final years of the Cold War. In the earlier years of the Cold War, there was reason to fear that a third world war might break out, by design or accident. Stalin's siege of Berlin was a test of the West's resolve. The Cuban missile crisis was regarded as a test of Kennedy's nerve; although, while Kennedy's nerve proved to be cool, it can be argued that he over-reacted to a placement of Soviet missiles which was no more provocative than the placement of American missiles very close to Soviet frontiers.

In later years, particularly the Gorbachev era, there was - among all except the Dr . Strangeloves of this world - no genuine fear that war could break out, even by accident. Indeed, it can be argued that the Cold War was a positive benefit. Each side of the divide had a firm grip not only on its own weapons but on those of its clients. Seepage of weapons or of nuclear materials, though possible, was not a clear and present danger. Nobody liked the Cold War, of course, but in its later stages it did produce a sort of international order which made the world more peaceful than it had been since before the rise of Hitler.

When the Cold War ended and Communism collapsed in the Central and Eastern European members of the Soviet bloc, it seemed that the possibilities were bright. A new European security system could be fashioned, involving the former Communists and the Soviet Union. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) could be remodelled to take account of the new and promising situation. Everything in the garden could be lovely.

The key moment of failure, as far as European security was concerned, was the Group of Seven meeting in London in July 1991. That was the opportunity to help Gorbachev so that he could demonstrate that perestroika could actually deliver the goods - the consumer goods and economic progress which mattered far more to the Soviet people than glasnost, a treat for the favoured few. Perhaps the most catastrophic single decision since 1945 was the 4- 3 majority against helping Gorbachev, with the American Republican administration and the British Conservative government the predominantly guilty parties.

Gorbachev was sent away a humiliated man (I met him on the Friday of that week and saw the evidence of humiliation for myself). Almost immediately the coup took place. The thug Yeltsin spurned Gorbachev publicly and took over. The Soviet Union ended not in an orderly and planned way but in chaos. Control of weapons and nuclear material collapsed too. A huge weapons market, including a black market, arose. The collapse of Yugoslavia was a replication in miniature of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the disasters there directly precipitated by the insane decision of the European Community - driven by Germany, with Britain in its traditional role of appeaser - to recognise every tin-pot little entity declaring itself an independent republic.

European order, with the promise of such rich possibilities, was now an unattainable chimera. But Europe was not the only danger zone. In the Middle East and western and southern Asia, nuclear aspirations went unconcealed. The United Nations was hopelessly incompetent in its invigilation of the destruction of nuclear and other non-conventional weapons capability in Iraq. In Iran, India and Pakistan there was not even any invigilation. Nuclear weapons in the hands of the Americans and Russians - with lesser arsenals by Britain, France and China - were one thing. These countries, within their moral and psychological limitations, were stable. Iraq and Iran are countries of undisguised menace. India and Pakistan seek to disguise their nuclear capability, but it is well known that a nuclear conflict between them has been a real possibility in recent years. Both possess missiles which could deliver nuclear warheads to each other's territories, even though such delivery would mean poisoning their own territories too.

So, the swap that has been made is not a welcome swap. For 40 years we had a confrontational world in which everyone knew the stakes, most parties to the confrontation were rational about the stakes, and, while complacency was absurd, there was reasonable confidence that irrational behaviour was unlikely. Now, irrationality is the order of the day in vast tracts of the planet.

Rethinking security and arms control policies

Is there anything, or very much, that can be done about this situation? I am not at all sure. I am not sure to what extent governments' writs in a number of countries extend to the behaviour of their armed forces. I am not sure that certain governments, in full control of their armed forces, can be relied on to behave honestly and in good faith.

Yet, even though the problems are so great - indeed because the problems are so great - we have a duty to try. On general security policy, it is essential that NATO at long last gets down to working out its function, if any: the extent to which it makes sense to extend and expand NATO; which are desirable and which are undesirable additional members; and its relationship with the European Union. It needs to decide whether it is relevant and appropriate for NATO to become involved in civil wars on a policeman basis, on a self-defence basis, on a humanitarian basis, or on any permutation of the three.

Second, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council should get together and try to decide exactly what the role of the Security Council is. This will be difficult because, of these five members, only two (the US and Britain) do not seem to have any private agenda of their own and the Russians and Chinese are in many ways unpredictable. Nevertheless, the effort must be made. The proposals of the five should go forward to the Security Council as a whole, and go from there to the General Assembly. I am not saying miracles will ensue. I am not overconfident that anything really operable and enforceable will ensue. But I am certain that nothing either operable or enforceable will ensue if the initiative is not even taken.

The need for a nuclear disarmament conference

Quite separate from this, an international nuclear disarmament conference should be held under the auspices of as many of the main nuclear powers (as it happens, the five permanent Security Council members) as will agree to sponsor it; but, if any of these five do not agree to sponsor it, it should still be held. While the US, China and Russia are unlikely to agree complete disarmament within the measureable future, efforts should be made to bring about general reductions among these three which will make a real impression on those countries which already possess nuclear capability (whether they admit it or not) and those which are aspirants to such capability.

Ideally, both France and Britain should offer to give up all their nuclear weapons, since such a gesture would have a major impact on countries like India and Pakistan. However, even if France is not prepared to make this concession, I believe that Britain should. Let me make it absolutely clear that I am not advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament for the UK. I am advocating that the UK should use its nuclear capability to dissuade other countries from increasing, maintaining or obtaining nuclear capability.

I believe this nuclear disarmament conference should impose an international embargo on the proliferation of nuclear materials and that stringent sanctions should be imposed on countries which fail to abide by the embargo. Sanctions should also be imposed on countries such as India and Israel which refuse to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


I repeat, I do not expect these suggested arrangements to work faultlessly or without a hitch. The world is imperfect and its agencies and treaties are imperfect. But the world is a powder-keg of a kind unlike anything this planet has previously experienced. Every moiety of progress will reduce the volatility of that powder- keg.

No rational person can deny that the world is in a sorry state. Due to the lack of statesmanship of countries such as Britain and the US, the bombast of countries such as Russia, and the narrowness of vision of countries like France and China, that sorry state has come about. The only remedy, or possibility of partial remedy, is for just someone to exhibit just some statesmanship now.

Gerald Kaufman is a Labour member of the British House of Commons. Between 1987-92 he was his Party's spokesperson on Foreign Affairs.

Guest Analysis - Strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention

Progress and Peril in the Ad Hoc Group to Strengthen the BWC

By Marie Chevrier

Introduction: the BWC in peril?

The potential of biological and toxin weapons to kill large numbers of people is matched only by nuclear weapons. The risk of their use is growing with increasing worries of their proliferation and that of delivery systems that could aim them at distant targets. Facing this threat the international community should be devoting additional resources to the process already under way to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) which outlaws their very possession. A strong instrument to deter would-be proliferators and detect illicit programs is needed to make sure that the possession of biological or toxin weapons declines and that their use does not become a reality. Unfortunately, the current negotiations are in danger of bogging down because some States Parties appear to be dragging their feet and the Ad Hoc Group process, whereby the proposals for a legally binding instrument are developed, lacks important principles to guide its deliberations. A renewed political commitment accompanied by concerted action, however, could turn the process around.

At a Special Conference in September 1994, the States Parties to the BTWC established an Ad Hoc Group chaired by Ambassador Tibor Toth of Hungary to, as stated in the Final Declaration of the conference "consider appropriate measures, including possible verification measures, and draft proposals to strengthen the Convention, to be included, as appropriate, in a legally binding instrument, to be submitted for the consideration of the States Parties." Some participants in the special conference (though not all) were optimistic that the Ad Hoc Group could draft such proposals in time for the Fourth Review Conference of the Treaty which will begin in late November. In the intervening two years, however, the hope of meeting the Review Conference target has withered away. The Ad Hoc group will not have proposals ready for the States Parties to consider by November and some fear that the negotiations could be headed for a protracted stalemate where there is much activity but little progress.

Forces mitigating against progress

One major factor hampering progress in the Ad Hoc Group is that the negotiations are taking place among nations, some of whom may have clandestine weapons programs that they are trying to protect from international scrutiny. President Boris Yeltsin, for instance, admitted that the Soviet Union maintained a biological weapons program in violation of the BTWC and that the program continued in Russia after the breakup of the USSR. Moreover, the trilateral process among Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom has thus far failed to demonstrate that Russia has terminated its program, according to the most recent (August 1996) compliance report of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1). Moreover, the United States retains serious concerns about Iraqi, Chinese, and Iranian compliance with the provisions of the BTWC. While the US evidence of noncompliance is greatest for these countries, it undoubtedly has suspicions about the compliance of other countries as well (2). The secret nature of the trilateral process makes its progress difficult to discern. Nevertheless, the consultations and inspections that are a part of this process are in the spirit of the BTWC and should continue with renewed effort until the status of Russia's compliance is resolved.

The United States, as one of the three depository States, has shown a conspicuous lack of participation or leadership within the Ad Hoc Group, despite President Clinton's agreement to the July 1996 G-7 communique that "We will continue to work hard to implement the...[BTWC], including the establishment of an effective verification mechanism."(3) The US has submitted few working papers to the Ad Hoc Group, suggesting that the remaining superpower has yet to demonstrate its whole hearted commitment to drafting proposals for a strong, legally binding instrument to strengthen the BTWC. Of the twenty-eight working papers submitted at the fourth session of the Ad Hoc Group (July 1996), only one was submitted by the United States. By contrast, the European Union submitted seven working papers, South Africa submitted six, Australia, Canada and Russia submitted three each, the United Kingdom also submitted three, two of which were with Brazil. The US record is worse if one takes into account submissions from beginning of work of the Ad Hoc Group in January 1995.

While recognizing that submitting working papers is not the only way to contribute to the work of the Ad Hoc Group, the United States does not appear to be pulling its weight in the deliberations. Moreover, the United States is not the only State Party appearing to be less than fully engaged in the Ad Hoc process. Where is the substantive participation of China or Japan or India? The Ad Hoc group has made progress without the enthusiastic participation of key countries and can continue to do so. But to the extent that any of them plays the role of spoiler or critic, without offering reasonable alternatives to proposals put forward by others, the entire process lags.

Skewed priorities?

Undue attention has frequently been focused on the modifying words and phrases of the mandate given the Group by the States Parties to the detriment of the essentials: "to consider...measures...and draft proposals...[for] a legally binding instrument...to strengthen the Convention." The mandate directs the group to consider four separate areas in the context of drafting proposals to strengthen the Convention: 1) definitions of terms and objective criteria; 2) confidence-building and transparency measures; 3) measures to promote compliance; and, 4) measures to implement Article X of the Convention (4). The work of the Ad Hoc Group has been organized around these four areas under the guidance of Friends of the Chair. Each of the subgroups considers measures in an attempt to build agreement for the content of proposals. While using an inductive or 'from the bottom up' method of reaching consensus on the details of proposals has merit, the exercise can flounder without a set of guiding principles from the top.

For instance, the subgroup on definitions of terms has identified criteria for human, animal and plant pathogens that could be used for declaration purposes in a protocol (5). The subgroup on compliance measures, however, has not yet determined precisely what the purpose and uses of this list might be in the context of declarations, not to mention the use of lists within the full context of proposals to strengthen the Convention. One State reportedly wants to limit on-site measures to declared facilities that work with agents or toxins on the lists. Many members of the Western Group and others, accentuating the potential of offensive biological warfare programs to be housed in facilities that could be relatively easy to conceal, seem to be leaning toward using such lists in relation to non-challenge visits to declared facilities; but they oppose using the list of agents and toxins to limit on-site activities in the case of challenge inspections or allegations of use.

Toward new principles

This example illustrates the need for a set of agreed upon principles for the proposals to strengthen the BTWC or a basic framework upon which to attach the details that are being developed from below. The set of principles should be short, and simple. I propose the following:

1. The proposals to strength the BTWC will contain both off-site and on-site measures.

2. The off-site measures will include declarations from all parties of facilities and activities that could give rise to concerns about compliance with the Convention.

3. The on-site measures will not be confined to declared facilities nor will they be limited to challenge inspections. Appropriate on-site measures for visits to, or inspections of, declared facilities and challenge inspections of declared or undeclared facilities will be included among the proposals.

4. Nothing within the proposals shall restrict the deliberately broad prohibitions concerning the possession of biological agents and toxins contained in Article I of the Convention.

Reasons for the proposals have been well articulated elsewhere but deserve to be reiterated here (6).

Since the establishment of VEREX - the group of experts convened to identify and examine potential verification measures from a scientific and technical standpoint - the effort to strengthen the BTWC has been driven by both off-site and on-site measures. Indeed, any proposals to strengthen the Convention without the benefit of on-site measures would be destined to fail miserably. The most common measures that the VEREX group suggested be used in combination were declarations of activities and on-site inspections (7). Because governments believe that a biological weapons program could be hidden with relative ease, challenge inspections at undeclared sites are necessary to provide grounds for increased confidence in compliance, the most important component in strengthening the Convention.

Non-challenge visits, confined to declared sites and facilities, are necessary to assure the attention of all States Parties to the importance of national monitoring of biological sites and facilities of most relevance to the Convention. They are also necessary to develop inspectors with the requisite experience and expertise to evaluate evidence from any subsequent inspections relating to compliance concerns. Finally, one of the strongest elements of the BTWC is its Article I ban on the possession of biological agents and toxins that have no justification for peaceful purposes. This principle is included to ensure that the Ad Hoc Group, meant to bolster biological and toxin weapons arms control, does not undermine the foundation of the regime.

Practicalities and pressures

How much time does the Ad Hoc group need to complete its task? Some observers note that it took the CD seventeen years after the entry into force of the BTWC to complete the text of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), suggesting that ten years or more may be needed to complete a protocol for the BWC. At the other end of the spectrum is the observation that VEREX needed only four two-week sessions over a period of just over two years to complete its work.

Both these comparisons are flawed, however. The comparison with the CWC negotiations ignores the fact that during most of those seventeen years the CD was deadlocked between the Eastern and Western groups and their widely divergent opinions regarding verification, fueled by the Cold War conflict. Once an agreement to the principle of on-site inspections was achieved, agreement on a lengthy and complicated text was reached fairly rapidly. The VEREX analogy does not acknowledge the different nature of the tasks facing VEREX and the Ad Hoc Group. VEREX was limited to evaluating measures from a scientific and technical standpoint only; it grappled only tangentially, if at all, with questions such as access to sites that are sensitive for security or commercial reasons, or the political implications of making challenge inspections. It will be up to the Fourth Review Conference to decide a reasonable length of time for the Ad Hoc Group to report back to the States Parties. While a rigid deadline to complete proposals has drawbacks, the Conference could set a 1998 goal for completing the work of the Ad Hoc Group. It would be a mistake not to encourage early completion of the proposals; mid- 1998 is realistic and would not interfere with plans for the Fifth Review Conference.


The Ad Hoc process to strengthen the BTWC is too important to the security of too many nations to let it languish from insufficient attention. In September the group meets once again to continue its work and, in its last few days, to prepare its progress report for the upcoming Review Conference. This Autumn should also be a time for all governments involved to take stock of their contributions to a strengthened BTWC and weigh what they must do to renew or revitalize their commitment. The fate of the BTWC hinges on the willingness of the State Parties to show the political will necessary to construct a legally binding instrument that will have the necessary teeth to minimize the risk of catastrophic biological warfare in the 21st century.

Notes and references

Dr. Marie Isabelle Chevrier is Assistant Professor of Political Economy at the University of Texas at Dallas.

CTB Negotiations - Geneva Update No. 30

By Rebecca Johnson, Disarmament Intelligence Review

Introduction: No Consensus on CTBT Text

After the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva failed to adopt by consensus the text for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which it has been negotiating for over 30 months, Australia announced that a group of the treaty's 'Friends' would take it to the United Nations General Assembly by the 16 September deadline set last year by UNGA resolution 50/65. This effectively ended weeks of increasingly desperate manoeuvres by proponents and opponents of the treaty, but leaves serious questions about the viability of this test ban treaty and the future credibility of the CD as the sole multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament issues. Lacking CD endorsement, the treaty could face a rough ride in New York, where most decisions are decided by the majority vote of 185 countries. All five declared nuclear-weapon States have indicated a willingness to sign this treaty provided it is not amended, but many other countries have expressed dissatisfaction with some of its provisions, particularly entry-into-force, the preamble and the geographical distribution of seats for the Executive Council.

Following announcements in July by government representatives of the US, UK, France and Russia, that they would support the draft text submitted on 28 June by the Chair of the ad hoc Committee on a Nuclear Test Ban (NTB), Ambassador Jaap Ramaker of The Netherlands (CD/NTB/WP.330/Rev.1), further multilateral negotiations were halted when the CD reconvened on 29 July. China gave its support for the treaty following intensive bilateral negotiations with the US on on-site inspections (OSI) and national technical means (NTM), which was reflected in an amendment to the decisionmaking procedure in the text. On 14 August, Ramaker brought out his final treaty draft (CD/NTB/WP.330/Rev.2), incorporating this decision and other minor modifications correcting inconsistencies in the earlier drafts.

By mid August it was clear that unless negotiations were reopened on entry into force (EIF), India would block CD endorsement of the treaty. As the domestic debate over India's nuclear options reached fever pitch, New Delhi had announced in June that it would not sign the treaty without a binding commitment to timebound nuclear disarmament. This was rejected by the P-5 nuclear-weapon States. India then argued that its inclusion on a list of 44 States required for the CTBT to enter into force was unacceptable, given its public rejection of the treaty. After blocking agreement on the treaty text, India refused consent for the text to be attached to the NTB Committee's report covering its work this year. After much lengthy debate, the report - minus the treaty text - was adopted by the CD on 20 August, acknowledging that consensus had not been reached on the text itself or its transmission onwards. As some delegations moved to bypass the CD's deadlock on the treaty, India and Iran used procedural tactics to prevent even this truncated NTB Committee report from being sent to the UNGA before the CD's full report at the end of its session.

Australia's resolution to the UN General Assembly, lodged on 22 August, has presently attracted over 50 co-sponsors, including Britain, France, and the US, as well as non-nuclear-weapon States from Europe, Latin America and the Pacific, though non-aligned movement (NAM) countries are so far under-represented. Russia and China and a number of NAM States have said that they are unwilling to endorse this bypassing of the CD, although they will support the resolution and sign the treaty. The resolution, likely to be considered on 9 September, requests the UN General Secretary to be the depositary for the CTBT and open it for signature, and calls upon all States to sign and ratify. If the resolution is endorsed, a signing ceremony could be held in New York before the end of September. If not, it will deal a major blow to prospects for non- proliferation and nuclear disarmament.

recent developments

China conducted its 45th nuclear test as the third part of the CD's 1996 session opened on 29 July. Although a few countries expressed 'regret' that China had tested again, criticism was muted by the widespread welcome given to Beijing's announcement that this was its final test before joining the other declared nuclear-weapon States in a moratorium. However, the test (and apparent acquiescence of the international community) further incensed India, which opened the session by reiterating its decision not to sign the treaty contained in the 28 June Chair's text and warning that it would block the treaty altogether unless the EIF provision were modified. It appears that this warning was not initially believed, although few expected India to be able to sign the treaty in the near future.

Despite its misgivings about the implications of Article XIV of the draft treaty on entry into force, the Clinton Administration made a policy decision in early July to support the Chair's text in WP.330/Rev.1 as it was and to deter any attempts at further negotiations, on grounds that the danger of unravelling the treaty would be too great. Consequently the US obtained early declarations of support for the Chair's text from Britain, France, Russia, Indonesia and several others. During July, thirteen G-21 (the CD grouping of non-aligned States) delegations - from Brazil, Cuba, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Myanmar and Venzuela - had revised their proposals on the preamble, submitted on 27 June as WP.336, with a view to negotiating for stronger commitments on qualitative developments and nuclear disarmament.

The nuclear-weapon States, and Britain, France and the US in particular, refused to consider the G-21 proposals, and it became clear in early August that Ramaker had decided that only procedure and no issues of substance were to be discussed in the remaining NTB Committee meetings. Multilateral negotiations continued under the auspices of Friends of the Chair only on the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) arrangements and funding, and agreements with Austria over hosting the CTBT Organization, neither of which affected the treaty text.

Apart from a reiteration by India of its simple numerical proposal on EIF, that the treaty should take effect upon ratification by 65 States, none of the other delegations which had expressed grave reservations about the inflexibility of Article XIV in the draft text proposed alternatives to the provision listing 44 nuclear capable CD members. Given the expressed determination by Russia, Britain and China, as well as Pakistan and Egypt, to ensure that the treaty would not take effect without all eight nuclear test capable States on board, advocates of a more flexible provision seemed to regard any attempt to reopen the negotiations as doomed unless the United States and France were prepared to move Russia, China and Britain. Despite some half-hearted attempts, the political leadership for this was lacking.

Many delegates expressed anxiety that India's declaration on 20 June that it would not sign the treaty in its present form turned the EIF provision into an invitation to India to veto the treaty altogether. Yet, though the majority, including Australia, Germany and most EU countries, Japan, Canada and most of the G-21, considered that a more flexible provision, combined with political pressure once the furore in the Indian press had died down, would be more likely to deliver India's future accession than imposing a structural condition in the treaty itself, the US determination not to let negotiations be re-opened seemed to act as a gag on its allies and on the NTB Committee Chair.

