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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 60, September 2001

Editor's Introduction

The September 11 terror attacks on the United States have profoundly affected international political priorities and the global security agenda. Our editorial addresses the challenges of defeating terrorism and restructuring international relations in an age of terror. Reaction to the atrocities also features prominently in Documents and Sources and News Review, and in Jenni Rissanen's report on the final weeks of the unproductive annual session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD).

Efforts to prevent the spread and use of biological weapons have assumed new urgency. In the dispiriting context of stalled negotiations to provide the BWC with a verification protocol, Nicholas Sims, Senior Lecturer at the London School of Economics, argues the case for "interim supportive institutions" to be put in place at the upcoming Fifth Review Conference.

Progress in combating two major scourges of the post-Cold War world - landmines and small arms - is also assessed. From Human Rights Watch, Mary Wareham and Stephen Goose report on the substantial achievements of the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty and consider the remaining obstacles faced by the accord. From the Small Arms Survey, Peter Batchelor analyses the recent UN Conference on Small Arms which, despite many problems, led to the adoption of a consensus programme of action. Harald Müller, Director of the Frankfurt Peace Research Institute, argues the case for military doctrines in Europe to be based on the principles and ethos of common security.

In addition to wide-ranging comment on the likely impact of September 11 on arms control and disarmament priorities, Documents and Sources includes extracts from the UN Secretary-General's annual report and the US Defense Department's Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR), while News Review reports on the heated US and international debate over missile defence prior to September 11, persistent stalemate in US-North Korea and UN-Iraq relations, and a significant rise in global arms spending.

The Board and staff of the Acronym Institute extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and injured on September 11 and in the aftermath of those atrocities.

We also wish to add our warm congratulations to the United Nations and Secretary-General Kofi Annan for being awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize for Peace. We hope that the United Nations will place even greater emphasis on disarmament, peace and collective security-building in its future work.

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.