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Disarmament Diplomacy No. 83, Cover design by Calvert's Press

Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 83, Winter 2006

Time for a Fissban - or Farewell?

by Jenni Rissanen

See also: US Draft Fissban Mandate, Text and Explanation

"Surely, it is time for delegations finally to acknowledge that the package approach to a programme of work will never succeed."[1] It was with these words on May 18, 2006 that the United States sought to convince the Conference on Disarmament (CD) that the time had come to focus all their energies on negotiating a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons (fissban). To kick-start negotiations, the United States proposed a new negotiating mandate and tabled a draft treaty. In so doing, it was also making clear to other CD member states that the time had come to focus their energies solely on getting this treaty done.

While priding itself on being the world's sole multilateral negotiating body, the CD has not produced any treaties since it concluded the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996. Instead, it has spend more than a decade struggling to agree on a work programme package that would satisfy all 65 members, to no avail. This has caused immense frustration, not only inside the CD, but also in the wider international community. The long impasse has lead to questions about the body's utility and even calls for its suspension.

At the heart of the problems are competing and conflicting security interests and priorities among the CD's members. The United States, which played a key role in the CD's ten-year deadlock, has now opened a new chapter by proposing that fissban negotiations proceed on a new basis and tabling a draft text with no verification provision. But will this move help or hinder efforts to overcome the impasse and get fissban negotiations underway in 2007? Much will depend on the level of support or opposition in the states that the fissban will most directly affect: the five nuclear weapon states (P-5) and the three states outside the nuclear non-proliferation regime - India, Pakistan and Israel.

The fissban, which may be conceived as a basic Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) or a more comprehensive Fissile Material Treaty (FMT), has been on the non-proliferation agenda almost as long as the nuclear age. Drawing lessons from this history, this article analyses the prospects for achieving this long-sought goal, and concludes that the prognosis is still very uncertain. As concerns grow about the overall health of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, there may be more countries willing to start negotiations "without preconditions", but attitudes and conditions in the key countries, combined with the CD's structural rigidity, could scupper hopes yet again.

A Long and Bumpy Road

Current developments need to be put into the context of a long history of attempts to ban fissile materials production, which go back to 1945-46. This next section will summarise the major developments since 1993, when the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed by consensus a resolution recommending negotiations be started "in the most appropriate international forum".

The issue was passed to the CD, which in 1994 concluded that it was itself the right forum to negotiate the treaty, and appointed Ambassador Gerald Shannon of Canada as Special Coordinator to identify suitable arrangements for the negotiations. The outcome of his consultations, the 'Shannon report', was adopted in March 1995, just in time before the important 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review and Extension Conference. The CD agreed to set up an Ad Hoc Committee with a mandate to "negotiate a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices".[2]

This move was significant for the forthcoming Conference, which was to consider the extension of the NPT. The five permanent Security Council seat holders (P-5) and nuclear weapon states (NWS) came under pressure by non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS) to deliver more on nuclear disarmament. The completion of the CTBT negotiations and "immediate commencement and early conclusion" of a fissban, in accordance with the Shannon mandate, were an integral part of the deal to extend the NPT indefinitely, which the NWS sought.[3] Although the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference called for immediate negotiations, the road was by no means clear, as the history of resolutions on the fissban in the UN First Committee since 1995 demonstrates: on six different occasions, when consultations showed that consensus would not be possible, Canada, the principal sponsor, has found it necessary to withdraw or not even table the fissban resolution.

While the great majority of states consistently support a fissban, some have wavered along the way, while a few have clearly been reluctant, if not downright opposed. The reasons for the bumpy road so far have had to do with both internal and external factors - circumstances and developments within and between individual member states as well as in the larger international security scene. These have affected states' national security calculations, which in turn have shaped their negotiation preferences and behaviour in the CD. With respect to the fissban, the positions and actions taken by the P-5, India, Israel and Pakistan, whether openly or not, have been - and continue to be - particularly influential in bringing about or blocking progress on the fissban question.

Recent developments can be divided roughly into four different phases. During the first phase, from the end of the CTBT negotiations in 1996 to summer 1998, the CD was divided between those wanting an all-or-nothing or an incremental nuclear disarmament approach. Following the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in May 1998, pressure grew and a committee was set up to negotiate a fissban, but it lasted for only a few weeks until the end of the 1998 session.

In the second phase, US plans for national missile defence (NMD) catapulted outer space into becoming a competing priority to the fissban in 1999 and 2000. China insisted that outer space issues should be treated the same as the fissban, which effectively prevented the fissban committee from being re-established. Furthermore, a change in US leadership in 2001 and uncertainty about the direction the new administration would take contributed to the impasse.

During the third phase, negative security assurances (NSA) emerged as a fourth priority in early 2002, particularly for some in the Group of Non-Aligned States (known as the G-21). In 2003, a cross-regional proposal that was put forward as a possible compromise strengthened the middle ground. Dubbed the 'A5 initiative', since it was spearheaded by five ambassadors from countries that had recently held the CD presidency (Algeria, Belgium, Chile, Colombia and Sweden), this helped to depolarise the CD and add pressure on the key players. A new window of opportunity opened in August 2003 when China compromised and accepted discussions rather than treaty negotiations on outer space, thereby throwing the ball back to the US, which then launched a lengthy fissban review, during which no movement was possible at all.

The fourth phase began with the July 2004 announcement that the US no longer regarded the fissban as multilaterally verifiable and would not therefore support negotiations that included international verification. Almost two years later, in May 2006, the US moved decisively away from the Shannon mandate as the basis for negotiations, and tabled its own, simplified draft treaty.

Stocks and Nuclear Disarmament

Ever since it adopted the Shannon mandate in 1995, the CD has failed to deliver. As shown most clearly in Disarmament Diplomacy's coverage over the past decade, signs of trouble could be detected even in the late stages of the CTBT negotiations in the summer of 1996. A group of 28 non-aligned states called for a 'programme of action for the elimination of nuclear weapons' after attempts to include stronger commitments on nuclear disarmament in the CTBT's preamble were not successful, due to opposition by the NWS - France, UK and the US in particular. This 'programme of action' became the basis for the NAM demand that there should also be a CD committee on nuclear disarmament. This was opposed by Britain and the United States, who wanted the CD to deal solely with negotiating an FMCT.[4]

India, which was still smarting from having its arm twisted during the final stages of the CTBT negotiations, "followed up its CTBT strategy by requiring that the fissban should be more closely related to nuclear disarmament".[5] India successfully lobbied within the G-21 for a maximalist position, including insistence on immediate and concurrent commencement of negotiations on several measures, such as NSA, a no-use convention, and a convention eliminating nuclear weapons - as well as a fissban. Only Chile and South Africa opposed this position, which they viewed as "a recipe to block progress on all fronts".[6]

At the same time, most of the G-21 disagreed with India over the issue of stocks. Spearheaded by Pakistan, Egypt and Iran, most G-21 argued for the inclusion of fissile material stocks in a fissban, a position that India opposed, together with the P-5 and Israel. Thus the stage was set for further complications to come. The CD was left with "no clear idea what to do next",[7] and contention over the fissban forced Canada to withdraw its resolution from the UN First Committee two years running.