However, notwithstanding its declarations against re-opening the treaty, the US acceded to China's demand for further discussions on inspections and NTM. During P-5 negotiations in June and July, Britain, France and Russia had already been willing to accept an OSI decisionmaking procedure based on a 'three-fifths' majority, viewed as a bridging formula between the simple majority reflected in Ramaker's text and the two-thirds majority demanded by China, Pakistan and others. After hard bargaining, during which China's support for the treaty appeared to hang in the balance, the US accepted Ambassador Sha Zukang's proposal for decisionmaking by 'at least 30 affirmative votes' of the 51-member Executive Council. For the text to be amended to meet China's needs while the US and Ramaker remained adamant that no further negotiations were possible, Ramaker added this in to a list of procedural 'modifications'. This fed Indian anger even further, resulting in editorials calling for the Indian government to conduct a nuclear test and weaponize its nuclear capability in order to be taken seriously in international negotiations.

Hope that the CD would approve the treaty faded when Ambassador Arundhati Ghose on 8 August said that unless the EIF provision were amended, India would be 'reluctantly obliged to oppose' consensus on the text. She said that Article XIV 'totally disregards' India's position, seeking to enforce its signature, contrary to international law and pointed out that the provision was 'not in accordance with the wishes of the majority of CD members', but had been included at the insistence of a small number of States which did not really want the treaty.

Ghose's complaint that there had been no willingness to negotiate on its concerns was echoed by others who felt that negotiations in the committee need not have been curtailed so abruptly. However, there was also a strong undercurrent of opinion that India's decision to block on the EIF provision was strategic: that India did not want the CTBT, and would have found another reason to block, even if entry into force were made more flexible. Since three of the nuclear-weapon States attached great importance to retaining the current Article XIV and the US had decided not to prioritise this issue, Ramaker considered he had no alternative but to secure a treaty that at least the P-5 would accept.

This decision overshadowed the endgame. Once India had blocked, the question became how to take the treaty to New York for General Assembly endorsement with the maximum possible support. Attached to a resolution from the CD, the text would almost certainly have been adopted without a vote, but if it were submitted to the UN by only a handful of States, the risks increased that it could be derailed or amended in such a way that the P-5 would refuse to sign. With many delegations reluctant to bypass the CD until all possible avenues had been exhausted, the United States began to exert pressure on the CD's credibility. Ambassador Stephen Ledogar, speaking to the press on 15 August, referred to 'grave perhaps fatal damage to the Conference as an institution', warning that 'it is not necessary for India or Iran...to destroy the CD as a credible institution in order to make their points'.

The non-aligned - and particularly India - have traditionally regarded the CD as a vital component for multilateral engagement on disarmament issues. Since this view is not generally shared by the Western nuclear powers, such comments were considered a scarcely-veiled threat. Recognising that the time had passed for obtaining stronger commitments in the preamble, 28 of the 30 non- aligned States in the CD proposed a 'programme of action for the elimination of nuclear weapons', arguing that this could provide a basis for discussions in a CD committee on nuclear disarmament. Opinion was divided, with some arguing that the programme would merely harden US-UK opposition to a nuclear disarmament committee, while others, such as Chile, emphasised that the programme should be regarded as a contribution to debate, together with the Canberra Commission, the judgement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and related NGO studies.

Although the non-aligned were substantially supported by western countries and China in pressing for a CD committee as the appropriate place to initiate multilateral discussions on further steps towards nuclear disarmament, and despite significant flexibility by Russia and France, the US and UK have continued to oppose this committee, arguing instead for negotiations to open on a fissile materials ban. However, this issue is still deadlocked over whether to include stockpiles, with India now pushing to renegotiate the mandate to exclude stocks explicitly and link the measure with a wider commitment to nuclear disarmament.

Based on recent CTBT experience, few now expect that the CD will be successful in negotiating a fissban anytime soon. While some had hoped to bargain their support for the CTBT in New York with P- 5 agreement on a nuclear disarmament committee, the US and UK (at least) are determined to keep the two things separate. This is contributing to the high degree of frustration among non-nuclear- weapon States over the final stages of CTBT negotiations and especially the treaty's weak preamble.

It is clear that most non-aligned countries would prefer a stronger preamble and more flexible EIF provision in the treaty. However, in view of the P-5 threats not to sign an amended treaty, their decisions on amendments will have to be tactical. An amendment on a time-bound framework, for example, could well split the NAM. Although it was adopted as NAM policy in Cartagena in 1995, thereby potentially carrying 113 votes, some would feel bound to vote against in order to safeguard the CTBT, while the majority would be likely to abstain.

The cost of a showdown over such an amendment, whether passed or failed, could have serious and adverse long term consequences, which will have to be carefully calculated by any State considering this. There are perhaps fewer risks if Syria, Iran or others propose amendments to eject Israel from the Middle Eastern regional grouping. The geographical basis for distribution of Executive Council seats was a carefully crafted balance and most States want Israel in the treaty, so a majority for such a change would be extremely unlikely.

To view the passage of the CTBT through the UNGA purely in terms of the numbers would be a serious mistake. The nuclear-weapon States as well as India and Iran bear a heavy responsibility for the precarious condition of this long-sought treaty. Whether the treaty unravels now or in the next few years as it sits in legal limbo will depend on many political factors. There will have to be clear, practical demonstrations that the CTBT was not intended merely as a non-proliferation measure to reinforce the nuclear status quo, involving further bilateral progress on reducing the largest arsenals and a genuine commitment in both the Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) enhanced review process and the CD to negotiate the further steps towards eliminating nuclear weapons, in accordance with NPT obligations.

Report of the ad hoc Committee on a Nuclear Test Ban

Accepted as a 'factual record' of the work of the NTB Committee in 1996, the report (WP.340/Rev.2) first listed the personnel who had taken responsibility for specific issues during CTBT negotiations and provided a record of 26 official documents and 67 working papers submitted during the year. It summarised the substantive work, noting that the Chair's text WP.330 was presented after 'building upon agreements' reached during the negotiations and on the basis of Ramaker's 'best judgement', calling it 'an essential and indispensable step towards the conclusion of a treaty within the time frame set by the international community.' Referring to 'a new negotiating framework' from that point, though acknowledging that some delegations preferred the rolling text, the report establishes that the Chair's text had effectively become the basis for negotiations after 28 May.

Section V, 'Conclusions of the Chairman on his Consultations', included the main points from the statement made by Ramaker to the committee on 9 August, clarifying or interpreting aspects of the text and determining that continuing negotiations on the draft treaty 'would not likely yield further results'. He noted that 'every solution' attempted on outstanding concerns, including entry into force, nuclear disarmament and the preamble, the Executive Council (EC) composition, etc, 'seemed to create a new problem'.

Ramaker clarified for India's benefit that Article XIV (on EIF) did not impinge on a State's sovereign right; nor did paragraph 2, referring to the political conference, mean UN Security Council measures (i.e. sanctions) in accordance with Chapter VII of the UN Charter. He clarified for Iran and others, which had objected to Israel's inclusion in the Middle East region, that these groupings were CTBT-specific, defined in geographical terms to underscore that no State Party should be permanently excluded from the Executive Council. He further clarified the purpose of inspections and gave his understanding of safeguards against the potential abuse of NTM: based on 'objective information', limited to the treaty's subject matter, respecting sovereignty of States and in the least intrusive manner possible. The agreement made between China and the US on inspections was presented as a 'slight' modification replacing 'a majority of all' by 'at least 30 affirmative votes of' the Executive Council.

Section VI: National Statements

There then followed 18 national 'statements of position', summarised below in the order in which they were attached.

Egypt: The text offers 'a better balance and an improvement over previous texts' but falls short in some respects. In particular, the preamble 'should have contained clear and unambiguous references to the objective of achieving total nuclear disarmament and to the fact that the treaty is but one step within a phased framework of nuclear disarmament...' Lack of agreement on this 'raises significant doubts about the true commitment of the nuclear-weapon States to these objectives.' The draft is not comprehensive, 'but only another partial test ban treaty which bans only nuclear test explosions.' Egypt argued against the 'green light' OSI process in the treaty (preferring 'red light') but accepted Ramaker's clarifications on NTM and Article XIV. Egypt complained that Africa was not equitably represented and criticised the distribution of seats by six 'unprecedented' regional groups. The statement did not say whether or not Egypt accepts the treaty text as finalised.

Mexico: Noted that the ban was limited to nuclear weapon test explosions and regretted that the preamble did not more explicitly reaffirm 'the commitment of all States to the total elimination of nuclear weapons', arguing that this omission diminished the effectiveness of the treaty's contribution to the process of nuclear disarmament. 'The treaty's most serious shortcoming is the Article on entry into force', with a provision that 'detracts from the viability of the draft as a treaty'. Mexico would have favoured any provision that would have 'enabled the treaty to become fully operative in the foreseeable future.' Notwithstanding these criticisms, Mexico considered that the committee should approve the transmission of the draft to the CD.

India: Reiterated that 'India cannot and does not accept' the revised draft treaty 'as the CTBT we were mandated to negotiate'. India's objections included: the draft 'leaves open the possibilities of non-explosive testing and consequently of the qualitative improvement and upgradation of nuclear weapons...'; it lacks any commitment to a timebound process, including only 'weak preambular references of a non-binding nature' on nuclear disarmament. India opposed the transmission of the draft text because of 'the strongest objection to Article XIV', which created 'obligations for a country without its consent and therefore ...contrary to customary international law'. Since India had 'clearly and repeatedly stated its position not to subscribe to the draft treaty in its present form' Article XIV completely disregarded this position. 'For all those countries who appear so eager to have this text enter into force at an early date, they have ensured, that with the current language, it will never do so.'

Brazil: Accepted the draft, regarding the OSI amendment as an improvement. While preferring other 'adjustments' also, Briazil understood that this could imperil conclusion of the CTBT in the internationally set time-frame. While lack of commitment to specific measures on nuclear disarmament 'is a major shortcoming', Brazil expressed confidence that the ban would 'constrain vertical proliferation and reinforce the trend towards rolling back the nuclear arms race' but raised concerns about the financial burden of its implementation.

China: Referring again to China's commitment to the 'complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and the realization of a nuclear-free world', the statement said that China considered that the draft treaty 'represents the outcome of negotiations in the past two and a half years, by and large reflecting objectively the state of the negotiations and therefore is balanced in general' . China would agree to transmission of the treaty draft to the CD as an annex attached to the report of the committee.

Saying that it was not entirely satisfied with the draft because it 'fails to fully reflect the just demand and reasonable proposals put forward by many developing countries, including China', the statement objected to the following: no reference to a no first use agreement in the preamble; equal treatment for IMS and NTM information, 'without drawing the necessary distinctions...' and possible abuse or misuse of OSI; the decision- making procedure, where China would still prefer two-thirds, but had accepted the 30-vote majority option as a last resort to facilitate early conclusion; financial contribution being included as one of the criteria for membership of the Executive Council, which could set a bad precedent; and noble gas monitoring which China viewed as lacking sufficient technical assessment and a technical consensus.

Algeria: Stressed that the absence of a consensus text was not due to the actions of any State in particular but to the inadequacies of the text itself. Despite these, Algeria would not oppose its transmission to the CD. The statement identified several major objections: dissatisfaction with the weak references to nuclear disarmament; concern about inspections, underlining that NTM should not be obtained from human intelligence and should relate only to possible violations of the treaty; Article XIV on entry into force, which could prejudice a State's sovereign rights; and Africa's under-representation on the Executive Council.

Cuba: Criticised the draft for failing to site the issue in the proper contexts of non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, and for ambiguities and omissions. The treaty in its current from is just another partial test ban treaty. It should have banned all nuclear tests and contained stronger preambular commitments on a timetable for nuclear disarmament and the beneficial impact on the environment of halting nuclear explosions. Cuba also expressed concern about the provisions for NTM, financial contributions as a criterion for EC membership, and entry into force. However, Cuba would not oppose the draft treaty 'chiefly because we think that a ban on nuclear explosions is supremely important and represents a step forward, albeit a modest one...'

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakstan, Mongolia, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK, USA: Though not 'fully satisfied with the text in CD/NTB/WP.330/Rev.2,' the 39 signatories on the joint statement were 'prepared to support this text and consider that it should be forwarded to the Conference on Disarmament for consideration and adoption.'

UK, US, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Belgium (7 Western countries) clarified that in their view none of the national statements had any 'authoritative status at the level of interpretation or otherwise: the text of the Treaty spoke for itself.'

Colombia: Referred to the summit of the NAM (of which it is currently coordinator) in Cartagena in 1995, which 'reaffirmed that, if the CTBT was to have any meaning as a disarmament treaty, it must be considered as a major step towards the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons within a specific time-frame.' Colombia therefore criticised the preamble as weak and questioned whether the treaty's real purpose was to maintain the nuclear status quo. Calling Article XIV 'interesting', Colombia questioned whether it was 'viable in present circumstances' and 'if we are genuinely interested in having the treaty enter into force at a given time.' Colombia would be ready to sign a CTBT but gave no specific indication of support for this text.

Iran: Noted that there were still 'three or four' issues to be resolved and criticised as 'appalling' the fact that 'negotiations should cease abruptly and be replaced by an accelerated move towards deadlock.' Iran identified several objections: lack of commitment to a phased programme with agreed time frames to eliminate nuclear weapons; NTM; and the Executive Council composition, specifically Israel's inclusion within the Middle East and South Asia regional group. Referring to the programme of action for elimination of nuclear weapons (CD/1419, 7 August 1996, see below), Iran concluded that its proponents 'find the current text failing to fulfil the established objective or a comprehensive test ban', and pushed for negotiations to resolve the remaining issues. Iran said that it could 'go along with nearly all parts' of Ramaker's draft, but 'the remaining issues mentioned above prevent us from lending our support to it.'

Viet Nam: Criticised the preamble as too weak on nuclear disarmament and raised concerns about financial contribution to the treaty regime, but concluded that the 'draft CTBT, in its present form, does provide us [with] several important measures that, if implemented in good faith, would greatly enhance international cooperation for peace and nuclear disarmament.'

Pakistan: Criticised the process of negotiations as lacking transparency and complained that the text was 'not entirely the product of multilateral negotiations' and in some cases did 'not take into account strongly held positions of some States whose participation is vital...' Specific problems included: lack of comprehensiveness of scope; inadequate preambular commitment to nuclear disarmament in a specific time-frame; the EC list (which Pakistan considered unnecessary, while accepting the Chair's statement that this was CTBT-specific). Pakistan's major objections covered NTM and OSI provisions. While raising a series of concerns, Pakistan said it accepted the Chinese-US revision for approval of an OSI request by at least 30 of the 51 EC members, and stated for the record Pakistan's view that 'IMS information will hold primacy in the context of the treaty's verification and that NTM data will not supersede the IMS data.'

Pakistan underlined the 'highest importance' of the EIF provision and said that it would strongly oppose any change to Article XIV. Pakistan underscored its view that 'the signature and ratification by a State of this treaty cannot constitute a legal commitment to its basic obligations until the treaty has entered into force.' Furthermore the conduct of a nuclear explosion could constitute sufficient grounds for Pakistan to withdraw from the treaty on groups of supreme national interests. Pakistan was prepared to accept the draft text as the basis for consensus and agree to its transmission to the CD 'despite its shortcomings', as it would constrain further development of nuclear weapons and contribute to the goal of nuclear disarmament and promote nuclear non- proliferation.

Kenya: Kenya emphasised that it was at the forefront for advocating a CTBT and anxious to see it concluded as soon as possible.

Nigeria: Concluding that 'this nuclear weapon explosion limitation treaty is important' Nigeria appeared to give critical support without indicating its view on transmission or signature. Specifically, Nigeria argued that the financial contributions required of States should be balanced by preambular provisions strong on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, expressing disappointment that the treaty had failed to do this effectively. Nigeria also raised concerns about EIF, preferring a simple numerical formula, and the composition of the EC, complaining that Africa was under-represented and that instead of the six geographical regions the basis should have been the five UN- recognised groupings.

Peru: Despite its 'many deficiencies', Peru would accept the draft treaty, but underlined two major objections: the weakness of the preamble on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation; and the financial obligations incurred by States Parties which had never acquired or desired nuclear weapons.

Canada: Accepted the text and backed its transmission to the CD for consideration and adoption, but expressed 'serious reservations' about some aspects, namely verification, and the need for 'a more progressive and dynamic reference' to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in the preamble. Canada was 'deeply concerned' over the EIF provisions, which 'may result in a prolonged and serious delay in the treaty's entry into force.'

Belgium: While describing the treaty as 'far from being perfect', Belgium wanted it to be sent to and endorsed by the UNGA. In particular, Belgium would have preferred a stronger preamble on nuclear disarmament, a simpler OSI procedure, and a more flexible EIF provision.

Section VII: Conclusions and Recommendations

After long hours of deliberation, the following language was finalised, acknowledging the basic support for the treaty but lack of full agreement: 'As this report indicates, despite the assessments of CD/NTB/WP.330/Rev.2 contained in section VI above [the national statements] and support for a proposal to transmit it to the Conference on Disarmament for its consideration, no consensus could be reached either on the text or on the action proposed. The ad hoc Committee refers this report to the Conference on Disarmament.'

Statements to the CD Plenary

Several of the statements which formed part of the NTB Committee's report and are summarised above were based on plenary speeches, which will not therefore be detailed again. See also Documents and Sources.

1 August

The 743rd plenary of the CD, chaired by Ambassador Jose Urrutia of Peru, was addressed by John Holum, deputy Director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) and by the representatives of China, Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, Japan, Switzerland, Colombia, Iran, Sri Lanka and Brazil. While most statements concentrated on the CTBT negotiations, New Zealand announced that it had become the 58th country to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), while Iran raised concern that this important treaty could enter into force without 'the two declared possessors of chemical weapons', Russia and the United States.

For the United States, Holum echoed President Clinton's call for the Chair's CTBT text to be forwarded without change to the United Nations, arguing that 'the likelihood of a better outcome through further negotiation is nil'. Responding to complaints that the treaty had been 'pre-cooked', Holum pointed out that many positions favoured by the US had been rejected, but congratulated Ramaker for producing from the disparate views of CD members a draft treaty 'that none of us, despite our disappointments, can claim is unrepresentative or unfair'.

Ambassador Sha Zukang itemised the compromises China had made to facilitate early conclusion of the treaty, but argued that China could not support the Chair's draft unless the trigger basis and decisionmaking procedure for OSIs were renegotiated. China called for further clarification of which NTM would be admissible and offered two alternative proposals on OSI. Sha did not refer to China's test, although New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Switzerland expressed regret that it had taken place, while welcoming Beijing's announcement of a moratorium on further tests.

Ambassador Munir Akram reiterated that Pakistan was not satisfied with the negotiations, saying that the process had lacked transparency and that 'texts relating to vital parts of the treaty have descended from heaven and elsewhere'. In particular he raised concern that the treaty would not be universal or fully comprehensive, and repeated Pakistan's positions on NTM and OSI. He concluded by underlining that Pakistan opposed any change in the entry-into-force provisions of the Chair's text.

Several countries, including Australia, Belgium, Japan and Switzerland, urged acceptance of the Chair's text as is, while acknowledging its 'imperfections'. Summing up this position, Ambassador Hisami Kurokochi of Japan considered that 'in view of the limited time available for us, the Chairman's text seems to be the only proposal which enables us to have a treaty.' Brazil said it would be prepared to accept the Chair's draft treaty, considering that it 'offers the best prospect' for a CTBT, but noted the 'inescapable fact' that 'several important participants...still have major difficulties' with the text, urging for all avenues to be explored to conclude a 'generally acceptable treaty'.

Pakistan, Colombia and Sri Lanka raised continuing concern that the treaty 'will ban only nuclear explosions and not all nuclear tests', thereby possibly allowing some qualitative development of nuclear weapons. Colombia also regretted the lack of a 'time-bound commitment' to secure nuclear disarmament and questioned the viability of Article XIV on entry into force. In Sri Lanka's view, this, 'as presently drafted, will not permit the treaty to come into force - at all.' Sri Lanka also raised concerns about funding and the composition of the Executive Council, concluding with the hope that negotiations will continue on the basis of the Chair's text in order to resolve the remaining issues.

8 August

The 744th plenary, chaired by Urrutia, was addressed by Ukraine, Ireland, Morocco, Egypt, Mexico, South Africa and India.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, Ambassador Anne Anderson of Ireland (holders of the EU Presidency) acknowledged that because it 'attempts to balance competing requirements, [the 28 June draft text] does not and cannot reflect all the aspirations of all participants in the negotiations'. However, upholding Ramaker's judgment that it represented 'the maximum common ground', the EU urged all participating countries to accept and adopt the treaty text. The draft treaty was also endorsed by Ukraine, who warned that 'further procrastination in the process of negotiations would seriously jeopardize the chances for the successful completion of our common work on the CTBT...'

Morocco said it was 'not opposed in principle' to the Chair's text, but raised concerns that the entry-into-force provision should not compromise any State's sovereignty.

Ambassador Arundhati Ghose of India told the CD that since the 28 June draft 'does not meet India's basic concerns', her country would not sign the treaty in that form. She read a statement dated 31 July from the Minister of External Affairs of India, I K Gujral, calling for a 'genuinely comprehensive CTBT' and condemning 'ongoing testing programmes, whether at test sites or in laboratories'. Arguing that Article XIV on entry into force 'seeks to enforce our signature by means unprecedented in treaty- negotiating practice in that it creates obligations for a country without its consent', Ghose proposed an amendment, whereby the treaty would enter into force after ratification by 65 States. Furthermore, she warned that if Article XIV was retained in its inflexible form, requiring India's signature, India would oppose efforts to adopt the text.

Recalling previous decisions by the G-21, Ambassador Mounir Zahran of Egypt presented a 'programme of action for the elimination of nuclear weapons' on behalf of 28 of the 30 current members. This programme outlined three stages from 1996 to 2020, recommending 'concrete measures' to be carried out by the ad hoc Committee on Nuclear Disarmament. Zahran called for the CD to 'carefully study the programme and start work immediately for the earliest realization of the objective of attaining a world free from all nuclear weapons'.

