Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 04 - April 1996

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

Return to main page


Editor's introduction

April's issue features three highly contrasting opinion pieces on the future of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva - Robert McNamara urgently enjoins it to begin negotiating a world free of nuclear weapons; Miguel Marin-Bosch characterises it as a mechanism for disarming, or preventing the arming, of non-nuclear- weapon States; Ashok Kapur advocates its continuation solely on the grounds of its political theatricality.

Former US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara argues that CD negotiations are necessary to help induce a "break out" from old nuclear thinking by the nuclear-weapon States. In great and chilling detail, he argues that the Cuban Missile Crisis validates his thesis that "the indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons carries a totally unacceptable risk of destruction of nations."

Ambassador Miguel Marin-Bosch, former head of Mexico's delegation to the CD, develops a gravely pessimistic argument, suggesting that without a radical change of heart and doctrine by the nuclear- weapon States, "little will be accomplished in the field of nuclear disarmament in the CD or anywhere else." The dire implication of this, in his view, is that the CD may be doomed to languish as "a forum where agreements are sought on measures aimed at disarming...all nations except the P-5." Ambassador Marin-Bosch also laments the outcome - indefinite extension - of the 1995 Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Conference, saying it represented a "squandered...opportunity", since much regretted, "to redress in part the imbalances" of the Treaty.

Ashok Kapur, Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, concentrates on the relevance to India and Pakistan of the CD in general, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in particular. He comes to a series of damning and sweeping conclusions, such as: "the time is not ripe for a CTBT"; and "for India and Pakistan, the CTBT, like the NPT, shows the disutility of multilateral arms control agreements."

Documents and Sources includes material from the signing of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and the G8 nuclear safety summit in Moscow. News Review includes coverage of developments related to these events, as well as new UN action against Iraq, repeated US threats against Libya and Iran, fresh and influential advocacy of a total, global ban on landmines, and the latest developments in the ongoing struggles over the ABM Treaty and the START arms reduction process.

The next issue will see the return of Rebecca Johnson's Geneva Update, as the CD returns for the second part of its 1996 Session.

The CD Agenda: a summary

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 Session. Algeria's Ambassador, Hocine Meghlaoui, has now been appointed as Special Co-ordinator on the Agenda, though his deliberations are principally concerned with the 1996 Session.

The fullest account of the review so far came on 1 September 1994 with Ambassador Norberg's report to the Conference. His statement referred to "divergent views" on the issue of "the appropriate balance" between nuclear and non-nuclear issues:

"...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."

Specifically, Ambassador Norberg said that four of the Decalogue items in particular were inspiring controversy: items 2 (Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and Nuclear Disarmament), 3 (Prevention of Nuclear War, including all Related Measures), 7 (Comprehensive Programme of Disarmament) and 8 (Transparency in Armaments).

The review of the CD Agenda - Opinion

The CTBT and the security of South Asia

By Ashok Kapur


Although the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is the centrepiece of the work of the CD at present, it adds little value to the existing patterns of security relationships in South Asia or in the international sphere. It could, however, work as a confidence-building measure among the five nuclear powers, but this requires a radical change in the thinking and policies of the Western nuclear powers, and this is unlikely in a presidential election year. The Western powers need to further reduce their nuclear arsenals to meet Russian and Chinese concerns about nuclear asymmetry. The present distribution of nuclear power leaves China in particular at a disadvantage. On the other hand, the conditions attached to US acceptance of the CTBT enable it to maintain its edge in the nuclear weapons sphere (1). Should the British and French nuclear programs be sacrificed to level the playing field and to reduce the Western nuclear edge vis-a-vis other nuclear powers? In the absence of a real sacrifice by the Western nuclear camp, the declaration of intent to participate in a disarmament process is likely to be unconvincing.

Presently British and French nuclear forces exist mainly for prestige. British and French statements in 1995 took pride in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) because it enshrines their nuclear status and gives them a seat at the high table. But British and French nuclear weapons do not add value to the American nuclear deterrent. To convince post-Deng China and Russia under the Yeltsin-Primakov leadership that a nuclear testing freeze does not mean permanent nuclear inferiority for them, the CD should inject a realism into its deliberations by bringing such underlying issues and perceptions into the arcane world of disarmament diplomacy.

Before the CTBT is finalised, the nuclear powers may wish to explore the central importance of three processes, each with its set of principals and issues.

The first one involves the US and USSR/Russia and it concerns the Strategic Arms Reduction (START) process and its development. This activity needs to be energised to show that the top dogs are ready to make big sacrifices for the disarmament cause by reducing further the START levels of arms. More sunshine on the legitimate self-defense requirements of the two principal nuclear powers would help to clear the air.

The second process should put an end to British and French nuclear programs. In nuclear and non-proliferation affairs these countries are to the US what Ukraine and Belarus were to the USSR in the UN General Assembly during the Cold War. Britain and France cannot mind anyone or anything in world affairs now and their basic role is to function as junior US assistants in the Security Council and in multilateral fora. If their nuclear capability were rolled back, the international system would acquire a natural triangularity and stability with three principals, US, Russia and China; and there would be stable multi-polarity as well in the Middle Eastern, South Asian and North Asian regions. These regions contain centres of independent strategic thought and policy which are not likely to accept Western demarches.

The third process should be a US-Russia-China conference to decide on the appropriate level of nuclear armament that reflects their security needs and the pattern of their power relationships.

These three tracks could serve as the heart of the nuclear disarmament process in the 21st century. Otherwise, to put the CTBT in front of the recommended three-track process is to place the cart before the horse. By itself, the CTBT is a meaningless gesture because the underground testing issue is not centrally important for the nuclear powers who already possess easily enough weapons to destroy the world. In the absence of a willingness to make real sacrifices, the nuclear powers' pleas for universal non- proliferation lack moral and international appeal.

Other than to urge such re-thinking, the CD has no real role to shape the new bargains among the nuclear powers. It should not be disbanded, however, because it has the quality of live political theatre; and it is the only multilateral forum to push the disarmament cause. Theatrical performances require a cast of characters, a plot and lines, as well as an audience. The cast, the plot and the lines are suggested above. Australia, Argentina and South Africa appear to relish a role as assistants of the Western nuclear powers and are useful as post offices for Western ideas. The rest of the CD should function as the audience, registering approval or disapproval of the play.

The CTBT as seen by India and Pakistan

The ideas set out above represent a deviant point of view in comparison to the advocacy about non-proliferation and international security that emerges from Western allied capitals. Even if my ideas are rejected because they are contrary to policy, please read on.

The CTBT is essentially a non-proliferation measure. Without the nuclear disarmament of the Big Five it would freeze and eventually degrade the Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons options. The North Americans and the Europeans would get the best of two worlds. They get to keep their nuclear deterrents, their nuclear prestige and the right to modernise their weaponry through further laboratory tests which the rest of the world cannot monitor because they are conducted in military facilities. On the other hand the Western regime builders would gain the right, through the CTBT, to build on the platform of the NPT and to extend it by measures to control dual-use technology and equipment. The West retains its freedom of action while curtailing that of India and Pakistan. The CTBT and NPT are good bargains for the West because they lose nothing and gain much for free. The Indians and Pakistanis, however, do not believe in free lunches.

The CTBT is being pursued under the cover of Article 6 of the NPT and the declarations at the NPT extension conference. India never bought into the NPT because Article 6 is phony; it is smoke and mirrors. It was a sop to naive third world utopians who believed in the dream of global nuclear disarmament. Furthermore, neither the NPT nor the CTBT can do anything for Indian and Pakistani diplomatic and military interests. For the nuclear powers modern arms are needed in the foreseeable future along with arms control. For India and Pakistan arms control is secondary and the priority lies in developing military power and diplomatic strategies to stabilise the rivalries with regional and international powers.

European arms control norms are not relevant in the Asia-Pacific sphere for a number of reasons: Europeans eschew war and there are no territorial disputes; Asian public opinions are volatile because of memories of the history of social and military conflicts in Asia; Asian international relations are still groping for a formula to develop a stable power structure in the region. The end of the Cold War is a European and not an Asian phenomenon.

India's real position

India is opposed to the CTBT for a number of reasons, and these have not been articulated in Geneva. India has always opposed vertical proliferation because, in the present plan, it leaves it in a position of permanent military and legal inferiority in the strategic sphere. The stress on the nuclear disarmament of the five nuclear powers is a practical and not simply a philosophical issue for Indians; it is meant to narrow the gap in the distribution of power between India and others, as well as to link Indian concessions to the principle of reciprocal or balanced obligations.

There are other reasons for the hardening of the Indian position on the CTBT. The Indian stance is embedded in the context of major difficulties in Indo-US strategic relations. The two democracies are at odds on a variety of issues. On Indo-Pakistan issues the US is seen as partial towards Pakistan. Washington is reluctant to corner Pakistan on its support for the Kashmir insurgency and its breach of agreement with the US on the nuclear issue. The contrast between the US attitude towards Iran and Pakistan is telling. Iran is being cornered in the nuclear terrorism spheres even though the evidence against it is not clear; with Pakistan the US is softer even though the evidence is there. So America is not taken seriously as an impartial broker between India and Pakistan; it is seen as a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution.

Then, despite the occasional Indo-US naval exercise, it is becoming clear that the US has nothing to offer India to address the problem of a nuclearising Pakistan and a nuclear China, and to resolve the issue of Chinese nuclear and missile aid to Pakistan even though China is a member of the NPT and it claims to follow the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) rules.

State Department official spokesmen have made it clear that the American response to such issues depends on US interests, circumstances, relationships and leverage, and consequently the implication is that non-proliferation must compete with a basket of other issues. This approach makes non-proliferation policy a prisoner and a product of American politics and international politics rather than US nuclear laws and international regime rules. Even if the CTBT is agreed to, the endgame would have to occur in the context of American politics.

Indians are aware, and US specialists probably agree, that the US does not have a vital interest in Indian security or in the growth of Indian strategic power. The American and the Indian worldviews clash. India sees itself as a status quo, non-expansionist State which should be a strong economic and military power to participate in the organisation of a stable power structure in Asia. The American preference historically is to secure a stable Indo-Pakistani balance, or at least a situation of manageable instability, where the two cancel out each other's power and influence.

These conflicting worldviews form the context of recurring Indo-US controversies. When the Cold War ended, the US felt that India was isolated without the Soviet connection. America sought to press its advantage by a policy of pressure. It was a big mistake for America to gloat over India's isolation. The isolation was temporary and now Russia's Foreign Minister Primakov says that "India is a priority partner", and this relationship is meant to be a part of the definition of world order in the 21st century. In December 1995, the Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi declared that China and India must work together against the "unjust international order" and that China will not pressure India to sign the CTBT, unlike the US. Because American diplomacy towards India since 1990 has been immature, it stimulated Indian nationalism on the CTBT issue. These are the reasons for the shift in the Indian position on the CTBT in recent months.

Pakistan's priorities

Pakistan's case against abandoning or degrading its nuclear weapons option is also compelling. The internal debate in Pakistan is between maintaining its de facto nuclear freeze, in place since 1989-90, or to lift it.

Pakistan has historically faced two kinds of uncertainties. The first concerns its threat perceptions about India. The other insecurity stems from its doubts about the reliability of the American connection in defence of Pakistani interests. Note that Pakistan intensified its nuclear weapons work in the mid to late 1980s when it enjoyed American patronage as a front line State against the USSR in Afghanistan. Pakistanis rightly calculated that American help was opportunistic and temporary.

There are many examples of American unreliability in Pakistan affairs. It supplied modern arms to Pakistan in the mid-1950s but then cut off the military spheres in the 1965 war with India. The Kennedy administration was displeased with the Ayub-Bhutto action to turn to China in the early 1960s, but it failed to see that Pakistan turned to China in part because both had a common enemy in India but also in part because America was unreliable in Pakistani calculations. Then again Pakistan was 'Presslerised' after the Soviets left Afghanistan. In this historical context Pakistan relied on its China connection and its nuclear weapons capability to bargain with the US, to deter India and to retain a measure of independence of thought and policy. A CTBT entails formal international obligations and these bump severely against the power and interests of competing policy groups in Pakistan as well as India.

Conclusion: the disutility of multilateralism

For India and Pakistan, the CTBT, like the NPT, shows the disutility of multilateral arms control agreements. The alternative is to assess the utility of informal bilateral arms control in regions with difficult security problems. Multilateralism fails to engage the factors and processes in the domestic structures of regional conflict; that is, arms controllers fail to address local and parochial considerations, consequently they fail to deal with the domestic vetoes against arms control, and at the same time they fail to appreciate the negotiating opportunities.

Presently, India and Pakistan have a multifacteted relationship. The two armies understand each other's capability and motivation. Both avoid war; the relationship among the Generals is mature. Prime Minister Bhutto is involved in domestic controversies and she lacks internal control. She is not India's negotiating partner and Indians do not accept the American advice that India should help Bhutto by offering her concessions.

Limited confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan exist; both sides have kept their agreement not to attack each other's nuclear facilities and there is transparency about military exercises. The insurgency in Indian border provinces has been contained and the political process is being restored. The business communities on both sides are seeking official bilateral trade.

So there is a dual pattern of containment as well as engagement between the two countries. A similar process is at work in Sino- Indian relations. These developments indicate that the centres of gravity of constructive action lie now in the political, military and economic constituencies in the South Asian region and not in Washington, Vienna or Geneva. The local constituencies are also mindful of domestic compulsions; weak governments are not able to offer concessions in arms control for fear of accusations of a sell-out. On this basis neither India nor Pakistan can be expected to make a big move in the arms control field in the foreseeable future.

Finally, it is not lost on Indian and Pakistani practitioners that the dream merchants of nuclear disarmament such as Australia are themselves benefiting from the American nuclear umbrella and other allied agreements, and they are also modernising their military machines. The Cold War ended, so why is Australia acquiring submarines and why did Indonesia and Australia agree to a defence pact recently? The rationale, of course, lies in doubts about the military intentions of post-Deng China. The international situation in the Asia-Pacific region is volatile, the quality of American leadership is uneven and the time is not ripe for a CTBT which is closely tied to the future role of nuclear weaponry in the world today.


Ashok Kapur is Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, Canada.

The struggle for the multilateral disarmament agenda

By Miguel Marin-Bosch


The CD's current Agenda reflects the disarmament priorities established in 1978 by the international community: nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction come first and conventional armaments are to follow. Over the last decade, but especially since the end of the Cold War, there have been calls to bring that Agenda into line with the so-called 'new international reality.' No one is quite sure as to the exact nature of that reality, but no one can doubt that there have been important, not to say momentous, changes in the world scene.

The discussion of the CD's Agenda is part of a larger debate - the current 'struggle for the multilateral disarmament agenda.' That struggle is taking place mainly, though not exclusively, at the UN General Assembly and may be summarized as follows: an increasingly numerous group of countries, mostly European and NATO (including both members and aspirants), is calling for greater emphasis on conventional disarmament, while an ever-smaller group of Non- Aligned or developing nations is still wedded, for different reasons, to the idea that nuclear disarmament should remain the top priority. Our purpose here is to offer some thoughts on the agenda debate and the role of the CD.

The nature of the CD: four clues from history

For most UN Members the CD is the international community's only permanent negotiating body for disarmament. As such it plays a key role in furthering (or stalling) the multilateral disarmament agenda. The General Assembly can 'request' the CD to do something, but the CD is really only answerable to itself. Therein lies both its strength and weakness. But what is the CD's raison d'etre? And has it changed since 1962, 1978 or 1989?

The CD is the successor of a series of multilateral negotiating organs which the UN began creating from its inception: in 1946 the Atomic Energy Commission, and in 1947 the Conventional Armaments Commission. Both were composed of the then eleven members of the Security Council and Canada (if it was not serving on the Council); the five permanent members - who by a whim of history would also become the five nuclear-weapon States - and six non- permanent (one from Western Europe and another from Eastern Europe, one from the Commonwealth, one from the Middle East and two from Latin America), plus Canada. In 1952, upon dissolving the commissions on atomic energy and conventional armaments, the General Assembly established a single Disarmament Commission. And, to choose its members, it again used the formula of 'the Security Council members plus Canada'. Herein lies the first clue as to the nature of the CD: the P-5 have always seen the CD as a kind of extension of the Security Council, i.e., a forum where they would set the agenda and define the results.

With the increase in UN Members after 1955, the Disarmament Commission was enlarged in 1957 to 25 countries and in 1958 it was opened to all UN Member States. At that moment it ceased to be a negotiating body and became a deliberative forum of the General Assembly. That same year, the Assembly established the Ten-Nation Disarmament Committee, whose membership, at the insistence of the Soviet Union, was evenly divided between the two principal military blocs: five from NATO and five from the Warsaw Pact. In spite of that symmetry, the Ten-Nation Committee did not meet in over a year and was unable to bridge the differences between the two military blocs, meeting only from March to June of 1960. Here is the second clue: symmetry in composition.

In 1961, a year after the dissolution of the Ten-Nation Committee, there was an unexpected development: a joint statement by the United States and the Soviet Union on the agreed principles for disarmament negotiations. Later that year the General Assembly urged those two countries to reach agreement on the membership of a new disarmament negotiating organ and also endorsed the composition of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC): the members of the Ten-Nation Committee and eight non-aligned or neutral countries that would serve as a bridge between the two military alliances, facilitating agreement between them. The ENDC was co-chaired by the USA and the USSR and the General Assembly urged it to undertake negotiations based on the joint statement of principles subscribed to by them. Therein the third CD ingredient: the non-aligned members were included to promote agreements between East and West (but only after the two sides had established a set of principles, i.e., their own agenda).

The ENDC began its work in Geneva in March of 1962. From the beginning France did not participate because of its opposition to the unusual institution of the Co-Chairmanship. The ENDC met uninterruptedly from 1962 to 1978. Its name changed to the Conference on the Committee on Disarmament when it was enlarged to 26 in 1969 and to 31 in 1975, maintaining the balance between the military blocs and the non-aligned countries.

In 1978 the CD was established with forty members (the 31 that had come to be members of the ENDC and CCD plus nine new ones). By then, however, the United States and the Soviet Union had been negotiating bilaterally for several years outside not only of the CCD but of the UN as well. That tendency persists but seems to be changing in the 1990s with the renewed interest of both countries in the UN and in the machinery provided by its Charter for maintaining international peace and security. This is already clear in the Security Council but not yet in the CD. That is the fourth clue: from the late 1960s the USA and USSR ceased to need a forum such as the CD to negotiate measures which they considered essentially bilateral in nature.

The nature of the CD's agreements

The principal treaties produced by the Geneva disarmament forum are of two types: first, the banning of weapons, weapons-related activities or weapons systems that the major powers have either renounced unilaterally or were willing to give up provided others undertook not to acquire them (the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) and the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions (BWC and CWC), as well as the ongoing Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations); and second, the prevention of the acquisition of nuclear weapons by nations other than the Nuclear-Weapon States (NWS) (the Non-Proliferation Treaty - NPT).