The linkage with disarmament and the contention over whether stocks should be included were both related to the question of what was regarded as the main purpose of the fissban: non-proliferation or nuclear disarmament? While most states wanted the treaty to enhance both, the P-5 were opposed to anything that went beyond a basic FMCT, i.e. that dealt only with the future production of fissile materials after an agreed cut-off date. Since four of the NWS already abided by self-declared moratoria on fissile material production, they regarded the treaty as a means to codify the moratoria, ensure China's compliance, and - most importantly - to cap the production of India, Israel and Pakistan and draw them into non-proliferation regime constraints.

Most other states recognised that to fulfil a broader disarmament purpose, past production - stocks - would need to be included in some meaningful way, at least for accounting purposes, and preferably with mechanisms for their reduction and eventual elimination. Most NAM countries regarded this as a higher priority than Western states, which were more willing to start with a basic FMCT to 'capture' the non-NPT states, hoping that they could get stocks addressed at a later stage. A handful of important G-21 countries made stocks into the central issue, which contributed to the CD's difficulties. These states tended to be regionally motivated: Egypt, Algeria and Iran were concerned about Israel's stocks; while Pakistan was determined not to allow a cut-off treaty to leave it with at a permanent disadvantage vis-à-vis India, which had been producing fissile materials for longer and had produced larger stocks than Pakistan. For obvious reasons, therefore, India and Israel sided with the P-5 on the issue of stocks. India's insistence on linking negotiations on a fissban with establishing an ad hoc committee (AHC) on nuclear disarmament may also have been a way of covering its back with its G-21 colleagues, since its position on stocks was so at odds with theirs.

Impact of 1998 nuclear tests by India and Pakistan

Following the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests in May 1998, the two states lost the moral high ground, exposing the underlying reasons for their insistence on an all-or-nothing nuclear disarmament approach. The two states were criticised for their tests and pressed to join fissban negotiations. When India dropped its earlier insistence on linking fissban negotiations to simultaneous nuclear disarmament negotiations, Pakistan initially resisted, opposing the negotiations unless stocks were explicitly included. Heavy pressure was exerted by the United States, combined with 'cheque-book diplomacy', resulting in Pakistan's agreement. US pressure was also used to persuade Israel to accept the establishment of the negotiating committee.[8] In joining the CD consensus, Israel stated that it would go along with the start of negotiations but without making any commitment to accept or join any ensuing treaty.

Just weeks before closing its 1998 session, the CD finally managed to agree a work programme, but the ad hoc committee on a fissban that it established was able to meet for only a few weeks. The mood was optimistic when the Canadian fissban resolution was able to be adopted by consensus at the General Assembly that year. However, Pakistan gave notice that it was only barely on board by mimicking India's strategy with an amendment that noted the continuing differences with regard to the fissban's objectives and scope and linking the negotiations to a time-table on nuclear disarmament. Consensus was possible only after the United States exerted more heavy pressure on Pakistan to withdraw its amendment and support Canada's unamended text.[9]

More Linkages: Outer Space v. Fissban

The following year, Canada was again forced to withdraw the resolution, this time because China refused to go along the resolution's call to begin the negotiations in 2000.[10]

Following President Bill Clinton's January 1999 announcement of US NMD plans, China began talking about PAROS being its "top priority", and called for 'equal treatment' of nuclear disarmament, fissban and PAROS, appearing to advocate negotiations on all three. In particular, China proposed setting up an AHC on 'prevention of an arms race in outer space' (PAROS) to negotiate a legally binding instrument preventing the weaponisation of space. This position reflected its concerns about NMD and also theatre missile defence (TMD) capabilities in Asia, and may have been linked with the fear that missile defences could neutralise the deterrent effect of its small second-strike capability (some two-dozen strategic weapons).

By this logic, China might be justified in retaining the option to produce more fissile materials to enlarge its strategic nuclear forces as a countermove to NMD. This argument was canvassed by Chinese scholars but never made publicly by government representatives. However, it was widely believed to be the underlying reason for the linkage China made between PAROS and the fissban from 1999 onwards. Of course the United States opposed China's proposal, following which Beijing began "moving further away from its reluctant support for fissban negotiations".[11] At the end of the year China refused to go along with the Canadian fissban resolution, regarding it "as tantamount to a call for a stand-alone agreement on convening the fissban committee".[12]

By 2000, PAROS had also become more of a priority for Russia, which called on the CD to urgently tackle this problem as well as the fissban.[13] In the run-up to the 2000 NPT Review Conference, China increasingly confronted the US on its NMD plans and the uncertainty over the future of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.[14] The exchanges grew sharper, with the US openly accusing China for holding the fissban hostage to PAROS as a "poorly disguised effort to block FMCT negotiations altogether", a charge that China angrily rejected.[15]

It therefore came as no surprise that sharp disagreements surfaced at the 2000 NPT Review Conference over the fissban. China rejected calls by the European Union (EU) and others for the unconditional resumption and conclusion of fissban negotiations. Although the 2000 Final Document called for their immediate commencement and conclusion within five years, the negotiations were put in the overall context of the CD's programme of work, at China's insistence. China also successfully lobbied to ensure that there was no reference to a fissile material production moratorium.

Although the NPT Conference itself succeeded in papering over some major cracks, it soon became clear that the positions of the NWS remained wide apart in Geneva: for Russia and China preventing the weaponisation of outer space was of "primary importance, above the fissban", whereas Britain, France and the US wanted the "fissban first and foremost". The Bush administration's refusal to contemplate outer space issues being addressed in a substantive way contributed significantly to the impasse.[16] However, the positive NPT outcome did help the fissban resolution to regain consensus at the UN in 2000, but only after Pakistan, which refused to go along with an NPT formulation, succeeded in getting any mention of a target date of five years dropped.[17]

In early 2001, the US administration changed in Washington, so the CD was on a wait-and-see mode. However, increasingly strained relations between Beijing and Washington affected the mood inside the CD. Russia, which shared both the US objective of negotiating an FMCT and the Chinese objective of PAROS negotiations, made an attempt to bridge the growing rift and tabled its own proposal: negotiations on both and 'dealing with' nuclear disarmament. Russia managed to obtain China's support, but not that of the United States.