Ambassador de Icaza of Mexico, who had been a prime mover in developing the programme of action, immediately spoke in support, saying the the CD should begin negotiations on 'a phased programme for the elimination of nuclear weapons within a definite time- frame' as soon as it had completed the CTBT. Arguing that there has been 'no fundamental change in the military doctrines of security based on these doomsday weapons', de Icaza said that it was 'essential to give the negotiations on disarmament a direction and specific goals' but underlined that the purpose was not to impose 'preconceived patterns' but to initiate a 'joint exercise in thinking'. Noting concern from some CD delegations that the CTBT did not prohibit all nuclear tests or close the test sites, Mexico suggested that this could be remedied by future action rather than by attempting to renegotiate the CTBT.

Ambassador J S Selebi of South Africa read from a joint 'Memorandum of Cooperation on Disarmament and Arms Control' signed on 8 August by President Nelson Mandela and James Bolger, Prime Minister of New Zealand. This reaffirmed the necessity for early signing of the CTBT, referred to the ICJ judgement and highlighted the NPT enhanced review process, as providing a means for promoting the full implementation of the Treaty. Endorsing the Pelindaba and Rarotonga treaties, both countries reaffirmed their objective of achieving a southern hemisphere free of nuclear weapons, pledging support for the CWC and verification provisions to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and calling for greater focus on conventional arms in all disarmament fora.

Following this, Selebi said that South Africa had not been able to co-sponsor the programme of action presented by Egypt because of linkage represented by the demand for immediate 'and concurrent' negotiations on several measures including a fissile materials production ban, conventions on non-use and negative security assurances and a nuclear weapons convention, which from experience, he said, was more likely 'to block progress on all fronts'. Although De Icaza denied that any linkage was intended, saying that Mexico also opposed such linkage, it is understood that the word 'concurrent' was included at the insistence of India, which is now opposing a fissban unless it goes together with a commitment on complete nuclear disarmamament.

15 August

The 745th plenary, chaired by Urrutia, was addressed by Chile, Cuba, Bangladesh, Seychelles, Iran, Turkey and Australia. The edited statements of Iran and Cuba were attached to the NTB Committee report, summarised above.

Ambassador Jorge Berguno of Chile spoke in favour of the treaty and its transmission, but called for more action on nuclear disarmament, citing the Canberra Commission report and the Stimson Center report on 'An evolving US Nuclear Posture', as well as the G-21 programme of action proposed by Egypt (although Chile was not a co-sponsor). This prompted Australia to give a brief introduction to the Canberra Commission report, published on 14 August.

Ambassador Anwar Hashim of Bangladesh spoke critically on the CTBT, objecting especially to the EIF provision as 'superfluous' and creating unacceptable pressures on the 44 listed countries (Bangladesh included). Pointing out that Bangladesh was already an NPT Party with no ambitions for nuclear weapons, he said that, as one of the poorest nations in the world, its decision on ratification would have to be based on 'budgetary arithmetic'.

The Seychelles' maiden speech in the CD expressed commitment to disarmament.

Turkey's representative read out a statement from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs (14 August) which supported the Chair's text and called for signature by UNGA 51.

20 August

The 746th plenary, chaired by Ambassador Ludwik Dembinski of Poland, adopted the NTB Committee report (CD/1425), but deferred taking action on it until 22 August. Presenting the report, the Committee Chair, Jaap Ramaker, thanked everyone for their work and said that ' the report traces the steps that have led us to the draft text of a comprehensive test ban treaty, the outcome of a long and difficult negotiating process.' He regretted that consensus had not been reached, but said that with the latest version of the draft text, 'the ad hoc committee reached the very limits of what it could negotiate'. Pointing out that 'a great many countries' accepted the treaty 'as it stands now', Ramaker recommended that the CD adopt the report and transmit it to the General Assembly.

Ambassador Arundhati Ghose again gave India's reasons for refusing to let the CD transmit the treaty text to the UNGA. Referring to the 'attempted duress' embodied in the entry into force provision, she said that the CD 'has no text of a CTBT to recommend to the GA at this time'. Going over the ways in which India had tried to remove the 'shortcomings' of the treaty, especially by regarding advances in nuclear technology and the need for nuclear disarmament in a time-bound framework, she said that the Indian objective was a 'truly comprehensive test ban treaty rather than merely a nuclear test explosion ban treaty' and that underground explosions now had the same relevance to halting development of nuclear weapons as banning atmospheric tests did in 1963. Ghose reiterated India's objections to Article XIV, declaring that 'the procedure adopted despite India's declared dissociation with the draft text has been perceived very negatively in our capital.'

Ambassador Munir Akram gave a very hard hitting statement providing Pakistan's 'nuclear history of South Asia' and attacking India's nuclear ambitions and 'hypocrisy'. Criticising those who sought to appease India by conveying 'assurances that one country can "stay out" of the Treaty as long as it does not block transmission' he warned against 'double standards', threatening that 'any step of nuclear escalation by our neighbour will find a matching response to preserve our national security.' Pointing out that when India had co-sponsored the UNGA resolution on a CTBT in 1993, proposing the mandate for negotiations, it had not insisted on the link with timebound nuclear disarmament, Akram suggested that India had not expected that negotiations would go so far.

Noting that India had in the past refused regional disarmament initiatives on the grounds that only global measures including the P-5 were acceptable, Akram castigated India for now refusing the global CTBT. Pointing out that Pakistan also supports timebound nuclear disarmament and had sponsored the programme of action with 27 others, he said that 'to insist that the nuclear powers give a prior commitment to such a programme as a precondition for the entry into force of a CTBT is obviously unrealistic and unreasonable...a transparent device to avoid a commitment to a nuclear test ban treaty, to veto a vital disarmament measure which has virtually universal support.' Reiterating that any change to Article XIV would destroy consensus, Akram said that Pakistan endorsed this treaty draft, despite its shortcomings, and backed its transmission to the UNGA for adoption.

Ambassador Sirous Nasseri of Iran criticised the way in which doors were 'slammed shut' on further negotiations, causing a 'hasty non-consensus'. Iran 'would not disagree' with the adoption of the NTB Committee's report but urged the CD to take a fresh look and explore every possibility to improve the treaty text.

22 August

The 747th plenary, chaired by Dembinski, failed to agree on sending the NTB Committee report - even without the treaty text attached - to the the UNGA 50th session. With both the Western and Eastern European groups advocating transmission, supported by many G-21 States, including Egypt, Pakistan, Brazil, Peru, Morocco and Chile, consensus was defeated only by a series of last ditch procedural blocks put up by Iran and India. They said they would not object to its transmission in a 'regular report' and with deliberate disingenuity questioned the 'hurry' of sending it to UNGA 50, even invoking CD rules of procedure that have never been applied before when adopting its committees' reports. Proposals by Pakistan and Egypt to simplify the decision to send the report to UNGA 50 were likewise blocked. The NTB Committee report will thus become part of the annual report of the CD's 1996 session which will be transmitted to UNGA 51 after the CD closes on 13 September.

Belgium requested that the draft treaty text contained in CD/NTB/WP.330/Rev.2 should be issued as a publicly available CD document, a normal procedure for documents which any CD member wishes to place officially on the record.

After all attempts to get CD consensus for sending the text or the report to the UNGA had failed, Australia made public its intention to take the CTBT to New York with a group of 'Friends of the Treaty' in fulfilment of the undertaking in UNGA resolution 50/65.

Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States individually gave what was clearly a coordinated statement supporting the text, indicating their own willingness to sign it, and warning against attempts to re-open or amend any part of it. Israel made a similar statement, while Germany, Sweden, Romania, Japan, Austria, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland (on behalf of the EU) made individual statements supporting the treaty text, as a 'balanced compromise', though not containing 'all our preferred national positions'.

Agreeing with Ramaker's assessment that the NTB Committee had 'reached the very limits of what it could negotiate' Ambassador Wade Armstrong of New Zealand supported Australia's announcement, posing the question whether the CD should leave the treaty text and pronounce failure or 'allow the international community, which this body serves, to consider for itself the merits of the text'?

Reminding delegates that the treaty had been 'negotiated over years and with the expectations of decades...' Ambassador Richard Starr of Australia crystallised the frustration among many CD members, pointing out that the NTB Committee report they were all arguing about was 'a report shorn of a text...despite an overwhelming majority willing to accept the text, despite perceptions of [its] imperfections'. Accordingly, 'no matter how long or successful your efforts, the CD will not be able to transmit the text of the treaty...'

While acknowledging reservations on the substance of the treaty text, including the EIF provisions, Starr said that it was inaccurate to suggest [as India has] that this is either illegal or coercive, and argued that the treaty did meet the requirements of the mandate. On the positive side, 'the treaty will impose, for the first time, constraints on the qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and bring the nuclear arms race to a definitive end. It will make a key contribution to the program of action on non-proliferation and disarmament agreed at the NPT Review and Extension Conference. It is a crucial step in the process towards complete nuclear disarmament. A concluded Treaty will make it possible to tackle authoritatively the next important step toward this goal.' Most importantly, he said, it is a 'workable treaty - and we have a commitment by the five Nuclear-weapon States to endorse and sign it...we have worked for this...for years...we cannot give up.' 'The opportunity is here,' he concluded: 'It will not last. We must grasp it or lose it and with it the whole critical step forward towards nuclear disarmament.'

Although the gist of the statements made by the P-5 was the same, Russia's was longer and more substantive, identifying the treaty's positive features. Ambassador Grigori Berdennikov declared that 'the treaty frees humanity forever from nuclear explosions, whatever the environment in which they are conducted...will make an effective contribution to the nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime...[and] represents the implementation, by the Parties to the NPT, of the decision by the NPT Review and Extension Conference which... called for the completion of the negotiations on a universal and internationally and effectively verifiable CTBT no later than 1996.' He affirmed that 'the comprehensive and threshold-less ban on any nuclear explosions will undoubtedly serve as an effective brake for the qualitative improvement of nuclear charges,' preventing new types of nuclear devices. He concluded that the CTBT would hamper the spread of nuclear weapons even further. China added that if negotiations were reopened it could destroy the fragile balance and that the situation could be 'mishandled' or affected by international developments, pushing the CTBT even further away.

Ambassador Yosef Lamdan's statement for Israel gave support to the treaty text 'despite imperfections', especially on OSI. He said it was the 'best attainable' compromise and warned against any reopening. He underlined that the Executive Council provisions were of 'cardinal importance' to Israel, a 'main consideration' for Israel's support of the text.

Syria's representative complained that the geographical distribution for seats on the Executive Council ran 'contrary to UN customs and practices' and said that if the treaty text came up for discussion in any international forum, Syria woud seek to have Israel removed from the Middle East and South Asia regional list.

A summary of the draft Treaty

Negotiations on a CTBT opened in the CD in January 1994, chaired by Miguel Marin Bosch of Mexico, who bequeathed an initial rolling text of 93 pages. Ludwik Dembinski of Poland took over the chair in January 1995, in a year which saw substantial progress on verification but little movement on the central political issues until August, when the US and France dramatically pledged themselves to zero yield. When Jaap Ramaker of the Netherlands took over in January 1996, he inherited a revised rolling text, with more than 1200 brackets around disputed text or options.

In February, Iran and Australia submitted draft or 'model' treaty texts, which demonstrated areas of agreement and showed how the mass of brackets could be pared away. While differing in the detail of their solutions, the Iranian and Australian texts approached many of the outstanding problems in similar ways. They thus hacked a path to enable Ramaker to put down a Chair's text. Because of strong opposition to any 'premature' attempt to circumvent the rolling text, expressed by India, Pakistan, China and Russia, Ramaker chose to pull the text together in two stages. At the end of March he therefore tabled an 'Outline of a draft Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty' (CD/NTB/WP.321), consisting of a preamble and 17 articles, including considerable sections of the rolling text in brackets.

On 28 May, Ramaker presented a complete 'Draft Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty', consisting of a preamble and 17 articles with no brackets (CD/NTB/WP.330). To this were attached various annexes and protocols covering the treaty's verification. On 28 June, the last day of the second part of the 1996 session, Ramaker tabled a revised draft treaty (CD/NTB/WP.330/Rev.1). Many CD delegations considered that they had been mandated by the 50th UN General Assembly (in consensus resolution UNGA 50/65) to bring it the finalised text of the CTBT for endorsement before it closed on 16 September 1996, so that the treaty could be signed 'at the outset' of the 51st UN Session.

In view of this deadline and support for the draft treaty text from four of the nuclear-weapon States, Ramaker refused to re-open negotiations in the NTB Committee when it reconvened on 29 July. However, the text was modified with minor text clarifications and one substantive amendment, following agreement by the US and China on OSI decisionmaking. On 14 August Ramaker published his final text (CD/NTB/WP.330/Rev.2), which is summarised below.


Failing to obtain fuller commitments on nuclear disarmament and preventing qualitative development of nuclear weapons, many non- nuclear-weapon States have expressed disappointment in the preamble, leading to fears that this may be subject to amendments when the treaty is considered in New York.

Rejecting any mention of curbing nuclear weapon development as an objective or aspiration of the treaty, the P-5 were prepared to allow the preamble to refer to 'constraining the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons' as a consequence of the treaty. They would also accept a preambular paragraph recognising a CTBT as 'a meaningful step in the realisation of a systematic process to achieve nuclear disarmament.' Watering down Cuba's proposal for acknowledging damage to the environment from nuclear testing, the preamble merely notes 'the views expressed that this Treaty could contribute to the protection of the environment.'

Elsewhere the preamble welcomes recent arms reduction measures and underlines the importance of their implementation and of further measures towards nuclear disarmament. Utilising language agreed in the decisions on Principles and Objectives at the NPT Conference in May 1995, the preamble stresses the need for 'continued systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons, and of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control'. It reiterates the NTB Committee's mandate for a 'universal and internationally and effectively verifiable comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty' and affirms its 'purpose of attracting the adherence of all States to this treaty and its objective to contribute effectively to the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects, to the process of nuclear disarmament and therefore to the enhancement of international peace and security'.


The basic obligations in Article I of the CTBT are taken from the most widely supported option in the rolling text, originally proposed by Australia in March 1995:

'1. Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control.

2. Each State Party undertakes, furthermore, to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.'

This incorporates the 'zero yield' understanding that this prohibits low yield explosive testing and hydronuclear experiments. As far as the nuclear weapon States are concerned, it does not apply to sub-critical tests and laboratory experiments that do not involve a release of fission energy. This is disputed by many non-aligned and non-nuclear weapon countries who argue that the prohibition should cover all nuclear tests, whether explosive or not. So-called 'peaceful nuclear explosions', advocated by China, are banned unless the treaty is amended, following a complicated procedure requiring consensus at both a Review Conference and an Amendment Conference.

The CTBT Organization (CTBTO)

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) would be established in Vienna, comprising a Conference of States Parties, expected to meet annually, an Executive Council and a Technical Secretariat, headed by a Director-General. The CTBTO would be an independent body, but could share expertise and facilities with other international organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Executive Council would consist of 51 members, elected from six geographically determined regions, thus: 10 from Africa, 7 from Eastern Europe, 9 from Latin America, 7 from the Middle East and South Asia, 10 from North America and Western Europe, and 8 from South-East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East. One third of the seats are to be filled taking into account particular criteria, one seat per region allocated by alphabetic rotation (to ensure that no-one is excluded), and the rest designated from among the States Parties in each region by rotation or election. In the section to be filled according to certain criteria, political and security interests are to be taken into account, alongside IMS facilities, expertise and experience in monitoring, 'nuclear capabilities relevant to the treaty as determined by international data', and States Parties' budgetary contribution to the CTBTO.

This formula was designed to provide equitable regional participation, ensure that no State is permanently excluded, and give States which regard themselves as major players the assurance of continuous seats on the Council, while avoiding the political overtones of providing 'permanent' seats to the nuclear-weapon States or others. Several countries, including Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Iran and Syria have objected to this formula. Some argue that the treaty should not set a new precedent, but should rely on groupings already established in bodies such as the UN or the IAEA, while others have complained that Africa was under- represented. Iran and Syria have objected to the presence of Israel in the Middle East and South Asia region, arguing that Israel should be among the Western European and North American countries instead.

Ramaker stated for the record that the composition of the six regions was CTBT-specific and that States were listed in geographical terms in order to 'underscore the consensus principe that no State Party should be permanently excluded from a seat on the Executive Council.' This was intended to allay concerns that this treaty might set a precedent, but Iran and Syria have continued to call for this provision to be changed and may seek to amend this provision in New York. However, they are in a minority. Others refuse to have Israel singled out, claiming that the geographical principal is consistently applied, since other countries which appear as part of the Western group in UN bodies, such as Japan or Australia, are listed in the Pacific region.

While the Conference of States Parties is the principal body, the Executive Council will have the greatest political role in decisionmaking. With the exceptions of permitting or preventing an on-site inspection from being launched, the Executive Council would take decisions on matters of substance by a two-thirds majority of its 51 members, and matters of procedure by a simple majority. Following bilateral negotiations between the US and China, and presented as a 'modification' by Ramaker on 9 August, an on-site inspection request would have to receive 'at least 30 affirmative votes' of the Executive Council.


The verification regime would consist of an international monitoring system (IMS) of four basic technologies, non-mandatory consultation and clarification, on-site inspections, and confidence-building measures. There is agreement on the number and location of stations providing global networks of seismic, radionuclide, infrasound and hydroacoustic monitors. Despite India's withdrawal of a primary and auxiliary seismic station and a radionuclide monitoring station, Ramaker has kept the IMS numbers the same, with India's replacement 'to be determined' if New Delhi continues to boycott the treaty.

The IMS would comprise 50 primary and 120 auxiliary seismic stations, a network of 11 hydroacoustic monitors, 60 infrasound stations and a network of 80 stations for measuring radionuclides in the atmosphere. The IMS also designates 40 of the 80 radionuclide stations to monitor for the presence of relevant noble gases as well as for radioactive particles. While omitting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and satellites, which China wanted, there are provisions for 'improvement of the verification regime', allowing EMP, satellites or other technology to be incorporated in the IMS subject to the consensus of the Executive Council. In this manner, technologies can be either added or deleted from the IMS without requiring the full process of an Amendment Conference. It would also be possible, under separately established 'cooperative arrangements' for any State Party to make available supplementary data from national monitoring stations that are not formally part of the IMS, although it appears that this only applies to the IMS- type technologies.

The International Data Centre (IDC), attached to the Technical Secretariat, would be responsible for processing the mass of raw data from the IMS stations and sending it to States Parties in a variety of forms. In particular, the IDC would screen data in accordance with internationally standardised criteria established by the CTBTO, filter it according to nationally requested criteria, and provide some additional technical assistance to States Parties.

On IMS funding, Ramaker has decided that unless the responsible State is willing to provide funding, the CTBTO would pay for establishing new facilities identified as necessary for the primary networks, upgrading existing primary or auxiliary facilities to the international standards, operating and maintaining primary IMS facilities, transmitting IMS data, both processed and raw, analysing samples and authenticating data from auxiliary stations. Providing a modified version of the US proposal for 'contribution credits', the Chair's text allows a State Party to offset its costs on establishing and operating its stations against its assessed financial contribution, up to half its annual financial liability. Overall, the costs of the CTBTO will be met by all States Parties in accordance with the UN scale of assessments adjusted to take account of the difference in membership of the two organisations.

Confidence-building measures relate to voluntary notification of chemical explosions and calibration of the IMS stations, but do not encompass any transparency or measures relating to the existing test sites. Consultation and clarification, identified by Ramaker as an essential component of the verification regime, has been made voluntary, not mandatory, but should be sought immediately if any request for an on-site inspection is received. Although time-lines are provided so that results of this exchange of information can inform the OSI decision process, conclusion of the clarification process is not obligatory.

On-Site Inspections (OSI)

This is the only provision to be substantially amended in the 14 August draft (CD/NTB/WP.330/Rev.2).

The draft treaty allows any relevant kind of information, including national technical means, but 'consistent with generally recognised principles of international law', understood to exclude espionage. Countries like Pakistan, Iran and China had raised repeated concerns about the admissibility of NTM. Without changing the draft treaty, Ramaker's report emphasised for the record that the text contains several safeguards against abuse, including the requirements that verification - including any OSI request - must be based on objective information relevant to the treaty's subject, namely to clarify whether a nuclear test or explosion had been carried out, and emphasising that the sovereignty of States would be respected.

Following strong negotiating tactics by China, which favoured a two-thirds majority decision for OSI, the US agreed on a majority of 30 of the 51 Executive Council members. It was understood that Britain, France and Russia had indicated their willingness to go along with this compromise formula during P-5 discussions in late June, but that the US caved in only after intensive bilateral negotiations in the first weeks of August, during which China made it clear that without this concession it would be unable to sign the treaty.

While continuing to advocate a two-thirds majority, China proposed two alternatives on 1 August: the fixed 30 affirmative votes for any OSI request, regardless of the type of information on which it was based; or a more complicated procedure whereby a simple majority decision would suffice for an OSI request based solely on IMS data, a two-thirds majority would be necessary for a request based solely on NTM data, while a request based on a combination of NTM and IMS information would be approved by at least 30 affirmative votes from the whole Executive Council. In the event, the simpler procedure was agreed by the US and adopted by the Chair, who presented it to the Committee on 9 August as a 'modification' (to avoid further attempts to renegotiate the text).

To avoid the decisionmaking procedure being used as a delay mechanism, the draft treaty provides a practical but strict time- line of one week for the various stages between an OSI request and arrival at the site to be inspected. Once an inspection is initiated, it can only be halted by a majority decision of the Council, or by recommendation of the inspection team (unless countermanded by the Council). However, if drilling is to be conducted, a further decision of the Council must be sought.