To achieve these treaties the CD and its predecessors have resorted to a variety of negotiating techniques: 'basement diplomacy' whereby two or three nations (i.e., the USA and USSR, and occasionally the UK as well) produce a first draft (i.e., the PTBT) and then the rest agree; 'symbolic multilateral negotiation' whereby the same two or three nations draft a text which is later subjected to minor changes in light of the reaction of other CD members (i.e., the BWC); 'truncated agreement' whereby a draft is sent to the General Assembly despite a lack of agreement among all CD members (i.e., the NPT and the Environmental Modification Convention, ENMOD); and 'genuine multilateral negotiation' whereby all CD members participate on an equal footing in the drafting of agreements which later all endorse (i.e., the CWC and the ongoing CTBT negotiations).

The fallout from the 1995 NPT Conference

At the NPT's Review and Extension Conference, the Non-Nuclear- Weapon States (NNWS) squandered an opportunity to redress in part the imbalances of the NPT. In May of 1995, the NWS demonstrated that they continued to be attached to their nuclear arsenals and the NNWS seemed to accept this for the foreseeable future. In contrast, at the 1994 General Assembly, a group of NNWS had successfully raised the question of the legality of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. After the NPT Conference and in the wake of the resumption of French testing, many of these nations protested vigorously and at the 1995 General Assembly not only did they 'strongly deplore' French and Chinese tests but called on the CD to commence negotiations in 1996 on a phased programme of nuclear disarmament and for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework.

Through General Assembly resolutions and at the CD, some NNWS seem to be seeking what they failed to pursue during the NPT Conference: a commitment by the NWS to genuine nuclear disarmament. And this also appears to be the purpose behind India's proposals in the CTBT negotiations since, as a non-party to the NPT, it correctly interprets a future CTBT as 'country specific.'

How firm can a nation-State be in today's world? Quite obviously many are vulnerable to economic pressure. But even among the major Powers, economic interest often prevails over principle. Witness how Western nations deal with China in matters of human rights and trade, or consider where some countries of the South Pacific drew the line with regard to the consequences of French nuclear testing. Or examine the voting patterns of the resolution on nuclear testing at the last General Assembly.


In assessing the CD's future agenda, one should bear in mind a number of lessons drawn from the past.

First and foremost, the five NWS, but especially the USA and USSR, would never have joined, much less created, a negotiating forum designed to disarm them.

Second, disarmament agreements in the CD are only possible when the major military powers give their consent.

Third, other nations can oppose but not prevent agreement (e.g., NPT and ENMOD).

Fourth, except for one question, all CD members have espoused the same position on a given issue but not at the same time. The exception is reliance on nuclear weapons.

Fifth, as long as the NWS remain 'attached' to their nuclear arsenals, little will be accomplished in the field of genuine nuclear disarmament in the CD or anywhere else.

Sixth, without the Cold War there would never have been an ENDC or CD; with the end of the Cold War, the CD is, more than ever, a body for negotiating the disarmament of the NNWS.

Seventh, in contrast to other multilateral fora (such as those on the environment, human rights or women's issues), the CD is by and large immune to 'public opinion pressure.'

Eighth, in the 1990s it is more likely for the P-5 to agree among themselves than it is for the NNWS to reach common positions.

Ninth, despite the end of the Cold War, NWS continue to be attached to a nuclear posture that reflects the 'way it was' and NNWS are in no position to change that.

Tenth, the proponents of nuclear disarmament attained their greatest strength in the 1980s; since then, many nations once firmly in the nuclear-disarmament-first camp have, for different reasons, wavered and waffled, and the proponents of conventional disarmament appear to be gaining the upper hand.

In sum, although it was probably never intended to be so, the CD has turned out to be a forum where agreements are sought on measures aimed at disarming (or ensuring the non-armament) of all nations except the P-5. And this situation is likely to persist until nations decide to pursue a genuine disarmament agenda. That means, first and foremost, an agenda geared to disarm those that have the weapons, beginning with nuclear weapons, and not just to codify unilateral disarmament measures, important as they are, or preventing others from acquiring weapons and weapons systems.

Ambassador Marin-Bosch, Mexico's Consul-General in Barcelona, has followed the work of the CD since 1970. The views expressed in the paper are his own.

The Conference on Disarmament should focus on steps to move toward a 'Nuclear Free World'

By Robert S. McNamara


My thesis will be that the indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons carries a totally unacceptable risk of destruction of nations. Therefore, the Conference on Disarmament should begin now to agree on a series of steps to move toward a world free of such weapons.

The inhabitants of our globe continue to live with the risk of nuclear destruction. Today the war plans of the five declared nuclear powers (the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China) provide for contingent use of nuclear weapons just as they did in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s - certainly that is true of the United States. But I do not believe that the people of the world recognize this fact. No doubt, they were surprised and pleased by the announcement of Presidents Bush and Yeltsin in June 1992 that they had agreed to reduce dramatically US and Russian nuclear weapon stockpiles. There are now 40,000-50,000 nuclear warheads in the world, with a total destructive power 1 million times greater than that of the bomb that flattened Hiroshima. Assuming the reductions called for by the START 1 Treaty are achieved, the totals weapons inventory will be reduced to approximately 20,000. Bush and Yeltsin agreed to further reductions - START 2 - that would leave the five declared nuclear powers with a total of about 10,000 warheads in 2003.

START 2 was a highly desirable move, but even if the agreement is ratified by both the US Senate and the Russian Parliament - and that is not at all certain - the risk of destruction of societies across the globe, while somewhat reduced, will be far from eliminated. I doubt a survivor - if there was one - could perceive much difference between a world in which 10,000 nuclear warheads had been exploded and one subject to attack by 40,000. Can we not go further? Surely the answer must be yes.

Lessons to be learnt from the Cuban missile crisis

The end of the Cold War, along with the growing understanding of the lack of utility of nuclear weapons and of the high risk associated with their continued existence, points to both the opportunity and the urgency with which the nuclear powers should reexamine their long-term nuclear force objectives.

First, a word about the risks associated with these weapons. I will use the Cuban Missile Crisis, which occurred while I was US Secretary of Defense, as an illustration.

It is now widely recognized that the actions of the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962 brought the three nations to the verge of war. But what was not known then, and is not widely recognized today, was how close the world came to the brink of nuclear disaster. Neither the Soviet Union, nor Cuba, nor the United States intended, by its actions, to create such risks.

The crisis began when the Soviets moved nuclear missiles and bombers to Cuba - secretly and with the clear intent to deceive - in the Summer and early Fall of 1962. The missiles and bombers were to be targeted along America's East Coast. Photographs taken by a U-2 reconnaissance aircraft on Sunday, 14 October 1962 brought the deployments to President Kennedy's attention. He and his military and civilian security advisors believed that the Soviets' action posed a threat to the West. Kennedy therefore authorized a naval quarantine of Cuba to be effective Wednesday, 24 October.

Preparations also began for air strikes and amphibious invasion. The contingency plans called for a 'first-day' air attack of 1,080 sorties. An invasion force totalling 180,000 troops assembled in Southeastern US ports.

The crisis came to a head on Saturday, 27 October and Sunday, 28 October. Had Khruschev not publicly announced on that Sunday that he was removing the missiles, I believe that on Monday, 29 October, a majority of Kennedy's military and civilian advisers would have recommended launching the attacks.

To understand what caused the crisis - and how to avoid similar ones in the future - high-ranking Soviet, Cuban, and American participants in the decisions relating to it met in a series of conferences beginning in 1987 and extending over a period of five years. A meeting chaired by Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba, in January 1992 was the fifth and last.

These meetings demonstrated that, immediately preceding the crisis and during it, the decisions of each of the three nations had been distorted by misinformation, miscalculation and misjudgment. I shall site only four examples:

* Before Soviet missiles were introduced in Cuba in the Summer of 1962, the Soviet Union and Cuba believed the United States intended to invade the island to overthrow Castro and remove his government. We had no such intention.

* The United States believed the Soviets would never move nuclear weapons outside the Soviet Union - they never had - but in fact they did. In Moscow, in 1989, we learned that by October 1962, although the CIA at the time was reporting no nuclear weapons on the island, Soviet nuclear warheads had, indeed, been delivered to Cuba, and, as I said, they were to be targeted on US cities.

* The Soviets believed that nuclear weapons could be introduced into Cuba secretly, without detection, and that the US would not respond when their presence was disclosed. There, too, they were in error.

* Finally, those who were prepared to urge President Kennedy to destroy the missiles by a US air attack which, in all likelihood, would have been followed by an amphibious invasion, were almost certainly mistaken in their belief that the Soviets would not respond militarily. At the time, the CIA reported 10,000 Soviet troops in Cuba. At the Moscow conference, participants learned there were in fact 43,000 Soviet troops on the island, along with 270,000 well-armed Cuban troops. Both forces, in the words of their commanders, were determined to 'fight to the death.' The Cuban officials estimated they would have suffered 100,000 casualties. The Soviets - including long-time Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko and former Ambassador to the US Anatoly Dobrynin - expressed utter disbelief that we would have thought that, in the face of such a catastrophic defeat, they would not have responded militarily somewhere in the world. Very probably, the result would have been uncontrollable escalation.

In 1962, during the crisis, some of us - particularly President Kennedy and I - believed the United States faced great danger. But thirty years later, during the Havana conference and in the months following it, we learned that both of us - and certainly others - had seriously underestimated those dangers. It is now clear that at the height of the crisis, when, as I have said, the CIA reported there were no nuclear warheads on the island, the Soviet forces there possessed a total of 162 nuclear warheads, including at least 90 tactical warheads. Moreover, it was reported that on 26 October, 1962 - a moment of great tension - warheads were moved from their storage sites to positions closer to their delivery vehicles in anticipation of a US invasion. The next day, Soviet Defense Minister Malinovsky received a cable from General Pliyev, the Soviet commander in Cuba, informing him of this action. Malinovsky sent the cable to Khruschev. Khruschev returned it to Malinovsky with 'Approved' scrawled across the document. Clearly, there was a high risk that, in the face of a US attack - which many in the US government, military and civilian alike, were prepared to recommend to President Kennedy - the Soviet forces in Cuba would have decided to use their nuclear weapons rather than lose them.

We need not speculate about what would have happened in that event. We can predict the results with certainty.

Although a US invasion force would not have been equipped with tactical nuclear warheads - the President and I had specifically prohibited that - no one should believe that had American troops been attacked with such weapons, the US would have refrained from a nuclear response. And where would it have ended? In utter disaster, not just for the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States but for all nations across the globe that would have suffered from the fall-out of the nuclear exchange.

The point I wish to emphasize is this: human beings are fallible. We all make mistakes. In our daily lives, mistakes are costly, but we try to learn from them. In conventional war, they cost lives, sometimes thousands of lives. But if mistakes were to affect decisions relating to the use of nuclear forces, there would be no learning period. They would result in the destruction of nations. I believe, therefore, that it can be predicted with confidence that the indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons carries a high risk of potential catastrophe.

The case for zero

Is there a military justification for continuing to accept that risk? The answer is no.

The military utility of nuclear weapons is limited to deterring one's opponent from their use. Therefore, if one's opponent has no nuclear weapons, there is no need to possess them.

This is, however, a very controversial proposition. For example, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Adviser, has argued that a plan for eliminating nuclear weapons 'is a plan for making the world safe for conventional warfare. I am therefore not enthusiastic about it.' And a majority of Western security experts - both military and civilian, including those in the Clinton Administration - continue to believe the threat of the use of nuclear weapons prevents war.

But a revolutionary change in thinking about the role of nuclear forces is beginning. Some senior military leaders are now prepared to go far beyond the Bush-Yeltsin agreement. They state, as I have, that the long-term objective should be to return, insofar as practical, to a non-nuclear world.

Last December the Stimson Center in Washington, DC released a report - 'An Evolving US Nuclear Posture' - signed by four recently retired four-star US officers including General Andrew Goodpaster, the former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, which recommended moving through a series of four steps to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

And early this year, Prime Minister Keating of Australia appointed an international commission to develop proposals for 'a realistic program to achieve a world totally free of nuclear weapons'. Among others, the Commission members include: Michel Rocard, the former Prime Minister of France; Joseph Rotblat, the 1995 Nobel Peace Laureate; Field Marshal Lord Carver, former Chief of the British Defense Staff; General Lee Butler, former commander of the Strategic Air Command; and myself. The Commission held its first meeting in Canberra in January and will present its report in August. I hope, and, indeed, predict, it will recommend the elimination of nuclear weapons.


So, I believe, if the five declared nuclear powers dare break out of the mindset that has guided their strategy for over four decades, they can come to agreement on a series of steps that will lead to a return to a 'nuclear weapons free world'. The Conference on Disarmament is the forum in which such a process should begin.

Robert McNamara was US Defense Secretary, 1961-8.

The contributors and Editor encourage readers to submit responses, to be considered for publication, to the arguments put forward above.

Documents and Sources

signing of Pelindaba Treaty

Statement by UN Secretary-General

'Elimination of all nuclear weapons should be humanity's "great common cause", says Secretary-General in message to Cairo signing ceremony, United Nations Press Release SG/SM/5955, 11 April 1996

The statement of the Secretary-General, Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali, was delivered at the opening ceremony by Vladimir Petrovsky, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Full text

"My greetings to the leaders from this great continent who have gathered here to participate in the signing ceremony of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty. It is particularly appropriate that you meet in Cairo, the city where the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Heads of State adopted the pioneering 1964 Declaration on the Denuclearization of Africa. At that time, African leaders also undertook to conclude an international treaty, under United Nations auspices, not to manufacture or control atomic weapons. But, for a quarter of a century the preparation of this important document was stalled.

During the last five years, a number of significant developments have made it possible to pursue the objective for Africa's denuclearization in a treaty format. Political confidence has been built in the nuclear disarmament field by South Africa's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapon State party. Africa has made new and urgent efforts to resolve long-standing conflicts that have affected its people. Apartheid has been banished from the continent. New and vibrant democracies have taken root.

The establishment of an African nuclear-weapon-free zone will advance global disarmament norms and contribute to efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and strengthen the international non-proliferation regime. It will accelerate the stride towards a world free from nuclear weapons. It is a promising example to others wishing to contribute to broadening the areas of the world from which nuclear weapons will be forever proscribed.

Disarmament should be understood as a global enterprise, involving the United Nations, regional organizations, Member States and the international community as a whole. The African Nuclear-Weapon- Free Zone Treaty has been prepared under United Nations auspices in cooperation with the OAU. It has shown the crucial role that the United Nations can play in encouraging and eventually attaining the desired goal of non-proliferation. It is a role central to the very ethos of the United Nations as it endeavours to fulfil the wish of the international community to turn the logic of non-proliferation into concerted action, to ensure - in President Nelson Mandela's phrase - "the convergence of word and deed".

Just as the architects of this important document drew on the experience of other regions, this Treaty will add to the general understanding of nuclear-weapon-free zones and can provide lessons in confidence-building and non-proliferation for other regions. Equally important, it can provide a successful example of how the reduction of the threat of destruction, and preventing diversion of resources to fuel that threat, can be propitious for social development and human advancement.

I would like to express my deep appreciation of the gesture made by the Egyptian Government in hosting the signing ceremony of this Treaty. This is yet another proof of Egypt's strong interest in the cause of disarmament in general and regional disarmament endeavours in particular. On this historic occasion, I wish to pay tribute to His Excellency, President Hosni Mubarak, for his pioneering role in the effort towards the denuclearization of Africa.

As we pay tribute to the vision and statesmanship of Africa, let us not forget that the most safe, sure and swift way to deal with the threat of nuclear arms is to do away with them in every regard by having a nuclear-weapon-free world. This should be our vision of the future. No more production. No more testing. No more sales or transfers. Reduction, destruction and the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons and the means of their manufacture should be humanity's great common cause."

UN Security Council statement

S/PRST/1996/17, 12 April 1996

The statement was issued by the Council President, Ambassador Juan Somavia of Chile.

Full text

"The Security Council notes with deep satisfaction the signature of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (the Treaty of Pelindaba), on 11 April 1996, in Cairo, Egypt, and notes further the adoption of 'The Cairo Declaration' on that occasion.

This historic event marks a successful formalization of the commitment undertaken 32 years ago when the leaders of Africa adopted in July 1964 at Cairo the pioneering resolution of the First Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, which declared Africa an denuclearized zone.

The Security Council considers that the signing of the Treaty by more than 40 African countries, as well as the signing of the relevant protocols to the Treaty by the majority of the nuclear- weapon States, constitute important steps towards the effective and early implementation of the Treaty. To that end it emphasizes the importance of early ratification of the Treaty with a view to securing its rapid entry into force.

The Security Council, reaffirming the statement made by its President on behalf of members of the Council at the meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government on 31 January 1992 (S/23500) that the proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction constitutes a threat to international peace and security, considers that the signature of the African Nuclear- Weapon-Free Zone Treaty constitutes an important contribution by the African countries to the maintenance of international peace and security.

The Security Council seizes this occasion to encourage such regional efforts, and stands ready to support efforts on the international and regional level aimed at achieving the universality of the nuclear non-proliferation regime."

UK Statement

Statement by Foreign & Commonwealth Office Spokesperson, 11 April 1996


"Following the extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT] in 1995 and our signature in March this year of the Protocols to the Treaty of Rarotonga (South Pacific) our support for the Treaty of Pelindaba further demonstrates our commitment to nuclear non- proliferation and to the objectives set out in the Document on Principles for nuclear non-proliferation and Objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament adopted at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference...

Taken with our signature to the Protocols to the Treaty of Rarotonga it also underlines our wish to see a permanent end to nuclear testing and early conclusion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty."

Editor's note: The statement was appended with some 'Notes for Editors', including the following -

"The Treaty of Pelindaba was negotiated by a joint OAU[Organization of African Unity]/UN Working Group. It was completed in 1995 and welcomed by a resolution at the UNGA. It will be opened for signature on 11 April. ...

Britain's signature is a strong signal of support for the efforts of the regional States to establish a nuclear-weapons-free zone. It is another important milestone of our commitment to nuclear non- proliferation, and is [a consequence of the] extension of the Non- Proliferation Treaty at which we undertook to work for the conclusion of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996.

Britain's signature also reflects our wish to respond in a practical way to concerns about nuclear testing, and confirms our belief that an end to nuclear testing is in sight. ..."

White House Statement

'United States to sign Protocols of the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty', Statement by the Press Secretary, Office of the White House, 11 April 1996


"Our decision to sign Protocols I and II of the Treaty [see Fact Sheet] clearly demonstrates our commitment to the 'Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament' adopted by the May, 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference and our strong support for a nuclear weapon free zone throughout the African continent. Today's ceremony in Egypt underscores our firm desire to see a permanent end to nuclear testing throughout the world and will give a further boost to negotiations to conclude and sign a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by September. ..."