Meanwhile, one frustrated CD member, the Netherlands, began exploring the possibility of an exercise aimed at preparing for fissban negotiations outside the CD, pending actual negotiations.[18] For some, the Dutch initiative seemed to be the only ray of hope for advancing the fissban, since it could not be blocked or bound by the CD's rule of consensus. US withdrawal of co-sponsorship of the fissban resolution at the UN the same year raised questions and further reduced prospects for negotiations.

Four Priorities and the 'A-5' Proposal

In 2002, following the Bush administration's announcement of its withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and publication of the US Nuclear Posture Review in January 2002, the CD deadlock hardened. A fourth 'priority' was put back on the table by non-aligned states, to compete with the fissban, nuclear disarmament and PAROS: legally binding security assurances from the NWS committing not to use nuclear weapons against NNWS.

At the same time, it appeared that the US determination to negotiate a fissban was weakening. According to one analysis, the "Bush administration's desire to see fissban negotiations get underway [was] rather weaker than its determination to avoid multilateral discussions - let alone negotiations of any kind - on nuclear disarmament, the weaponisation of space or negative security assurances."[19] Indeed, the Bush administration's tendency towards acting alone or 'unilaterally' was coming to be felt in many multilateral fora.

Not even the carefully-crafted A5 proposal for a CD work programme consisting of Ad Hoc Committees on all four priority issues, with negotiations on fissban, managed to break the logjam.[20] China and the US continued to clash on PAROS. Over time, however, the 'A-5' initiative was successful in strengthening the middle ground, thereby leaving those holding back increasingly exposed. By the end of 2002, some small movement could be detected on the part of both China and the United States: China appeared willing to accept a mandate for discussions on PAROS, as long as they were "characterised as leading towards negotiations"; and it appeared for a time that the United States might reconsider its opposition to Ad Hoc Committees on nuclear disarmament and PAROS, though it was still opposed to any reference to negotiations in their mandates.[21] Agreement appeared closer than before, but it still proved beyond reach.

With neither side prepared to blink, it took another year of deadlock until China announced in August 2003 that it would compromise further on PAROS and accept a slightly amended 'A-5' formulation of "the possibility of negotiating [a] relevant international legal instrument".[22] With this move, China eased the pressure which it had endured for its role in blocking work at the CD. (A number of Western states and NGOs had treated China as the main culprit blocking fissban negotiations - a characterization that was somewhat simplistic, given the US role in blocking substantive consideration of PAROS and the tactics of others who hid behind the major powers' backs. By agreeing to the 'A-5' in 2003, China publicly put the ball into the US court.

No Verification, says the US

As US officials had blamed China's PAROS linkage for blocking the CD and fissban since 1999, it might have been expected that Washington would take the opportunity afforded by China's compromise to move swiftly to get negotiations underway. Instead, taken by surprise by China's move, Washington dithered and then suddenly launched an interagency policy review to assess whether agreeing to the 'A-5' proposal and negotiating a fissban would be in US national interests. Soon there were rumours that concerns had arisen over certain elements of a fissban, notably its verification.[23] That did not augur well, especially in light of the earlier interagency review of another proposed legal instrument, the verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). That review, two years earlier, had concluded that the BWC was unverifiable and led to the US rejection in 2001 of not only the draft text but also the decade-long negotiation process.

In July 2004, US Ambassador Jackie Sanders confirmed fears when she announced in the CD that the fissban was not verifiable "in any meaningful way". Sanders reiterated that the US would stick to its moratorium and reaffirmed US commitment to an FMCT, saying that it was "ripe for negotiations". However, she emphasised that it needed to have "a clean mandate" with no linkages to "other unrelated proposals for CD Ad Hoc Committees". She also promised a team of experts to give a more "detailed explanation of [US] concerns over verification".[24]

The immediate reaction was muted, as CD members wrestled with the implications of the US shift. Having been briefed beforehand, the UK welcomed the confirmation of US commitment to a treaty, adding that while it believed that an FMCT should be "effectively verifiable, as specified in the Shannon mandate", the UK was "pragmatic", and would not allow the "best to be the enemy of the good". It would therefore approach the new US proposal "with an open mind".[25] France "took note" of the announcement, adding that it had its "own views on the treaty" but was "naturally ready to discuss" the US proposal.[26] Pakistan, by now a US ally in the 'war on terror', said the US proposal required "close reflection and examination".[27] A number of US allies, including Canada and the Netherlands, were more reserved, indicating that they wanted to examine the verification issue further.

The promised US experts briefed CD delegations in September 2004. The briefings took place by invitation only and not all were included, with at least the DPRK, Cuba, Iran and Malaysia reportedly not invited. The nine-member US team included officials from the State Department's Bureau for Verification and Compliance and the Departments of Energy and Defense. Participants characterised the briefings as rather 'non-technical', with some complaining that they had not learned much about the claimed verification difficulties. Moreover, many delegations were dissatisfied that they were never given copies of the text of the US presentation, although it had been promised. The main message was that Washington was ready to begin negotiations, but without the inclusion of consideration of fissile material stocks or multilateral verification measures. The team argued that even without international verification, the treaty would be a 'step forward' and have 'normative value', making production moratoria legally binding and putting all parties under a treaty obligation not to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.

The US determination to exclude verification provisions from the fissban was compounded by its decision to call a vote on the fissban resolution at the UN in Autumn 2004 and vote against. The US even registered its objection to the resolution's title, which derived from the Shannon mandate and referred to international verification. Breaking ranks with the rest of the EU, the UK abstained. Saying that it supported a verified FMCT, the UK argued that the resolution 'divided the international community'.[28] Israel, a possible factor in the US rejection of multilateral verification for a basic FMCT, abstained as well.

Which Way Forward?

Although the US voted against the resolution, it was not clear how it wanted to proceed with regard to the Shannon mandate - whether it wanted "to scrap, renegotiate or bypass" it.[29] Others, however, were reluctant to abandon or renegotiate the once hard-fought mandate.

In 2005, the Dutch CD presidency made a careful attempt to try to move the CD forward without stumbling over this controversial question. Echoing the views of many moderate voices, the Dutch presidency explored the possibility that the CD proceed on the basis of the widely supported 'A-5' proposal (which included the Shannon mandate) whilst also recognising that questions of scope and verification could both be matters to be discussed during the negotiations, "without preconditions". Whether this could be acceptable to the US, which opposed the reference to verification in the Shannon mandate, remained unclear as the delegation appeared disengaged.

That was the case also outside the CD. The Netherlands, hoping to organise a 'Dutch Exercise' seminar on verification, reportedly attempted to re-engage the US delegation on the issue of verification, but in vain.