The treaty also includes penalties if the Executive Council deems a request to have been 'frivolous or abusive'. This may be financial (requiring the requesting State Party to bear the costs incurred) or any of the measures in Article V, which covers the redressing of a situation, compliance and sanctions. Accordingly, failure to comply with treaty obligations or abuse of the treaty's provisions can result in penalties ranging from suspension of membership rights, collective measures in conformity with international law, and the taking of cases of 'particular gravity' to the United Nations.

Review of the Treaty

A Review Conference could be held ten years after the treaty takes legal effect, to enable States Parties to review whether 'the objectives and purposes in the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being realized'. The review would take into account any new scientific and technological developments and could also consider PNEs, if any State Party so requested. If the Review Conference decided by consensus that such nuclear explosions may be permitted, it would have to draft an appropriate amendment to the CTBT, 'that shall preclude any military benefits of such nuclear explosions'. This amendment would then have to be considered and agreed by consensus at an Amendment Conference, in accordance with Article VII.

Entry into Force (EIF)

Despite the carrying out of India's threat to block consensus on the treaty if listed, Ramaker retained the Article XIV provision by which the CTBT cannot become fully legally binding without the signature and ratification of 44 countries which were participating members of the CD on 18 June 1996 and are also listed by the IAEA's 1995 and 1996 schedules of nuclear research and nuclear power reactors in the world respectively. As listed in Annex 2, these countries are: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, DPRK, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Romania, Republic of Korea, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, UK, USA, Viet Nam, Zaire. This list was intentionally conceived to prevent ambiguity by clearly omitting Yugoslavia (still on the roll as a CD member but barred from participation) and Iraq.

This provision was strongly supported by Britain, Russia, China, Egypt and Pakistan, but disliked by the majority of States, including the US and France, who feared that it could result in a treaty that never takes effect. Attempting to deal with this concern, Ramaker included an Austrian/Canadian mechanism for a 'political conference', which could be held three years after opening the treaty for signature and annually thereafter until entry into force. This conference 'shall consider and decide by consensus what measures consistent with international law may be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process' and facilitate early entry into force.

Following concerns raised by India and others that the term 'measures' might mean sanctions and that the provision as a whole threatened the sovereignty of States on the list, Ramaker clarified that 'the current Article on entry into force did not impinge on the sovereign right of any State to take its own decision about whether or not to sign and ratify the treaty.' The Committee report also states that Article XIV did not impose any legally binding obligations on a State not Party to the treaty, regardless of whether or not ratification by that State was a condition of entry into force, and emphasised that paragraph 2 relating to the conference 'did not refer to United Nations Security Council measures in accordance with chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.'

Since proponents of this Article XIV have made clear that the conference cannot be a 'waiver conference' able to sidestep the original conditions so that the treaty can enter into force for those countries which have ratified by an agreed date, its powers appear to be limited, leading several delegates to dismiss it as a 'handwringing conference'. It may have the power to decide provisional application, which would enable the CTBTO and IMS to be set up and paid for by mutual consent, but which would lack the authority for carrying out on-site inspections in the event of any suspicious circumstance. India is not the only one to complain that this provision creates an unacceptable pressure. On 15 August, Bangladesh, its near neighbour and also one of the l44 listed States, told the CD that as one of the poorest nations in the world, its decision on ratification would have to be based on 'budgetary arithmetic', particularly since it was already an NPT Party with no nuclear ambitions.

Duration and Withdrawal

The CTBT is envisaged to be of unlimited duration, but provides the standard clause enabling a State Party, in 'exercising its national sovereignty' to withdraw if it decides that 'extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this treaty have jeopardised its supreme interests.' France, Russia, the US and UK have all stated for the record that fears about the safety and reliability of their nuclear weapon stockpiles could provide such a justification for withdrawal. In general, the supreme national interest provision would only be used in extremis. While not accepting that the link made with the maintenance of nuclear arsenals is appropriate, most delegations view the P-4 declarations as required for domestic consumption.


Substantive amendments to the treaty would require consensus among all States Parties attending an Amendment Conference, but there is a simplified procedure for administrative or technical amendments and a fast-track means for adding or removing stations from the IMS or otherwise updating verification provisions.

1996 Session

The first part of the 1996 session ran from 22 January to 29 March and the second part from 13 May until 28 June. The final part runs from 29 July to 13 September.

Documents and Sources

Statements to the CD


The Nuclear-Weapon States

On 22 August, the five declared nuclear-weapon States delivered similar statements of support for the Chair's text. The following statement, representative of the others, was delivered by US Ambassador Stephen Ledogar. Russia's statement dealt with the issue in more detail, and is thus also featured below.

Full text

"The United States regrets that the Conference on Disarmament was not able to approve the Treaty text tabled by the Chairman of the Nuclear Test Ban Ad Hoc Committee, Ambassador Ramaker, and contained in CD/NTB/WP.330/Rev.2, and to forward it to the United Nations General Assembly. I wish to make it clear that the United States supports this Treaty text as it is. I also wish to make clear that we have carefully considered the continuing difficulties which some others have with this Treaty text but have reached the firm conclusion that further negotiations or attempts to amend the text will not bring us closer to a consensus. On the contrary, the United States believes that the text in CD/NTB/WP.330/Rev.2 offers the only possibility of achieving a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty at this time. We call on those delegations which have not yet done so to join with us in support of this text."


Statement by His Excellency Sha Zukang, Ambassador of China, to the Plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, 1 August 1996


"In order to facilitate the conclusion of the treaty as scheduled, China has shown compromise and flexibility to different degrees on almost all issues in the treaty...

China has carefully studied the Treaty text...presented by the Chairman of the NTB Ad Hoc Committee on 28 June. We hold that the way the text addresses many issues reflects the outcome of hard negotiations in the past two and a half years, covering by and large China's concerns. The Chinese delegation finds these parts acceptable in principle.

Meanwhile, I must point out that differences still exist between China's position and the options presented by the...Chairman in his text concerning the trigger basis and decision-making procedure for OSI [On-Site Inspections]. The so-called 'compromise options contained in the current Chairman's text only accommodates the need and interest of certain countries possessing advanced verification technologies, while not fully reflecting or simply ignoring the reasonable proposals and demands put forward by many other countries including China. It also fails to reflect objectively the real situation of the negotiations at the final stage. This option can hardly ensure fair OSIs. The Chinese delegation is seriously concerned with this. For the Chinese delegation, the trigger basis and decision-making procedure for OSI is the last unresolved major issue in the negotiations and deserves satisfactory solution. We suggest that consultations or negotiations on this issue be conducted immediately in an appropriate manner to seek a consensus solution.

The Chinese delegation maintains that neither 28 June nor 29 July is the end of the world. ... Setting a timeline for the negotiations may be conducive to the progress of negotiations. However, the basic objective...should be to conclude a treaty which can stand the test of time and will not be detrimental to the legitimate interest of future States Parties. For the Ad Hoc Committee itself, the basic objective should be to fulfill its negotiating mandate. The negotiations come to an end only after all negotiating parties agree by consensus that the afore- mentioned objectives have been realized. ..."


Statement by Arundhati Ghose, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India, to the Plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, 20 August 1996


"...we have just been presented with a Report by the Ad Hoc Committee on a Nuclear Test Ban...

This report...says it all. We were regrettably unable - in spite of the best efforts of all delegations - to reach consensus on a CTBT at this point in time. ... What is...clear is that many countries, mainly from the G-21...had grave reservations on [the Ramaker] text. Indeed, many had wished for the negotiations to continue so that we could have...been able to reach what we had been mandated to negotiate, a universal, multilaterally negotiated consensus text. Unfortunately this was not to be.

... India led the call for a CTBT in 1954 and had co-sponsored many of the resolutions that helped build the international momentum behind it. It is a matter of considerable regret that present efforts fell far short of what we had set out to achieve. ...

As negotiations progressed, we witnessed an evolving text moving away from the mandate. ... The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...had been distorted to [a measure] which...divided the world into nuclear haves and have-nots. With its indefinite extension, nuclear weapons were sought to be legitimised in the hands of the nuclear-weapon States forever. ... The world was burdened indefinitely with a differential notion of sovereignty... This cannot be the basis on which a sane and secure world order can be erected. The CTBT could have represented a historic departure for mankind towards a shared goal of a nuclear-weapon- free world.

During the negotiations...we tried...to remove some of these shortcomings. Our first attempt was to place the CTBT within the disarmament framework by defining it as the first step in the process of achieving nuclear disarmament within a time-bound framework. Given that preambular references to nuclear disarmament in other treaties have been ignored, we felt that such a reference would be more meaningful if contained in the operative part of a Treaty text. We were not seeking to prescribe a specific time- frame, which we realise requires detailed consideration. What we were seeking was a commitment which could have acted as a catalyst for multilateral negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons within a reasonable span of time. ...

We have always believed that the objective of a CTBT was to bring about an end to nuclear weapons development. We are all too aware that nuclear explosion technology is only one of the technologies available to the nuclear-weapon States. ... Our objective therefore was a truly Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty rather than merely a nuclear test explosion treaty. ... Today, underground explosion technology has the same relevance to halting development of new nuclear weapons...as banning atmospheric tests did in 1963. A truly comprehensive treaty should fossilise the technology of nuclear weapons.

Despite our efforts, these concerns were not addressed... In spite of our emphasising these concerns...we found that these had been ignored in the text presented in May by the Chairman as a 'platform for reaching final agreement.' We clearly stated then that we would not be able to subscribe to that text. In a later version...the situation remained unchanged. As a result, we were obliged to reiterate that India could not subscribe to the Chairman's draft Treaty text.

...after we had made our decision known, the Article on Entry into Force was modified...apparently at the insistence of a small number of countries with the clear aim of imposing obligations on India and placing it in a position in which it did not wish to be. Such a provision has no parallel. This procedure...has been perceived very negatively in our capital. ... It is unprecedented in multilateral negotiations and international law that any sovereign country should be denied its right of voluntary consent on adherence to an international treaty. ...

...the perception of the Chairman's text which I have delineated is shared across the Indian political spectrum. The Chairman's text did not serve to promote the realisation of universal disarmament goals. Continuing nuclear weapons development and proliferation in our region which raise national security concerns for us, were in no way addressed by his text. Further, the sentiment against the attempted duress embodied in the Article on Entry into Force is equally strong. ... This refusal to recognise our legitimate concerns left India with no option but to oppose the adoption of the Chairman's text in the As Hoc Committee. Our opposition to that text continues. ..."


Statement by Munir Akram, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Pakistan, to the Plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, 20 August 1996


"The Pakistan delegation deeply regrets that after two and a half years of painstaking negotiations, the Conference on Disarmament has been prevented by one country from recommending the adoption of a CTBT.

Pakistan has already declared its views on the shortcomings of the draft Treaty... Its scope should have been more comprehensive; it should have included clearer commitments to nuclear disarmament and against the further development of nuclear weapons; it should have included more categorical assurances against the abuse of procedures for OSIs and NTMs [National Technical Means] in verifying compliance with the Treaty. ...

Despite its several shortcomings, Pakistan was prepared to endorse this draft Treaty as the basis for consensus and to forward it to the UN General Assembly for adoption. We continue to believe that the CTBT can be - should be - a first step in the process of nuclear disarmament and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. ... This Treaty will contribute, quite decisively, to nuclear non-proliferation specially in our region.

It has been said here and elsewhere that the opposition to the CTBT has come from an unlikely source. This is the opinion of those uninitiated in the nuclear history of South Asia. Since the outset, Pakistan has known and expressed its concern about the nuclear ambitions of its Eastern neighbour:

* when nuclear facilities were acquired in the early 1960s outside any safeguards;

* when fissile material was secretly diverted to build a nuclear device;

* when a nuclear bomb exploded across our border in 1974, in the guise of a 'peaceful nuclear explosion';

* when ballistic missile capability was being developed in the guise of a peaceful programme for Outer Space;

* now, when short-range nuclear-capable missiles are sought to be deployed along our border and medium-range missiles are under development.

Hypocrisy has, indeed, been the hallmark of the nuclear posture of the country which has blocked the CTBT... When Pakistan proposed the creation of a NWFZ [Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone] in South Asia, when we suggested bilateral or regional full-scope safeguards, or bilateral or regional commitments against nuclear proliferation, we were told by our neighbour that it would accept only global measures which committed the nuclear-weapon States also. The CTBT is such a measure. This too is rejected. For us, the reason is fully evident. It is not derived from any moral commitment to global nuclear disarmament.

When this country sponsored the General Assembly resolution in 1993 proposing initiation of negotiations...it did not insist on a provision linking the Treaty to a 'time-bound' framework for nuclear disarmament. ... Pakistan supports the conclusion of a 'time-bound' programme for nuclear disarmament. We have sponsored the proposal in the CD - together with 27 other...members of the 'Group of 21'. But to insist that the nuclear powers give a prior commitment to such a programme as a precondition for the entry- into-force of a CTBT is obviously unrealistic and unreasonable. It is a transparent device to avoid a commitment to a nuclear test ban treaty, to veto a vital disarmament measure which has virtually universal support.

Today, the mask of the 'Smiling Buddha' [Editor's note: the codename of India's 1974 test] has been torn off revealing the face of the Goddess of War. The leaders of our neighbour have proclaimed that they will keep their nuclear 'options' open; that they reserve the right to conduct nuclear tests; that they will go ahead with their short- and medium-range missile programmes.

And what is the response of those who champion non-proliferation, those who initiated the CTBT negotiations three years ago? Their letters and gestures of appeasement have ensured, rather than lifted, the veto against the Treaty. To convey assurances that one country can 'stay out' of the Treaty, as long as it does not block its transmission to the General Assembly, has further emboldened it in rejecting the CTBT. ... The people of Pakistan, who have suffered from discriminatory pressures and penalties for many years, cannot but wonder at the folly of the double-standards that have been displayed during the past several days.

On behalf of the government of Pakistan, I would like to state, for the record, that any step of nuclear escalation by our neighbour will find a matching response to preserve our national security. We will not accept discrimination or double-standards. We will not accept unilateral obligations and commitments.

We are all aware that the CTBT may well rises from the ashes, like the Phoenix, in the UN General Assembly. Pakistan would regret any procedure that circumvents the CD - the single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament. The responsibility for the consequent erosion of the CD's role and functions is clear. We hope that in subsequent endeavours nothing will be done to erode the wide consensus which has emerged on the draft Treaty. In particular, any effort to change the condition in Article XIV that the Treaty, to come into force, must be signed and ratified by all the nuclear-capable States, will destroy the consensus on the Treaty. To allow one nuclear-capable country to 'opt out' of the CTBT is to kill all hope for a global nuclear test ban..."


Statement by Ambassador Grigori Berdennikov to the Plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, 22 August

Editor's note: Russia's statement was made in conjunction with statements of a similar sentiment from the other nuclear-weapon States (see above).


"The negotiations on a CTBT text, which were under way for a substantial period of time, are now over. The draft Treaty has been elaborated, which, even though it was tabled by the Chairman of the NTB Ad Hoc Committee, is the result of collective efforts of participants in the negotiations.

The fact that the draft is of a compromise character and that it does not reflect the position of a delegation or of a group of delegations is confirmed, inter alia, by the provision of the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee, which says that none of the delegations of the countries that support this text were able to declare that they were fully satisfied with its contents. This is normal - in effect this is the essence of compromise - nobody is fully satisfied, but the overwhelming majority is able not to oppose the text. We regret that not all members of the Conference on Disarmament were able to take such a reasonable compromise stand. It is even more sad since we are deeply convinced that the Treaty has substantial objective positive features which could hardly be denied by any unbiased observer.

Firstly, the Treaty frees...humanity forever from nuclear explosions, whatever the environment in which they are conducted.

Secondly, the Treaty will make an effective contribution to the nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime. The Treaty represents the implementation, by the parties to the NPT, of the decision by the NPT Review and Extension Conference, which...called for the completion of negotiations...no later than 1996. ...

Thirdly, the comprehensive and threshold-less ban on any nuclear explosions will undoubtedly serve as an effective brake for the qualitative improvement of nuclear charges, will prevent the appearance of new types of nuclear charges as well as of nuclear weapons based on new physical principles.

Fourthly, the CTBT will become a new point of departure, an effective impulse for the continuation of the negotiating process aimed at further reductions of nuclear armaments leading to their ultimate complete elimination. ...the CTBT is a necessary milestone on this road, which cannot be sidestepped... If someone believes that it would be possible to combine moving forward to the ultimate goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons with their appearance in more and more States, then, in our opinion, such a person is deceiving himself.

... I wish to make clear that the delegation of the Russian Federation supports this Treaty text as it is. ...the delegation of Russia has carefully considered the continuing difficulties which some other delegations have with this Treaty text but has reached the firm conclusion that further negotiations or attempts to amend the text will not bring us closer to consensus. ..."

G-21 Programme for nuclear disarmament

Proposal for a programme of action for the elimination of nuclear weapons, CD/1419, 7 August 1996

The programme was proposed by Egypt on behalf of the following 28 countries in the G-21 (the Group of 21 non-aligned CD States, yet to change its name to reflect the expanded CD membership): Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Syria, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zaire, Zimbabwe.

South Africa and Chile could not agree the programme, principally because of the requirement for concurrent negotiations on several measures. Morocco later issued a clarification that it viewed the document as "enriching the debate on nuclear disarmament" and did not necessarily subscribe to the general approach, mechanisms or time-limits proposed.


"Effective measures for nuclear disarmament and elimination of the threat of nuclear war have been accorded the highest priority by the international community. The post-Cold War era provides an unprecedented opportunity to establish a new system of international security based on the immutable principles of the United Nations Charter. Rationalisations for the continued possession of nuclear weapons need to be discarded. So long as the role of nuclear weapons in the context of security is not delegitimised and existing nuclear doctrines not abandoned, there will always be a threat of the resumption of the nuclear arms race and the escalation of the nuclear threat.

It is therefore incumbent to ensure that existing favourable circumstances in international relations are utilised in order to translate the objectives of eliminating all nuclear weapons from a rhetorical goal into a living reality. This requires active multilateral efforts to identify, negotiate and implement specific, step-by-step measures for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

The Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, dated 8 July 1996, has established that the unique characteristics of nuclear weapons, and in particular their destructive capacity, their capacity to cause untold human suffering, and their ability to cause damage to generations to come, render them potentially catastrophic. According to the Court, 'the destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in either space or time. They have the potential to destroy all civilisation and the entire ecosystem of the planet.'

The International Court of Justice concluded that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflicts, and in particular the principles of and rules of humanitarian law, and stated that there exists an obligation for all States to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.

As stated in its declaration of 28 March 1996 to the Plenary of the Conference on Disarmament, the Group of 21 has persistently pressed for commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament... It will be recalled that on 14 March 1996 the Group of 21 put a decision before the Conference for adoption (CD/1388), through which the Conference would establish an Ad-hoc Committee on nuclear disarmament 'to commence negotiations on a phased programme for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified framework of time', as requested by General Assembly Resolution 50/70 P.

This programme to be carried out by the Ad-hoc Committee could include the following steps and measures, as a basis for its work. The list of measures in each phase is indicative and not exhaustive, and the order in which they are mentioned does not necessarily reflect priority. Nevertheless, it is to be understood that in any programme for nuclear disarmament all measures and steps to be taken are inextricably bound to each other.

Programme of Action

First Phase - 1996-2000

A. Measures aimed at reducing the nuclear threat.

* Immediate and concurrent commencement of negotiations and early conclusion of:

- a multilaterally negotiated legally binding instrument to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons;

- a convention prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons;

- a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons; and

- a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.

* End the qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons, by agreements on:

- Cessation of all nuclear weapon tests and closure of all nuclear weapon test sites; and

- Measures to prevent the use of new technologies for the upgrading of existing nuclear weapons systems, including the prohibition of nuclear weapon research and development.

* Full implementation of the Treaties of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Pelindaba, and South East Asia and establishment of additional nuclear-weapon-free zones, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned.

* Declarations of the stocks of nuclear weapons and of nuclear weapons usable material.

B. Measures of nuclear disarmament

* Stand down nuclear-weapon systems from a state of operational readiness.

* Preservation of the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missiles) Treaty.

* Moratorium and prohibition on testing of outer space weapons systems.

* Ratification and implementation of the START II Treaty.

* Commencement and conclusion of negotiations of further reductions of nuclear arsenals (START III).

* Placement under IAEA safeguards of nuclear fissile material transferred from military to peaceful uses by the nuclear-weapon States.

* Further negotiations for nuclear disarmament by all nuclear- weapon States, including the cessation of production of nuclear warheads.

* Recommendation to the General Assembly to declare the decade 2000-2010 as the 'decade for nuclear disarmament'.

Second Phase: 2000 - 2010 Measures to reduce the nuclear arsenals and to promote confidence between States

* Entry into force of the treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons and establishment of a single integrated multilateral comprehensive verification system to ensure compliance, including measures such as:

- separation of nuclear warheads from their delivery vehicles;

- placement of nuclear warheads in secure storage under international supervision leading to the removal of special nuclear materials from warheads;

- transfer of nuclear materials including fissile materials and delivery vehicles to peaceful purposes.

* Preparation under international auspices of an inventory of nuclear arsenals, including fissile materials, nuclear warheads and their delivery vehicles.

* Progressive and balanced reduction of missiles intended for carrying nuclear warheads.

* Recommendation to the General Assembly to declare the decade 2010-2020 as the 'decade for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.'

Third Phase: 2010-2020 Consolidation of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World

* Adoption of principles and mechanisms for a global cooperative security system.