White House Fact Sheet

'African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty', Office of the White House Press Secretary, 11 April 1996

Full text

"The African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, establishes a nuclear weapon free zone in Africa. Signature of the Treaty culminates a 32-year quest for a nuclear free Africa, beginning when the Organization of African Unity formally stated its desire for a Treaty ensuring the denuclearization of Africa at its first Summit in Cairo in July 1964. The United States has since supported the concept of the denuclearization of Africa since the first United Nations General Assembly resolution on this issue in 1965 and has played an active role in drafting the final text of the Treaty and Protocols.

The Treaty prohibits the research, development, manufacture, stockpiling, acquisition, testing, possession, control or stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territory of parties to the Treaty and the dumping of radioactive wastes in the African zone by Treaty parties. The Treaty also prohibits any attack against nuclear installations in the zone by Treaty parties and requires them to maintain the highest standards of physical protection of nuclear material, facilities and equipment, which are to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. The Treaty requires all parties to apply full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to all their peaceful nuclear activities. A mechanism to verify compliance, including the establishment of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy, has been established by the Treaty. The Treaty affirms the right of each party to decide for itself whether to allow visits by foreign ships and aircraft to its ports and airfields, explicitly upholds the freedom of navigation of the high seas and does not effect rights to passage through international waters guaranteed by international law.

The Treaty has three Protocols. Under Protocol I, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and China are invited to agree not to use or threaten to use a nuclear explosive device against any Treaty party or against any territory of a Protocol III party within the African zone. Under Protocol II, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and China are invited to agree not to test or assist or encourage the testing of a nuclear explosive device anywhere within the African zone. Protocol III is open to States with dependent territories in the zone and obligates them to observe certain provisions of the Treaty with respect to these territories: only Spain and France may become parties to it.

The Treaty was opened for signature on 11 April, 1996 in Cairo, Egypt. All the States of Africa are eligible to become parties to the Treaty, which will enter into force upon its 28th ratification; the Protocols will also enter into force at that time for those Protocol signatories that have deposited their instruments of ratification."

White House briefing

Press Briefing by Robert Bell, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control, National Security Council, 11 April 1996


"Together with the South Pacific Treaty and prior treaties that had established Latin America and Antarctica as nuclear-free zones, the African Nuclear-Weapons Free Zone Treaty, or ANFZ, in effect means that most of the Earth's southern hemisphere, an area stretching from Australia to Mauritius and from the Equator to the South Pole, is now a nuclear-free zone.

Yesterday, Vice President Gore called South African Deputy President Mbeki to express the President's deep appreciation for the pivotal role that South Africa played in the successful negotiation of this treaty. The treaty is named after the town of Pelindaba not only because...a lot of the treaty negotiation took place there, but it is also the town...where the South African government before Mandela had conducted a covert nuclear program, a program that has now been dismantled. ...

The signing...also gives another significant impetus to the completion of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that can be signed, as the President has called for, at the United Nations General Assembly in its session that begins this September. ...

...it is instructive to recall that in the early 1960s, France conducted underground and even atmospheric testing in Algeria. So, between the Pelindaba program and the previous French test program in Africa, Africa did have a nuclear history that formally comes to an end today. ...

As with the SPNFZ [South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone] Treaty, the President will submit certain understandings and declarations to the Senate with the treaty for incorporation in the Senate's resolution of ratification when it gives its advice and consent. For example, as with the South Pacific Treaty, we will make clear our understanding that this treaty does not restrict freedom of the sea or other navigation and overflight rights guaranteed under international law. ..."

Nuclear Safety Summit

See also News Review and next issue.

I. Post-Summit statements

US State Department assessment

'The Moscow Summit: Nuclear security and nuclear safety', Statement by Lynn E. Davis, Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, speech to the American Bar Association, 24 April 1996


"Moscow Summit: Nuclear Security

Over the past few years, we have succeeded in achieving dramatic reductions in nuclear weapons. But as a result, we have rendered excess hundreds of tons of weapons-usable uranium and plutonium.

At the Moscow Summit, we agreed among the P-8 to work more closely to keep nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands. Prevention is the most important first step. The P-8 called for greater international cooperation to strengthen physical security for nuclear materials and to put effective accounting systems in place. US assistance provides the foundation for this cooperation.

This year, the US will spend some $85 million for security improvements at nuclear facilities in Russia and the other states of the former Soviet Union. These facilities include some highly sensitive Russian weapons laboratories. The Russians are installing everything from upgraded locks and video monitors to sophisticated computer-based radiation detection systems.

Our assistance will also help improve the security of the nuclear materials themselves by:

* moving forward with construction of a safe, secure storage facility for material removed from nuclear weapons. This project is now on track, thanks in part to intensive high-level attention.

* helping Russia, Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Belarus to update laws, improve export licensing, enhance border control, and upgrade law enforcement capabilities.

* supporting International Science and Technology Centers in Moscow and Kiev to provide non-weapons-related employment for former weapons scientists.

The Summit also agreed to create a joint program to fight trafficking in nuclear materials, including greater cooperation and exchanges of information among law enforcement, customs, and intelligence authorities. Starting from the P-8, we will seek to involve others in this program, and at the Summit Ukraine announced its adherence.

This 'action plan' caps a year of activities, demonstrating that our cooperation is already underway. One example of such activities is a recent meeting of P-8 law enforcement experts to discuss forensic laboratory procedures to help identify the origin of nuclear materials seized as evidence in criminal cases. Another example is a program sponsored by the US Customs Service with countries in Central Europe and the New Independent States, in which we have provided training and nuclear detection equipment to help detect smuggling closer to the source.

Over the longer term, we must reduce the large stockpiles of excess nuclear materials, so as to reduce the risk both of proliferation and of illicit nuclear trafficking. Under a bilateral US-Russian agreement to purchase low-enriched uranium derived from 500 tons of HEU (highly-enriched uranium) extracted from former Soviet nuclear weapons, Russia delivered in 1995 six tons (on the order of 230 warheads). This represents the first ever use of weapons HEU for peaceful purposes.

In Moscow last week we achieved Russia's final approval to transparency measures that will give us confidence that the material provided under this contract originated from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons. Let me note that implementing this HEU contract has been highly complex, involving financial and trade law considerations, as well as sensitive national security issues. The deal is now on track, and functioning, to the benefit of both the United States and Russia.

Disposing of excess plutonium will be harder still, since there is no viable commercial market for this material. At the summit, the P-8 leaders took the first step toward multilateral cooperation to deal with the hundreds of tons of excess plutonium now accumulating.

Working together on small scale technology demonstration projects, and in an experts meeting scheduled for October 1996, the P-8 countries will explore options for the safe and secure long-term disposition of plutonium.

Some countries - particularly Russia - favor burning plutonium in civil power reactors (the so-called mixed oxide fuel or MOX option). The US, while not ruling out this option, is also actively evaluating the possibility of mixing plutonium with high level radioactive waste to create a material similar to the spent fuel from nuclear power plants that already exists in large quantities. We will use the upcoming P-8 conference to ensure that all reasonable technical possibilities are looked at carefully, with due regard to non-proliferation, security, environmental and economic considerations.

Moscow Summit: Nuclear Reactor Safety

In Moscow, the P-8 took important steps to make the civilian use of nuclear energy safer and to prevent from happening another tragedy as Chernobyl. The anniversary reminds us of the danger - as do reports today of fires erupting in the areas surrounding Chernobyl.

At the Summit, Russia announced its adherence to the International Nuclear Safety Convention, and for the first time joined the G-7 in asserting the importance of safety first in nuclear power operations. It committed to the highest internationally recognized safety level for construction, operation, and regulation of nuclear power facilities.

The Summit preparations led both Russia and Ukraine to take the necessary steps to join the Vienna Convention on Third Party Nuclear Liability. Thus, if another accident takes place, they recognize their responsibility for compensating victims even beyond their borders.

The P-8 also endorsed the importance of the efforts ongoing through the IAEA in Vienna to draft an international convention on the safe management of nuclear waste. Russia joined in affirming the importance of stopping all dumping of nuclear material in the ocean.

In an additional important step, Russia supported the G-7 agreement to close the Chernobyl reactor by the year 2000. We also agreed with President Kuchma to tackle one of the most severe safety problems Ukraine faces, the threat of a sarcophagus collapse, and to do this based on an international experts study which will be completed by year's end.

At the same time, we have more to do with Russia in this area of nuclear reactor safety. Russia maintains that its reactors can be raised to internationally acceptable standards and continues to press the West to help them fix rather than shut down their older reactors. We have, nevertheless, achieved some Russian recognition of the problems their reactors represent and agreed to expand our cooperation with them on reactor safety projects with Soviet- designed reactors in Central Europe and the NIS. And we will continue to press the Russians to agree to concrete steps toward the decommissioning [of] their older reactors.

The Security Agenda with the Russians

Following the P-8 Summit, President Clinton and President Yeltsin met to pursue their bilateral agenda, which focused in part on security and arms control issues. Let me turn just briefly to some of these.

We continue to urge the Russians to ratify the START II treaty. But it is clear that nothing will happen until after the Russian election. At the same time, we were able to make important progress in distinguishing between antiballistic missile systems that are limited by the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty and theater missile defenses which are not. We'll send our negotiators back to Geneva next month with the aim of concluding an initial demarcation agreement covering low velocity systems this June. Such an agreement will ensure that we maintain the integrity of the ABM Treaty - in our view the cornerstone of strategic stability - and the ability to go forward with all of our planned TMD programs.

In the case of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, we moved closer to a solution to the flank issue, within the framework that has been agreed among the 30 parties, namely a map change and limits on equipment in areas removed from the flank. We hope to be able to reach an agreement acceptable to all parties prior to the upcoming treaty review conference in mid-May.

But we still have differences with the Russians, and an important one has to do with their continuing nuclear cooperation with Iran. The President made clear that we believe that any such cooperation contributes to Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and that it should end. ..."

Press Conference by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin

Press Conference by President Clinton and President Yeltsin, The Kremlin, Moscow, Office of The White House spokesperson, 21 April 1996

The conference followed five hours of discussions between the two Presidents.

Extracts from statements

President Yeltsin

"I think that today's discussion gave a rather large contribution to the successes of the G-7 in Moscow in the security area. [We had] discussions of a whole series of issues on nuclear security and how to move ahead on START II, to strengthen the ABM Treaty of 1972. We now have rather good schedules on what Russia has to do, what the United States has to do by October of this year. ..."

President Clinton

"After this meeting there is much to report. ... It is fitting that this Summit was held in Moscow. For three years, the President and I have worked together in trying to make the world a safer place by reducing the nuclear threat that all our citizens face. Because of these efforts, Russian and American missiles are no longer pointed at each other's cities or citizens. We've both made deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals by putting START I into force. And we'll make even deeper cuts when the Duma ratifies START II.

We've worked with Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakstan to dismantle nuclear weapons on their land. And yesterday, with other world leaders, we took important steps to make nuclear materials more secure so they don't fall into the wrong hands, to make the civilian use of nuclear power safer, and to strongly support the passage of a comprehensive test ban treaty this year. ..."

Extracts from questions-and-answers session

ABM Treaty

President Yeltsin

"The thing is that, really, we did have at one time differences when the US side began to develop its own system beyond the ABM. And we expressed our surprise at this. And when Bill Clinton became President we agreed solidly that we are going to abide by the ABM Treaty. And for all this time, all the times we've met, we've never had any claims or questions to each other or any doubts that this treaty is [in] any way going to be changed or modified or changes introduced or anything like that.

It's another matter now...that we've got to, simply from the technical point of view, have that demarcation between strategic and theater nuclear systems. But that's being carried out now by our specialists and experts...and that will be fulfilled not to the detriment of either the United States or the Russian Federation."

President Clinton

"The United States has within it some people who had questions about the ABM Treaty to which we're a signatory. I believe the United States should keep its treaty commitments. I think if we expect Russia to keep its treaty commitments, we have to keep ours.

Not so long ago I vetoed a defense bill passed by the Congress because I thought it would have out us out of compliance with the ABM Treaty. What we have to do now, because the ABM Treaty does not prohibit the development of theater missile defenses, is to define clearly what the line between the two [theater and strategic] are - both regular velocity and high velocity theater missile defense.

We made real progress here in doing that. And I'm convinced that if we do this in an open way that has a lot of integrity...I think it will work out very well."


President Yeltsin

"...when we talked about testing...I will say that we [the G8] had a very, very loyal discussion, pleasant talk. All, to the very last one, agreed that this year we've got to sign the treaty on banning...any size of test forever...

But not all the nuclear States participated at yesterday's meeting... Now, with the others, we're going to have to do a little work, especially with China. ... And we're going to be attempting to do that. I have got the conviction that we are going to find an agreement and, after all, I think we will be able to sign this year."

President Clinton

"We have all agreed to go with the so-called Australian language which is a strict zero-yield comprehensive test ban treaty. That is the only kind of treaty that can give the people of the world the certainty that they really are seeing the end of the nuclear age of the big weapons.

Some other countries want to kind of leave a big crack in the door for so-called 'peaceful tests' or experimentation. And we all believe we just have to try to persuade them to our way of thinking. The biggest and most important issue now is trying to persuade the Chinese to adopt a position that we have adopted. And I suggested on behalf of the 8 that we ask President Yeltsin to take this issue up on his trip to China. He agreed to do that, and the rest of us agreed to do our best as well to support that and try to persuade the Chinese that this is the right course for the future. And I have every hope that we can succeed."

Statement by Prime Minister Major

Edited extract from a press conference by the Prime Minister, at the G8 Nuclear Summit, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 20 April 1996


"We moved on this morning to the main reason for the summit being called, to examine comprehensively the question of nuclear safety. The fact that the G7 attended in full, with President Yeltsin, is an indication of the importance that we attach to that process. There has been quite a comprehensive range of agreements, some of them very technical, many of them the subject of discussion for some time. ...

The main agreements that have been reached are: an agreement to bring into force the nuclear safety convention; agreement to work together on a new convention on the safety of radioactive waste management; thirdly, a commitment by Russia to sign the London Dumping Convention Amendment, that is the amendment which effectively bans the dumping of radioactive waste at sea; and a programme to help prevent the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.

There was agreed at this summit a new impetus to the conclusion, by September we think is possible, of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which bars all nuclear explosions on the basis of a zero yield. And I know from time to time in the past there have been conflicting interpretations of what is meant by zero-yield. Let me make it clear that what we mean by this, is that no nuclear explosion of any kind, however small, is permitted.

We discussed the situation, particularly as far as Chernobyl is concerned. We emphasised our commitment to make real the programme contained in the Memorandum of Understanding that we signed with Ukraine last December, and we were joined for this particular discussion by President Kuchma. There are three elements to the problem with Chernobyl: firstly, there are the grants that we made available to assist with work; secondly, there is the amount of international finance that will be made available to provide alternative sources of energy, that finance is agreed, it is not yet drawn down, the Ukrainians are still determining precisely what they need to do; and thirdly, there is the question of the temporary covering, the temporary sarcophagus over the reactor that exploded. There is no additional financing agreed for that.

When the European Union study is concluded later this year, we will need to look at the question of funding. I have little doubt that it will need to be an international effort. Post-Chernobyl no- one is seriously going to doubt the need for that work still to be done.

President Kuchma said he thought that it was possible to close another reactor at Chernobyl by the end of the year. We spent some time discussing alternative energy sources and the need to develop them in Ukraine and beyond."

II. Pre-Summit materials

Interview with Russia's Energy Minister

Interview with Viktor Mikhailov, Rossiiskiye Vesti, 16 April 1996


General policy

"Question: 'What are the main provisions of the Russian position on nuclear safety?'

Mikhailov: 'Russia is exerting unprecedented efforts to ensure nuclear power safety. International cooperation in this field is an instance of the efforts of the world community in resolving what are truly pressing problems facing mankind. At this stage of technological progress strengthening of nuclear safety is a problem that cannot be successfully tackled only under national programs. We are in favor of broad international cooperation in the development, production and operation of new, safe and cost- effective nuclear plants and safe handling of nuclear waste. Safety considerations make it urgent that we renounce outdated and basically confrontational stereotypes of rivalry in the market of nuclear services and work toward partnership together. Designing safe nuclear reactors for the 21st century would contribute to progress in that direction.

This country is actively developing nuclear legislation. That body of legislation already includes the Law on the Use of Atomic Energy, the Law on the Protection of the Environment, the Law on Ecological Expert Examination and the Law on the Radiation Safety of the Population. Pending before the State Duma of the Russian Federation is a draft law on managing radioactive waste.

The convention on nuclear safety which Russia signed in Vienna in 1994 came into force on Russian territory beginning from this year.

Russia is also taking concrete steps to accede to the Vienna convention on liability for nuclear damage. We are shortly to sign that convention and the documents required to set in motion the ratification process will be submitted to the Federal Assembly.

At the current phase of the implementation of the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty cooperation of the Eight in helping the IAEA perform its verification functions becomes very important. To this end support must be given to the activities of the Agency aimed at strengthening safeguards, creating and introducing an effective system of early detection of possible covert nuclear activities, especially in the regions that cause concern in terms of non- proliferation.

Russia has taken vigorous measures in order to quickly concentrate all Soviet nuclear weapons on its territory. The last phase of this work will be completed in 1996 with the withdrawal and dismantling of the nuclear arsenals of Byelorussia and Ukraine. It is in the interests of the Eight countries to ensure that the nuclear weapons of all the nuclear powers should be confined to their own territories. In this connection the expansion of NATO to the East with nuclear weapons is a natural cause for concern.

The processes of nuclear disarmament which rightly are high on the international agenda pose another important problem before us: economically and environmentally sound use of the materials released from the dismantling of nuclear weapons for peaceful purposes. Nuclear disarmament only becomes irreversible when all the nuclear materials obtained in the process of military conversion find an application in peaceful nuclear activities for the good of mankind... Russia has unilaterally made an unprecedented move by announcing utilization of 500 tons of high- enriched weapons-grade uranium which is superfluous as far as national defense needs are concerned to convert it into fuel for nuclear plants.'"


"Question: 'The question of the Chernobyl nuclear plant is sure to be raised at the Moscow summit on nuclear safety. ... What is happening to the sarcophagus? And what will be the fate of the Chernobyl nuclear plant?'

Mikhailov: 'On December 20, 1995 in Canada, the representatives of Ukraine and Canada signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the shut-down of the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Under that document Ukraine hopes to get assistance, partly on gift terms and partly in loans, for measures to decommission the Chernobyl power plant units and modernize the republic's sector in order to compensate for the power generated by the Chernobyl plant which now accounts for about 6 percent of the total amount of electricity generated in the Ukraine. ...

As for the sarcophagus, it's state is thoroughly monitored by the Russian Nuclear Energy Ministry and the Kurchatov Institute. The sarcophagus is in a good state and no cracks have been discovered. Its projected life span is 25-30 years. ...

Problems involving RBMK reactors are not peculiar to this country. Like in Western nuclear plants which have the same design life span there is a problem of upgrading their safety to meet the tougher modern requirements or taking compensatory measures.