At the notorious 2005 NPT Review Conference the fissban was only one of many issues on which states were bitterly divided. There, according to one seasoned observer, "most non-aligned statements continued to call for 'a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty', while many west-leaning statements fudged the question of verification, calling in shorthand just for an (undifferentiated) treaty or FMCT. The EU, for example (from which many others appear to have taken their cue) [called] for negotiations on 'a non-discriminatory and universal treaty'".[30]

The uncertainty over the mandate lasted until May 2006, when the US tabled its draft treaty and argued for a new approach, opening the next chapter in the protracted efforts to negotiate a fissban in the CD.

Pressure to Perform

Having failed to make progress on any substantive issues or negotiations for more than a decade, the CD has come to face increasing pressure both from inside and outside the Palais des Nations. Some states have reduced or downgraded their delegations and there have been various suggestions that the CD should suspend its activities until treaty negotiations can get underway, or that work on certain issues should begin elsewhere. The years of frustration surfaced in 2005 in the form of a draft UNGA resolution from a cross-regional group of six CD members (Brazil, Canada, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand and Sweden) aimed at "initiating work on priority disarmament and non-proliferation issues" in Geneva - but outside the CD. Their resolution called for AHCs to be set up under the UN First Committee on the four identified priorities. One Committee would conduct negotiations on a fissban, pending agreement to start negotiations in the CD itself. Once negotiations could get underway in the CD, it was envisaged that work in the AHC would cease. The move, designed to create stronger pressure for the CD to perform, was vigorously opposed by France, Britain and the United States, as well as by India and Pakistan (and more quietly by Israel).[31] These states' concerted lobbying against the proposal, combined with a promise from the six incoming CD presidents that they would launch an initiative of their own, persuaded the sponsors not to table their draft formally. However, they gave notice that it could be revived if the CD remained in deadlock for much longer. Though it was withdrawn, the initiative has been credited with playing a useful role in pushing CD member states and the six presidents to deliver on their promise of more substantive work in 2006.

The joint plan by the six designated holders of the CD presidency (P-6) was to hold "focused and structured debates" on the CD's agenda items. Though structured debates had also been held under presidential auspices in 2004 and 2005, the P-6 ensured that the work in 2006 was expanded and addressed the issues more systematically. Although such activity can be dismissed as "shadowboxing" designed to fill a vacuum in the absence of real treaty negotiations, delegations from different sides of the debate have credited the P-6 for facilitating a deeper consideration of the issues than in many in years.

US Tables Draft FMCT

As part of this exercise in 2006, CD members presented their views and proposals for a fissban from May 16 to 22. On the third day of the debate, US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Stephen Rademaker, broke the long-held US silence on the fissban. Telling the CD that it had "an unconscionable tolerance for hostage taking" and an "outmoded and unrealistic agenda" dating back to the Cold War, Rademaker said it was time to abandon the package approach and concentrate all efforts on achieving an FMCT, which all members "profess to support".

Rademaker then tabled a new draft mandate and text for a "non-discriminatory and multilateral treaty"[32], clearly intending that the previous mandate for an "internationally and effectively verifiable treaty" be dropped. He proposed that the CD begin immediate debate on the US draft, with the aim of "approving a text for signature by the end of this year's CD session". With regard to other issues, the US saw "no need at this time" for the negotiation of new instruments on nuclear disarmament, outer space or negative security assurances. As the US saw it, the CD is "not able at this time to deal in depth with more than one issue". Rademaker also cited the nomination of a new US Ambassador, Christina Rocca, as evidence of continued US commitment to the CD. He added a note of warning, urging others to "work with" the US to make sure that she would not "serve as the last [US] Ambassador to the CD".[33]

The US draft text was short, like the NPT, rather than copying the detailed mould of later treaties such as the CTBT and CWC. It "sets forth the essentials" in mere eight articles[34]: a prohibition on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other explosive devices after entry into force (cut-off); a definition of such materials as well as of their production; an entry-into-force requirement (P5 ratification as a minimum); and a withdrawal clause. Expectedly, the draft excludes prior production and existing stocks, as well as fuel production for naval propulsion, and it makes no mention of verification measures, though it explicitly refers to the right of parties to use "information obtained by national means and methods" other than national technical means. Intriguingly, it emulates the NPT by envisaging an initial limit of 15 years for the treaty, after which parties would have to meet to consider whether to extend the treaty and if so, by how long.

With regard to compliance, parties are given the right and responsibility to bring concerns to each others' attention and to call a meeting of states parties to consider such concerns. Furthermore, after having presented evidence of non-compliance, parties can request the Security Council to consider the matter.[35]

Possible Reasons for the US Move

Questions abound about why the US tabled this draft two years after it had concluded that the treaty was not verifiable. Some experts view the draft as the lowest-common-denominator product of a long, difficult and bureaucratic interagency process. Others, who had interpreted the 2004 'no-verification' announcement as a sign that the US was no longer that keen to negotiate a fissban, have to rethink their analysis.

Interviews by the author with CD diplomats in Geneva in September 2006 revealed much speculation and several possible explanations.

Some saw the US initiative as positive. In their view, the Bush administration has come to realise the damage done to its reputation after several years of unilateral action and multilateral neglect, and has at last recognised the need to take corrective action to protect its interests in the future. For that, the US needs the support of others, and has hence begun to re-engage in various international fora, including the CD. Some suggested that the growing calls for the CD's suspension or even termination had made the NWS, including the US, realise how it served their interests, and so they have opted to save it, on the calculation that it was better to keep the CD than lose it. This consideration is supported by the July 2006 decision of the Group of Eight (G-8) to rededicate themselves "to the re-invigoration of relevant multilateral fora, beginning with the Conference on Disarmament".[36]

Others took the view that the US may have become concerned about initiatives to bypass the CD and conduct negotiations outside. Support for such calls has increased in recent years, as discussed above. The Bush administration may have feared that, as with the Ottawa Process, such initiatives can take a life of their own and lead to successful treaty negotiations beyond the dominant nations' control. By this reckoning, the US may have decided to behave more constructively to help the CD regain credibility, in order to head off any Ottawa-like proposals, since its interests would be better protected inside the CD, where it retains a veto.

Further theories include that the US, often accused of ignoring its nuclear disarmament obligations, is actually seeking to fulfil a key obligation under Article VI. Not only was the fissban a key part of agreements undertaken in 1995 and 2000, but it also requires the US to make no significant sacrifices, since it has already declared a moratorium and in any case is awash with more than enough fissile materials for nuclear weapons.

Others speculated that the US may have been engaging in a version of the 'blame-game', seeking to divert blame for the CD deadlock from its own policies and towards any states seen to obstruct consideration of the US draft. Another consideration put forth by some CD delegates was that the departing US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Stephen Rademaker, wanted to leave a positive legacy behind and that he was primarily responsible for pushing for the US to appear more constructive and table an achievable draft treaty.