* Full implementation of the treaty to eliminate all nuclear weapons and of its verification regime through the completion of further measures such as:

- Conversion of all facilities devoted to the production of nuclear weapons to peaceful purposes

- Application of safeguards on nuclear facilities on a universal basis; and

- Elimination of all nuclear weapons."

The report of the Canberra Commission

Report of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, 14 August 1996

The Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was a November 1995 initiative of the Australian Labour Government of Paul Keating, supportively inherited in March 1996 by the Liberal Government of John Howard. The Commission met on four occasions (January, April, July and August 1996). Its 17 members were:

Ambassador Celso Amorin (Brazil); Retired General George Butler (US); Ambassador Richard Butler (Australia - Commission Chair); Retired Field Marshall Lord Carver (UK); Commander Jacques-Yves Cousteau (France); Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala (Sri Lanka); Ambassador Rolf Ekeus (Sweden); Ambassador Dr. Nabil Elarby (Egypt); Professor Ryukichi Imai (Japan); Dr. Ronald McCoy (Malaysia); Robert McNamara (US); Professor Robert O'Neill (Australia); Retired Ambassador Qian Jiadong (China); Michel Rocard (France); Professor Joseph Rotblat (UK); Professor Roald Sagdeev (Russia); Dr. Maj-Britt Theorin (Sweden).

The next issue will feature further extracts from the Report. See also News Review.

Statement by Australian Foreign Minister

Media Release, Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer, FA76, 14 August 1996

Full text

"The Australian Government is pleased to have received the report of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The report was presented to the Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, in Sydney this morning, marking the conclusion of the Commission's mandate.

Before the March election, the Coalition made a commitment to support the completion of the work of the Canberra Commission. The Government welcomed the opportunity to sponsor a major contribution to the international debate on nuclear disarmament. The issues involved are of the utmost significance for the peoples of the world.

I believe that the international debate on these issues has to be conducted on a realistic basis if it is to make a serious contribution to achieving the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. I am pleased that the Commission has taken a practical and realistic approach to this important question. The report covers issues such as the verified destruction of nuclear weapons and weapons-grade material, the prevention of the spread of nuclear weapons to other States, and prevention of the acquisition of nuclear weapons by terrorists.

The report proposes a number of steps including the taking of nuclear forces off alert, an end to nuclear testing and further negotiations between the United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals. The report also deals in considerable detail with the central issue of effective verification.

The Canberra Commission is an independent group of eminent persons. Although they come from all continents and include nationals of all nuclear-weapon States, they do not represent any government.

The Australian Government will transmit the report to the General Assembly of the United Nations in September, and to the Conference on Disarmament at the beginning of its 1997 session in January.

On behalf of the Australian Government, I very much appreciate the time and energy the Commissioners devoted to their task. Australia was pleased and privileged to assist them, and is pleased to publish the report of the Commission."

The Report


Full text

"The destructiveness of nuclear weapons is immense. Any use would be catastrophic.

Nuclear weapons pose an intolerable threat to all humanity and its habitat, yet tens of thousands remain in arsenals built up at an extraordinary time of deep antagonism. That time has passed, yet assertions of their utility continue.

These facts are obvious but their implications have been blurred. There is no doubt that, if the peoples of the world were more fully aware of the inherent danger of nuclear weapons and the consequences of their use, they would reject them, and not permit their continued possession or acquisition on their behalf by their governments, even for an alleged need for self-defence.

Nuclear weapons are held by a handful of States which insist that these weapons provide unique security benefits, and yet reserve uniquely to themselves the right to own them. This situation is highly discriminatory and thus unstable; it cannot be sustained. The possession of nuclear weapons by any State is a constant stimulus to other States to acquire them.

The world faces threats of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. These threats are growing. They must be removed.

For these reasons, a central reality is that nuclear weapons diminish the security of all States. Indeed, States which possess them become themselves targets of nuclear weapons.

The opportunity now exists, perhaps without precedent or recurrence, to make a new and clear choice to enable the world to conduct its affairs without nuclear weapons and in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

The members of the Canberra Commission call upon the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China to give the lead by committing themselves, unequivocally, to the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Such a commitment would propel the process in the most direct and imaginative way. All other governments must join this commitment and contribute to its fulfilment.

The Commission has identified a series of steps which can be taken immediately and which would thereupon make the world safer.

The Commission has also described the practical measures which can be taken to bring about the verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons and the full safeguarding of militarily usable nuclear material.

A nuclear-weapon-free world can be secured and maintained through political commitment, and anchored in an enduring and binding legal framework."

Executive Summary

Full text

"The Canberra Commission is persuaded that immediate and determined efforts need to be made to rid the world of nuclear weapons and the threat they pose to it. The destructiveness of nuclear weapons is immense. Any use would be catastrophic.

The proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used - accidentally or by decision - defies credibility. The only complete defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons and assurance that they will never be produced again.

The end of the bipolar confrontation has not removed the danger of nuclear catastrophe. In some respects the risk of use by accident or miscalculation has increased. Political upheaval or the weakening of State authority in a nuclear-weapon State could cripple existing systems for ensuring the safe handling and control of nuclear weapons and weapons material, increasing the odds of a calamity. The same fate could befall other States or sub- State groups with a less developed nuclear weapon capability or those that seek to develop such a capability in the future.

Nuclear weapons have long been understood to be too destructive and non-discriminatory to secure discrete objectives on the battlefield. The destructiveness of nuclear weapons is so great that they have no military utility against a comparably equipped opponent, other than the belief that they deter that opponent from using nuclear weapons. Possession of nuclear weapons has not prevented wars, in various regions, which directly or indirectly involve the major powers. They were deemed unsuitable for use even when those powers suffered humiliating military setbacks.

No nuclear-weapon State has been or is prepared to declare as a matter of national policy that it would respond to the use of chemical or biological weapons with nuclear weapons. The solution to these concerns lies in the strengthening and effective implementation of and universal adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention, with particular emphasis on early detection of untoward developments. The response to any violation should be a multilateral one.

Thus, the only apparent military utility that remains for nuclear weapons is in deterring their use by others. That utility implies the continued existence of nuclear weapons. It would disappear completely if nuclear weapons were eliminated.

A New Climate For Action

Nuclear weapons are held by a handful of States which insist that these weapons provide unique security benefits, and yet reserve uniquely to themselves the right to own them. This situation is highly discriminatory and thus unstable; it cannot be sustained. The possession of nuclear weapons by any State is a constant stimulus to other States to acquire them.

In the 1960s, the world looked at the prospect of dozens of nuclear-weapons States, recoiled and rejected it. The result was the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) of 1968 with its promise of a world free of these weapons. The overall success of the NPT and other nuclear non-proliferation regimes has been gratifying, but it has been hard won, and is by no means guaranteed. The prospects of a renewal of horizontal proliferation have become real.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons is amongst the most immediate security challenges facing the international community. Despite the impact of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, the disconcerting reality is that several States have made, and some continue to make, clandestine efforts to develop nuclear arsenals. The possible acquisition by terrorist groups of nuclear weapons or material is a growing threat to the international community.

The end of the Cold War has created a new climate for international action to eliminate nuclear weapons, a new opportunity. It must be exploited quickly or it will be lost.

The elimination of nuclear weapons must be a global endeavour involving all States. The process followed must ensure that no State feels, at any stage, that further nuclear disarmament is a threat to its security. To this end nuclear weapon elimination should be conducted as a series of phased verified reductions that allow States to satisfy themselves, at each stage of the process, that further movement toward elimination can be made safely and securely.

Immediate Steps

The first requirement is for the five nuclear-weapon States to commit themselves unequivocally to the elimination of nuclear weapons and agree to start work immediately on the practical steps and negotiations required for its achievement. This commitment should be made at the highest political level. Non-nuclear-weapon States should support the commitment by the nuclear-weapon States and join in cooperative international action to implement it. This commitment would change instantly the tenor of debate, the thrust of war planning, and the timing or indeed the necessity for modernisation programs. It would transform the nuclear weapons paradigm from the indefinite management of a world fraught with the twin risks of the use of nuclear weapons and further proliferation, to one of nuclear weapons elimination. Negotiation of the commitment should begin immediately, with the aim of first steps in its implementation being taken in 1997.

The commitment by the nuclear-weapon States to a nuclear-weapon- free world must be accompanied by a series of practical, realistic and mutually reinforcing steps. There are a number of such steps that can be taken immediately. They would significantly reduce the risk of nuclear war and thus enhance the security of all States, but particularly that of the nuclear-weapon States. Their implementation would provide clear confirmation of the intent of the nuclear-weapon States to further reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their security postures. The recommended steps are:

* Taking nuclear forces off alert.

* Removal of warheads from delivery vehicles.

* Ending deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons.

* Ending nuclear testing.

* Initiating negotiations to further reduce United States and Russian nuclear arsenals.

* Agreement amongst the nuclear-weapon States of reciprocal no- first-use undertakings, and of a non-use undertaking by them in relation to the non-nuclear-weapon States.

Nuclear-weapon States should take all nuclear forces off alert status and so reduce dramatically the chance of an accidental or unauthorised nuclear weapons launch. In the first instance, reductions in alert status could be adopted by the nuclear-weapon States unilaterally.

The physical separation of warheads from delivery vehicles would strongly reinforce the gains achieved by taking nuclear forces off alert. This measure can be implemented to the extent that nuclear forces can be reconstituted to an alert posture only within known or agreed upon timeframes.

The nuclear-weapon States should unilaterally remove all non- strategic nuclear weapons from deployed sites to a limited number of secure storage facilities on their territory.

Pending universal application of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty all States should observe at once the moratorium it imposes on nuclear testing.

The United States and Russia must continue to show leadership in reversing the nuclear accumulations of the Cold War. Their purpose should be to move toward nuclear force levels for all the nuclear- weapon States which would reflect unambiguously the determination to eliminate these weapons when this step can be verified with adequate confidence.

The nuclear-weapon States should agree and state that they would not be the first to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against each other and that they would not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons in any conflict with a non-nuclear-weapon State. Such an agreement should be brought into operation as soon as possible.

Reinforcing Steps

The following steps would build on the solid foundation of commitment, accomplishment and goodwill established through implementation of the steps recommended for immediate action:

* Action to prevent further horizontal proliferation.

* Developing verification arrangements for a nuclear-weapon-free world.

* Cessation of the production of fissile material for nuclear explosive purposes.

The problem of nuclear proliferation is inextricably linked to the continued possession of nuclear weapons by a handful of States. A world environment where proliferation is under control will facilitate the disarmament process and movement toward final elimination, and vice versa. The emergence of any new nuclear- weapon State during the elimination process would seriously jeopardise the process of eliminating nuclear weapons. Action is needed to ensure effective non-proliferation controls on civil and military nuclear activities, and to press for universal acceptance of non-proliferation obligations.

Effective verification is critical to the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear-weapon-free world. Before States agree to eliminate nuclear weapons they will require a high level of confidence that verification arrangements would detect promptly any attempt to cheat the disarmament process whether through retention or acquisition of clandestine weapons, weapons components, means of weapons production or undeclared stocks of fissile material. Formal legal undertakings should be accompanied by corresponding legal arrangements for verification. To maintain security in a post-nuclear-weapon world the verification system must provide a high level of assurance as to the continued peaceful, non-explosive use of a State's nuclear activity. A political judgement will be needed on whether the levels of assurance possible from the verification regime are sufficient. All existing arms control and disarmament agreements have required political judgements of this nature because no verification system provides absolute certainty.

A key element of non-proliferation arrangements for a nuclear- weapon-free world will be a highly developed capacity to detect undeclared nuclear activity at both declared and undeclared sites. Progressive extension of safeguards to nuclear activity in the nuclear-weapon States, the undeclared weapon States and the threshold States will be needed with the end point being universal application of safeguards in all States. Systems will be needed to verify that nuclear warheads are dismantled and destroyed, and their fissile material content safeguarded to provide maximum confidence that such material cannot be reintroduced to weapons use.

The political commitment to eliminate nuclear weapons must be matched by a willingness to make available the resources needed for nuclear disarmament including effective verification. States must also be confident that any violations detected will be acted upon. In this context, the Security Council should continue its consideration of how it might address, consistent with specific mandates given to it and consistent with the Charter of the United Nations, violations of nuclear disarmament obligations that might be drawn to its attention. This should demonstrate that the collective security system enshrined in the Charter will operate effectively in this field.

Further United States/Russian Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START) and nuclear confidence building measures should establish a receptive international climate for negotiations on global reduction of nuclear arms. The United States and Russia could commence a process for bringing the United Kingdom, France and China into the nuclear disarmament process. Further early steps could be for the US and Russia to prepare the ground for verification of nuclear-weapon States reductions by sharing information and expertise on START verification, on weapons dismantlement and on verification and control of fissile material from dismantled weapons. US/Russian experience on nuclear confidence building might be extended to the other nuclear-weapon States and new measures developed which involve them.

The Future Environment

Concurrent with the central disarmament process, there will be a need for activity supported by all States, but particularly the nuclear-weapon States, to build an environment conducive to nuclear disarmament and non- proliferation.

It will be extremely important for the pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons to protect fully the integrity of the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones are part of the architecture that can usefully encourage and support a nuclear-weapon-free world. The spread of nuclear-weapon-free zones around the globe, with specific mechanisms to answer the security concerns of each region, can progressively codify the transition to a world free of nuclear weapons.

At the level of national action, States have the fundamental obligation, under a variety of treaties, and in moral terms, to ensure that sensitive nuclear material, equipment and technology under their jurisdiction and control do not find their way into the hands of those who would misuse them.

The Commission noted with satisfaction the response of the International Court of Justice made in July 1996 to a request from the General Assembly of the United Nations for an advisory opinion on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons. The Court's statement that there existed an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control is precisely the obligation that the Commission wishes to see implemented.

The Commission considered carefully the merits of setting out a precise timeframe for the elimination of nuclear weapons, but elected not to do so. However, this does not imply that it accepts the extended timelines imposed by such current constraints as limited warhead dismantlement facilities. Those constraints could be relieved by political decisions and the allocation of resources required to advance dismantlement. In addition, another limiting factor may prove to be establishing the necessary confidence in the verification regime which would be required to take the final step to complete elimination. In this context, the Canberra Commission remains convinced of the basic importance of agreed targets and guidelines which would drive the process inexorably toward the ultimate objective of final elimination, at the earliest possible time."

International Court of Justice ruling on nuclear weapons

'International Court of Justice issues advisory opinion on legality of threat or use of nuclear weapons', International Court of Justice Press Release, ICJ/546, 8 July 1996

See News Review for background and reaction.

Full text

"The International Court of Justice today handed down its advisory opinion on the request made by General Assembly resolution 49/75 K, of 15 December 1994, on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.

According to the opinion, the Court:

- By 13 votes to 1, decided to comply with the request for an advisory opinion;

- Replied in the following manner to the question put by the General Assembly:

'A. Unanimously,

There is in neither customary nor conventional international law any specific authorization of the threat or use of nuclear weapons;

B. By 11 votes to 3,

There is in neither customary nor conventional international law any comprehensive and universal prohibition of the threat or use of nuclear weapons as such;

C. Unanimously,

A threat or use of force by means of nuclear weapons that is contrary to Article 2, paragraph 4, of the United Nations Charter and that fails to meet all the requirements of Article 51, is unlawful;

D. Unanimously,

A threat or use of nuclear weapons should also be compatible with the requirements of the international law applicable in armed conflict, particularly those of the principles and rules of international humanitarian law, as well as with specific obligations under treaties and other undertakings which expressly deal with nuclear weapons;

E. By 7 votes to 7,

It follows from the above-mentioned requirements that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law;

However, in view of the current state of international law, and of the elements of fact at its disposal, the Court cannot conclude definitively whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defence, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake;

F. Unanimously,

There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.'"

The Wassenaar Arrangement: Adoption of Initial Elements

On 12 July, over 30 States, meeting in Vienna, agreed the 'Initial Elements' of an important new arms exports regime - named the 'Wassenaar Arrangement' after the town in the Netherlands where preliminary agreement was reached in December 1995.

The agreement came after numerous predictions of failure from diplomats and observers, made in the light of reported Russian unhappiness that the Arrangement might hamper its vigorous promotion of arms exports. This issue - more specifically, the procedures and definitions involved in the disclosure of the export of 'sensitive' arms and dual-use goods and technologies - had led to the ignominious collapse of an April meeting of Participating States.

Press Statement

'The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies', Press Statement, 12 July 1996

Full text

"Representatives of 33 States met in Vienna, Austria, on 11 and 12 July 1996 and established the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.

Bulgaria and Ukraine are welcomed as new participants and co- founders by Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The purpose of the Arrangement reflected in the Initial Elements agreed to at the meeting, is to contribute to regional and international security by:

* promoting transparency and greater responsibility with regard to transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations;

* seeking through national policies, to ensure that transfers of these systems do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities;

* complementing and reinforcing, without duplication, the existing control regimes for weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, as well as other internationally recognized measures designed to promote transparency and greater responsibility, by focusing on the threats to international and regional peace and security which may arise from transfers of armaments and sensitive dual-use goods and technologies where risks are judged greatest; and,

* enhancing cooperation to prevent the acquisition of armaments and sensitive dual-use items for military end-uses, if the situation in a region or the behaviour of a State is, or becomes, a cause for serious concern to the Participating States.

This arrangement will not be directed against any State or group of States and will not impede bona fide civil transactions. Nor will it interfere with the rights of States to acquire legitimate means with which to defend themselves pursuant to Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations.

Participating States will control all items set forth in the List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies and the Munitions List with the objective of preventing unauthorized transfers or re-transfers of these Items.

Participating States have agreed 1 November 1996 as a target-date for implementation of the Lists. Some Participating States indicated that they might be unable to meet this target-date but would make every effort to implement the Lists before the December 1996 Plenary. The decision to transfer or deny a transfer of any item will be the sole responsibility of each Participating State.

The participants established a Secretariat in Vienna to facilitate the future work of the Arrangement and agreed to a work program that will expand and enhance the Arrangement in ways that will further its central purposes.

The next Plenary of the Arrangement is scheduled for December 1996 in Vienna."

US DOE press releases: New Supercomputer; Surplus uranium.

New Supercomputer

'World's Fastest Supercomputer to Meet 21st Century Challenges', R- 96-109, 26 July 1996


"President Clinton Announces Pact with IBM to Deliver Next Generation Computer in 1998

President Bill Clinton today launched a four-year, $93 million public/private partnership to build the world's fastest supercomputer. Up to 300 times faster and more powerful than existing machines, the new supercomputer will enhance US national security and economic competitiveness. This new supercomputer - the result of a visionary collaboration between the US Department of Energy (DOE), its Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and International Business Machines, Inc. (IBM) - will be on-line in 1998.

The new supercomputer project, called DOE Option Blue, will advance national security objectives as well as civilian applications in science and technology, medicine and American industrial competitiveness. It is a critical tool for strengthening the US national security program and supporting President Clinton's commitment to a zero-yield, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

'The pact with IBM will help the United States meet the triple challenge of ensuring our national security, enhancing our competitive edge in the global economy, and protecting the environment,' said President Clinton. 'This computer technology has an almost limitless variety of applications, from national security to medicine to manufacturing; it will enhance the quality of life for every American,' the President concluded.

The President's decision to pursue a worldwide nuclear test ban shifted the way the United States ensures confidence in the safety, performance, and reliability of its nuclear stockpile. Science-based methods will shift stockpile management from being based on nuclear testing toward an approach based on large computer simulations that can examine different aspects of weapons physics.

'Bringing together America's best and brightest in science and technology, this partnership is another example of the Clinton Administration's commitment to a mission of science in service to society,' stated Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary. 'From nuclear weapons safety and global warming simulations to aircraft design and more effective medicines, the American people will soon see the benefits of this investment in their homes and workplaces and in a manifestly safer world.'

... This contract to site the computer at Lawrence Livermore follows the procurement last year of the first Accelerated Strategic Computer Initiative (ASCI) system from Intel Corporation, code-named 'Option Red.' That 1.5 trillion-operations- per-second computer will be delivered to DOE's Sandia National Laboratories in December. Work is underway at DOE's three nuclear weapons laboratories to develop simulations that will answer important weapons-performance issues using the Option Red computer in early 1997. ..."

Surplus uranium

'Clinton Administration Takes Strong Step to Reduce Global Nuclear Danger', Department of Energy press release, R-96-112, 31 July, 1996


"Surplus Bomb-Grade Uranium Never Again To Be Used in Weapons

Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary announced today that the Department of Energy (DOE) will blend down surplus highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU) for sale as commercial reactor fuel. This announcement, formally issued as a Record of Decision, meets Clinton Administration objectives to reduce the global nuclear danger by eliminating excess weapons usable nuclear materials. In 1995 President Clinton announced that approximately 175 metric tons of HEU are surplus to US defense needs.

'This decision will ensure that the Clinton administration's ongoing nuclear weapons dismantlement efforts are irreversible by eliminating much of the material needed to build weapons,' said O'Leary. 'By selling the LEU for peaceful reuse, we also will provide hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues for the Treasury, reduce storage and security costs, and reduce the volume of radioactive waste.'

The decision announced today follows DOE's June publication of the Disposition of Surplus Highly Enriched Uranium Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The publication outlines the Department's Preferred Alternative to blend down and gradually sell up to 85 percent of the surplus HEU for commercial use in reactors over a period of about 20 years. The remainder would be difficult and costly to make usable for commercial purposes and will be treated as waste. ...

As a first step in this process of converting the surplus HEU to commercial reactor fuel, the Department will transfer ownership of 50 metric tons of its surplus HEU to the US Enrichment Corporation (USEC). This transfer will help expand the asset base of the government-owned USEC. When the corporation is privatized in the near future, additional revenues will accrue to the US Treasury as a result of this transfer. The sale of LEU to other buyers is addressed in the USEC Privatization Act, which was recently signed into law. The sale of LEU derived from the surplus HEU will be carefully gauged to avoid adverse impacts on the domestic uranium fuel industry. ..."