The conclusions regarding international projects are unanimous: as of today there are no technical grounds for shutting down such nuclear plants before their design life time expires, and the shortcomings of the RBMKs that have been revealed are similar to those of Western reactors built to old standards. None of these problems are technically insuperable.

For Ukraine, in whose power industry the Chernobyl nuclear plant does not play such a significant role, the question of shutting down the nuclear plant has more to do with politics and is a subject of negotiations with the aim of securing Western assistance...'"

Russian reactors

"Question: 'Are there any nuclear plants in Russia which have been decommissioned and could you say something about the new generation nuclear plants?

Mikhailov: 'Four reactors were shut down in Russia because they have reached the end of their service life: units No. 1 and 2 at the Beloyarsk nuclear plant and units No. 1 and 2 at the Novovoronezhskaya nuclear power plant. They are being prepared for decommissioning and are already in a nuclear-safe state. Preparation is underway for partial dismantling of the equipment. Many of the nuclear reactors in Russia are nearing the end of their service life. Before the year 2010 Russia will withdraw 18 reactors from operation... According to experts, the cost of decommissioning a nuclear plant is 8-12 percent of the cost of its construction.

As for the new generation of safer nuclear plants, the Russian nuclear energy program is geared to the building of new generation safe reactors which will start replacing the decommissioned reactors beginning from the year 2000. ...

The priority projects of building new-generation nuclear plants in the Russian Federation are the reactor to be installed at the Sosnovy Bor site (Leningrad region); and the reactor to be installed on the Novovoronezhskaya Nuclear Plant site.

Among the promising projects are fast neutron reactors BN-800, intended to generate electricity, low potential heat, burn weapons- grade plutonium and produce isotopes.'"

Cooperation with US Energy Department

"Question: 'Could you tell us something about the international nuclear safety centers? I understand that this country and the US have agreed to set up such a center.'

Mikhailov: 'Yes, the Russian Minatom and the US Department of Energy have agreed to start cooperation on the following projects in 1996:

- developing a data base on nuclear safety including information on each projected nuclear plant and assessment of reactor safety;

- creating a data base on the properties of materials to ensure analysis of safety taking into account major accidents and emergency planning;

- developing a methodology of calculations and theoretical analysis of adaptation of existing computer codes and analytical models to the analysis of experiments and safety evaluations.'"

Radioactive waste disposal

"Question: 'The question of regional radioactive waste storage facilities is still highly topical. Could you say anything about it?'

Mikhailov: 'The problem of handling radioactive waste is of great concern to the international public opinion. ... In this connection Russia's proposal to consider two projects on a priority basis appears to be very timely:

- the creation of a pilot radioactive waste burial facility in the southern part of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago and the creation of the North-Western regional center for conditioning and burial of radioactive waste on the basis of the Leningrad specialized complex Radon.

The regional center now being created near Sosnovy Bor in the Leningrad region is intended for the collection, conditioning, packaging and burial of radioactive waste that is formed in industrial, scientific and medical institutions.'"

Weapons-grade plutonium stocks

"Question: 'Could you tell us about cooperation with foreign countries on the management of weapons-grade plutonium?'

Mikhailov: 'The first meeting of Russian-American experts on the handling of weapons-grade plutonium took place in Los Alamos, USA, in January 1995. Russian and American experts have agreed to conduct joint study of various options of long-term handling of weapons-grade plutonium. A joint coordinating committee has been formed and the composition of the working groups has been determined. Russian and US experts have agreed to conduct joint studies of various options of long-term management of weapons- grade plutonium which would involve the use of plutonium in water reactors, fast reactors, as well as its storage and burial in geological formations, etc.

In addition to the USA, Russia also cooperates on plutonium management with the FRG, Canada and France.

As a result of cooperation with France a conception will be determined that will shorten the time period before Russian plutonium released when dismantling nuclear weapons can be used again. Plutonium will be used in the construction of a pilot enterprise to recycle weapons-grade plutonium into MOX fuel with a capacity of 1,300 kilograms of plutonium a year. This program is a spearhead effort in further cooperation, a subject of a bilateral agreement between Russia and France.'"

Nuclear smuggling

"Question: 'Could you tell us finally about the so-called trafficking in nuclear materials?'

Mikhailov: 'A study of recent facts of trafficking in radioactive materials has shown that these were not nuclear materials that could be used to manufacture nuclear weapons. In most cases it was natural uranium and uranium dioxide with 2-4 percent uranium-235 content (sometimes the content was higher). Some of it was intended to be smuggled out of Russia.

Let me note that Russian nuclear facilities have an efficient and tough system of registration, storage and protection of nuclear weapons and their components which meets IAEA standards and which is constantly adjusted to the changing situation in the facility and in the country as a whole.

Russia comes out for broader international cooperation to stem trafficking in nuclear materials and to promote exchange of information. An analysis of the information at the disposal of the agencies concerned suggests that there are no criminal groups that specialize in smuggling nuclear materials out of Russian territory. So far neither Russian nor foreign organizations and agencies have detected a single real buyer of nuclear materials. Nor have any instances been registered of the government agencies of 'threshold countries' being interested in nuclear materials.

The Russian criminal law has four articles that envisage liability for trafficking radioactive substances. A government commission has been set up to consider problematic issues of the nuclear weapons complex. A state target-specific program of the Russian Federation aimed at creating nuclear weapons facilities aimed at developing and installing physical protection systems at nuclear facilities, nuclear energy facilities and research facilities under the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Atomic Energy and the facilities of the Russian Defense Ministry has been put in place. It envisages measures to improve physical protection of nuclear facilities. The following legislation has been adopted or is being drafted:

a) on the procedure of accounting, control, storage and physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities, the handling of nuclear weapons and components and ensuring the safety thereof in the production, storage and transportation;

b) licensing of the procedure of access to work with nuclear materials and the functioning of nuclear facilities as well as movement, transportation and sale thereof; and

c) monitoring by law-enforcement bodies and the legislation in the field.'"

UK Fact Sheet on Nuclear Safety Summit

G8 Summit on Nuclear Safety, Foreign & Commonwealth Office Briefing, April 1996


"Nuclear safety and security will be the topic of discussion, when leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialised nations, and of Russia, gather in Moscow from 19-20 April 1996. The Summit was originally suggested by the Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, during the June 1995 Summit of G7 Heads of Government in Halifax, Canada. (Since the Naples meeting in July 1994, Russia has joined in the political sessions of G7 Summits as an equal partner - forming the G8 on those occasions.) The proposal was welcomed by the rest of the G8, which has for some time promoted action to improve nuclear safety.

The countries forming the G8 have the largest inventories of nuclear materials in the world, and make the most use of nuclear power. The Moscow Summit aims to build on the combined experience of the Eight, to help other States use nuclear power safely in the future. The meeting will focus on three key subjects:

* the safety of civil nuclear reactors;

* management of radioactive waste, including the question of dumping at sea; and

* the security of nuclear materials, including surplus weapons material.

Ukraine has been invited to attend the session dealing with the safety of nuclear reactors. The G7 and Ukraine have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the closure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (see below), and the Moscow meeting will be an opportunity to discuss issues connected with the agreement.

Safety of nuclear reactors

The G8 recognises that safety is the most important factor in the consideration of nuclear power issues. All countries with nuclear facilities have a duty to ensure that their national regulations give priority to safety.

An important step towards improving nuclear safety worldwide was the adoption of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, at a Diplomatic Conference in Vienna in June 1994 (held at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which also acts as the Depository for the Convention). Aiming to promote best practice in nuclear safety, the Convention sets out obligations regarding the safe siting, design, operation and regulation of civil nuclear power installations. Each Contracting Party has to report on its compliance with these obligations at periodic review meetings.

Britain was among the first to sign the Convention (on 20 September 1994, when it was opened for signature). The Convention will come into force on the 90th day after ratification by the 22nd State - including at least 17 States which have civil nuclear facilities (i.e. having at least one nuclear installation which has achieved criticality in a reactor core). Britain ratified the Convention on 17 January 1996.

By March 1996, the Convention had been signed by 63 States and ratified by 16. The Summit will call for speedy ratification of the Convention, including by States in Central and Eastern Europe, where unsafe nuclear reactors have caused particular problems.

While recognising the contribution made by nuclear power to the energy needs of many countries, the G8 gives a high priority to finding alternative strategies for energy production. These could involve using different energy sources, including renewable ones, and introducing measures to conserve energy and use it more efficiently.

The Summit will call for wider compliance with the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability in the Nuclear Field, which sets out States' liability for nuclear damage to third parties. It wil1 also review the progress of work towards an enhanced global regime on nuclear liability.

Radioactive waste management

All countries with nuclear installations face the question of how to dispose of their radioactive waste. Russia recognises that she has a particular problem in this regard, and has herself pointed to the dangers of pollution by, for instance, some 120 decommissioned nuclear submarines, carrying used nuclear fuel and lying in shallow harbours on the coast of north-west Russia. Large quantities of nuclear waste have also accumulated at civil nuclear installations in Russia, constituting a continuing risk to the environment.

The London Convention of 1972 (formerly known as the London Dumping Convention), which came into force in 1976, is a global agreement on the dumping of waste at sea. The Convention was strengthened in 1993, when the Contracting Parties (now numbering 75) agreed to a permanent ban on the dumping of radioactive waste at sea, as well as the dumping and incineration at sea of industrial waste. Russia has a policy of voluntary adherence to the ban on radioactive waste - a decision to join the ban permanently would be warmly welcomed by the rest of the G8. Russia has also held talks with nearby countries (including Japan, Norway and the United States) which might be affected by pollution from Russian dumps of radioactive waste, in order to devise better ways of dealing with the waste. An international programme is also assessing the risks posed by significant past sea-disposals of radioactive waste by the then Soviet Union.

International negotiations are under way in Vienna, under the auspices of the IAEA, on a new Convention on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. This will further enhance regulatory standards in this field. It is hoped that the Convention will be agreed during 1996.

Security of nuclear materials

The G8 is conscious of the significant dangers presented by nuclear materials, and is anxious to tighten up controls to ensure that these materials are only used for legitimate purposes. There is concern over the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials, including plutonium, of which there have been a number of incidents in Europe in recent years. The Russian Government has investigated numerous cases of possible theft of nuclear materials and, early in 1995, ordered security to be tightened. On 30 October 1995, the Russian Parliament adopted its first law on nuclear energy, which included provisions for improving the physical protection of nuclear materials.

At Moscow, the G8 leaders will consider ways of strengthening cooperation in the following areas:

* combating illicit trafficking of nuclear materials;

* the accounting, control and physical protection of nuclear materials; and

* management and disposal of fissile material no longer required for defence purposes (i.e. plutonium and highly enriched uranium).

The Summit will set guidelines for States' national strategies for managing or disposing of surplus weapons material. Agreed criteria for selecting between different methods of management or disposal include: avoiding nuclear proliferation; environmental concerns; protection for workers at nuclear facilities and for the public; the resource value of the materials: and the costs and benefits involved.

Among the various methods of management and disposal are safe and secure long-term storage; vitrification; and conversion into mixed oxide fuel (MOX) for use in nuclear reactors. Britain believes that conversion into MOX is an efficient means of disposal, which could play a wider role in dealing with the growing stocks of material resulting from the dismantling of nuclear weapons under recent disarmament measures. Discussion of such complex issues at the Summit will need to be followed up in greater depth.


In April 1986, international attention was focussed on the poor safety record of many civil nuclear power plants in what were then the Soviet Union and its allies by the accident at the nuclear plant at Chernobyl, Ukraine. Unit 4 of the plant suffered a massive explosion and leak of radioactivity. Following recommendations by a G7 working group of experts, the Munich Summit of July 1992 outlined short- and long-term programmes of action to improve safety at nuclear plants in these countries.

At their 1994 Summit, in Naples, the G7 leaders agreed an action plan to close down the Chernobyl plant. They offered up to 200 million US dollars in grants, and called on the international financial institutions to provide loans for the completion of replacement generating capacity, provided Ukraine agreed to the introduction of energy reforms, including better conservation and use of energy sources.

In December 1995, Ukraine and the G7 signed an MoU, which referred to the closure of Chernobyl by the year 2000. As well as projects to upgrade safety in the short term at Chernobyl, the programme of support set out in the MoU covered restructuring of Ukraine's power sector and investment in energy-saving and alternative energy sources. Ukraine's attendance at the session of the Moscow Summit on the safety of civil nuclear reactors will enable her to contribute to the discussion of such issues.

British assistance for nuclear safety

As part of the programme of action, agreed at the Munich Summit, to improve safety at the civil nuclear plants that were causing concern, the G7 set up a multilateral fund, the Nuclear Safety Account (NSA), administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Britain was the first to contribute to this Account, which is designed to finance projects not covered by existing bilateral programmes.

As well as having a substantial stake in the European Union's programme of assistance for nuclear safety, Britain runs a number of bilateral programmes of technical assistance in Russia and other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. These have included exchanges of personnel and experience between British nuclear power plants and counterparts in Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania. The UK Atomic Energy Authority is also collaborating with Russian experts in promoting the safety of Soviet-designed graphite- moderated reactors.

Britain will continue to play a full part in any follow-up needed on issues arising from the Summit. This work would be carried out through existing mechanisms and organisations, such as the NSA and the Convention on Nuclear Safety.

[Note:] This paper has been prepared for general briefing purposes. It is not and should not be construed or quoted as an expression of Government policy."

White House briefing

Press Briefing by NSC [National Security Council] Senior Director for Non-Proliferation, Dan Poneman, Office of the White House Press Secretary, 11 April 1996

Extracts from statement

"...we really have two fundamental issues that will be focused on... One is nuclear safety, and two is nuclear security. In both, I think that the critical watchword we will be advancing is safety first. ...

To just, in bite-size chunks, discuss the specific areas that the leaders will discuss, they really fall in three areas...

[On] nuclear safety...they'll be discussing the Convention on Nuclear Safety... When President Kuchma joins, they'll be discussing the question of the G-7 MOU which addresses the closing of Chernobyl by the year 2000.

They will be talking about, in the second area, waste management, which would include issues such as ocean dumping and a convention under draft that is now going to address waste management.

And finally, [they will discuss] the whole area of nuclear smuggling at all levels, ranging from national accounting and control to International Atomic Energy safeguards, interdiction, law enforcement, information-sharing, etc. In each of these cases, I think what you'll be looking at are not so much a series of documents that you might have been familiar with in more of a Cold War setting, but really an effort to work together, roll up our sleeves and seek concrete action. ..."

Extracts from question-and-answer session


"Dan Poneman: '...last December, the G-7 concluded an MOU with Ukraine on the closing of Chernobyl by the year 2000. This was put in a broad context. It involved commitments from the G-7 which, at that time, were on the order of $2.3 billion and since that time have grown to $3 billion for financing. There will also be grant components...to that assistance.

But equally important to the systems related to Chernobyl itself is the broader cooperation and effort with Ukraine to rationalize their energy sector and impose market disciplines...'

Question: 'Is it fair to say that Kuchma will be told "don't expect any more than $3 billion"?'

Dan Poneman: 'Well, I think it's fair to say that we don't want to put the cart before the horse; the $3 billion addresses the Chernobyl shutdown... If there are specific pieces of the overall energy plan, obviously you've got to look at the technical specifics first.'"

Nuclear smuggling

"It is an extremely serious problem, it's something that we have been very intensively focused on for a number of years. It is true that until a couple of years ago we had been unable to find an instance of a significant quantity of nuclear weapons-usable material in any of the hundreds, and probably by now thousands, of reports.

It is true that the vast majority of these reports are scams. That being said, even when they were only scams, we took it extremely seriously - indeed, every report is treated seriously, and since 1994 we have had a number of incidents where larger quantities, into the kilogram range, of weapons-usable materials have been found.

...I do anticipate that the leaders will spend a lot of time discussing this, discussing not only how to proceed diplomatically, but how to ensure that law enforcement efforts are more closely coordinated, that information-sharing continues, and this is going to be a problem that will not yield to an instantaneous solution, but simply will require closer and closer coordination, and we will need to settle in for the long haul to try to address it."

US statement on assistance to victims of Chernobyl

US assistance to the victims of Chernobyl, US Department of State Office of the Spokesman, 19 March 1996

Full text

"Humanitarian assistance

Operation Provide Hope

A cooperative effort between the United States and private voluntary organizations (PVOs), Operation Provide Hope has delivered over 200 tons of medical supplies worth over $15 million to hospitals in Ukraine, including the Kozeletz Hospital, the Chernigov Oblast Cancer Hospital and the Chernigov Maternity Hospital, as well as hospitals in Lviv treating radiation-affected patients. On April 26, 1996, Operation Provide Hope will deliver an additional $10 million in medicine, hospital equipment and other medical supplies to hospitals in Ukraine on the tenth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

Children of Chernobyl Relief Fund (CCRF)

The United States has provided transportation for over 702 tons of CCRF-donated medical supplies valued at over $26 million. CCRF has established a 160 bed-hospital and diagnostic laboratory in Lviv (the Regional Specialized Pediatric Hospital for Chernobyl Problems) to treat children with leukaemia and other blood disorders caused by Chernobyl radiation. CCRF also founded a hospital in Kharkiv to treat children evacuated from Chernobyl. The Fund manages an exchange program for American doctors and has brought Ukrainian children to the US for treatment.

Other PVO Programs

US Sister Cities, the Global Jewish Assistance and Relief Network, the Girl Scout Council, the Massachusetts Hospital Association, and other PVOs have donated over 60 tons of humanitarian assistance.

Project Hope

Project Hope has provided over $20 million worth of medical supplies to Ukraine.

Technical assistance

Nuclear Safety

The United States has provided $61 million dollars to Ukraine to help promote greater nuclear safety. Most of these funds have been used to improve the operational safety of nuclear power plants throughout Ukraine and to strengthen its nuclear regulatory body. In addition, US aid money is funding short-term safety upgrades of the Chernobyl reactors during the remaining years of operation, as well as helping Ukraine establish an international research center outside Chernobyl.

Hospital Partnership Program

Administered by the American International Health Alliance, this USAID program develops partnerships between hospitals in the US and Ukraine aimed at improving the efficiency and quality of health care.

Health Effects Study

The National Cancer Institute, together with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy, are conducting a major post-Chernobyl study on the health effects of the accident, particularly thyroid cancer and leukaemia in children as well as radiation effects on Chernobyl liquidates (the workers who responded to the original accident and clean-up)."

US Department of State Fact Sheet on denuclearisation assistance to the former Soviet Union

'Safe and Secure Dismantlement of Nuclear Weapons in the New Independent States', US Department of State Fact Sheet, 13 March


"The US Congress established the Nunn-Lugar program authorizing Department of Defense funds to be spent in the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union for the non-proliferation and safe and secure dismantlement (SSD) of nuclear weapons. The Defense Department has committed a total of $1.54 billion (including FY 1996 proposals) in the form of implementing agreements with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Belarus.