Most notably, however, many CD delegates identified a possible link with the US-India nuclear deal, arguing that the tabling of the FMCT draft text in Geneva was time-tabled to coincide with the Bush administration's efforts to get the Congress to back the deal in Washington. Some US-based nonproliferation experts have also argued that tabling the treaty was a politically smart move to improve the chances of the controversial deal with India getting the necessary backing.[37] By this theory, the administration wishes to appear strong on capping fissile material production for weapons in order to divert domestic and international criticism that the nuclear deal would help India enlarge its fissile material stocks and nuclear arsenal.

As for the almost two-year gap between the July 2004 announcement and the US introducing its new approach and draft, some have attributed the delay to a lengthy and arduous interagency negotiation process while others thought it took time for the US to convince non-enthusiasts such as India to go along.

Cautious Reception

Reactions to the US initiative were very cautious at first, but are becoming more positive. This is in part because many are relieved to hear from the US after its long passivity on nonproliferation, and so they welcome the announcement at least as a sign of US re-engagement with the CD. Hence, South Africa seemed to speak for many when it called the US statement "the most important in the last three, four, five, six years".[38]

It is understood that the four other NWS were not consulted, but were give sight of the US draft treaty just a few days before it was presented in the CD. Britain, generally held to be the Bush administration's closest ally, welcomed the US initiative and agreed that the package approach had been unsuccessful. It urged the CD to "seize the opportunity now" as the proposed mandate "appears neither to rule anything in, nor anything out", meeting the UK criteria of "negotiation without preconditions".[39] France called it a "good thing" that the US had presented its national position. France hoped this would herald "a new stage in the revitalization" of the CD, and reiterated its willingness to begin negotiations right away. [40]

China and Russia, however, were more reserved. Though it gave a cautious welcome to the US initiative, China reiterated its well known position of "reaching a comprehensive and balanced programme of work" so that work could begin on the four identified priority areas, and called for everyone to "to make a positive and concerted effort to this end".[41] In the same vein, Russia thanked the US but noted that the draft's introduction "must not serve as an obstacle to consideration of other urgent issues on the agenda, including PAROS".[42]

Of the three non-NPT states, India and Pakistan commented on the US proposal on record. Pakistan called the US proposal a "significant initiative", took comfort in that the draft had not been presented as a "take it or leave it" text, and said that it would like to engage the US on the question of verification.[43] More muted, India recalled its own preference for a 'non-discriminatory' FMCT with verification, and hoped that the US proposals would help the CD "collectively to move towards a consensus".[44] Israel did not comment, but it reportedly registered its dissatisfaction in a Western Group meeting. One of Israel's major concerns about multilateral treaties in general and the fissban in particular has been the prospect of multilateral verification provisions being abused by its neighbours, whether for political purposes or to gain access to sensitive information or sites such as Dimona. Since the no-verification treaty proposed by the United States appeared to take account of such worries, Western group colleagues were all the more astonished to hear Israel speak so openly against the initiative of its closest ally.

Of the Western Group, Australia noted that although the draft "differs from what we may have tabled ourselves" it shares the US priority of negotiating an FMCT and proposed that verification could be left to "subsequent largely technical negotiations".[45] Belgium accepted the US mandate on the spot and supported the Australian view that verification could be discussed at a later stage.[46] Japan noted the "positive elements" of the US statement and said it would study the US draft "very carefully".[47] The Netherlands thanked the US for breaking its "prolonged silence" and called the tabling of the draft mandate and treaty "most welcome", but noted also on the question of linkages that "in practice the insistence on not discussing anything else than the FMCT is exactly the same approach as insisting on multiple subjects to be on the table".[48] Canada emphasised that compromise proposals, such as the 'A-5', envisage discussions not negotiations. In order to bring the CD back to work, Canada invited the US to "signal an openness to listen to the views of others on those subjects, secure in the knowledge that they could not advance to the negotiation stage without the explicit approval of the [US]".[49]

Prospects for 2007

By the time the CD closed its 2006 session in September, the modest momentum witnessed earlier in the year seemed to have dissipated, and the Conference was back to its usual business, fighting over its annual report. Although many diplomats heralded 2006 as the most productive for the CD in years, it proved impossible to get consensus for recording the perception in the annual report. Even a factual reference to the CD's decision to invite the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to make a presentation on the question of the fissban was subject to a dispute. The presentation, widely praised for being very thorough and informative, focused on a number of technical questions, including various verification arrangements.[50]

Despite some encouraging signs, therefore, it would be premature to predict that negotiations on a fissban have actually come any closer. The tabling of the new US mandate means that the already-agreed Shannon mandate may re-emerge as a divisive issue alongside the difficult question of the overall CD programme of work. The sad fate of the fissban resolution in the 61st UN First Committee has already signalled that the mandate question could become a major bone of contention, if tackled explicitly. As described in Jennifer Nordstrom's report on the First Committee in this issue of Disarmament Diplomacy, Canada was once again forced to withdraw the fissban resolution. Canada had hoped to regain consensus by providing a minimalist text consistent with the US approach, but instead ran into opposition from several other states, principally from the NAM, for not retaining the Shannon mandate.

Western countries generally seem ready to get to work on either the Shannon or the US mandates, arguing that what is most important is to begin the negotiations. They say difficult issues such as stocks and verification can be dealt with in the course of the negotiations - hence the popular mantra "negotiations without preconditions". In May, after only a few days' reflection on the US draft, the EU announced that the US approach "is broadly in line with the EU's position on FMCT", noting that "nothing is precluded from the negotiations".[51] That view was repeated in New York in October.

However, a number of NAM states are reluctant to accept negotiations on the US basis, if not for reasons to do with the mandate itself then out of political considerations.[52] Those States are thought to include: nuclear-armed China, India and Pakistan, as well as Iran and Egypt. With western countries pushing to get started on the basis of the US approach and some key NAM states insisting on the Shannon mandate, the CD may be looking at another regional group clash, the beneficiaries of which will be those who want no fissban and no CD work programme.

But even if the mandate could be agreed, there would remain the much larger question of competing priorities. Given the diverse threat perceptions and security interests among the CD member states, the US proposal for stand-alone FMCT negotiations will be difficult for certain key countries to accept. This applies particularly to China and Russia, who want outer space issues to be addressed in the CD. Having already compromised by agreeing to discussions rather than negotiations, further flexibility from China is thought to be unlikely.

Furthermore, nuclear disarmament and negative security assurances continue to be cited by the G-21 as of paramount importance. Given the feeling among some NAM states that the NNWS lost much of their leverage for nuclear disarmament after agreeing to the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995, the largely unfulfilled promises of 2000 and the bitter breakdown at the 2005 Review Conference have increased their cynicism. As a result, in the words of Canadian CD Ambassador Paul Meyer, "it will not be feasible to obtain agreement on a programme of work that does not at least address these four core issues".[53]

While the May 18 statement rejected negotiations on the other three, Rademaker said the CD could continue to "discuss" other issues while it conducts fissban negotiations. The question then is whether the US will show the kind of openness called by the Canadians and others to address the other three core issues. This will test how serious Washington is about getting the fissban negotiations actually underway.