US Presidential Advisory Board report on proliferation and arms transfers

'Summary of the Report of the Presidential Advisory Board on Arms Proliferation Policy', Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) Fact Sheet, 1 July 1996

Full text


The Creation of the President's Advisory Board on Arms Proliferation Policy was mandated by Title XVI Section 1601 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 to conduct a study of (1) the factors that contribute to the proliferation of strategic and advanced conventional military weapons and related equipment and technologies, and (2) the policy options that are available to the United States to inhibit such proliferation. The five-member board was established by Executive Order 12946 on 20 January 1995, and tasked to advise the President on implementation of United States conventional arms transfer policy and other issues related to arms proliferation policy. Areas specified for study include trends in the international arms market instruments of restraint, export financing facilities, and the relationship between arms exports and the defense industrial base. The board members are: Dr. Janne E. Nolan, Chair, Edward Randolph Jayne II, Ronald F. Lehman, David E. McGiffert, and Paul C. Warnke.


Improving the Government's Processes for Export Control Policy and Administration

'In its examination of arms proliferation policy, the Board recognizes that US goals are neither solely nor even primarily in the arms control arena. The composite national security strategy, foreign policy, and domestic agenda of the government reflects an attempt to optimize among incommensurate and not always complementary objectives. Thus, the interagency process created to make decisions should represent effectively the diverse views of the various department and agencies created to address different objectives of the United States. Certainly, for example, the State Department must weigh diplomatic considerations, the Defense Department must consider its own programs and overseas security relationships, and the Commerce Department must look to trade. All of the major departments also have an interest in preventing the proliferation of weapons and technologies of concern, but in each case that perspective is subject to countervailing pressures at all levels of decision-making.

The most prominent players in export control decisions are now the State Department, the Commerce Department, and the Treasury Department. Although the Defense Department does not make final licensing decisions, its views and those of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency heavily influence those decisions. The Board found reason to be concerned that due regard may not be given to nonproliferation issues, absent a clear voice representing that perspective at all levels, including the Oval Office. The Board believes that this responsibility has rested primarily with the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency since 1961. Until such time as the threat from proliferation is greatly diminished, the Board believes that such an independent agency is essential and a further strengthening of its nonproliferation mandate is warranted.'

Negotiation of an International Control Regime

'The Board believes that the first priority for the US government is to continue, with a greater dedication of resources, to push for international consensus and control mechanisms to limit selected conventional weapons and technologies. The fundamental principles of national, international, and regional security, and arms control must be the basis for that consensus. US leadership is essential; nothing will happen without it.'

The Conventional Weapons Challenge

'...the Board is strongly convinced that control of conventional arms and technology transfers must become a significantly more important and integral element of United States foreign and defense policy if the overall goals of nonproliferation are to succeed.'

The Defense Industrial Base

'The final economic issue reviewed by the Board involves arguments by some in the US defense industry who contend that robust foreign arms sales are critical for sustaining an adequate defense industrial base. The Board rejects any notion that stepping back from well-conceived arms restraint policies is the way to ensure the health of our defense industrial base. The radical restructuring and adjustment to much smaller markets in the world's defense industries will, as the RAND and other studies document, continue into the foreseeable future. The export market is much too small to offset the overall decline in defense procurement.

In short, the Board believes that, in general, the best solution to overcapacity in defense industries, in the United States and worldwide, is to reduce supply rather than increase demand. With due regard to the complexities involved, the Board believes that an approach that discourages subsidizing or otherwise maintaining uneconomical defense industries makes the most sense. Unwise arms sales remain unwise no matter how many jobs are involved; moreover, those jobs are protected only in the short term.'

Summary of major recommendations

'The fundamental principles of national security, international and regional security, and arms control must be the basis for international agreement. The inevitable economic pressures that will confront individual States should not be allowed to subvert these principles.

US arms transfer policy can and should be developed and executed separate from policies for maintenance of the defense industrial base.

...the Board is convinced of the need for closer legislative- executive cooperation. The inherently transnational character of the arms market and the absence of consensus among governments regarding common policy objectives also make it clear that efforts to elicit other countries' support for new initiatives should be given the highest priority. The Executive Branch initiative, with the backing of Congress, is essential to this task.'"

Security Council discusses landmines

'Speakers urge imposition of global ban on anti-personnel mines, as Security Council discusses demining in peace-keeping context', Security Council, 3589th Meeting, SC/6257, 15 August 1996

Statements: summaries and quotes


(Caroline Millar)


"... Currently, the Departments of Peace-keeping Operations and Humanitarian Affairs were coordinating their respective involvement in mine-clearance well... Generally, the transition from a peace-keeping mine-clearance programme to a humanitarian programme must be carefully managed and well coordinated. Demining for peace-keeping purposes was different from humanitarian mine clearance. ... the creation of an indigenous demining capability should run concurrent to demining for peace-keepers.

...adequate financing for humanitarian demining was of concern. The United Nations, through the Economic and Social Council or the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), should consider the long-term budgetary situation, exploring the possibility of allocating more regular budget resources for mine clearance. Australia had announced its support for a global ban on the use, transfer, production and stockpiling of anti-personnel landmines in April of this year. It would determinedly pursue that end."


"For affected people on the ground, the emphasis on demining to provide a safe working environment for peace-keepers can be seen as a failure by the United Nations to address urgent humanitarian problems."

"We believe it is false economy to invest our efforts in mine clearance in the absence of clear international commitment to prevention."

Bosnia and Herzegovina

(Ivan Z. Misic)


"...up to 3 million landmines were strewn across [Bosnia and Herzegovina]... From 1 January to 15 June alone, 16 persons had been killed by mines, with eight of them being children. In Tuzla and Zenica, abut 55 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively, of all wartime amputees had been maimed by those weapons. ... It was clear that it would take 1,000 mine clearers about 33 years to cover the mine-plagued areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Bosnia and Herzegovina had about 20,000 unmarked mine fields and the work of clearing them would be carried out by the Bosnians themselves.

[Bosnia and Herzegovina] support[s] the initiatives of the President of the United States to ban the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. The seven- point-action programme on personal mines announced by the German Foreign Minister [Editor's note: see below, and News Review] was an extraordinary effort towards the elimination of dangers and damages of those weapons."


(Robert R. Fowler)


"[Canada] had a two-track approach to addressing the scourge of landmines. The first sought to help with demining assistance, victim rehabilitation and the development of demining and victim assistance expertise and technologies to deal with the problems of mine-affected countries. The second track related to the need to stop deploying new mines and to promote an agreement which bans anti-personnel mines. Two Canadian peace-keepers had been killed and 22 seriously wounded by mines in the past five years. ...

...the international community should confront the challenge landmines posed for peace-keeping by seeking urgent action to eliminate and ban their use. To move international efforts to highlight the need for national action to eliminate the scourge of mines and develop a comprehensive approach to their use, Canada would host an international strategy session in Ottawa from 3 to 5 October, bringing together States, international agencies and non- governmental organizations. Participating States should endorse an Ottawa declaration to establish commonly agreed objectives to move the international community closer to a ban on antipersonnel mines. The meeting would provide an opportunity for working towards a fifty-first General Assembly resolution expressing Member States' commitment to support a global ban on such weapons, to implement national moratoria or bans on their use and export and to speed the movement towards negotiations on an agreement to ban them entirely. All United Nations Members had endorsed the 'eventual elimination' of such mines. More than 40 countries had called for a comprehensive ban, with almost 30 having moved to impose unilateral restrictions on their use and export."


(Vladimir Drobnjak)


"...an estimated 3 million landmines had been laid on 13,000 square kilometres of his country. It would take an estimated 2,000 men directly engaged in mine clearance some eight to 10 years to clear that terrain. Demining should become an integral part of the postconflict restoration process, and should become inseparable from peacekeeping. ...

The United Nations should become the global coordinator of demining activities. A United Nations coordinating body could facilitate an exchange of data on various types of mines, exchanges of technical personnel responsible for demining and an exchange of equipment and other materials necessary for demining. Leading military Powers should make sophisticated equipment available to less developed countries, by loan if necessary. ..."


(Nabil Elaraby)


"... Egypt was one of the countries that had a large number of mines, especially in its western desert, which was a site of a great battle in the Second World War - around El-Alamein - and around the Sinai desert. There were some 22 million landmines in Egypt, one mine for every three Egyptians. Those weapons delayed Egypt's efforts to develop itself economically. The Government had spent more than $10 million in the past few years to clear some 11 million mines. It was wrong to allow Egypt alone to clear mines that had not been planted by Egyptians. Countries responsible for their proliferation should be reminded of their moral, material and legal obligations in relation to landmines. Countries that had planted mines in Egypt should be obliged to clear them.

Egypt was not among the countries that had benefited from the mineaction programme coordinated by the Department of Humanitarian Affairs... The number of mines planted yearly was 20 times greater than the number being cleared. Sometimes, though, the responsible and legitimate use of mines was an inexpensive way of protecting the borders of poor countries which did not have less costly alternatives. Rich countries should help transfer technology for producing mines that became harmless after a certain amount of time had lapsed. Mine clearance should be considered in the general framework of social and economic development, not just in the context of security."

European Union (EU)

(Statement made on behalf of the European Union, as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Iceland John H. F. Campbell, Permanent Representation of Ireland)


"...2 to 5 million new mines were being laid every year. ...

The European Union welcomed the increased priority being attached to demining in the context of peace-keeping, and strongly encouraged that greater coordination between the relevant departments be pursued in that regard. ...

While the establishment of national mine-clearance activities was critical, it should not be forgotten that the primary responsibility for demining lay with the parties to the conflict... The extent to which the United Nations would have to bear responsibility would depend on the capacity of the parties to respond to the problem. ..."


(Herve Ladsous)


"... France had long worked to totally eliminate all anti- personnel landmines. On 9 February 1993, France had requested the Secretary-General to convene a review conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons with the hope that that would lead to a substantial revision of Protocol II of that Convention. The conference had met last May, and while it had not achieved all that France had sought, it did record significant progress in a number of areas. ...

... [France] had stopped exporting anti-personnel landmines since it proclaimed a complete moratorium on export in 1993. Last year, France had adopted a moratorium on the production of landmines and had committed itself to destroying existing stockpiles. ..."


(Tono Eitel)


"...the casualty report of the United Nations demining database was a 30-page document with an endless list of mostly United Nations peace-keepers and military or civilian personnel killed or wounded by landmines. ... Conflicts in which mines were used indiscriminately appeared, despite all international efforts, to be on the increase.

... some 1.3 million mines had been laid along the 1,378 kilometres of the former inner German 'iron curtain'... the effect of those mines were still vivid in German memories.

While mine-clearance was already part of numerous United Nations peacekeeping operations, more should be done to enhance the United Nations capabilities in that area. The Secretariat, in particular the demining unit in the Department of Peace-keeping Operations, deserved more support. The creation of rapid reaction capabilities, possibly including a range of easily deployable demining stand-by facilities, could be a step forward. Member States must be willing to facilitate that task.

Lessons learned from past peace-keeping operations, especially from the failures, have pointed to the particular importance of clear and practical mandate... Provisions for mine clearance should be made an explicit element of mandates wherever necessary. The rational delineation of responsibilities and clear hierarchies in the decision-making were also needed. While the task of the demining unit in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was distinct from the humanitarian approach towards demining in the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, one may wonder whether some greater integration of demining activities combining the shorter- or longer-term perspectives, might not be a more efficient way of handling those issues. ...

For its part, Germany had relinquished totally and unconditionally the use of anti-personnel mines, as underlined again the recent seven-point-action programme of anti-personnel mines by the country's Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel. Mandates for new peace- keeping operations must require the parties to abstain from laying new mines. Affected countries must be ready to play a larger role in tackling the problem. Peace agreements should contain provisions for the former warring parties to actively contribute to mineclearance efforts. In order to facilitate that task, the international community should be ready to provide training personnel in order to turn former combatants into active deminers. As one step in that direction, Germany, on a bilateral basis, was prepared to do its part. ..."


"I do not intend to challenge the somewhat different nature of peacekeeping and so-called humanitarian demining, and, of course, compliance with the mandates remains the first priority. But it is my feeling that demining in peace-keeping should not dogmatically have to limit itself to the concerns of mission personnel."


(Istvan Nathon)


"... [Hungary] was concerned that, despite numerous international efforts, the extensive use of anti-personnel mines was still jeopardizing the solution of many long-lasting regional conflicts. Also, the indiscriminate deployment of anti-personnel mines had slowed down and even blocked the efforts of the international community to implement the mandate of peace-keeping missions. The time had come to seek a global political and legal solution to eliminate or, at least, decrease the danger represented by anti- personnel mines. ...

While reinforcement of existing prohibitions and restrictions on the use and transfer of certain types of anti-personnel mines would be a step in the right direction, an international ban on anti-personnel mines would better serve to relieve mankind of those weapons. The recent initiative presented by Germany in that regard was of particular value..."


(Arun Kumar Singh)


"... Mine clearance was constrained by factors, such as the lack of time and by the financial implications of major involvement of the military in demining activities in United Nations peace- keeping, in an era of financial stringency and mounting United Nations debt to major troop contributors.

Demining was not conducive to merely a military solution nor could it be restricted to peace-keeping missions... It should be an integral part of the post-conflict peace building of nations. To be successful, it should be addressed in the light of economic and social development in order to rehabilitate and improve living conditions of people in countries devastated by mines. ... The norms against landmines should be strengthened by barring their transfer and use in internal conflicts."


(Nugoroho Wisnumurti)


"...the involvement of peace-keeping forces in mine clearance did not in itself warrant a shift of responsibility on that issue from the General Assembly to the Council. ...

Indonesia welcomed the decisions of a number of States to impose a moratorium or a ban on the production, export and use of mines... The review process of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons offered the appropriate means for dealing with landmines and related devices. Demining was a long-term and expensive process. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimated that it would cost $33 billion to rid the world of landmines. In that light, support for the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance was critical.

The link between peace-keeping operations and humanitarian programmes in the area of mine clearance was vital, he went on. The Department of Humanitarian Affairs should coordinate the work of all agencies involved in mine clearance."


"It remains important that mine-clearance activities in the context of peace-keeping operations are linked closely to the humanitarian activities from the very beginning to ensure a coordinated approach to the land-mine problem and the continuation of mine-related activities following the end of the peace-keeping mandate."

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

(Peter King)


"...with 64 countries affected and some 24,000 victims of anti- personnel mines each year, there was no doubt that mine clearance was a priority for the world community. ...

It was estimated that clearing the mines currently laid would cost $33 billion... Although millions of dollars were being spent on clearance, far greater numbers of mines continued to be laid than could be removed. The ICRC was convinced that mine clearance, although essential, could never be seen as a solution to the problem. While it rarely called for the ban of a specific weapon, the ICRC supported the proposed ban on antipersonnel landmines. ...

...[T]he ICRC had commissioned a number of senior military officers to conduct a study of 26 post-Second World War conflicts, including all of the international ones, which found that mines had rarely been used, even by professional armies, in accordance with military doctrine, and that their effect on the tactical situation was at best marginal. In many situations, their military effect was even counterproductive for the user. ..."


"...our surgeons, who have had many years of experience in treating war wounds, have stressed that anti-personnel landmines cause by far the worst injuries of conventional weapons; they are very difficult to treat, require multiple operations, and usually result in maiming or even death."

"The alternative [to a total ban] will be countless new victims, further destruction of economic and development potential, and endless pouring of truly enormous amounts of money for demining, the end result of which will be more mines, not fewer. We sincerely hope that the international community will take the only humane and logical decision."


(Majid Takht-Ravanchi)


"... During the Iran-Iraq war, nearly 16 million mines had been laid on Iranian territory occupied in different stages of the war. Over the past six years, the Government had embarked on a massive mine-clearance programme in order to enable displaced persons to return to their homes. Lack of advanced equipment and of maps of minefields had slowed efforts and had caused unacceptable casualties among those involved in mine-clearance activities.

...it was ironic that, despite a world-wide campaign against antipersonnel landmines in recent years, no serious attempt had been made to transfer newer mine-clearance technologies to affected countries. ... The United Nations had a special role to play in ensuring that no restrictions would be applied by any State that would impede access to mine-clearance technology. ..."


"Various types of equipment continue to remain subject to discriminatory and unjustifiable export control regimes."


(Hisashi Owada)


"... The issue of landmines must be addressed comprehensively, focusing efforts on three interrelated directions: the strengthening of mine-clearance work of international agencies, with the United Nations as the centre of coordination; promoting the development of new technologies for mine detection and clearance; and strengthening international help for rehabilitating victims.

... Japan supported the momentum towards a global ban of the weapons, which had emerged from the Conference. On its own, it had decided to undertake some initiatives, pending an agreement on such a ban. It would advance necessary measures to modify its anti- personnel landmines into self-destructing ones; it would not plan to acquire non-self-destructing landmines; it would not make operational use of non-self-destructing types; and Japan would promptly pursue the study of alternatives to anti- personnel landmines that would not hurt civilians. The problems of the commercial transfer of landmines from producer countries to areas of conflict should be more closely scrutinized. Japan was restraining from such trade and urged others to do so.

... Japan supported the German proposal to consider the demining function within the framework of peace-keeping activities of the United Nations. He expressed the hope that the consultation in the Council on the issue would provide a powerful momentum towards establishing an effective framework towards a global ban on the weapon."


(Hasmy Agam)


"...The Review Conference on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons had been welcome, as had other recent measures to address the scourge of mines, but such efforts fell short of the ultimate goal of the complete elimination of landmines. Pending the realization of that goal, the onus was on mine-producing countries to ensure a more stringent regime governing the production and transfer of those weapons. ..."


"With such vast numbers of these cruel and indiscriminate weapons strewn around the world, which by some estimates might take over a thousand years to be completely cleared, there should be a serious rethinking of existing military doctrine which legitimizes the use of these landmines."

"Clearly, in this exercise the role of the major Powers is pivotal. They should manifest clear leadership and seriousness in pushing the process forward. They should lead by example and demonstrate clear commitment to phase out these weapons from their arsenals."

New Zealand

(Colin Keating)


"... In April, New Zealand had renounced the operational use of antipersonnel landmines by its defence forces... It was hoped that all countries would do the same. ...

[New Zealand] supported the Voluntary Trust Fund, as well as the establishment of demining units within the Department of Peace- Keeping Operations and the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, and the latter's designation as the focal point for United Nations mine-clearance activities. Those were welcome first steps, but much remained to be done. The Council must design mandates taking into account the need for mine clearance, mine awareness, information gathering, and training to build indigenous capabilities.

... The Department of Peace-keeping Operations and the Department of Humanitarian Affairs must coordinate their efforts to avoid duplication. Adequate resources must be allocated to support mine clearance. Lessons should be drawn from past experience on mine clearance. The Council should adopt a presidential statement requesting such a review. Perhaps, the lessons-learned unit of the Department of Peace-keeping Operations could take up that project.

Regarding the need for a timely response to the threat of mines, he said New Zealand saw merit in examining, within the stand-by forces concept currently under investigation, the possibility of a rapid mine-clearance capability that could be used at the beginning or end of an operation. Consideration should be given to acquiring greater numbers of mine-protected vehicles and developing operational concepts and standardized procedures to counter the mine threat."


(Mario Castellon Duarte)


"[Nicaragua] had sponsored a regional conference in April which had identified landmines as a violation of international law. Countries of the region had decided to adopt 'mine-free zones'. Governments of the world had been encouraged to ban landmines and to contribute to restitution for the victims of their indiscriminate effects. The OAS [Organisation of American States] had met in Panama in June and had taken the occasion to underline the destructive effects of anti-personnel landmines and to call for international support for mine clearance in Central America. ...

...there were four nuclear-free zones on the planet...why it had not been possible to establish a mine-free zone in the Western Hemisphere[?]"


(Dag Werno Holter)


"... Norway had declared a moratorium on their production, stockpiling, transfer and use. All such mines currently found in Norwegian military stockpiles would be destroyed by 1 October. The outcome of the May Review Conference on the Convention on...Certain Conventional Weapons...had fallen short of expectations. The amended Protocol II did not ban anti-personnel landmines and did not go far enough in the area of interim protection for civilians. But it was a first step on the road to a legally binding global ban. The next review conference in 2001 would help maintain political pressure for a ban.

... It was encouraging that more than 30 countries were now advocating a total ban on anti-personnel landmines. Norway wanted a strong resolution at the forthcoming General Assembly that would embody the objectives of the States that wanted to ban the mines. It was also ready to take part in negotiations on a comprehensive ban on anti-personnel mines, which should start as soon as possible. ..."


(Ahmad Kamal)


"... Peace-keepers carried out demining in order to ensure a secure environment for peace-keeping and to carry out their mandates... But the importance of demining extended beyond those objectives. The removal of landmines was a prerequisite to national reconstruction. Therefore, the linkage between the peace- keeping and humanitarian mine-clearance activities was critical. ...

The United Nations demining capacity should be strengthened by placing trained personnel, equipment, modern technology and other facilities at the Organization's disposal. Those who laid mines must bear the primary responsibility for their clearance."


"In the context of peace-keeping operations, wherever the abusers can be identified, they should be made to pay for the devastating suffering that they have caused."

South Korea

(Park Soo Gil)


"As one observer had noted, landmines were weapons of mass destruction in slow motion. The average anti-personnel mine cost some $3 to produce and $1,000 to remove. Landmines were being laid faster than they could be removed. Coping with that scourge would require the international community to address the supply side of the equation, including through restrictions on production and export, as well as modifications in design such as the inclusion of self-neutralizing timers. The Republic of Korea had adopted its own year-long moratorium on land-mine exports last year.