SSD assistance facilitates the denuclearization of Belarus, Kazakstan, and Ukraine and the dismantlement of weapons in Russia. Preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is another important goal; the US will use its assistance for this critical problem as well.


The US has agreed to provide Russia with over $750 million in assistance (including FY 1996 proposals). The two top priorities for this assistance have been strategic nuclear delivery vehicle dismantlement and construction of a storage facility for fissile material removed from dismantled weapons.


The US has agreed to provide Ukraine with almost $400 million in assistance (including FY 1996 proposals). The vast majority of the US assistance will be used to eliminate the missiles, their associated silos, and the bombers deployed in Ukraine. US assistance will also focus on enhancing Ukraine's capability to prevent nuclear smuggling.


The US has agreed to provide about $170 million in Nunn-Lugar assistance to Kazakstan (including FY 1996 proposals). The largest portion of this assistance will be used to eliminate the SS-18 missiles, their associated silos, and strategic bombers deployed in Kazakstan. Other significant projects will protect nuclear material in Kazakstan from smuggling.


Following Belarus' ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the US agreed to provide assistance totaling about $120 million (including FY 1996 proposals) to facilitate Belarus' transition to a non-nuclear state.

SSD Projects by Country

Figures below are proposed obligations through FY 1995 ($ millions):






US report on nuclear safety and security in the former Soviet Union

'Nuclear Proliferation: Status of US Efforts to Improve Nuclear Material Controls in Newly Independent States', United States General Accounting Office (GAO), GAO/NSIAD/RCED-96-89, March 1996

See last issue's News Review for background and reaction to the report. Extracts from the Executive Summary follow.

"Safeguarding nuclear material that can be used directly in nuclear explosives has become a primary national security concern for the United States and the newly independent States of the former Soviet Union. Terrorists and countries seeking nuclear weapons could use as little as 25 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) or 8 kilograms of plutonium to build a nuclear explosive. The seizure of HEU and plutonium in Europe and Russia has prompted concerns about how the newly independent States control their direct-use materials. ...


'Direct-use material' consists of HEU and plutonium that relatively easy to handle because it has not been exposed to radiation or has been separated from highly radioactive materials. Direct-use materials presents a high proliferation risk because it can be used to manufacture a nuclear weapon without further enrichment or irradiation in a reactor.

Many types of nuclear facilities routinely handle, process, or store such direct-use materials. Direct-use material can be found at research reactors, reactor fuel fabrication facilities, uranium enrichment plants, spent fuel reprocessing facilities, and nuclear storage sites, as well as nuclear weapons production facilities. Material protection, control, and accounting (MPC&A) systems are used at such facilities to deter, detect, and respond to attempted thefts.

The United States is pursuing two different, but complementary strategies to achieve its goals of rapidly improving nuclear material controls over direct-use materials in the newly independent States: a government-to-government program, and an initiative known as the lab-to-lab program. Under the government- to-government program, initially sponsored and funded by the Department of Defense [DOD] Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, the United States agreed in 1993 to work directly with the governments of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan to develop national MPC&A systems and improve controls over civilian nuclear material. The United States extended such assistance to Belarus in 1995. Although CTR funds were used, DOE [Department of Energy] was responsible for implementing the program. In April 1994, DOE initiated the lab-to-lab program to work directly with Russian nuclear facilities in improving their MCP&A systems. The program is limited to Russia and intended to rapidly improve controls at civilian research, naval nuclear propulsion, and civilian- controlled, nuclear-weapons-related facilities. This program is funded jointly by DOE and the CTR program.

Results in Brief

The Soviet Union produced approximately 1,200 metric tons of HEU and 200 metric tons of plutonium. Much of this material is outside of nuclear weapons, is highly attractive to theft, and the newly independent States may not have accurate and complete inventories of the material they inherited. Social and economic changes in the newly independent States have increased the threat of theft and diversion of nuclear material, and with the breakdown of Soviet- era MPC&A systems, the newly independent States may not be able to counter the increased threat. Nuclear facilities rely on antiquated accounting systems that cannot quickly detect and localize nuclear material losses. Many facilities lack modern equipment that can detect unauthorized attempts to remove nuclear material from facilities. While as yet there is no direct evidence that a black market for stolen or diverted nuclear material exists in the newly independent States, the seizures of direct-use material in Russia and Europe have increased concerns about theft and diversion.

US efforts to help the newly independent States improve their MPC&A systems for direct-use material had a slow start, but are now gaining momentum. DOD's government-to-government CTR program obligated $59 million and spent about $4 million from fiscal years 1991 to 1995 for MPC&A improvements in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Belarus. The program has provided working group meetings, site surveys, physical protection equipment, computers, and training for projects in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Belarus. Initially, the program was slow because until January 1995, the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM) had refused access to Russian direct-use facilities and CTR-sponsored projects at facilities with direct-use materials in Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Belarus were just getting underway. According to DOD officials, program requirements for using US goods and services and for audits and examinations also delayed implementation. The program began to gain momentum in January 1995 when CTR program and MINATOM officials agreed to upgrade nuclear material controls at five high-priority facilities handling direct-use material. DOE and Russia's nuclear regulatory agency have also agreed to cooperate on the development of a national MPC&A regulatory infrastructure.

DOE's lab-to-lab program obligated $17 million and spent $14 million in fiscal years 1994 and 1995. This program has improved controls at two 'zero-power' research reactors [GAO note: 'A zero- power research reactor is a type of research reactor using fuel that is not very radioactive.'], and begun providing nuclear material monitors to several MINATOM defense facilities to help them detect unauthorised attempts to remove direct-use material. In fiscal year 1996, the program is implementing additional projects in MINATOM's nuclear defense complex.

In fiscal year 1996, the United States expanded the MPC&A assistance program to include all known facilities with direct-use material outside of weapons in the newly independent States. Management and funding for the expanded program were consolidated within DOE. DOE plans to request from Congress $400 million over 7 years for the program. However, the expanded program faces several inherent uncertainties involving its overall costs and US ability to verify that assistance is being used as intended. DOE is responding to these uncertainties by developing a long-term plan and a centralized cost reporting system and by implementing a flexible audit and examination program. ..."

Security Council Resolution 1051 on Iraq

'Security Council approves export/import monitoring mechanism to ensure Iraq's weapons programme not redeveloped', Security Council Press Release and Resolution text, SC/6197, 27 March 1996

Extracts from Press Release

"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Security Council this afternoon approved an export/import monitoring mechanism to ensure that Iraq did not reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction programmes, and demanded that Iraq unconditionally meet its obligations under that mechanism.

By unanimously adopting resolution 1051 (1996), the Council also approved the establishment of a joint unit at Headquarters - constituted by the Special Commission charged with monitoring Iraq's weapons capabilities and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - to facilitate the mechanism's implementation. All States shall transmit to the joint unit any relevant information on items and technologies regulated under previous Council resolutions, as well as on attempts to circumvent the mechanism. For its part, Iraq is required to inform the joint unit in respect to all items and technologies covered by the mechanism.

States were called upon to adopt national measures to implement the mechanism as soon as possible, under the resolution's provisions. The Council decided that States will be provided with information necessary for that purpose by the Special Commission and the IAEA Director-General in the next 45 days.

According to the text, the notifications by the States to the joint unit shall be provided from the date when the Secretary- General and the IAEA Director-General report their satisfaction with the preparedness of the States to effectively implement the mechanism. The notifications by Iraq to the joint unit will be required not later than 60 days after the adoption of the resolution. All information provided through the mechanism shall be treated as confidential and restricted to the Special Commission and the IAEA.

According to the resolution, the mechanism it approved is without prejudice to the operation of other non-proliferation agreements or regimes, including those referred to in resolution 687 (1991). The Council recognized that the mechanism will not impede Iraq's legitimate right to import or export non-proscribed items and technology necessary for promotion of its economic and social development. ..."

Extracts from Resolution

The Resolution was sponsored by France, Germany, Italy, the UK and US.

"The Security Council...

Recalling the request in paragraph 7 of its resolution 715 (1991) to the Committee established under resolution 661 (1990), the Special Commission and the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to develop in cooperation a mechanism for monitoring any future sales or supplies by other countries to Iraq of items relevant to the implementation of section C of resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions, including resolution 715 (1991) and the plans approved thereunder...

Recognizing that the export/import monitoring mechanism is an integral part of ongoing monitoring and verification by the Special Commission and the IAEA,

Recognizing that the export/import mechanism is not a regime for international licensing, but rather for the timely provision of information by States in which companies are located which are contemplating sales or supplies to Iraq of items covered by the plans for ongoing monitoring and verification and will not impede Iraq's legitimate right to import or export for non-proscribed purposes, items and technology necessary for the promotion of its economic and social development...

3. Affirms that the mechanism approved by this resolution is without prejudice to and shall not impair the operation of existing or future non-proliferation agreements or regimes on the international or regional level including arrangements referred to in resolution 687 (1991), nor shall such agreements or regimes impair the operation of the mechanism;

4. Confirms, until the Council decides otherwise under its relevant resolutions, that requests by other States for sales to Iraq or requests by Iraq for import of any item or technology to which the mechanism applies shall continue to be addressed to the Committee established under resolution 661 (1990) for decision by the Committee in accordance with paragraph 4 of the mechanism;

5. Decides, subject to paragraphs 4 and 7 of this resolution, that all States shall:

(a) Transmit to the joint unit constituted by the Special Commission and the Director-General of the IAEA under paragraph 16 of the mechanism the notifications, with the data from potential exporters, and all other relevant information when available to the States, as requested in the mechanism on the intended sale or supply from their territories of any items or technologies which are subject to such notification in accordance with... the mechanism;

(b) Report to the joint unit...any information they may have at their disposal or may receive from suppliers in their territories of attempts to circumvent the mechanism or to supply Iraq with items prohibited to Iraq under the plans for ongoing monitoring and verification...

6. Decides that the notifications required under paragraph 5 above shall be provided to the joint unit by Iraq, in respect of all items and technologies...as from the date agreed upon between the Special Commission and the Director-General of the IAEA and Iraq, and in any event not later than sixty days after the adoption of this resolution;

7. Decides that the notifications required under paragraph 5 above shall be provided to the joint unit by all other States as from the date the Secretary-General and the Director General of the IAEA, after their consultations with the members of the Council and other interested States, report to the Council indicating that they are satisfied with the preparedness of States for the effective implementation of the mechanism;

8. Decides that the information provided through the mechanism shall be treated as confidential and restricted to the Special Commission and the IAEA, to the extent that this is consistent with their respective responsibilities...

9. Affirms, if experience over time demonstrates the need or new technologies so require, that the Council would be prepared to review the mechanism in order to determine whether any changes are required and that the annexes to the plans for ongoing monitoring and verification...which identify the items and technologies to be notified under the mechanism, may be amended in accordance with the plans, after appropriate consultations with interested States and, as laid down in the plans, after notification to the Council;

10. Decides also that the Committee established under resolution 661 (1990) and the Special Commission shall carry out the functions assigned to them under the mechanism, until the Council decides otherwise...

12. Calls upon all States and international organizations to cooperate fully with the Committee established under resolution 661 (1990), the Special Commission and the Director General of the IAEA in the fulfilment of their tasks in connection with the mechanism, including supplying such information as may be sought by them in implementation of the mechanism;

13. Calls upon all States to adopt as soon as possible such measures as may be necessary under their national procedures to implement the mechanism;

14. Decides that all States shall, not later than 45 days after the adoption of this resolution, be provided by the Special Commission and the Director General of the IAEA with information necessary to make preparatory arrangements at the national level prior to the implementation of the provisions of the mechanism;

15. Demands that Iraq meet unconditionally all its obligations under the mechanism approved by this resolution and cooperate fully with the Special Commission and the Director General of the IAEA in the carrying out of their tasks under this resolution and the mechanism by such means as they may determine in accordance with their mandates from the Council;

16. Decides to consolidate the periodic requirements for progress reports...and to request the Secretary-General and the Director General of the IAEA to submit such consolidated progress reports every six months to the Council, commencing on 11 April 1996..."

US Secretary of State statement on Chemical Weapons Convention

Statement by Secretary of State Warren Christopher to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 28 March 1996.

Secretary Christopher used the occasion of his testimony to plead with the Senate to ratify the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Convention will enter into force following the sixty- fifth ratification. In March, Brazil became the 49th State to ratify (see last issue).


"I am here today to explain why prompt ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention this year is in the overriding interest of the United States.

President Clinton has put stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction at the top of our efforts to protect and enhance the security of every American. ...

Now the United States has the opportunity and responsibility to lead the world toward another landmark achievement. The ratification and entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention will reinforce the security of each and every American. President Clinton again underscored the urgency of Senate approval in his State of the Union speech, and has made the Convention's ratification this year a top priority.

Ratification of this Convention not only represents a remarkable opportunity to strengthen our own security, it denies us no option that we would ever wish to exercise. With the dramatic changes of the past decade, the threat of a massive chemical attack from the nations of the former Soviet Union has been drastically reduced. Under American law, the United States is already required to destroy the vast majority of our chemical weapons stockpile by 2004. By imposing an international legal obligation to destroy chemical weapons, the Chemical Weapons Convention puts all other states capable of deploying chemical weapons - including Russia - on the same footing as we are.

President Yeltsin and other senior officials have publicly and privately reaffirmed Russia's commitment to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal. Russia must still take additional concrete steps to follow through on these commitments and rectify remaining problems. By ratifying the Convention, we will add the force and weight of the entire international community to our efforts to assure the destruction of Russian chemical stocks. Our action will also spur other nations such as China to ratify and join the regime.

Today...the main danger we face is the possible use of chemical weapons against US forces deployed overseas and against our allies. The case of Iraq underscores the danger posed by a brutal dictator possessing unconventional weapons. We now know that Saddam's factories were capable of producing thousands of tons of deadly chemicals per year, including mustard gas and the nerve agents sarin and tabun. After overcoming repeated Iraqi deception efforts, the United Nations has only recently confirmed that Saddam also produced large quantities of the highly toxic nerve agent VX. The UN suspects that Iraq may still be hiding stocks of weaponized VX, which confirms the threat that Saddam continues to pose.

If we had had the Convention two decades ago, we might have been able to prevent or at least severely hamper Iraq's chemical weapons activities. We must act now. Iran is engaged in a major effort to develop its chemical arsenal, and we believe that some 20 countries already have, or may be developing, chemical weapons.

The best protection against these weapons is to make it more difficult for hostile nations and groups to obtain and use them. By blocking the supply and demand for chemical weapons, the Chemical Weapons Convention does just that.

First, all states that are Parties to the Convention will be required to give up their chemical weapons. The Convention requires the destruction of existing stockpiles and bans virtually every aspect of a chemical weapons program, from development to stockpiling. It puts in place a comprehensive inspection regime that includes intrusive challenge inspections, and commits parties to enact legislation to punish violators - who also risk international sanctions. No treaty is 100 per cent verifiable, but the Convention is carefully structured so that Parties tempted to cheat will never be sure they can evade detection and sanctions. The sooner the Convention enters into force, the sooner those countries possessing or seeking chemical weapons will have to make a choice: abide by its provisions, or suffer the weight of penalties and sanctions imposed by the international community.

Second, the Convention prohibits parties from helping any country try to circumvent its provisions. By specifically banning trade in certain chemicals with countries that are not members, the Convention will make it much harder for non-Parties to acquire the key ingredients they need to produce chemical weapons.

The Convention will also help us combat chemical terrorism. The legislation it requires will strengthen the legal authority of countries to prosecute anyone who tries to acquire chemical weapons. The destruction of chemical stockpiles will reduce the threat of stolen weapons. And international transfers of many of the key chemicals that can be used to make these weapons will be controlled. Indeed, it is no surprise that the Japanese government moved to ratify the Convention immediately after the attack in Tokyo. ...

So far, 160 countries have signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, and 49 have deposited instruments of ratification. When 65 countries have ratified, a 180-day countdown toward entry into force begins. We are now only 16 ratifications away from that countdown, which could come within just a few months.

If the United States is among the first 65 parties to ratify the Convention, we will retain our critical leadership role in the global fight against chemical weapons. If we are not, we will lose the chance to ensure that our views are fully reflected in the final preparations for entry into force. We will not be able to participate immediately in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which monitors compliance. We will not be able to join immediately in international inspections.

Failure to ratify the Convention promptly will jeopardize not only our security and international standing, but our prosperity. Because the treaty restricts trade with non-Parties in certain chemicals, failure to ratify could cut off US companies from their traditional trading partners. Uncertainty about US participation in this regime could lose business for American companies and lose jobs for American workers. Let me note that the US chemical industry enthusiastically supports the treaty, having worked closely with our negotiators to help ensure that it will safeguard proprietary information.

Eliminating chemical weapons has long been a bipartisan goal. By law adopted during the Reagan Administration, our chemical weapons stockpiles are headed for destruction. The Convention itself is the product of years of bipartisan effort. President Bush took a strong personal interest in the treaty, which the United States signed during his Administration. Reagan and Bush Administration officials, including Lawrence Eagleburger, Brent Scowcroft and Ronald Lehman, have recently reaffirmed their support for the treaty. ...

We signed the Convention in January 1993. Since November 1993 the Senate has considered it thoroughly, holding ten hearings and submitting hundreds of questions for the record. It is now time to bring the Convention to a vote.

We must not let pass this opportunity to strengthen our own security and affirm our leadership in nonproliferation. On behalf of the President, I urge the Senate to give its advice and consent to the ratification of this vital treaty now. ..."

Canada statement on new NORAD

'Canada and the United States to renew defence agreement', Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, News Release No. 44, 25 March 1996

See last issue for background.

Full text

"Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy and Minister of National Defence David Collenette today announced that Canada and the United States will renew the North American Aerospace Defence (NORAD) Agreement for the eighth time since it was first signed in 1958. This follows extensive consultation and a debate in the House of Commons on 11 March.

'NORAD is the most important bilateral security and defence agreement Canada has with the United States,' said Mr Axworthy, 'and is yet another example of the benefits of our unique alliance. The revised 1996 NORAD Agreement better reflects the post-Cold War strategic environment, and will be even more relevant to Canada's current and projected security needs.'

NORAD was originally established to provide fighter defence against long-range Soviet bombers, but its mandate has evolved with the mission emphasis shifting from air defence to warning of attack by aircraft and missiles. This shift was reflected in the 1975 renewal, which redefined NORAD's missions in several ways, including assisting each nation in safeguarding sovereign airspace, contributing to deterrence by warning of attack, and ensuring an appropriate response against air attack if required. In 1991, the air sovereignty mission was clarified to include detection and monitoring of aircraft suspected of drug trafficking. With the ending of the Cold War, costs have been reduced significantly, and are expected to decline still further in coming years.

'For nearly 40 years, NORAD has proven to be a cost-effective way to protect our sovereignty and security - both in terms of responding to potential military threats and in countering non- military challenges such as drug smuggling,' said Mr Collenette. 'It would be far more expensive for Canada to provide for this alone.'