As always in the CD, the devil is in the detail and there is a risk that the CD will revert to its old bad habits of arguing over the establishment of subsidiary bodies and their mandates. Such arguments have proven effective and popular techniques in blocking work in the past.

Taking into account such lessons, the CD presidents for 2007, colloquially known as the S6 (South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and Syria), are making careful preparations in the hope of creating more favourable conditions for work to proceed in the CD. The S6 aim to continue and build on the programme of activities of 2006, in the hopes that focusing on substance rather than procedure will help the CD to reopen channels of communication and get past the obstructive tactics that have stymied negotiations over the past decade.

Who is Hungry for a Fissban?

Putting CD politics aside, a fundamental question is whether there is real appetite for a fissban these days. Most if not all CD member states profess to support the negotiations, although they differ on key questions such as stocks and verification. But is the fissban still ripe for negotiations, as has often been argued, and are current conditions conducive?

To answer, one must take a closer look at those countries most affected by such a ban, the five NWS and the non-NPT states, India and Pakistan and Israel and now also North Korea.

Four out of the five NWS have ceased the production of fissile material and have declared moratoriums in place already for years. China is believed to have halted production some years ago but has refused to declare a formal moratorium. The US and Russia possess large stocks of both plutonium and enriched uranium, far more than they could possible use in their arsenals, which have been steadily declining since the end of the cold war. Some of the US and Russian fissile materials have been formally declared excess, and are in the process of being down-blended or disposed and placed under safeguards. In addition, France led the way in closing down and dismantling its military production facilities at Pierrelatte and Marcoule.

The US, Russia, Britain and France share the following broader interests likely to influence their stance on fissban negotiations: preserving their NWS status and arsenals; having China join them in officially ending production and providing more transparency; and being recognised for taking steps towards nuclear disarmament, while excluding any consideration of stocks that might restrict future nuclear weapons developments, including replacement weapon systems. They and China share the objective of putting in place further barriers for any aspirant or potential nuclear possessors, such as Iran. Engaging and bringing India, Pakistan and Israel into a nuclear control regime has been a primary objective in the past. Whether this continues to be an important factor is not clear, as the NWS have rather different views about these three, as illustrated by US support for Israel and by the US-India nuclear deal.

The issue of verification is more contested. From their national points of view, the four NWS have no need to produce additional materials for weapons and are therefore ready to enshrine their moratorium in a legally-binding treaty. Faced with the possibility that missile defences could undermine the ability of its two dozen strategic missiles to provide a convincing deterrent capability, China may want to hold open the option of continuing - or, more probably, resuming - fissile material production in the future. China guards its secrecy, arguing that it has to be less transparent than the other NWS because its smaller arsenals and fissile material stocks could be more vulnerable to a pre-emptive strike. This is thought to be a large part of the reason why China exerted the fissban-PAROS linkage to delay negotiations from 1999 onwards.

Although China's rhetoric about missile defence has lessened, in part because the US programmes have been downgraded and delayed, its initiatives to prevent the weaponisation of space clearly indicate that it continues to have serious concerns. There is also the question of India's growing arsenal, with China thought to be very unhappy about the US-India nuclear cooperation agreement, which could help India grow its arsenal over time. This might cut both ways: either China could view Indian developments as yet further reason to keep its own nuclear options open, or, alternatively, it could view the fissban as an opportunity cap India's production and nuclear arsenal.

India's history with regard to the fissban is complex. Following its unsuccessful attempt to block the adoption of the CTBT, India says it supports the negotiation of a basic cut-off that would be multilateral, non-discriminatory and verified. It should be noted that, under one of the conditions attached to the recent US-India nuclear cooperation deal, India is required to work with the US in the CD towards the negotiation of an FMCT.

At the same time it continues to build up its fissile material stocks, the pace of which is expected to accelerate in the future. According to a September 2006 study by the International Panel on Fissile Materials, the US-India nuclear cooperation agreement could enable India to expand its nuclear weapon production capabilities by freeing up limited domestic uranium fuel for use in weapons grade plutonium production. According to the study, India's existing stockpiles are thought to include 500 kg weapon grade plutonium, sufficient for 100 nuclear warheads. India is understood to plan to keep its fast breeder reactor (ready by 2010) outside safeguards, which (in the absence of a fissban) would make it possible to produce another 130 kg of weapon grade plutonium a year, a four-fold increase in its production. This could amount to another 25 nuclear warheads every year. Even more, with the help of four additional planned fast-breeder reactors, India could potentially produce 500 kg of weapon-grade plutonium each year, if those reactors are kept outside safeguards, which is not yet known.[54]

With or without the US-India deal, the findings and estimates of the report raise questions about India's stated 'minimum deterrence' policy but also of its readiness for an FMCT. Would India be ready to limit its production now? As India has been producing fissile materials for longer than Pakistan and is believed to have larger stocks, it would appear that capping Pakistan's production would be in India's security interests. But if a fissban were concluded now, though that would also mean capping India's stocks at levels below China's.

Pakistan has already declared in the CD that it will not accept a moratorium that would freeze asymmetries in its region and that a moratorium could only be discussed in the context of a comprehensive fissile material treaty (FMT). Pakistan has also made it clear that it will take the US-India deal into account when considering the provisions of a fissban.[55] The International Panel on Fissile Materials predicts that the US-India cooperation agreement will accelerate the build-up of materials also in Pakistan, which is already racing to catch up with India. Statements by Pakistan's leadership have already indicated that Pakistan seeks to match any build up pursued by India.

As for Israel, it is not known whether it currently produces fissile materials. Israel, which neither denies nor confirms its status, has been keen to protect its ambiguity, and a fissban could threaten that. It is no secret that Israel has never been enthusiastic about a ban. US pressure made Israel accept the establishment of the AHC in 1998, after India and Pakistan caved in. However, it also made it clear to the US that it has fundamental problems with the treaty.[56] What exactly those problems are is not clear, but they are thought to include verification. Indeed, in explaining why its draft treaty had no verification provisions, the US noted that a verification mechanism would have to be so extensive that it "could compromise the core national security interests of key signatories"[57]. In its explanation of vote after the adoption of fissban resolutions in previous years, Israel has generally reiterated its position that the negotiation of such a treaty could not be separated from the Middle East peace process.