... It was critical to ensure that demining was made an integral part of United Nations peace-keeping operations... The Council should review the scope of the mandates of existing peace-keeping operations in order to ensure that authorization for demining was adequately provided for. Equally important were efforts to nourish indigenous capacity for safe, fast and effective mine clearance. Before leaving a given area, peace-keepers should transfer their repository of demining experience to the host country. Beyond peace-keeping operations, the United Nations should provide ad hoc demining assistance whenever the need arose. ..."

Russian Federation

(Yuriy Fedotov)


"... demining was becoming an indispensable part of United Nations peace-keeping missions and those of some regional bodies. The role of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs as a centre for coordinating activities related to demining should be retained. But the relationship between the work of that department in demining related to humanitarian activities and the work of the Department of Peace-keeping Operations in that regard should be clarified. Standard rules on demining and central databases should be encouraged. The Russian Federation was concluding a special programme on demining. Technical assistance was important. In the process of peace-keeping in the territory of the CIS, some experience had been gained. The demining activities in Abkhazia were trying to remove some impediments to the mandates of UNOMIG [United Nations Mission in Georgia] and other peace-keeping missions.

On the question of a full ban...that issue should be considered separately as it was being considered in other forums. The matter should be considered carefully. A ban of the weapons under present conditions could lead to the production of illegal landmines which could be more barbarous."


(Yuri Bohayevsky)


"... The question of sending forward-line demining units to the field before full-scale deployment should be considered. Joint missions of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs and the Department of Peace-keeping Operations to areas of conflict should assess the scope of the mine problem in each country and develop the best programmes of helping in the demining of the territories. The establishment of mine-clearance centres in countries where armed conflict had ended should be considered carefully. ...

... Ukraine strongly supported efforts to eliminate the threat of landmines and had declared a self-imposed, four-year moratorium from 1 September 1995 on the export of all types of anti-personnel landmines. ...

... [Ukraine]...was ready to provide, on specific terms, special units of its forces for demining operations under the auspices of the United Nations, other international organizations and on bilateral bases. Concerned Member States should work closely together to make progress to destroy the 'seeds of death'."

United Kingdom

(Sir John Weston)


"[The UK] was one of the largest contributors to mine-clearance activities. It fully supported the Organization's position that responsibility for such activities lay primarily with the parties to a conflict, not with an individual peace-keeping operation. While supporting all United Nations activities for mine clearance, the United Kingdom believed that a clear distinction must be drawn between the mine clearance to serve the operational needs of peace- keeping operations, which was the responsibility of the Department of Peace-keeping Operations, and other humanitarian demining requirements, which fell under the responsibility of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs. There should clearly be close coordination between the two Departments, but their tasks were not the same.

The armed forces of the United Kingdom undertook mine-clearance work only where it was necessary for the success of a military operation... Responsibility for humanitarian mine clearance must be carried out by development and humanitarian organizations with the overall guidance of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs. Demining by the military may not be the most cost-effective means of land-mine clearance, which was a slow, painstaking and methodical process. ...

The United Kingdom questioned the proposed establishment of a demining stand-by force, he continued. Donor countries were unlikely to be willing to designate equipment or facilities which, if they were to be available at short notice, would sit idle in the meantime. ...

With respect to minefields in Egypt from the Second World War...the United Kingdom had handed over to that country's Government all maps and other information it had on that subject. It had also offered to assist in the clearing of those mines."


"Demining might not always be necessary and, in some circumstances, the premature removal of minefields might add to instability."

"The United Kingdom would not be able to put mine-clearance trainers on permanent stand-by, but we remain ready to consider each request on its merits."

United States

(Karl Inderfurth)


"Demining assistance by the international community is critical to addressing the landmine crisis. But it is not enough. These weapons must be banned. The United States has been and will continue to be a leader in the fight to eliminate anti-personnel landmines.

In September 1994, President Clinton, addressing the UN General Assembly, called for the eventual elimination of anti-personnel landmines and asked other nations to join us in concluding an agreement to reduce their number and availability. He also called for Member States to adopt export moratoria on landmines - an effort that 32 nations have now joined.

The President has taken another major step toward that goal by announcing on 16 May that 'the United States will aggressively pursue an international agreement to ban the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines, with a view to completing the negotiation as soon as possible.' The United States is dedicated to eliminating these weapons, taking into account our global responsibilities and concern for the safety of our soldiers.

A global anti-personnel landmine ban can only happen with the support of all Security Council Members and support from Member States. We are committed to initiating an international negotiation toward that end, and are now consulting with other States on what would be the best forum for negotiations. We also intend to propose a resolution at the 51st General Assembly this Fall urging States to begin work on negotiating an international agreement to achieve a worldwide ban...

... let me take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the German Presidency of the Security Council this month for convening this important session... May I also express my government's congratulations to the German government for its seven-point program on anti-personnel mines presented by Foreign Minister Kinkel on 18 July. ..."

News Review

Review compiled from reports appearing between 15 June and 15 August. The Review is an account of news reports and does not seek to put forward or reflect the views or claims of Dfax.

Inconclusive World Court ruling on nuclear weapons

On 8 July, the World Court - the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague - delivered its eagerly-anticipated and long- delayed advisory ruling on the legality of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. The ruling, or set of rulings - detailed in Documents and Sources - effectively concluded that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was only conceivably legal in extremis, i.e. where the national annihilation of the user or threatener was at stake.

Neither, however, could the Court "definitively" claim that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons even in those circumstances would be lawful. For example, the Court was unanimously of the opinion that nuclear weapons had to abide by humanitarian international law prohibiting the use of weapons with indiscriminate and disproportionate effects - a consideration which would appear to preclude their use under any circumstances. In the words of the President of the Court, Judge Mohammed Bedjaoui of Algeria (8 July):

"Nuclear weapons, the ultimate evil, destabilize humanitarian law, which is the law of the lesser evil. The existence of nuclear weapons is therefore a challenge to the very existence of humanitarian law."

The Court only passed its key verdict - that, in the words of Bedjaoui, it "cannot conclude definitively whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defense" - on the casting vote of the Court President himself, with the 14 other Judges split 7-7. The outcome distressed Court Vice-President Stephen Schwebel, who said (8 July) that the ICJ would have "done better...not to render an opinion at all":

"In terms redolent of Realpolitik...the court proclaims its ambivalence about the most important provisions of modern international law."


Editor's note: All quotes 8 July.

Hasmy Agam, Malaysia's Ambassador to the UN, and the presenter of his government's case to the Court:

"We would have preferred a more categorical judgment [against nuclear weapons]... Our arguments were based on political, legal and moral grounds."

Jim Bolger, New Zealand Prime Minister:

"It's a tremendous victory. It's a great watershed decision."

Nicholas Burns, US State Department spokesperson:

"We think that the decision as we understand it so far is positive... we believe that the decisions mean that there is no international legal prohibition against the existence of nuclear weapons, certainly not against the strategy of nuclear deterrence... There is no legal prohibition against the threat of use or the use of nuclear weapons consistent with the international guidelines the United States has subjected itself to in Geneva and The Hague."

Simon Carroll, Greenpeace:

"The ruling, in fact, means that any use or threat to use nuclear weapons could be in breach of international law... I was very surprised at the reaction of the Court. It was much stronger than I expected."

British Naval Commander (Retired) Robert Green, formerly Commander of a UK nuclear-weapons submarine, now a Member of the World Court Project.

"This places a duty on the military to review their whole attitude toward nuclear weapons, which are now effectively in the same category as chemical and biological weapons. ... With this remarkable decision, I could never have used a nuclear weapon legally."

Daniel Ellsberg, former senior US Department of Defense official:

"The opinion expressed by the ICJ contradicts the US view... Whatever national interests US officials may see in threatening non-nuclear States, by no stretch can it be seen as what the Court calls 'extreme self-defence', and the court has ruled such claims effectively out of bounds... That's a very strong narrowing of the circumstances in which the use or threat might be legal."

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto:

"The...judgement could speed up the move towards nuclear disarmament... we must act to make it a positive factor... Our ultimate goal is the total elimination of nuclear arms in the world."

Mayor of Hiroshima, Takashi Hiraoka:

"It is quite regrettable that no clear-cut answer was given."

Mayor of Nagasaki, Itcho Ito:

"I felt enraged [when I heard the ruling]."

Victor Sidel, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW):

"[The ruling is] a sop to the nuclear-weapon States. ... The only way to end the threat is a convention or treaty calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons..."

Jacques Rummelhardt, French Foreign Ministry spokesperson:

"France takes note of the opinion... These opinions, which are not acts of jurisprudence, have no compulsory force... [The Court] recognises that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons may be legal in exceptional circumstances of legitimate self-defence as defined in article 51 of the United Nations Charter. That is also France's position. ... Nuclear deterrence is aimed at prohibiting any threat to our vital interests, as defined in the last resort by the Head of State..."

Jeremy J. Stone, Federation of American Scientists:

"[The ICJ] failed to give a clear statement which the world wants about nuclear weapons. ... This was a thoroughly incompetent decision in which the court divided itself by failing to divide the issues."

Koichiro Tokuoka, presenter of Japan's case to the Court:

"We are disappointed because the Court has not made its decision clear enough. However, the fact that the Court has obliged all States to negotiate nuclear disarmament [under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty] is encouraging."

Cora Weiss, Vice-President of the International Peace Bureau:

"I would like to state categorically that this is a great victory and that if States obey the Court and its President they should all be sitting down at a table now to work out clear and complete nuclear disarmament."

Canberra Commission delivers pro-zero verdict

On 14 August, the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons published its report, concluding that such elimination is both practical and essential. The report is now expected to be presented by the Australian government to both the UN, in September, and the CD, next January. See Documents and Sources for background and extensive extracts.

The report was naturally hailed by the Commission's members. According to Professor Joseph Rotblat, 1995 Nobel Peace Laureate (19 August), the Commission was aimed to "break realpolitik with this report":

"This group represents a very wide range of political professional people, and some of them used to be quite sceptical of nuclear disarmament. Now they have come around. This is very significant, particularly given the fact that the report is totally unanimous. There was no dissent." Rotblat defended the Commission's reluctance to set a timetable for moving to zero:

"I do believe nuclear disarmament is possible. But we deliberately decided not to put in a time-frame. I have for some years said that what is important is not the end point which I cannot predict. The important thing is for the nuclear powers to say they have decided [to eliminate] nuclear weapons. We have put in some points which can be started immediately."

Malaysian Commission member Dr. Ron McCoy, Co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), enthused (14 August):

"The report shows how world opinion has now decisively swung against nuclear weapons. Along with the recent International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons, the Canberra report reinforces the need for the nuclear powers to reassess their unacceptable refusal to honor their commitment under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty to rid the world of their nuclear arsenals."

According to one of the two French Commissioners, former Prime Minister Michel Rocard, the case for radical disarmament was now compelling. Rocard said on 12 August:

"The nuclear-weapon States have no good reason to preserve nuclear weapons for use between themselves, and no serious reason in any case to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear States."

China tests, declares moratorium

On Monday 29 July, China conducted a nuclear test at its Lop Nor test site in the northwest province of Xinjiang. Its announcement of the blast - said to have registered 4.3 on the Richter Scale and produced an explosive yield of 1-5 kilotonnes - was coupled with the declaration of a moratorium, carried on the official Xinhua news agency:

"China successfully conducted a nuclear test today. The Chinese government hereby solemnly declares that it will start a moratorium from 30 July, 1996. Such an important decision by China is not only a response to the appeal of the vast number of non- nuclear-weapon States, but also a concrete action to promote nuclear disarmament."

The test was China's 45th - the same number as conducted by Britain. The aggregates for the other nuclear-weapon States are reported to be: France, 210; Russia, 715; United States, 1,030.


Editor's note: All statements made on 29 July unless otherwise indicated.


Foreign Minister Alexander Downer

"I told the Chinese ambassador that Australia deeply regretted the decision by the Chinese government to proceed with the nuclear test."

Labour Party spokesperson Laurie Brereton

"China's nuclear test is particularly deplorable, coming as it does as the final critical stage of [CTBT] negotiations...is about to commence."


Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jacques Rummelhardt

"[France] notes with satisfaction China's announcement of a definitive suspension of all nuclear tests... France renews its support for the rapid transmission of the draft [CTBT] treaty..."


Foreign Minister I. K. Gujral, addressing Parliament, 31 July

"On our part, we are dismayed by the nuclear tests carried out by nuclear-weapon States, particularly as CTBT negotiations are in progress... These steps have contributed to the nuclear arms race and shown that partial steps do not lead to nuclear disarmament...

Such testing programmes inevitably give rise to questions relating to India's national security. While we have adopted a policy of restraint after demonstrating our capability, we remain fully conscious of the evolving security situation..."

Former Foreign Secretary A. P. Venkateswaran, 30 July

"The latest action of China proves that nuclear-weapons countries can do whatever they want and others should just shut up and put up... The fact that China and France did what they did is only confirmation of India's position that nuclear weapons should not be the monopoly of a five-member club."

Times of India editorial, 30 July

"The Chinese test is a message to India to stand firm in its refusal to be coerced into the treaty. ... If...they still present the old draft coercing India to ratify the treaty to bring it into force, that is [a] clear indication that they want to use India's veto to scuttle the treaty to which they have no genuine commitment."


Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto

"I have nothing to say except please make this the last test. ... [I] didn't know at all that it was coming today."

Cabinet Secretary Seiroku Kajiyama

"Despite the fact that Japan and the international community have been repeatedly calling for a halt to nuclear tests and that efforts have been made towards concluding a comprehensive test ban treaty, it is extremely regrettable that China conducted a nuclear test today.

We hope from the bottom of our hearts that China will respond to an early conclusion of the comprehensive test ban treaty and make efforts to accelerate nuclear disarmament to achieve a world without nuclear weapons."

New Zealand

Prime Minister Jim Bolger

"Although we welcome China's earlier undertaking that it will henceforth observe a moratorium on testing, China must go further... China should respect the will of the international community and cease testing for all time."


Foreign Ministry statement

"This Chinese action is doubly troubling, because it was done despite and with total disregard for the calls and appeals of the international community for it to forego this test...

This gives hope that the CTBT will be signed before the end of this year..."


Foreign Ministry spokesperson

"The main thing is that China has renounced further nuclear testing."

South Korea

Foreign Ministry statement

"The government of the Republic of Korea, which issued a statement on 8 June to urge China to halt any planned nuclear test, expresses deep regret and disappointment... The Korean government strongly urges China to sincerely adhere to its moratorium..."

United Kingdom

Foreign Office Spokesperson

"We do not intend to comment on the test itself; that is a matter for the Chinese government. However, we note the Chinese have said that, following yesterday's test, they will adopt a moratorium forthwith.

This means that all of the declared nuclear-weapon States have now indicated that they do not plan to carry out more tests. This is good news as the Conference on Disarmament resumes to conclude negotiations on a CTBT.

We hope that this will encourage others to join in concluding the CTBT...on the basis of Ambassador Ramaker's text, so that the Treaty can be opened for signature in New York in September. We share the international community's strong wish that yesterday's test should be the last ever."

United States

White House statement

"The United States regrets the underground nuclear test conducted by China last night but welcomes its announcement that it will now abide by a moratorium...

By constraining the development and improvement of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons, the CTBT will be a sturdy foundation for the safer, more peaceful, more secure world we seek..."

India opposition urges test

On 7 August, Brijah Mishra, the Foreign Affairs Spokesperson of India's main opposition party, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata - Indian People's Party) urged the United Front government of H. D. Deve Gowda to "conduct one or more nuclear tests in order to design nuclear warheads for our missiles. ... The longer we delay, the more dangerous things will become for us... On our borders we have China, a declared nuclear power, and Pakistan, a clandestine nuclear power."

During the April-May General Election, which resulted in a 12-day BJP Administration, the Party did not call explicitly for such tests, though it did advocate the open development of India's nuclear-weapons programme. The BJP and the government are united in their opposition to the current form of the proposed Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (see Geneva Update).

In Lahore, Pakistan, on 6 August, a conference organised by the 'fundamentalist' Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Party and attended by 25 religious parties and organisations including the main opposition grouping Pakistan League, added its voice to those calling for a new CTBT text. The conference passed a resolution urging the nuclear-weapon States to "first of all agree to add a clause to the CTBT that they will destroy their own nuclear warheads and missiles before a given date." The resolution also made the claim that "Pakistan's defence depends solely on its deterrent nuclear capability", and was insistent that Pakistan maintain and develop its "atomic programme without entertaining any hindrance and pressure."

Former New Zealand Premier criticises test ban and nuclear-weapon States

On 15 August, David Lange, New Zealand Labour Prime Minister from 1984-89, launched a remarkable attack on the supposed merit of a CTBT. Describing a test ban as being likely to constitute "the perfect way of ignoring the duty to disarm", Lange said that if he was still in power he would make a priority to "explode the myth that the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty is anything other than a device to avoid disarmament." Lange added: "I am absolutely, thoroughly on the side of the Indians on this. The Indians are the ones that have read it right. ... It's a meaningless document, and they're [the nuclear-weapon States] are going to hail it as a triumph." Its 'meaninglessness', he argued, was derived from the ease of circumventing the ban by alternative means of testing which was the only reason negotiations were taking place. This was typical, Lange claimed, nuclear-weapon State behaviour:

"It is a remarkable fact that the nuclear powers have, since the fifties, agreed on certain, what they describe as 'landmark', treaties, but which have never inconvenienced them in any way at all."

Belarus calls for Central Europe NWFZ

On 16 July, the Parliament of Belarus proposed the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in Central Europe. The suggestion - which has long been advocated by Ukraine - is widely seen as constituting an attempt to formally preclude future deployment of NATO nuclear weapons on former Warsaw Pact territory.

Meanwhile, Belarus's own denuclearisation programme - the completion of its agreed transfer of nuclear weapons to Russia - has hit serious problems. On 3 July, Sergei Posokhov, advisor to President Lukashenko, confirmed speculation that the transfers had been suspended while the level of Russian payment to Belarus was finalised:

"Our missiles are not in launch positions, they are not aimed at any target, they are just nuclear combustible... We must be reimbursed for their dismantling."

According to Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Sannikov, speaking on 11 July, agreement on Russian payments to Belarus was near, and should allow for the final weapons (18 of the 76 ICBMs inherited by Belarus) to be transferred before the end of the year.

Missile defence developments

Preliminary US-Russia agreement on ABM Treaty demarcation

In late June, US and Russian negotiators concluded a 'preliminary agreement' on definitions of theatre missile defence (TMD) systems permissible under the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. The negotiations have been vigorously pursued by the Clinton Administration, which is committed to significant development, and possible deployment, of a range of TMD systems. Preliminary agreement was also reached on Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine becoming State Parties to the Treaty.

Under the accord, anti-missile missiles can be deployed on two conditions: that their maximum speed is no higher than 3 kilometres per second; and that they have not been tested against missiles capable of travelling at faster than 5 kilometres per second, or covering a distance in excess of 3,500 kilometres.

Further negotiations are underway on definitions for systems which do not meet these specifications.

The preliminary agreement quickly came under attack by Republican members of Congress - the Republican Party being wedded to national missile defence (NMD) plans which far exceed, in ambition and cost (see last issue), the Administration's TMD plans. Representative Curt Weldon (Virginia), said on 16 July that it represented "one of the worst giveaways in foreign policy in the history of this country. What it amounts to is unilateral disarmament." Weldon added:

"Most of us don't understand why we're in these negotiations because we feel we have the ability to pursue these kind of technologies..."

On 17 July, Senator John Warner (Virginia) said he was "firmly of the opinion that the demarcation issue and other issues should come back to the Senate for ratification... I would assert...that these are substantial changes and as such would require ratification."

On 15 July, the State Department issued the following summary of the US position on the status and future of the ABM Treaty in the light of the new agreement:

"Maintaining the viability and integrity of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty enhances our national security.

To meet the need to defend our friends, allies, and US forces abroad against shorter-range, or 'theater,' non-strategic ballistic missiles, we are developing highly-effective theater missile defense (TMD) systems.

At the same time we are working with our four prospective ABM Treaty partners [Belarus, Kazakstan, Russia, Ukraine] to avoid undermining the treaty by agreeing on a demarcation between ABM systems, which are limited by the treaty, and TMD systems, which are not.

We have not and will not extend ABM Treaty limits to cover legitimate non-strategic missile defenses.

Building on the progress made regarding ABM/TMD demarcation at the April Nuclear Summit, the Standing Consultative Committee (SCC) met 20 May - 24 June, and developed preliminary agreement on an agreed statement on demarcation, applying to lower-velocity systems.

This agreement will not interfere with the ability of the United States to develop and deploy highly-effective Theater Missile Defense systems.

With respect to higher-velocity systems, we are continuing our discussions with ABM partners on demarcation, as agreed at the April Nuclear Summit.

In the meantime, we have made clear that, for the so-called higher- velocity systems, the United States will continue to make compliance determinations based on the relevant provisions of the ABM Treaty.

We have already determined that the Navy theater-wide system is compliant with the ABM Treaty."

The summary added that it was not yet clear whether the new arrangement would require Congressional approval:

"These documents are currently being reviewed by lawyers of the several concerned agencies. There is not as yet final determination about the status of these documents, including whether they fall within the guidelines of existing legislation relating to Congressional review."