Although Canada does not face the same threat that it did during the Cold War, the capability to exercise effective surveillance and control over Canadian airspace remains a basic defence requirement. NORAD's missions now include aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. The aerospace warning mission includes the monitoring of human-made objects in space and the detection, validation and warning of aerospace attack against North America. The aerospace mission provides surveillance and control, including air defence, over Canadian and US airspace.

The renewal of NORAD was endorsed in 1994 by both the Special Joint Committee on Canada's Defence Policy and the Special Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy, which recommended a shift of emphasis from air defence to global space surveillance. This view was also reflected in two subsequent government documents, the 1994 Defence White Paper and the Canadian foreign policy statement 'Canada and the World.' In addition to involvement in NORAD, Canada remains firmly committed to the 1972 ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] Treaty, a bilateral Russia-US agreement to limit the deployment of ballistic missile defences."

New UK position on landmines

'Britain supports worldwide ban on anti-personnel mines', statement by Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson, 23 April 1996

On 22 April, the UK announced its support, in far more energetic and concrete terms than hitherto, for a total worldwide ban on landmines. The announcement was made on 22 April in the form of a written reply by Foreign Office Minister of State David Davis to a Parliamentary question first tabled on 17 January. See next issue's News Review.


"...in order to make greater progress in achieving international agreement on effective measures to reduce the dangers to civilians from landmines, we have taken a series of national decisions following a review of our policy, as follows:

- The UK will work actively towards a total, world-wide ban on anti-personnel mines. Should such a ban be agreed, we would give up our anti-personnel landmine capability, and would destroy our stocks accordingly.

- All our current anti-personnel mines are non-self-destructing. We intend to destroy almost half our current stockpile as soon as practicable. Until a world-wide ban on all anti-personnel mines is agreed, we shall also pursue current procurement plans to replace our existing mines with self-destructing ones.

- We shall also pursue, as an interim step, early international agreement on the elimination of all non-self-destructing anti- personnel mines, which pose the greatest danger to civilians.

- The UK's armed forces do not currently use anti-personnel mines operationally, anywhere in the world. Nor will they use our stocks of non-self-destructing anti-personnel mines in future operations unless, in exceptional circumstances, Ministers are satisfied that their use is essential to ensure that British troops are properly protected and there are no ways of achieving that end.

- In such exceptional circumstances, we would use non-self- destructing anti-personnel mines only in marked, fenced or monitored areas; would clear them as soon as feasible; and any use would be strictly in accordance with the laws of armed conflict, including the strengthened Protocol II of the UN Weaponry Convention which we hop will be agreed shortly.

- We shall also, as a matter of priority, pursue the development of alternatives to anti-personnel mines. Should viable alternatives emerge - none has yet - we would cease to use all anti-personnel mines, of any type, and would destroy all our stocks.

- In addition, we shall with immediate effect extend the scope of our export moratorium, to prohibit the export of all types of anti- personnel mines to all destinations."

Red Cross report on landmines

'Anti-personnel Landmines: Friend or Foe? A study of the military use and effectiveness of anti-personnel mines', report commissioned and published by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, March 1996

Extracts from the report's Executive Summary and Conclusions follows. See also News Review.

Executive Summary

"It has been generally assumed that anti-personnel mines are an indispensable weapon of war, and that their indiscriminate effects can be moderated through compliance with military doctrine and the rules of international humanitarian law. This study examines the military case for continued use of these weapons in the light of their employment in actual conflicts since 1940...

In the 26 conflicts considered, few instances can be cited where anti-personnel mine use has been consistent with international law or, where it exists, military doctrine. ... The study suggests that it would be unwise to justify the continued use of anti- personnel mines on the premise that they will be deployed in a carefully controlled manner.

Whether employed correctly or not, one must also ask whether the use of anti-personnel mines has achieved a legitimate military purpose. Here again the evidence indicates that, even when used on a massive scale, they have usually had little or no effect on the outcome of hostilities. No case was found in which the use of anti- personnel mines played a major role in determining the outcome of a conflict. ...

An often overlooked aspect of landmine warfare is also addressed, namely, the cost and dangers for forces employing anti-personnel mines. ...

Proposed technical solutions to the humanitarian problems caused by anti-personnel mines, in particular the increased use of self- destructing and self-deactivating models, are analysed. For a variety of reasons these solutions are considered unlikely to significantly reduce civilian casualties and the disruption of civilian life due to landmines.

In reviewing alternatives to anti-personnel mines, the study describes a number of options such as fences, physical obstacles and direct fire, as well as improved intelligence, mobility and observation. ... Improved clearance techniques and reliance on more resistant mine-protected vehicles are suggested as measures which could further reduce the incentives for anti-personnel mine use. ..."


"1. The military value of landmines, as used in actual conflicts over the past 55 years, has received little attention in published military studies. ...

2. The material which is available on the use of AP [Anti- Personnel] landmines does not substantiate claims that AP mines are indispensable weapons of high military value. On the other hand, their value for indiscriminate harassment when used by irregular forces can be high. Their use for population control has regrettably been all too effective.

3. The cases reviewed in this study...provide a basis for a number of initial conclusions regarding traditionally emplaced mines:

* Establishing, monitoring and maintaining an extensive border minefield is time-consuming, expensive and dangerous. ...

* Under battlefield conditions the use, marking, and mapping of mines in accordance with international humanitarian law is extremely difficult, even for professional armed forces. History indicates that effective marking and mapping of mines has rarely occurred.

* The cost to forces using AP mines in terms of casualties, limitation of tactical flexibility and loss of sympathy of the indigenous population is higher than has been generally acknowledged.

* Use in accordance with traditional military doctrine appears to have occurred infrequently...

4. Although the military value of anti-tank mines is acknowledged, the value of AP mines is questionable. Their use to protect anti- tank mines is generally claimed to be an important purpose of AP mines, but there are few historical examples to substantiate the effectiveness of such use. ...

5. Remotely delivered AP mines are not solely defensive weapons. In practice they will probably be used in huge quantities to saturate target areas. Even so, the mobility of professional armies will not be significantly hindered.

Remotely delivered AP mines will almost certainly cause vastly increased civilian casualties, even if such mines are designed to be self-destructing and self-deactivating, for the following reasons:

* they will be dangerous during their intended active life;

* the marking and mapping of such mines will be virtually impossible;

* in extended conflicts they may be re-laid many times;

* self-destructing and deactivating devices may be unreliable;

* inactive mines, like unexploded ordnance, can still be dangerous; and

* the mere presence of mined areas will produce fear, keeping civilians out of areas important for their livelihood.

6. Some barrier systems and other tactical methods offer alternatives to AP mines. Additional alternatives should be pursued rather than further development of any new AP mine technologies. Developments which further increase the lethality of AP mines are to be deplored and are unnecessary.

7. Improved mine clearance technologies for military, humanitarian and civilian agencies should be vigorously developed with a goal of making AP mines progressively less useful.

8. The limited military utility of AP mines is far outweighed by the appalling humanitarian consequences of their use in actual conflicts. On this basis their prohibition and elimination should be pursued as a matter of utmost urgency by governments and the entire international community."

UK Defence Committee report

'NATO's Southern Flank,' Defence Committee, Third Report of Session 1995-96, released 28 March 1996

The report - by the all-party House of Commons Select Committee on Defence - dealt with different aspects of the 'threat' to NATO from States, and terrorist organisations, to the South of Alliance territory. Extracts follow dealing with the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. See also News Review.

The threat from terrorism

"...sustained military interest may be required if any terrorist group were to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Certain Middle Eastern States are understood to possess chemical and biological capabilities and the means of delivery. These may fall into the wrong hands. ... The post Gulf-War uncertainties as to the extent of Iraq's nuclear weapons programme indicate the need for close monitoring of the potential development of such weapons. The reported acquisition by Iran of nuclear weapons and its support for terrorism is also a cause of concern. If chemical and biological weapon proliferation cannot be controlled - and production is not particularly difficult - the current low risk of attack may increase substantially in future years. We recommend that NATO countries should pay close attention to the long term threat of terrorist use of biological and chemical weapons and should develop appropriate counter measures."

The threat from States

"For obvious reasons, the exact military capabilities of all countries in the region are unclear. It is widely assumed that Israel has a nuclear capability and...that India and Pakistan are in the process of developing, or have developed, nuclear weapons. The Foreign Office told us that:

'It is quite clear that both Libya and Syria are countries where there is concern about their intentions regarding these issues.'

Though Libya's military programme has suffered from a general domestic economic downturn, it is understood that types of SCUD missile have been obtained. ... Whilst at present the range of ballistic missiles believed to be available is estimated to be limited to under 500km, there are a number of more advanced missiles which might be acquired over the next decade. North Korea is currently developing the Taepo Dong 2, which is planned to have a range of around 5,000km, but will not be available until well after 2005. Both Libya and Iran have been attempting to buy this system, which would give them the capability to make a direct strike at the UK and other NATO States. More threatening still is the combination of such long range ballistic missiles with chemical warheads. Iraq already possesses and has used chemical weapons against its own population. It is also thought that other countries in the region, such as Syria and Egypt, have a chemical capability which could be used, as the Foreign Office put it, as a 'poor man's nuclear weapon'. Even if a successful conclusion of a Middle Eastern Peace allows Israel to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and leads to some disarmament, the chances are that more countries in the region will seek to enhance their security and political muscle by acquiring weapons of mass destruction. These might be obtained from Russia, China, North Korea or home- produced. ...

At present, NATO does not have a reliable military defence against direct ballistic missile attack. The SCUD missiles launched by Iraq against Israel during the Gulf conflict could not be halted by the Patriot system with any certainty of success. Incoming missiles which were shot down were intercepted towards the end of their flight with the consequence that their remains fell on friendly territory. Had they contained chemical warheads with mass destructive capability they could have inflicted great damage, despite being intercepted. NATO's defence lies in its formidable capability acting as a deterrent. This policy proved successful during the Cold War, but it may not always succeed in deterring maverick political leaders of extremist groups, whether they be in power or have managed to acquire their own weapons of mass destruction. In the latter hypothetical case, where the aggressor is not a recognised leader of a country, reasonable retaliation would require accurate intelligence and very careful use of force.

To improve security and reduce the existing and future threat from the southern Mediterranean NATO would be wise to pursue a twin track approach of strongly supporting counter proliferation measures and developing the defensive capability to meet possible attacks. ... Few countries at present possess the capability to produce their own delivery systems although we have to recognise that it may be all too easy to deliver weapons of mass destruction by low-cost, low-tech means, for example, in ordinary vehicles or even in suitcases. The extent and speed of weapons proliferation will, as the Foreign Office noted, depend to a large extent on the degree of outside assistance supplied. China and some elements in the FSU have been suspected of helping various Middle Eastern countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction. ... Chemical weapons, as we have mentioned, provide the easiest route to acquiring a capability of inflicting widespread damage. ..."

Responding to the threat

"... Neither the Chemical nor the Biological Weapons Conventions have been ratified by every country in the region, nor has the Non- Proliferation Treaty. Any progress in strengthening these Conventions and gaining new parties is welcome, but it does not by any means rule out the threat: Iraq, for one, has broken its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Full compliance by North Korea is still being negotiated. It is through the strict enforcement of international treaties that the formal and informal transfer of these types of weapons can best be halted. We recommend that NATO members should continue to play a leading role at a diplomatic level...

Hand in hand with these counter-proliferation efforts go practical measures to protect against possible attack. Thought has been given to the necessary intelligence and communications capability and to the protective measures available to deployed forces, although we did not gain the impression that our southern allies were particularly well prepared in this latter respect. Less attention has been given to possible future threats, say, in five or ten years' time. This is changing. In 1994 a study took place into possible architectures for European missile defence and studies continue into the various types of theater missile defence. We understand that an assessment of NATO's future requirement and its current shortfall in capability is due to be published later this year. ... We trust that research being undertaken by individual members will, in due course, be made available for the benefit of the Alliance.

The UK is currently looking at the various technical options available. A pre-feasibility study is underway to identify ballistic missile defence systems to counter potential threats to the UK, dependent territories and our forces deployed overseas. The results of this study...will inform a decision on whether the UK has a requirement for ballistic missile defence. It is expected that it will report to Ministers by Autumn 1996. The US has a variety of systems under development, including THAAD (Theatre High Altitude Area Defence), and improvements to Patriot. European countries (though not the UK at present) are working on MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defence System). If NATO is to be ready to counter the potential threat posed by long range ballistic missiles from the southern Mediterranean when the capability materialises, serious consideration of ballistic missile and theatre defence options must begin now. The threat may be ten years or more away, but it is likely to take at least this amount of time to discuss, agree, procure and build a suitable defence for NATO use. The next decade should be not wasted. We recommend that the Government continues its own work on ballistic missile defence and seeks to promote the consideration of a multi-national approach within the NATO forum."

News Review

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

Africa Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty signed

The Africa Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, the Treaty of Pelindaba, was signed in Cairo on 11 April by 43 of the Continent's 53 States. The Protocols to the Treaty - offering security assurances to States parties and renouncing the right to station or test nuclear weapons in the region - were signed by the nuclear-weapon States with the exception of Russia, which was seeking clarification of the status of Diego Garcia, a territory in the possession of the UK which the US is believed to use to store and transfer nuclear weapons. Attending the signing ceremony, Deputy Foreign Minister Victor Passouvalik stated:

"We are thoroughly examining the question of signing. Obviously we will need some time to take the appropriate decisions, bearing in mind their multifaceted and long-term implications...and given the ongoing existence in the region of military bases of other nuclear powers..."

Speaking in Moscow on the day of the signing, senior Foreign Ministry official Valery Kouzmin, explained that "we decided not to sign today because for us it was clear until now what reservations were to be made" by Britain and America. Reportedly, the US expressed a reservation that "no change is required in US armed forces operations in Diego Garcia", though US officials made clear (see Documents and Sources) that the Protocols were signed without any written reservations being submitted.

Of the ten African States not signing, Liberia and Somalia were believed to be unable to attend due to internal crises; Madagascar and Seychelles, according to Egyptian officials, were prevented from signing by "political or technical reasons"; Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Congo and Sao Tome and Principe were expected to sign as soon as possible; and Morocco was said to be using its non- accession as a means of protesting against the refusal of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to back its territorial claim to Western Sahara.


Editor's note: all quotes from 11 April.


Seyoum Mesfin, Ethiopia's Foreign Minister, OAU Chair

"A continent affected by so many challenges, whose people face so many difficulties, should not be faced with the threat of nuclear weapons. We would be remiss if we failed to call for similar steps in other regions."


President Hosni Mubarak

"After more than thirty years of effort, we celebrate the achievement of this great dream and the fulfilment of this pioneering vision, which some thought was just a fantasy... The least the non-nuclear States can demand is that they be protected from the dangers of these weapons and feel [that there is a] practical evolution towards nuclear disarmament by the nuclear States, which have promised to negotiate seriously on this... The international community, which stands on the threshold of a new historic era, must change the concepts which prevailed in past times... It must realise that nuclear deterrence, to which some people used to subscribe, is only an obstacle on the road to security and development... It is a direct threat, not just to one State or one particular international group, but to the security and stability of the whole world."

"I urge...all the States of the Middle East to take a similar step...so that we can protect this region from the dangers of these lethal weapons."

Foreign Minister Amr Moussa

"We have gathered here to confirm that we abandoned the nuclear military option and I call on Israel to take a similar step... [Israel should now] approach its Arab neighbours with actions and arrangements leading to the creation of a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East."

South Africa

Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo

"Under the Pelindaba Treaty Africa is safe. Our continent must never again be threatened by these dangerous weapons."

Editor's note: See Nuclear Proliferation News No. 35 (26 October 1995) for extensive extracts from the treaty. The following, briefer extracts were provided by Reuters on 10 April:

"The parties to this treaty...:

Convinced of the need to take all steps in achieving the ultimate goal of a world entirely free of nuclear weapons...

Believing that the African nuclear-weapon-free zone will protect African States against possible nuclear attacks on their territories,

Noting with satisfaction existing NWFZs and recognising that the establishment of other NWFZs, especially in the Middle East, would enhance the security of States parties to the African NWFZ...

Have agreed by this treaty to establish the African NWFZ and hereby agree as follows:...

Article 3: Renunciation of Nuclear Explosive Devices

Each party undertakes;

(a) Not to conduct research on, develop, manufacture, stockpile or otherwise acquire, possess or have control over any nuclear explosive device by any means anywhere;...

Article 4: Prevention of Stationing of Nuclear Explosive Devices

1. Each party undertakes to prohibit, in its territory, the stationing of any nuclear explosive device.

2. ...each party in the exercise of its sovereign rights remains free to decide for itself whether to allow visits by foreign ships and aircraft to its ports and airfields, transit of its airspace by foreign aircraft, and navigation by foreign ships in its territorial sea or archipelagic waters in a manner not covered by the rights of innocent passage...

Article 5: Prohibition of Testing of Nuclear Explosive Devices

Each party undertakes:

(a) Not to test any nuclear explosive device;

(b) To prohibit in its territory the testing of any nuclear explosive device;...

Article 6: Declaration, Dismantling, Destruction or Conversion of Nuclear Explosive Devices and the Facilities for their Manufacture

Each party undertakes:

(a) To declare any capability for the manufacture of nuclear explosive devices;

(b) To dismantle and destroy any nuclear explosive devices that it has manufactured prior to the coming into force of this Treaty;

(c) To destroy facilities for the manufacture of nuclear explosive devices or, where possible, to convert them to peaceful uses;

(d) To permit the International Atomic Energy Agency...and the Commission established in article 12 to verify the processes of dismantling and destruction of the nuclear explosive devices, as well as the destruction or conversion of the facilities for their destruction.

Article 7: Prohibition of Dumping of radioactive Wastes

Each party undertakes:...

(b) Not to take any action to assist or encourage the dumping of radioactive wastes and other radioactive matter anywhere within the African nuclear-weapon-free zone. ...

Article 9: Verification of Peaceful Uses

Each party undertakes:...

(b) To conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA...

Article 12: Mechanism for Compliance

1. For the purpose of ensuring compliance with their undertakings under this Treaty, the parties agree to establish the African Commission on Nuclear Energy...

3. The Commission shall meet in ordinary session once a year, and may meet in extraordinary session as may be required by the complaints and settlement of disputes procedure in annex IV...

Article 17: Duration

This treaty shall be of unlimited duration and shall remain in force indefinitely...

Article 20: Withdrawal

1. Each party shall...have the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject- matter of this Treaty, have jeopardised its supreme interests.

Annex IV: Complaints Procedure and Settlement of Disputes

1. A party which considers that there are grounds for a complaint...shall bring the subject-matter of the complaint to the attention of the party complained of and shall allow the latter 30 days to provide it with an explanation...