In addition to the eight states discussed above, there is also the question of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), following its announced withdrawal from the NPT and the nuclear test on October 9, 2006. The DPRK has so far maintained a low profile on the issue in the CD, but that may change depending on how the international community responds, the impact of the Security Council sanctions, and the evolution of the Six-Party talks, as fissile material production is at the heart of North Korea's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Controlling the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

In addition to the above considerations, the growing discussion over the need to control the proliferation-sensitive parts of the civilian nuclear fuel cycle may become increasingly relevant when considering a fissban. With more and more supplier states with sensitive technology in place, albeit for peaceful purposes but providing a potential break-out capability, the dual-use nature of the know-how and equipment mean that concerns about halting fissile materials for weapons purposes must inevitably take into account civilian production of weapon-usable materials.

Influenced no doubt by the problems with North Korea and the revelations about the Iranian nuclear programme, in Autumn 2003, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei drew attention to the fact that nuclear enrichment and reprocessing technologies were "in too many hands" and proposed a scheme for multinationalising the most sensitive elements of the nuclear fuel cycle. President Bush made an alternative proposal in 2004 for limiting the production of civilian fissile materials only to those states that already had such a capacity, hoping this might prevent the further spread of such dual-use know-how and technology.

An international experts group set up by ElBaradei released its recommendations in February 2005 and international consideration of the issue has since continued to explore complementary proposals by a number of States, but progress has been slow amidst significant political, legal and technical challenges.

Such proposals have paradoxically been accompanied by a growing list of countries interested in enriching uranium for commercial purposes. As noted by two eminent nuclear nonproliferation experts, countries are "lining up to enrich uranium" because there is a perception that the world "will soon be divided into uranium enrichment "haves" (suppliers) and "have-nots" (customers)" and they want to "establish their credentials as having existing technology in place".[58] At the heart of the issue are economic and technological interests and questions of national sovereignty.

This is not the place to examine the various multilateral approaches to address civilian production, except to note that there needs to be in-depth consideration of how such approaches can complement a fissban dealing specifically with capping production for weapons purposes.


Taken in its entirety, the forecast for the start of fissban negotiations is at best mixed. The history of the efforts to negotiate the ban in the CD demonstrates that the question has been and continues to be closely connected with regional rivalries and developments in the wider nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The commitment to negotiate a fissban was an integral part of the decision to extend the NPT, which served as positive pressure on the CD a decade ago. However, more recently the sorry state of the NPT regime and the delayed entry into force of the CD's last product, the CTBT, have contributed to the pessimism and passivity in the CD. Moreover, relations between a handful of key states, and their international and regional security considerations have been pivotal in shaping member states' positions and negotiating behaviour in the CD.

In the CD, however, dialogue about real security interests and how to advance them collectively has been lacking, lost somewhere between all the detail about finding the right formulae for the ever elusive programme of work, establishment of subsidiary bodies and their mandates. In this regard, the regional group system has tended to increase rather than mitigate the CD's problems, allowed a few intransigent member states to hide their objections behind a larger group. Such techniques have been useful in blocking work in the past, as have silence and non-engagement, all-or-nothing approaches and the practice linking issues, so that progress is not allowed to be made on one issue unless one's own demands are being simultaneously met.

Besides the deficiencies of the CD itself, the fissban has suffered from a lack of strong and consistent leadership. Despite all the talk of priorities, the fissban has not been high enough on the national agendas of the key players, particularly the NWS. For example, while the fissban and CTBT were both part of the NPT extension deal, only the CTBT was pushed to conclusion. This was largely due to considerable public interest and pressure and the leadership demonstrated by the United States. That experience demonstrated that with strong leadership one can pull even the non-enthusiasts into negotiations (France and China continued to test while negotiating the CTBT, but stopped testing before it was finally concluded).

In this regard, the recently renewed US interest in getting an FMCT is welcome. However, will this minimalist approach merely codify the existing moratoria and reinforce existing inequalities or can it be a genuine step towards more effective nonproliferation and disarmament? Without strong leadership on the part of the NWS, including China, the chances are slim that India, Pakistan and Israel can be convinced to engage constructively in the negotiations, particularly in view of their on-going production and their conflicting views with regard to stocks and verification.

So what can CD member states do in light of the political and technical challenges this article has outlined? Continuing to expand on the more systematic discussions led by the CD presidents in 2006 is generally a good idea, for it can improve the conditions and mood in the CD, keep the channels of communication open and allow for more substantive consideration of the issues, including the fissban. But they also need to asses the overall situation, take into account the broader picture and not remain on the surface by getting lost in procedural details. In terms of the fissban, this means looking at the situation on the ground - what are the current developments and trends in those countries most affected by a fissban - and devise strategies in advancing a fissban based on those realities.

How can reluctant players be engaged? In order to understand why certain delegations are pursuing certain outcomes, and develop strategies to move past the obstructions, CD members will need to enter into deeper dialogue about interests rather than just positions and procedures. They should ask more questions and demand more answers, rather than allowing passivity and pessimism to set in. They need to avoid regional potholes and be prepared to work outside the outdated regional group system. Progress is more likely to be made if CD members can manage decision-making more effectively through issue-based and interest-based coalitions that could help build bridges.

If the start of negotiations is delayed again, as seems likely, CD members should also consider an incremental approach. For example, before a negotiating mandate for the CTBT could be agreed, the foundations were laid by years of technical work by experts. As some delegations have already suggested, such technical work could be of benefit also for the fissban, at least until the political conditions allow negotiations to proceed in earnest. If the political track is not working, technical work can help the CD to carry on in a relevant way.

Ultimately, however, the fate of the fissban will depend on whether or not key players can accept that a jointly agreed ban is in their national interests. While some may prefer not to close the door for themselves for now, they are also keeping it open for others. That, however, may have unintended consequences that only the future can tell.


[1]Stephen Rademaker, US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, 18 May 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[2]Report of Ambassador Gerald E. Shannon of Canada on Consultations on the Most Appropriate Arrangement to Negotiate a Treaty Banning the Production of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices, CD/1299, 24 March 1995.

[3]See Jean du Preez, ‘The Fissban: Time for Renewed Commitment or a New Approach?’, Disarmament Diplomacy 79, April-May 2005, and Keith A. Hansen, The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: An Insider’s Perspective.

[4]Rebecca Johnson, ‘CTB Negotiations’ Geneva Update 30, Disarmament Diplomacy 7, July-August 1996.

[5]Rebecca Johnson, ‘The CD: Crisis and Opportunity’, Disarmament Diplomacy 8, September 1996.

[6]Rebecca Johnson, ‘Agenda But No Work at the CD’, Disarmament Diplomacy 13, February-March 1997.

[7]Rebecca Johnson, ‘The CD: Crisis and Opportunity’, Disarmament Diplomacy 8, September 1996.

[8]Rebecca Johnson, ‘CD Dominated by Tests and Calls for Nuclear Disarmament and Fissile Material Cut-Off’ Disarmament Diplomacy 27, June 1998.