The State Department issued its summary in part in response to a 15 July report in the Washington Times claiming that Russia was seeking follow-on definitions which would curtail US plans while leaving Russian plans unhindered. Few precise details were given, but reference was made to Russia's desire to develop a regional missile-defence using nuclear-armed anti-missile missiles. The Times' story claimed to be based on a 25 June letter from Russia's Foreign Minister, Yevgeny Primakov, to US Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

Congressional TMD/NMD plans for 1997

The House of Representatives has finalised its version of the FY97 Defense Authorization Act; the Senate failed to do before entering its summer recess. The House has allocated $3.7 billion to the Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Organisation (BMDO). In total, the House Act stipulates $265 billion of spending - over $10 billion more than requested by the Administration.

The House legislation does not mandate the Administration to take specific measures with regard to redefining the ABM Treaty, or to agree a deadline for deploying a NMD system; the FY96 Act did, prompting a Presidential veto. This year, the Republicans are seeking to deal with those issues in separate legislation, such as the Defend America Act (see last issue).

On 19 June, the Senate voted, by 53 votes to 44, to reject an amendment sponsored by Senator Byron Dorgan (Democrat - North Dakota) seeking to remove $300 million from the proposed FY97 Defense Authorization Bill dedicated to improving US capability to defend against a small-scale missile attack. Dorgan described the plan (19 June) a "boondoggle...an enormous waste of taxpayers' money." While the Administration would agree with him, four Democratic Senators voted against the amendment, including Sam Nunn (Georgia), who has been trying to introduce alternative missile-defence legislation, and Howell Heflin and Daniel Inouye, representatives of the two States - Alaska and Hawaii respectively - which the Republicans claim are under the greatest threat of attack.

The failure of the amendment was greeted with consternation by some members of Russia's Parliament, the Duma, which has pronounced itself unlikely to ratify the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) II if the ABM Treaty is seen to be threatened by US NMD ambitions. According to Duma member Georgy Krashennikov, speaking on 20 June, the new funding "reduces the effectiveness of the [ABM] Treaty." "The violation of the ABM Treaty by the US," Krashennikov added, "may result in retaliatory measures by Russia."

Controversial Army testimony on NMD

On 18 June, Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, the Army's Strategic Defense Commander, claimed, in testimony to the House National Security Committee, that the Army could deploy an NMD system providing "highly effective" defence of the entire United States. Such a system, according to Garner, would be constituted by 69 ground- based interceptors, located at a single site - permitted under the ABM Treaty. Garner put the cost of such a system at just over $5 billion.

Garner's testimony was seized upon by Representative Weldon, among others, as proof that the Administration was deliberately exaggerating the costs and difficulty of NMD: "[The] hearing succeeded in refuting the President's criticism of the NMD options which the GOP [Grand Old (Republican) Party] proposed in the FY96 Defense Authorization bill..." Weldon also claimed that the Administration was deliberately underestimating the missile threat to the US. Again, he referred to Garner's testimony, which spoke of North Korea possessing such a threat in the early years of the next decade. Weldon concluded:

"President Clinton was untruthful when her told the American people that no ballistic missiles threaten the US, and therefore we did not need to quickly deploy a fabulously expensive, high- risk NMD system."

THAAD criticised by GAO, backed by Congress

On 9 July, the General Accounting Office (GAO) published a report criticising a key component of the Administration's TMD plans, the Army's Theatre High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. The report - Ballistic Missile Defense: Issues Concerning Acquisition of THAAD Prototype System - said the decision of the Pentagon to spend $200 million on new and unproven interceptors - the User Operational Evaluation Systems (UOES) - was unjustified. The report contained a rebuttal of this allegation from the Defense Department's Director of Strategic and Tactical Systems, George Schneiter. The GAO was also more generally critical of the THAAD project.

The House of Representatives, however, is enthusiastic about the UOES, stipulating in its version of the Defense Authorization Act (see above) that 80 missiles be purchased for them - twice the number anticipated by the Department of Defense.

New Nunn-Lugar legislation

On 27 June, the US Senate unanimously (96 votes to 0) approved, in an amendment to the FY97 Defense Authorization Bill, funds of $235 million to be dedicated to improving protection against terrorist attacks using weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The amendment was sponsored by Senators Sam Nunn (Democrat - Georgia) and Richard Lugar (Republican - Indiana) - who have previously led Senate efforts to protect former-Soviet nuclear materials and facilities - and Pete Domenici (Republican - New Mexico). According to Senator Lugar (27 June):

"With passage of this amendment, the United States may begin a security strategy designed to prevent the leakage of weapons of mass destruction and materials related to such weapons..."

The new funds will go to two Departments - Defense ($150 million) and Energy ($85 million). The Department of Defense will now be required to establish a new programme, concentrating on training military and civilian emergency-response officials and workers. Efforts to detect the entry of WMD equipment and materials will also be bolstered. Some of the funds will be allocated to ongoing US initiatives under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program designed to increase nuclear safety and security in the former Soviet Union.

US and France said to deepen nuclear-weapons cooperation

On 4 June, France and the United States signed an agreement on the exchange of nuclear-weapons related data. The agreement is intended to be secret, but was revealed in a 17 June article in the Washington Post. According to reports, the main purpose of the arrangement is to ensure French access to data derived from computer-simulated nuclear tests.

The US reacted warily to the breaking of the story, confirming the existence of the pact, and defending its secret status. According to State Department spokesperson Nicholas Burns on 17 June: "this [agreement] we felt fell under the category of an activity which...should basically remain private. ... We don't want to give out all the details of our nuclear agreements in public." Burns added that such confidential cooperation was perfectly normal and legitimate:

"Of course we have nuclear cooperation with the United Kingdom and we've had a growing nuclear cooperation with Russia that has developed over the last four and a half years since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. And that's in the interest of all of us..."

A spokesperson from France's Defence Ministry, speaking in Paris on 17 June, was more forthcoming about the substance of the new accord. Explaining that it had two predecessors (dating from 1961 and 1985 respectively) the spokesperson said that guaranteeing the "safety, security and reliability" of existing nuclear weapons - and not the development of new ones - was the motivating concern of both parties. He added:

"The new cooperation programme refocuses these exchanges [on safety, security and reliability] to take account of recent changes in the geopolitical situation... In the long term, [the information exchange] will also include simulation [data]..."

US and Canada plans on handling weapons-grade materials

On 12 August, it was reported that Canada was in the midst of discussing with US and Russian officials a plan to use weapons- grade plutonium from both nuclear-weapons States in the Bruce Generating Station in Ontario. The plan is said to be to use the material as part of a electricity-generating mixed-oxide fuel. Although the Bruce plant would apparently need to be modified to handle the plutonium in this way, Canadian officials - such as the Foreign Ministry's Ariel Delouya, speaking on 12 August - appear confident in the proposition:

"For us, the bottom line is a need to reduce the stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium. There is value in examining proposals that would provide a safe outlet for disposing of this enormous quantity of plutonium that both the Americans and Russians have built up."

Earlier, on 31 July, the US Department of Energy announced what was billed as a 'strong step to reduce global nuclear danger' - a plan to sell surplus weapons-grade uranium, once suitably blended down, to civil nuclear reactors. See Documents and Sources for full text of the announcement.

US-China non-proliferation talks

In late July, US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Einhorn met Foreign Ministry officials in Beijing to discuss non-proliferation issues focusing on China's policy with regard to the export of missiles and nuclear-weapons-related technology. Recent arms control relations between the two States have been dogged by allegations of exports of either missiles or nuclear-weapons- related technology to Pakistan, Iran and, most recently Syria, to which a transfer of M-11 missiles has been reported. On 10 May (see issue no. 5) the US announced it would be taking no further action over an alleged transfer of nuclear-weapons related technology to Pakistan, and claimed that China had given an undertaking of willingness to consider new practices and policies. Speaking of the outcome of Einhorn's visit, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson would only comment (26 July):

"[Einhorn] has exchanged views with Chinese experts...on the subject of nuclear non-proliferation and export controls in nuclear and other fields for the purposes of reaching mutual understanding."

Addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 1 August, Secretary of State Warren Christopher insisted that the discussions were themselves a cause for cautious optimism: "we have reached a point where the Chinese fully understand the need to engage in discussions on proliferation. There was a time when they would not open those discussions."

Christopher expressed particular US disquiet at Chinese support for Iran's civil nuclear programme: "we are strongly encouraging the Chinese not to participate in nuclear trade with Iran." He conceded, however, that China was committed to not assisting unsafeguarded nuclear programmes, and that "Iran has safeguarded facilities".

Christopher's remarks incurred an immediate and scathing rebuke from Iran's President, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, speaking in Tehran on 2 August:

"America is the only country in the world which has used [the] atomic bomb, has the biggest nuclear weapons arsenal and helped Israel to equip itself with atomic weapons... What a bully and how monopolistic the United States is! What right does this country have to tell others not to give Iran nuclear technology?"

US-North Korea Accord: Progress on practicalities, fears over costs

Important progress was made during July in the discussions between North Korea and the US-South Korea-Japan Korean Peninsular Energy Development Organisation (KEDO) on finalising arrangements for the construction of new nuclear power plants for North Korea. On 11 July, at KEDO Headquarters in New York, the two sides - in the persons of North Korea's ambassador-at-large Ho Jin Yun and KEDO Executive Director Stephen Bosworth of the US - signed three protocols, according "specific privileges and immunities that will permit KEDO to carry out the light-water reactor project", in the words of Dan Poneman of the US National Security Council, briefing reporters on the day of the signing. Poneman elaborated:

"They [the Protocols] establish ways of communication for KEDO to carry out its functions in moving that project forward, as well as providing for means of transportation both to North Korea and then once arriving either by sea or by air into North Korea to the actual reactor site."

Poneman devoted most of his remarks, however, on the threat of Congressional support for the process - set in train by the October 1994 US-North Korea Framework Agreement and consolidated by a December 1995 KEDO-North Korea accord - slipping away:

"I think the one issue that we need to focus on...is the need that we have in the United States to assure the continued implementation of that agreed framework. And here I refer specifically to the Administration request for $25 million as the US contribution to KEDO for the next year, which is absolutely critical to the United States...to be able to discharge our responsibilities under the agreed framework, which include not only our work with KEDO on the reactor project, but also providing the heavy fuel oil which KEDO has agreed to provide...

We have been working very hard with the Congress. So far we have not secured their agreement. We have funding caps in both the House bill and the bill under consideration in the Senate at $13 million. I must emphasize the critical importance to our national security of this modest investment in securing $25 million from the United States, well within the bounds of the $20 million to $30 million figure Secretary Christopher said in 1995 we would be seeking annually from the Congress. ...

If we cannot get the US contribution, other countries will not contribute, and we will...[be] in a much more dangerous situation. ..."

Earlier (1 July), State Department spokesperson Nicholas Burns expressed confidence that the Congress would change its position:

"We do have a problem with the American Congress... [But] we will meet our commitments. ... The American share is quite small compared to our allies, and the American national interest is quite high and vital... The Congress, I think, if it reflects on this, will see it in those terms."

The same day, the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) opined:

"This shows the hardline conservatives of the Republican Party [are] still obsessed with antagonism and confrontation...[and do not want] to see the implementation of the Framework Agreement..."

On 15 July, the cost of constructing the new reactors was estimated, by the Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), at in excess of $6 billion. Previous estimates were around $4.5 billion. KEPCO is the prime contractor in the deal.

On 15 August, the Yonhap news agency reported that the US and North Korea could resume discussions on missile proliferation in August or September. Bilateral talks were last held on the issue in Berlin in April. Further talks were apparently scheduled for July, but failed to materialise.

Iraq and UNSCOM reach new misunderstanding

On 16 June, a 54-strong United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) team, led by Russian ballistic missiles expert Nikita Smidovich, abandoned attempts to inspect a military facility at Abu Ghurib, close to Baghdad (see last issue). The Iraqi authorities had refused access for unspecified security reasons. The incident was the latest in a rash of similar denials in June. UNSCOM is trying to complete its verification of the cessation of Iraq's programmes of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the destruction of its previous weapons and facilities, and the elimination of its capacity to restart similar programmes.

The clearly deteriorating situation prompted the Chair of UNSCOM, Rolf Ekeus of Sweden, to visit Baghdad on 19 June. The day before his arrival, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, urged UNSCOM to allow him to be present at any inspection; an offer already rejected by UNSCOM and the UN Security Council. Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Sahhaf expressed his exasperation with matters in Algiers on 18 June:

"...the United States is exploiting UNSCOM and pushing it to provoke Iraq unjustly. UN resolutions call for the inspection of factories and sites where there were products from prohibited weapons, and not those of offices or places linked to Iraqi sovereignty..."

On 19 June, the Saudi Arabian newspaper Ashrarg al-Awsat published an interview with Ekeus in which he claimed: "Iraq is still a threat to the region. It has six missiles with their launchers and perhaps more than that. This figure is enough for any State to pose a threat... I was too optimistic when I said Iraq was no longer dangerous, because I thought we had checked all its missile programmes..." Specifically, Ekeus charged: "What became apparent in August last year was that Iraq had succeeded where we thought it had failed: that is, the manufacturing of missile engines."

On 23 June, Ekeus announced a that "major breakthrough" had been reached the previous day: Iraq had agreed to allow UNSCOM "immediate, complete and unconditional access" to all sites. Further, Iraq had agreed, he said, to submit a "full, complete and final declaration on all its weapons programme" by the end of the month. Speaking in New York on 24 July, Ekeus noted: "[The problem] appears to be solved... Obviously we will test [the agreement]... We will be obliged to do [unannounced inspections], because on substance nothing has happened during this mission. Iraq is still...concealing some important components and weapons and also concealing important documents related to explaining their programme." He also revealed:

"Sensitive items may be stored upon trucks or other means of transport and they are kept on constant alert. Iraq has admitted that before August 1995...[it] had material stored on trucks and when our inspectors came into the airport the trucks started to move around the country."

Also on 24 July, a joint Iraq-UNSCOM statement was issued by the official Iraqi News Agency (INA):

"The Iraqi government affirms its commitment to continue its cooperation with UNSCOM and the International Atomic Energy Agency in carrying out its obligations under Security Council resolution 687, and has undertaken to agree to the two their immediate, unconditional and unrestricted arrival [sic] to all sites they want to inspect.

UNSCOM agreed to respect Iraq's legitimate security concerns.

Iraq and UNSCOM agreed to intensify their work with the aim of enabling the Commission to present, as soon as possible, a report to the Security Council indicating that Iraq has undertaken its obligations under resolution 687.

To achieve this goal, Iraq and UNSCOM have also agreed to hold regular meetings on the political level each two months in Baghdad.

To boost the carrying out of a future-looking dialogue, Iraq's Deputy Premier and UNSCOM Executive Chairman have agreed on a joint programme of action."

The first test of the new understanding came on 16 July, with the arrival of a new, 34-member, UNSCOM inspection team - charged with carrying out 'Mission 155' - again led by Smidovich. Access to the site, described as being on the outskirts of Baghdad, was promptly denied, as Ekeus informed the UN Security Council on 17 July: "Yesterday...an inspection team was once again blocked, this time on the road to carry out an inspection - not at the site, but on its way to the site..." Ekeus added that in a separate incident there had been a "serious threat to some inspectors...who were blocked and physically not allowed to continue along one road." After hearing the UNSCOM Chair, UK Ambassador to the UN, Sir John Weston, commented:

"...the Iraqis have once again failed the test... It is going to have repercussions to the detriment of Iraq, because we will not reach the point where sanctions can be lifted if this kind of non- cooperation goes on."

On 18 July, inspection-team leader Smidovich noted bleakly: "We are waiting here. We have suspended our operations. The other site we were not even allowed to approach." The next day, Ekeus called the effort off:

"Mission 155 is now terminated. We ended the mission last night, after 60 hours. They [the inspectors] were blocked at all access sites to the facility... They were not even allowed to come close... We can't shoot ourselves through. They have blocked us."

Mission 155 would be replaced, Ekeus announced, by a new "special mission" to "investigate methods of concealment used by Iraq during the years":

"We would like to investigate their methods of concealment and technology for that...in order to help us see what concealment is going on, what methods they are still applying."

It was later announced that this new team was still to be led by Smidovich.

Editor's note: it was not late August that UNSCOM received fresh assurances on inspection access - see next issue.

Emergency humanitarian oil sales finally given go-ahead

On 20 May, Iraq and the UN reached agreement (see last issue) on the emergency sale of $2 billion of oil to raise funds for emergency humanitarian supplies. However, negotiations on the details of the arrangement - mandated under Security Council resolution 986 - dragged on until early August, when the US finally agreed to a package approved by the other 14 members of the Security Council in July. The US had signalled its unhappiness on 1 July, when spokesperson James Rubin said the distribution plan drawn up by Iraq showed it was bent on turning "this humanitarian exception into a partial lifting of sanctions."

On 7 August, Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the UN, said her government was now "prepared to move ahead." Albright justified the delay: "The point here is to get the assistance to the right people and not in any way abrogate the sanctions regime."

US and Russia discuss CWC practicalities

Russia and the US have been discussing the practicalities involved in ratifying and complying with the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Convention, completely ban all chemical weapons, will enter into force 180 days after the deposit of the 65th instrument of ratification. On 9 August, Saudi Arabia became the 61st State to ratify.

Both Russia and the US are anxious to feature among the inaugural States Parties. In June, the US Senate agreed to vote on the matter by 14 September. Both Congress and the Administration, however, are concerned at possible delays in Russia. On 8 August, John Holum, the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) began a visit to Moscow to discuss - as a priority among other issues - the state of preparations and planning. According to State Department spokesperson Nicholas Burns (9 August), Holum's visit is "an attempt by us to try to once again get the attention of the senior levels of the Russian leadership...to see if we can't have a better and faster route towards our mutual ratification of this very important treaty."

Speaking before his visit, Holum said (7 August) he had been assured that Russia intended to "submit the treaty for ratification" by the Russian Parliament, the Duma, "promptly." However, he also stated that Russia had expressed alarm over the likely cost of compliance, and was suspicious of the need to inspect former chemical-weapons facilities once they had been converted to non-military use. On this latter point, Holum held out no prospect of compromise: "[We] flatly disagree with that... We won't agree to that."

In an earlier, positive development, it was reported on 16 July that the two States had agreed to draw up a programme - at an estimated cost of $100 million, to be paid for by the US - to cooperate in the destruction of chemical weapon stocks. According to senior official Valery Mikhailov, the accord would be drawn up under the auspices of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, co-Chaired by the Russian Prime Minister and US Vice-President.

Meanwhile, US plans for the destruction of its stockpile are not proceeding without complications, with President Clinton openly expressing reservations about the Army's preferred method of destruction - incineration. Senator Wendell Ford (Democrat - Kentucky) is seeking to find an alternative, and fund - to the tune of $60 million - an urgent study into the options. On 17 July, President Clinton wrote supportively to Ford:

"I am dedicated to ensuring that these weapons are destroyed as quickly and safely as possible... I am also committed to going the extra mile to explore whether there may be safer and more environmentally sound alternatives to the Army's baseline incineration system, even though the 1994 National Academy study concluded that the baseline system has been demonstrated as a safe and effective disposal system for the stockpile. Still, I realize that technology is changing rapidly and that it is our responsibility to explore all alternative means of destruction."

Landmines developments

On 2-4 July, in Elsinore, Denmark, 48 State delegations met to consider bolstering existing worldwide demining efforts. As Denmark's Development Aid Minister Poul Nielson said on 2 July, the Conference's special emphasis was on finding, and funding, technological solutions:

"Technology development is induced by the level of demand for it... Where the demand is weak and where funding and political interest is limited, technology development moves - at best - very slowly... Vast amounts have been spent to develop, produce and operate heavy-duty hardware for minefield breaching, while efforts to adapt modern military technology to the environments of poor developing countries are hardly noticeable..."

According to UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Yashushi Akashi (who delivered a message to the Conference from the UN Secretary-General, Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali) developing new demining technologies could become an attractive commercial proposition: "there might," Akashi said on 2 July, "be a lot more profit in it than can be imagined." Akashi described the scale of the landmines crisis as "the greatest man-made disaster of our times."

Speaking after the Conference, Minister Nielson said progress had been made on drawing up common standards of safety and effectiveness, for use in selecting new mine-clearing technologies and programmes. The hope now was that "this work can be advanced so quickly that it could be possible at the coming UN General Assembly to elevate [the existing] standard by...recommending [new ones] in a resolution."

According to Italy's Foreign Minister, Lamberto Dini, addressing reporters after the 27-29 June G-7 Summit in Lyons, two G-7 States - Canada and Japan - "intend to...call a conference" on the search for a global ban "at the beginning of the year." The G-7 Political Declaration (29 June) called "upon all States to spare no effort in securing a global ban on the scourge represented by the proliferation and the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel landmines."

On 15 August, the UN Security Council devoted a full-day to a debate on landmines, and specifically the implications of the crisis for peace-keeping operations - see Documents and Sources for extensive coverage. The debate was called by the August holders of the Council Presidency, Germany, which the previous month had announced an initiative to raise the profile of the issue still further. On 18 July, Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel informed Dr. Boutros-Ghali that all German stocks "will be destroyed" as part of a re-vamped diplomatic offensive designed to ensure that "this cruel and inhumane weapon must be once and for all eradicated from the face of the Earth." Kinkel said his government had drawn up an action plan to bring this goal closer. As part of the plan, the European Union was being urged to immediately ban all exports. Other Western security institutions were also being approached: "I have contacted the NATO and WEU [Western European Union] Secretaries-General to ask them to support these efforts." Kinkel added: "Europe-wide action alone cannot, however, solve the problem."

Disarmament Diplomacy is edited by Dr. Sean Howard with the assistance of Dr. Lee-Anne Broadhead, Oliver Ramsbotham and Simon Robinson. The publication is available on the World-Wide Web at either http://www.gn.apc.org or http://csf.colorado.edu/dfax

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