2. If the matter is not resolved, the complainant party may bring this complaint to the Commission...

4. If...the Commission considers there is sufficient substance in the complaint to warrant an inspection..., the Commission may request the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct such an inspection as soon as possible..."

Rarotonga Treaty Protocols signed

On 25 March, in Suva, Fiji, France, the UK and US signed the Protocols - prohibiting the stationing or testing of nuclear weapons - to the 1985 South Pacific Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, or Rarotonga, Treaty. France was represented at the signing ceremony by Gaston Flosse, President of the Territorial Assembly of French Polynesia. The UK was represented by its ambassador to Fiji, Michael Peart; and the US by its ambassador, Donald Gervitz. See Documents and Sources and last issue for background and details.


South Pacific Forum (SPF) States


Secretary-General Ieremia Tabai, 22 March

"Over the past ten years we have worked...tirelessly for this day... I want to emphasise that while the signing is an important milestone, we want the three signatories to make an unequivocal commitment to ratify the treaty as soon as possible..."

Asked (22 March) whether France would now be reinstated as a 'dialogue partner' of the Forum - a privileged removed from it last year in protest at its final series of tests - the Secretary- General replied: "We are still consulting our members on the issue and a decision will be taken collectively. As of now there is no agreed position on it..."

Forum Chair Julius Chan, Prime Minister of Papua New-Guinea, 25 March

"Grudgingly, we realize that what we are receiving today is all that we can pragmatically expect, for now. We are not being unreasonable, though, in feeling entitled to much more."

New Zealand

Prime Minister Jim Bolger, 25 March

"It brings to an end a very long journey of seeking to stop French nuclear testing in the Pacific... The French were the last and they've proved quite difficult, but they've gone and that's great..."

International reaction


Foreign Ministry statement, 25 March

"Japan welcomes it as it will substantially strengthen nuclear non- proliferation in the South Pacific region..."

South Korea

Foreign Ministry statement, 25 March

"We believe that the signing of the Treaty has created a real nuclear-free zone in the South Pacific... We expect this to contribute to reinforcing the international nuclear non- proliferation system and to speeding up the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty..."

French reservations on SEANWFZ Protocols

On 12 April, France's Ambassador to Singapore, Barry Delongchamps, made clear that France was not yet ready to sign the Protocols to the December 1995 South Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ). No other nuclear-weapon State has thus far signed, with the US the most outspoken in its criticism. France appears to harbour the same reservations - over the unequivocal nature of the security assurances to be offered, and over the definitions of the territory - including 'exclusive economic zones' - to be encompassed. However, the Ambassador strove to minimise the issue, describing it as evidently resolvable:

"We think it is a good treaty. We would like to sign it as soon as possible... I don't think there is a big problem."

France talks of nuclear 'trump card' for Europe

On 20 March, speaking during a Parliamentary debate on European defence and foreign policy, Defence Minister Charles Millon reportedly recommended that a common, European nuclear deterrent force be established. Such a force, he said, "can offer a major strategic trump card for the Europe which we are building."

Earlier (18 March), France's senior military officer, General Jean- Philippe Douin, claimed, in an interview published in Ouest- France, that a joint UK-France nuclear force, supplementing rather than replacing the two States' separate forces, would be to the benefit of both countries:

"We will only benefit from letting potential enemies realise that they would face an additional nuclear deterrent: the French, British, NATO and US deterrents, and now a Franco-British deterrent."

General Douin added a eulogy to the rationale of the deterrent doctrine of massive nuclear retaliation:

"France's nuclear weapons will be terrifying, massive... They are and must remain weapons that will not be used. If they should become precise and flexible weapons, deterrence would be dead."

Build-up to nuclear safety summit

The 19-20 Nuclear Safety and Security Summit in Moscow has been preceded by intense diplomatic, political and technical activity, ranging in atmosphere from the harmonious to the acrimonious, and in topic from ambitious arms control initiatives to detailed proposals for closing reactors and preventing illicit diversion.

The Summit, called for by Russia at the June 1995 G-7 (Group of Seven leading industrialised States - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US) Summit in Canada, will be attended by the leaders of the G-8 - the G-7 and Russia - with Ukraine in attendance for sessions dealing with nuclear reactor safety, and in particular the safety of the Chernobyl reactor. All sessions will be co-Chaired by President Yeltsin, as leader of the host nation, and President Chirac, as leader of the host nation of the next G-7 Summit. On 14 April, the co-Chairs discussed preparations by telephone. According to Chirac's spokesperson, Catherine Colonna, four main texts, or declarations, are being considered, all of them "ambitious in range and important." Reportedly, they are on: nuclear safety and security matters in general; on nuclear smuggling in particular; on the particular importance of Ukraine; and on aspirations for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Colonna, describing the Summit as "a strong symbol of the new spirit of cooperation between the West and Russia", added that all four texts "had been finalised at the experts level." In a 17 April briefing, she added that the overall aim of the meeting was to obtain "assurances on creating a community of responsible nuclear powers."

At a White House briefing on 11 April, Secretary of State Warren Christopher told reporters of his expectations:

"In Moscow the President will join with our...partners to take significant steps on nuclear safety and security that will benefit all the people of our two countries [US and Russia] and the world as a whole. President Kuchma of Ukraine will participate for the first time with the other P[Political]-8 leaders, reflecting the importance we attach to cooperation with Ukraine.*

At the Summit we'll agree on a concrete program to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear materials and to adopt a process of cooperation to dispose of large amounts of plutonium no longer needed for defense purposes. This meeting will give us an opportunity to recognize and applaud Ukraine's courageous decision to close the Chernobyl reactor, and we expect to agree on tangible steps to improve the safety of other similar aging reactors.

We hope at this meeting to make progress toward a zero-yield comprehensive test ban treaty this year. President Clinton will also reaffirm our commitment to the ABM Treaty and urge Russian ratification of START II."

* Russia was not originally disposed to Ukrainian participation, according to White House spokesperson Michael McCurry, accompanying Secretary Christopher on a visit to Kiev on 19 March: "Russia was difficult on this but accepted it." See also last issue.

Nuclear safety and smuggling

Russia has been seeking to assure those, particularly in the US (see last issue), concerned that its nuclear weapons stockpile is either unsafe or insecure. Speaking on 14 March, the Commander of Russia's strategic missile forces, Colonel-General Viktor Yesin, said no "additional protection" was required, adding:

"The strategic missile forces have taken all the security measures for safeguarding nuclear charges; the possibility of theft is reduced to naught..."

However, a significantly less complacent President Yeltsin stated on 10 April that the prevention of diversions of material from Russia could not be guaranteed by Russia alone: "Russia is making serious efforts to ensure the security of the nuclear energy sector. But these issues cannot be properly addressed solely through national programmes."

On 20 March, the Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), John Deutch, was asked during Congressional hearings whether significant amounts of weapons-grade materials had already been illicitly transferred. He replied: "I would not reach that conclusion today." Nonetheless, Deutch argued, a "crisis of enormous proportions" could still occur:

"The prospect of nuclear diversion from Russia is a major national security threat to the United States... There are serious customers for strategic nuclear materials who are up to no good..."

On 29 March, Senator Sam Nunn (Democrat-Georgia) said that the major US programme designed to prevent such a crisis - the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programme, was in danger of being overtaken by events: "the threat...is growing faster than the momentum [to check it] because of the economic deterioration in the parts of the former Soviet Union". More specifically, Nunn claimed that the "main potential danger of leakage of nuclear materials...would probably come from Southern Russia."

On 3 April, experts from Russia, the US and EU met in Brussels to finalise initiatives on the prevention of nuclear smuggling to be announced at the Summit. The experts apparently agreed the establishment, later this year, of a Methodological and Training Centre in Obinsk. According to a European Commission statement:

"Hundreds of Russian experts are to be trained [at Obinsk] in Western nuclear accounting to help develop a true safety culture which will be a key element in the programme to tighten monitoring and control of nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union."


The summit is taking place a week before the tenth anniversary (26 April) of the Chernobyl disaster. The issue of the fate of the reactor itself, and that of similar reactors in the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, loomed large in the summit build-up. As Warren Christopher said after meeting Ukraine's President Kuchma in Kiev on 19 March: "I'm sure that Chernobyl will be very actively discussed in the meeting in Moscow". Ukraine has agreed to close the reactor by 2000. However, it argues that this step is not enough - action also needs to be taken, and funds provided for the purpose, to deal with the problem of the sarcophagus now interring the reactor which calamitously failed in 1986. The sarcophagus was constructed in great haste in the immediate aftermath of the accident, and has not been altered since. According to Foreign Minister Gennady Udovenko, speaking on 19 March:

"Western experts have decided that closing Chernobyl would let them solve the security problem. That is absolutely false. The more important problem is the sarcophagus which covers the reactor..."

On 1 April, a spokesperson for the IAEA, Hans Meyer, repeated the Agency's view that any reactor of the Chernobyl type - a RBMK graphite-moderated reactor - could fail in the same way. Reportedly, fifteen such reactors are still in operation in the former Soviet Union. Meyer was adamant:

"The great danger of the RBMK reactors is that they can catch fire in a way other reactors cannot... The fire hazard and the risk that a huge blaze could propel the radiation into the atmosphere are massive..."

Meyer was speaking at a private IAEA experts meeting preparing for a four-day conference (8-12 April in Vienna) to mark the tenth anniversary. On 17 April, the IAEA issued a press release (IAEA/1301) on the conference, stating rather boldly that it "summed up the scientific understanding of the major social, health and environmental consequences attributed to the Chernobyl accident that occurred in Ukraine a decade ago." The press release continued:

More than 800 scientists and government officials in fields of nuclear energy, radiation safety and health care attended the meeting, which was jointly sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), European Commission (EC) and World Health Organization (WHO). Participants included high-level governmental representatives from the accident's three most heavily affected countries - Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine - and delegates from more than 70 other States and intergovernmental organizations.

'The Chernobyl reactor accident covers a dimension which goes far beyond the boundaries of nuclear safety and radiation protection', said Dr. Angela Merkel, Germany's Environment Minister and President of the Conference. 'The actual effects of this disaster have social and economic aspects which are possibly far more significant than radiation exposure itself.'

The Conference carefully reviewed the many scientific, medical, environmental, social and political issues involved in assessing Chernobyl's impact, in the context of major changes over the past decade in countries of the former Soviet Union. While the Conference...did not expect to reach scientific consensus on all issues involved, its Joint Secretariat did issue conclusions and recommendations that place the Chernobyl consequences into perspective and can serve as the factual basis for decisions about future work and collaboration. ..."

On 21 March, France and Germany issued a joint statement designed to highlight the dangers of another serious accident in the former Soviet bloc. The statement read: "Improvements carried out in recent years on Soviet-designed plants have reduced the risk of an accident such as occurred on 26 April, 1986, but there is still too great a risk of a serious accident." The failure to eradicate this risk thus far was indicative, in the statement's view, of "the difficulties of transferring the Western culture of safety to nations whose political, economic and social systems have deteriorated." Particular concern was expressed about the Kozludy plant in Bulgaria, the Jaslovske plant in Slovakia, and the Metsamor plant in Armenia. The statement concludes with the general point:

"Fifteen to twenty years will be required for the evolution of nuclear safety in the former Soviet nations... During this entire period...it will be important to maintain and expand ties with these nations."

Arms control


In Moscow on 22 March, Russia's Foreign Minister, Yevgeny Primakov, and US Secretary of State Warren Christopher discussed a range of arms control issues in advance of the Summit. One of the top items was the scope of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty currently under negotiation in Geneva, with Christopher reportedly seeking to assure Primakov that adoption of a 'zero-yield' ban was both in Russia's interests, and need not require new wording to be included in the Treaty's Scope article (see Rebecca Johnson's Geneva Update No. 27, last issue). According to Christopher, speaking at a press conference with the Foreign Minister:

"We had an excellent discussion on a comprehensive nuclear test ban with, as the Minister said to me, excellent results. The United States and Russia support a truly comprehensive test ban. This mutual position provides an enormous boost for our common efforts to achieve a CTB in time for signature this Fall. The United States and Russia will work together to accelerate this effort with our P-8 partners..."

On 17 April, President Chirac's spokesperson Catherine Colonna predicted that "Moscow should provide the opportunity for Russia to commit itself for the first time in favour of the zero option."

Russian initiative on nuclear weapons' stationing

On 10 April, President Yeltsin made a startling proposal concerning the stationing of nuclear weapons: "It is in the interests of the Eight and the whole of the world community that nuclear weapons from all other nuclear States be concentrated on their own territory."

It can be presumed that the President is here referring only to land-based nuclear weapons. Once nuclear warheads have been transferred from Belarus and Ukraine, Russia will have no land- based nuclear weapons stationed outside its territory. US nuclear weapons, however, continue to be based in NATO countries, and NATO appears determined to reserve the right to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of any new Alliance member.

Also on 10 April, the 1995 Nobel Peace Laureate, Professor Joseph Rotblat, called more in hope than expectation for a Summit engagement with nuclear disarmament issues:

"You will not have nuclear security as long as you still have nuclear weapons... I would like to see more action at the Summit but I am not hopeful..."

Denuclearisation in Belarus and Ukraine

On 20 March, Vladimir Gorbulin, President Kuchma's senior advisor on national security issues, announced that Ukraine would not be able to complete the transfer to Russia of all the strategic nuclear warheads on its territory by the target-date of June this year. "We cannot do it for logistical reasons," Gorbulin said simply, refusing to elaborate or comment on the likely completion- date.

Evidently taking these claims seriously, the US Department of Defense announced an additional $10.3 million funding for Ukrainian denuclearisation. The move was made public in a 19 March letter from Defense Secretary William Perry to Vice-President Al Gore.

Meanwhile, Belarus has apparently reserved the right to suspend the transfers for political reasons. On 5 April, addressing a press conference in Minsk, Belarus's Deputy Foreign Minister, Valeri Tsyapkala, said his government would seriously consider responding to NATO expansion, and particular the eastward deployment of NATO nuclear weapons, by imposing such a suspension. Tsyapkala stated:

"[There is a] possibility that the withdrawal of Russian nuclear strategic missiles from Belarussian territory will be suspended if the Czech Republic and Hungary are accepted into NATO and NATO tactical nuclear missiles are deployed on their territory."

According to reports, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus has transferred 63 strategic nuclear missiles, leaving 18 SS-25s.

Ukraine is perhaps as horrified as Belarus at the prospect of the deployment, or the permanent possibility of the deployment, of nuclear weapons in former Warsaw Pact States, and is advocating a nuclear-weapons-free zone in Central Europe. On 15 April, the Secretary-General of NATO, Javier Solana, meeting President Kuchma in Kiev, reiterated the Alliance's position that there were no nuclear deployment plans "for the moment." Solana reportedly made special reference to the unlikelihood of deployment in countries bordering Ukraine (seven, of whom only two, Hungary and Poland, are currently serious contenders for membership).

On 10 April, President Yeltsin stated bluntly that "this work will be completed this year. Nuclear arsenals will be withdrawn from Belarus and Ukraine and dismantled". Russia is, of course, sympathetic to the concern of both States over NATO expansion; to which, on 22 March, Foreign Minister Primakov stressed his government's unwavering opposition:

"Russia will never accept NATO enlargement not because it has any right of veto but because it will not tolerate the worsening geo- political situation and will stand by its interests. I believe that a compromise is possible in the larger area except the one whereby the military infrastructure of NATO would be moved closer to Russia."

Related developments

Kazakstan begins to seal test site amid rumours of major diversions of uranium

On 2 April, a team of US experts began the permanent closure of the former Soviet test site of Semipalatinsk in Kazakstan. According to the US Embassy in Almaty, the site saw over 200 underground tests conducted between 1963 and 1991. The final disablement of the plant was planned to commence with the sealing of the first of 186 tunnels - tunnel 192, scene of two tests in the 1970s. The reported target-date for completing the sealing of all the tunnels is 1999. It was also announced that the commencement of operations at tunnel 192 would be witnessed by US Deputy Secretary for Defense with special responsibility for the Cooperative Threat Reduction programme, Roland Lejoie. The US and Kazakstan signed a separate CTR agreement in October 1995.

On 5 April, it was reported from Almaty that stocks of weapons- grade Uranium-235 had been stolen. The source of the allegation was Murad Edreshev, a government official. According to Edreshev:

"Workers in uranium treatment plants, with the complicity of police who guard the plants, have stolen containers of U-235 then sold them to trading entities which ship them to Russia."

The story was carried in the newspaper Caravan Blitz on 22 March and again on 4 April. The paper alleged that over 100 kilograms of Uranium-235 had been stolen in November 1995, and nearly 150 kilograms the following month. According to an unnamed Kazakh nuclear physicist, such quantities would be enough to "build four to five...nice and powerful bombs".

Canada and Romania stress importance of nuclear power

Canada's Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, visited Romania on 17 April to open the State's first nuclear power plant, at Cernavoda. Speaking at a press conference with Romania's President, Ion Iliescu, Chretien enthused:

"I believe that we can use atomic energy as a source of energy but the safest system is the heavy water and non-enriched uranium system that we have developed in Canada... The contribution of Canada [at the G-8 Summit] will be to make sure that the systems are safer and we can make a good contribution because it's known around the world today that using heavy water and non-enriched uranium is the best system..."

President Iliescu spoke of his government's motivation in building Cernavoda:

"It is not possible [to manage] without nuclear power now. We don't have other technologies for the classical systems of producing energy...coal means the pollution of the air...and oil and gas have physical limits..."

See Documents and Sources for material issued before and at the Summit.

ABM Treaty: the battering continues

The 1972 US-Russia Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty continues to be bedevilled by problems of redefinition aiming to permit a degree of theatre-range ballistic missile defence (BMD) activity and outright hostility from US Republican advocates seeking an ambitious national missile defence (NMD) system. The issue is complicating efforts to secure Russian ratification of the second Strategic Arms Reduction (START) Treaty - a ratification which many Russian Parliamentarians regard as a dangerous hostage-to- fortune in lieu of confirmation of the ABM Treaty's long-term survival.

US-Russia discussions go nowhere slowly

On 1 April, John Holum, Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), announced that the latest round of negotiations between the US and Russia seeking to define permissible theatre ballistic missile (TMD) development, testing and deployment under the Treaty had been unsuccessful: "we were unable to nail down...agreement." The negotiations were taking place within the Treaty's Standing Consultative Committee (SCC), sitting in Geneva. See last issue for technical background.

According to reports in late March, the head of the US SCC team, Stanley Riveles, unsuccessfully sought to achieve a breakthrough by relinquishing guarantees of the right to develop and deploy 'high-speed' missile interceptors. The talks are wrestling with the issue of speed-limits, and Russia's chief negotiator, Victor Koltunov, was reportedly unwilling to allow any leeway for unilateral US interpretations. Mr Riveles was apparently told by Secretary Christopher not to forfeit any such leeway.

According to The Washington Post (27 March), Russia is unable to accept US language attempting to define permissible TMD systems as those tested against targets "which have a maximum range of no more than 3,500 kilometers and a maximum flight velocity of no more than 5 kilometres per second."