[9]Rebecca Johnson ‘UN First Committee Condemns Nuclear Testing, Backs Fissban Negotiations and Seeks a New Agenda on Nuclear Disarmament’, Disarmament Diplomacy 32, November 1998.

[10]Rebecca Johnson ‘UN First Committee seeks a new agenda on disarmament and backs the abm treaty’, Disarmament Diplomacy 41, November 1999.

[11]Rebecca Johnson, ‘CD Writes Off 1999 With Hopes for 2000’, Disarmament Diplomacy 39, August-September 1999.

[12]Rebecca Johnson, ‘UN First Committee seeks a new agenda on disarmament and backs the ABM Treaty’, Disarmament Diplomacy 41, November 1999.

[13]Jenni Rissanen, ‘CD Split Over Priorities’, Disarmament Diplomacy 43, January-February 2000.

[14]Jenni Rissanen, ‘CD Still Deadlocked’, Disarmament Diplomacy 44, March 2000.

[15]Statement by Robert Grey, Ambassador of the United States to the CD, August 31, 2000.

[16]Rebecca Johnson, ‘The 2000 NPT Review Conference: A Delicate, Hard-Won Compromise’, Disarmament Diplomacy 46, May 2000.

[17]Jenni Rissanen and Rebecca Johnson, ‘Low-Key First Committee Seeks to Maximise Common Ground’, Disarmament Diplomacy 52, November 2000.

[18]Jenni Rissanen, ‘CD Inches Forward: Reform Coordinators But No Negotiations’, Disarmament Diplomacy 57, May 2001.

[19]Rebecca Johnson, ‘Conference Remains Deadlocked after First Part of 2002 Session’, Disarmament Diplomacy 64, May-June 2002.

[20] ‘Initiative of the Ambassadors Dembri, Lint, Reyes, Salander and Vega, Proposal for a Programme of Work’, CD/1693*, January 23, 2003.

[21]Rebecca Johnson, ‘CD Closes 2002 Still Deadlocked’, Disarmament Diplomacy 67, October-November 2002.

[22] ‘Initiative of the Ambassadors Dembri, Lint, Reyes, Salander and Vega, Proposal for a Programme of Work, revised at the 932nd plenary meeting on Thursday, 26 June 2003’, CD/1693/Rev, September 5, 2003.

[23]Rebecca Johnson, ‘Troubled and Troubling Times: The 2003 UN First Committee Considers Disarmament and Reform’, Disarmament Diplomacy 74, December 2003.

[24]Jackie Sanders, Ambassador of the United States, July 29, 2004 (CD/PV.962).

[25]Statement to the CD by David Broucher, Ambassador of the UK, July 29, 2004 (CD/PV.962).

[26]Statement to the CD by Francois Rivasseau, Ambassador of France, July 29, 2004 (CD/PV.962).

[27]Statement to the CD by Mr. Umer, Ambassador of Pakistan, July 29, 2004 (CD/PV.962).

[28]Rebecca Johnson, ‘2004 UN First Committee: Better Organised, with Deep Divisions’, Disarmament Diplomacy 79, April-May 2005.

[29]News Shorts,’US proposes ‘no-verification’ Fissban to be negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament’, Disarmament Diplomacy 78, July-August 2004.

[30]Rebecca Johnson, ‘Politics and Protection: Why the NPTRC Failed’, Disarmament Diplomacy 80, Autumn 2005.

[31]Rebecca Johnson, ‘Enhanced Participation and Politicking: Report on the 2005 UN First Committee’, Disarmament Diplomacy 81, Winter 2005.

[32]US Draft Mandate Text, May 18, 2006 (CD/1776).

[33]Stephen Rademaker, US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[34]USA White Paper on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, May 18, 2006 (CD/1782).

[35]Treaty on the Cessation of Production of Fissile Material for Use in Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices, (CD/1777).

[36]G8 Statement on Non-Proliferation, July 16, 2006, http://en.g8russia.ru/docs/20.html.

[37]Michael Krepon, ‘The Bush Administration Tables a Draft ‘Cutoff’ Treaty: Analysis of Key Elements, May 18, 2006, http://www.stimson.org/pub.cfm?id=293.

[38]Johann Kellermann, Counsellor, South Africa, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[39]John Duncan, Ambassador of the UK, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[40]Francois Rivasseau, Ambassador of France, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[41]Cheng Jingye, Ambassador of China, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[42]Valery Loshchinin, Ambassador of Russia, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[43]Masood Khan, Ambassador of Pakistan, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[44]Jayant Prasad, Ambassador of India, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[45]Caroline Millar, Ambassador of Australia, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[46]Mr. Baowens, Delegation of Belgium, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[47]Yoshiki Mine, Ambassador of Japan, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[48]Johannes Landman, Ambassador of the Netherlands, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[49]Paul Meyer, Ambassador of Canada, May 18, 2006 (CD/PV.1019).

[50]Tariq Rauf, ‘A Cut-Off of Production of Fissionable Material: Considerations, Requirements and IAEA Capabilities’, presented to the CD on August 24, 2006, (CD/PV.1037).

[51]Markus Reiterer, Counsellor, Austria, May 22, 2006 (CD/PV.1022)

[52]Michael Spies, Reaching Critical Will First Committee Monitor, Week Four, October 23-27, 2006, http://www.reachingcriticalwill. org/political/1com/FCM06/week4.html#5.

[53]Paul Meyer, Ambassador of Canada, ‘The Conference on Disarmament: Getting Back to Business’, Arms Control Today, December 2006.

[54]Zia Mian, A.H. Nayyar, R.Rajaraman and M.V. Ramana, ‘Fissile Materials in South Asia: The Implications of the U.S. - India Nuclear Deal: A research report of the International Panel on Fissile Materials, September 2006’, available at www.fissilematerials.org.

[55]Masood Khan, Ambassador of Pakistan, May 16, 2006, (CD/PV.1016)

[56]Gerald M. Steinberg, ‘Israel and the United States: Can the Special Relationship Survive the New Strategic Environment?’, Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 2.4 November 1998, http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/1998/issue4/jv2n4a7.html.

[57]Thomas Cynkin, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States, May 19, 2006 (CD/PV.1021)

[58]Charles D. Ferguson and William C. Potter, ‘Lining up to enrich uranium’, International Herald Tribune, September 12, 2006.

Jenni Rissanen is an independent consultant based in Vienna, Austria. From 2002 to 2005 she served as External Relations Officer of the International Atomic Energy Agency, representing the Agency in Geneva. From 2000 to 2001 she was the Acronym Institute’s Geneva Analyst, covering the Conference on Disarmament, NPT, BWC negotiations and UN First Committee.

See also: US Draft Fissban Mandate, Text and Explanation

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