On 25 March, Representative Curt Weldon (Pennsylvania), Chair of the House National Security Research and Development Subcommittee, urged the Administration to return to the position of the Bush Administration that the ABM Treaty does not apply to TMD systems untested against ballistic missiles travelling at over three kilometres per second.

Republicans introduce radical NMD legislation

On 21 March, Republican Senators and Representatives, led by Presidential candidate Senator Robert Dole (Kansas) and House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Georgia) introduced the 'Defend America Act of 1996', calling for US deployment of national ballistic missile defences (NMD) by the year 2003. Dole spoke in grave terms of the importance of the Act:

"I think the bill sends a clear message to the President, but primarily the American people, that we want to defend America, we believe we should defend America, and we have the capability and we have the will... Right now the United States has no defense - and I repeat, no defense against ballistic missiles. If it's left up to the Clinton administration, it will stay that way."

Gingrich argued: "Ten or fifteen years from now, if we don't take steps now, there could be very real threats to American cities... There are at least fifteen countries building the capability to launch an aerial-level missile - that is, a missile that could simply take out a city - because if all you're interested in is terror, you don't have to be very accurate if you're using a weapon of mass destruction... This administration can find plenty of ways to spend money. Their priorities are wrong, and they would rather give the money away on foreign aid than use it to defend America."

The Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Strom Thurmond (Republican - South Carolina) added his predictable but important support: "If this Bill is passed, I hope that President Clinton will approve it. If he doesn't, I hope that President Dole will approve it."

The Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Bob Livingstone (Republican - Louisiana) said the Act was necessary because "we're researching, but we're not researching fast enough and we're not making an effort to deploy these systems."

Testifying to Congress on the day the Act was introduced, a former member of the ABM Treaty's Standing Consultative Committee, said that in his opinion a comprehensive NMD system would require "a three- or five-site deployment", with each site equipped with around 100 launchers and interceptors.

President to use new veto powers?

On 11 April, White House spokesperson Michael McCurry told reporters that the President would be prepared to exercise newly acquired powers to veto 'lines' in Congressional legislation, rather than entire legislative enactments, to block Republican moves to initiate any NMD programme considered either too expensive and/or politically damaging. According to McCurry:

"We [would] prefer to put that money into more highly-targeted types of missile defense research and development that affect a more proximate threat, which are theater missile defenses... The President would just cut the spending as being unnecessary..."

The President approved his new line-item veto powers on 9 April. However, it is unclear when he will be entitled to use them. The legislation stipulates 1 January 1997, but the President argues that it could take effect almost immediate the Administration and Congress agree a seven-year plan for the Federal Budget.

MEADS mired

In mid-March, it emerged that France was expressing doubts about its willingness to participate in the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) programme, which was scheduled to involve France, the US, Germany and Italy and be confirmed in a 15 April signing ceremony in Brussels. MEADS aims to develop defences against battlefield missiles. France's doubts were revealed in a 19 March letter by Paul Kaminski to French, German and Italian officials. The letter read:

"If France is unable to confirm her participation, I would suggest it's time for MEADS partners to come together to reassess the program... the United States cannot postpone the initiation of the program indefinitely..."

According to an unnamed French official on 10 April: "Ultimately, the final decision may have to go all the way up to Chirac because the significance of MEADS is more political than military or industrial."

On 15 April, it was confirmed that the signing ceremony had been put back, though for how long was not clear.

Pentagon BMD reorganisation

On 9 April, it was announced, in a Directive issued by Under- Secretary of Defense Paul Kaminski, that a Joint Program Office (JPO) was to be established to coordinate the Department of Defense's plan for research and development (R&D) and possible subsequent deployment of ballistic missile defence systems. The plan is known as "3 plus 3", a reference to its concentration on R&D for three years (1996-9), to be followed by a decisive assessment of existing and potential threats and appropriate responses to them. According to reports, the JPO will be set up by, and answerable to, the head of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), currently Lieutenant-General Malcolm O'Neill. General O'Neill is due to retire in May this year.

Related developments

Thatcher warns again

Speaking at a conference at the College of William and Mary in the US, former British Prime Minister Lady Thatcher reportedly restated her belief that the ABM Treaty was an obstacle in the way of the only appropriate response to the threat now posed by 'rogue' States' ballistic missile programmes - massive ballistic missile defences. Her views were backed by former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger.

UK Parliament report backs strong missile defences

On 28 March, the House of Commons all-party Defence Select Committee released a report (see Documents and Sources) strongly supportive of a strong NATO ballistic missile defence programme:

"If NATO is to be ready to counter the potential threat posed by long-range ballistic missiles from the southern Mediterranean when the capability materialises, serious consideration of ballistic missile and theatre defence options must begin now."

US GAO warns on reliability of three nuclear warheads

On 28 March, Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons scientist Dr. Victor Rezendes, told the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee that the Department was unhappy, or not entirely convinced, about - had 'red-flagged' - the safety and reliability of three strategic warheads: the W-62, on a delayed schedule for retirement from the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM); the W-78, also used to equip the Minuteman; and the W-88, loaded on the Trident Submarine-launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM). In each case, Dr. Rezendes was confident that the 'red flag' would be lowered in a matter of a few years.

Editor's note: the following extract, unfortunately incomplete in transmission, from Dr. Rezendes' testimony is reproduced with kind permission of the Federal News Service.

Extract from testimony

"Once the testing falls behind a certain level, it is red flagged, which means that DOE's confidence in [the] reliability of [that] weapon is in question.

Three current weapons in the stockpile are red flagged and have fallen into that category of a lessening confidence. I will talk about three basic tests that are used to assure ourselves about their reliability. The first is the actual flight test.

The flight test is where you actually drop the bomb or launch the mission. I want to emphasize that that is without the nuclear package. That is just to see how the system really works.

Of the three weapons that are behind schedule in flight test, two relate to the Minuteman. The first one is the W-62, which basically was going to be retired. But that has been delayed, and because of that switch there is a shortage of telemetry packages to be tested. It is going to take another three years before DOE redesigns that weapon and has enough to do that.

The W-78, which is also a Minuteman warhead, is also behind schedule, in this case primarily because of the lack of missile launchers available from the Air Force to DOE to put their packages on to the test.

The last one is the W-88, which is used in the Trident. That was halted a year ago because of a safety study that was not completed. In essence, when a warhead is dismantled and tested, there are prescriptive, detailed safety procedures that need to be followed. Those were not in place. They are in place now, and DOE expects to be back on track in 1997.

The second type of system testing that is done involves the actual non-nuclear system to detect problems with aging and the manufacture of the design of a warhead. Of the weapons in the stockpile, one is red flagged.

This one, again, is also the W-88 in the Trident... Tests had not been done for that same safety study; that procedural safety study was missing. In addition, there was a centrifuge that was used to simulate the motion in the test which had a crack in the wall, and that has been out of service for about a year.

Again, DOE expects to be on track with that program in Fiscal Year 1997.

The last...piece of testing that is done is the testing actually on the nuclear component of the warhead [transmission falters here]..."

US and China dispute sanctions and sales

As of mid-April, the Clinton Administration had still to decide its response to allegations of the supply of nuclear-weapons related technology (magnet-rings for uranium-enriching centrifuges) from China to Pakistan - allegations first appearing in the US press in early February. The US's basic approach seems to be to avoid the imposition of significant sanctions in return for assurances as to China's future export policy, particularly with regard to Pakistan and Iran. It has not, however, publicly stated that it believes the transfer took place or had been agreed. On 28 February, pending a verdict on the veracity of the reports, the US announced that it had imposed a 30-day suspension on consideration by the Export-Import Bank of loan-guarantee requests from US firms seeking to trade with China. The suspension was lifted on 23 March.

In mid-March, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Einhorn held week-long talks in Beijing, apparently trying to persuade China of the need for them to make an undertaking to refine their export policies. On 21 March, Einhorn stated: "The purpose of this visit is to provide information to the Chinese on US export control policy and practice. It is our hope that we can work with the Chinese to help strengthen China's export control system." According to extremely sketchy reports, his attempts did not succeed. His visit was nonetheless diplomatically significant, being the rearrangement of a June meeting cancelled by China in protest over a US decision to host a visit by the President of Taiwan, Lee Teng-hui.

Einhorn was partly preparing the way for a meeting between Secretary Christopher and China's Foreign Minister Qian Qichen in The Hague on 21 March, a meeting which seems to have repeated the inconclusive pattern of the lower-level consultations. Those consultations resumed on 10 April, in advance of another Christopher-Qichen meeting, scheduled for 19 April.

Between the two rounds of Beijing discussions, a White House meeting (26 March), consisting of some of the President's main advisors on the issue (Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Deutch, National Security Adviser Anthony Lake and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin),was held to try and reach a definitive position. In this, it failed, although, according to spokesperson David Johnson, it was not under strong pressure to succeed:

"No decisions were made at this meeting... Further work remains to be done. There is not a specific timetable for a completion or decision-making. Neither was this a meeting where the next step is a recommendation to the President."

Speaking on CNN Television on 13 April, Christopher suggested some progress was being made:

"We're getting additional facts from the Chinese... I think the context in which we'll make the decision has been illuminated just within the last few days in some conversations that have taken place at high levels there in China... It's a very tough decision...and a very complex set of facts... I'll make the recommendation to the President when I feel I've got the facts and understand what the statutory consequences are."

The 'statutory consequences' refers to the 1994 Nuclear Non- Proliferation Act (NNPA), under which the Administration would be mandated to impose sanctions against a State found to be actively supplying and supporting an illicit nuclear weapons programme. The NNPA does, however, accord leeway to the Executive in its interpretation of the harshness of response warranted.

The desire of the US to act in a conciliatory manner was stressed on 29 March by Assistant Secretary of State Winston Lord, who told a Council on Foreign Relations conference in Washington: "We've offered an approach to China that would defuse the present crisis and [enable us to] resume peaceful nuclear cooperation, but we have a long way to go." Lord, a former Ambassador to China and now the senior State Department official dealing with the Korean Peninsular, was also reported to have said:

"Our relations with China for the foreseeable future are bound to be sweet and sour, no matter how perfect or steady our course... I've dealt with the Chinese for over 25 years and this is the most difficult mood I've ever had to deal with... China [is] a complex, difficult, prickly partner. It is not all the US fault when the Chinese fire missiles near Taiwan, export dangerous technology, keep their markets closed, violate human rights."

Meanwhile, China has been asserting the responsibility of its exports policy. According to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Shen Guofang on 26 March:

"China has never transferred or sold any nuclear technology or equipment to Pakistan. We hope the United States will not base their policy-making on hearsay... Some people in the US do not hope to see healthy and sound development of Sino-US relations, therefore they always tend to find unfounded things to influence the policy making of the US government..."

Guofang again defended his government on 4 April:

"China is a responsible State. We have never transferred and will never transfer any equipment or technology used for the production of nuclear weapons to any country... China, which is a signatory country to the NPT, is strictly committed to the treaty... In this regard China does not advocate, encourage or carry out the proliferation of nuclear arms... Any sanctions imposed by the US based on rumours is ill-advised... Our proposal is dialogue, is negotiations, not sanctions..."

US military sale to Pakistan

On 15 April, the Department of Defense announced it would be proceeding with part of a sale of military equipment to Pakistan, originally scheduled to take place in 1990 but suspended under the terms of the Pressler Amendment, passed by Congress in 1985 and banning US military cooperation in protest at Pakistan's suspected nuclear weapons programme. The decision - made possible by the Brown Amendment, passed last year and permitting a one-off waiver of Pressler - comes despite the alleged transfer of nuclear- weapons technology to the country from China.

Equipment to be transferred - totalling $368 million - will include aircraft (P-3C), missiles (harpoon), missile launchers (TOW), howitzers and rockets. Equipment still with-held includes 28 F-16 fighter aircraft, worth over $650 million.

On 20 March, Senator Pressler expressed his fears that the Administration was preparing to send the wrong signal to both China and Pakistan: "This whole situation is what I feared most. When faced with a serious violation of non-proliferation laws, in my opinion, this Administration has blinked at the law and winked at Pakistan."

China advises Japan against sanctions over testing

On 31 March, the Foreign Ministers of China and Japan, Qian Qichen and Yukihiko Ikeda, discussed bilateral relations in Tokyo. Qichen used the meeting to warn Japan against imposing any sanctions in the expected event of the resumption of nuclear tests by China. China last tested in May 1995, after which Japan cut back on its grants-in-aid programme, while leaving its much more substantial yen loans programme untouched. After the meeting, Qian was quoted as stating: "We are opposed to the idea being floated in Japan of linking this issue to economic cooperation."

On 27 March, former Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, warned that "we will be in trouble if China doesn't consider" the public pressure fresh tests will put on Japan to adopt a harder line.

Editor's note: On 25 March, Qichen discussed the CTB negotiations with UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali. According to the official Xinhua news agency, Qian told him:

"Some progress has been registered in the negotiations on concluding the...treaty this year, but there are still problems needing further deliberations... As the first step towards the nuclear tests ban, China holds that all nuclear powers should undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries... The realisation of the first step will benefit the relaxation of the international situation."

China, India, Iran and Russia in nuclear research accord

It has been reported that in early March, China, India, Iran and Russia agreed to establish an Asian Fusion Research Foundation. Apparently, the agreement is due to be confirmed at an IAEA- sponsored conference on nuclear energy in Canada in August.

It is not clear whether the US will regard the move as a diplomatic setback in its relentless attempts to isolate Iran. However, there were suggestions that Russia is unhappy with the lower-than-expected level of participation by the US in an International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) programme to which the Moscow-based Kurchatov Energy Institute is heavily committed. According to an unnamed 'Western expert': "The message is that, if DOE [US Department of Energy] won't support ITER, Velikhov [head of the Kurchatov Institute] will be compelled to work with Iran and India."

There was no suggestion, however, that any of the research to be conducted by the Foundation would be of a dubious or worrying nature.

Israel reportedly seeking US recognition of right to 'strategic' defence

According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on 24 March, Israel is hoping to conclude a new security agreement with the United States which would include a recognition of Israel's right to 'strategic defence' - a euphemism for its nuclear weapons programme. According to the paper's Defence Correspondent Aluf Ben:

"Israel would thus obtain for the first time in writing US recognition of the existence of its nuclear capability, even in peace time."

Under the terms of the NPT, which Israel has not signed, a nuclear- weapon State is defined as one which tested a nuclear explosive device on or before 1 June 1967 - a formula designed to limit the number of 'declared' nuclear-weapon States to five. It is not clear, if such a pact were agreed to by Washington, how it could, or would need to be, reconciled with this definition.

It is known that a new bilateral security agreement is being drawn up - during his 13-14 March visit to Israel, President Clinton announced that such a pact would soon be concluded.

The story broke amid reports of a radioactive leak from Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev desert. On 7 April, after voicing grave concern and calling for an urgent report from his own experts, Egypt's President Mubarak gave an at least partially reassuring assessment:

"We sent experts to the border but until now we haven't found any change in the air pollution... We are still checking. Was there in fact a leak, or a danger? The operation continues. We are contacting international organisations and Israel so we can reach a final decision on this."

On 9 April, the Arab League met in emergency session in Cairo to discuss Dimona. The League called on the IAEA to conduct an investigation of the site. Looking ahead, the League called for "continual" independent monitoring of the site, and also requested that "the Palestinian authority [be provided] with training and equipment" to carry out its own monitoring. Head of the League, Esmat Abdel Meguid, passed on the request the same day to IAEA Director-General Hans Blix, in Cairo for the 11 April signing of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty.

US-North Korea Accord: discussions set to extend to missiles as reactor preparations continue

In New York on 8 April, North Korea and the Korean Peninsular Energy Development Corporation (KEDO) resumed thrashing-out detailed arrangements concerning the Corporation's replacement of the State's heavy-water nuclear reactors, inoperative since the October 1994 US-North Korea Framework Agreement. A KEDO spokesperson spelled out (8 April) the nitty-gritty: "There will be talks...on a series of side agreements and...legal status, privileges, immunities and consular protection of personnel sent to North Korea in connection with the light-water project..." The spokesperson expressed confidence that the talks would not be effected by recently increased political and military tensions between the two Koreas.

The meeting was preceded and prepared by a visit (26-30 March) to North Korea of KEDO Executive Director Stephen Bosworth and Deputy Executive Directors Itaru Umezu of Japan and Choi Young-Jin of South Korea. The officials were scheduled to visit the planned site of the new reactors, the Northeast port of Shinpo. A KEDO spokesperson, announcing the visit in Seoul on 19 March, said happily that it was "an indication that the light-water reactor project has entered into...full-swing."

At least one key part of the Accord, the provision of compensatory energy supplies to North Korea while the replacement reactors are constructed, appears to be proceeding straightforwardly, with an oil shipment of nearly 12 million gallons in early March, and the announcement on 18 March by the Honam Oil Refinery Company in South Korea that a similar shipment would take place before the end of the month.

The picture appears less cheery elsewhere, however. Also on 18 March, IAEA Director-General Hans Blix, addressing the opening of an Agency Board of Governors meeting in Vienna, reportedly complained that North Korea was still not cooperating satisfactorily with inspectors trying to ascertain the status and history of the heavy-water facilities. Blix said "the important issue of the preservation of information required to verify the correctness and completeness of [North Korea's] initial declaration" had still to be resolved. The most serious aspect of this non-cooperation was the long-term damage it could very quickly cause: "Without the implementation in the very near future of adequate preservation measures, there is a risk we may lose the lose the possibility to verify..."

Specifically, Blix elaborated, "information such as the total amount of plutonium in the spent fuel of the five-megawatt reactor is not being provided." The Director-General continued gloomily: "The Agency is still experiencing some difficulties in implementing short-notice inspections... The delays in issuing visas in Vienna are also a problem, creating serious problems in the planning of inspections."

On 3 April, it was reported that the US had arranged bilateral talks with North Korea, apparently scheduled to begin in Berlin on 19 April, concentrating on missile issues - in particular, North Korea's alleged (and strongly denied) medium-range missile-in- development, the Rodong-1, and its willingness to export missiles to the Middle East. The reports suggested that the US may be prepared to compensate North Korea for major changes of policy in these regards. Earlier (19 March), the senior US official dealing with the Peninsular, Ambassador Winston Lord, confirmed that "we [are] looking for further talks with North Korea on these subjects... Our talks must yield some progress [on missile development and exports] to [enable overall] progress in our relationship."

Iran slams criticism of nuclear programme as Russia reaffirms co- operation

The US has been maintaining its rhetorical fire against Iran's nuclear programme, which it alleges is a programme to acquire a nuclear-weapons capability.

On 17 March, in an interview with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Hayat, senior US official Thomas Graham, the President's ambassador on arms control and non-proliferation issues, said the Clinton Administration was "on the way to taking serious steps against Iran", adding dramatically: "we don't want to find that the next bomb placed in the World Trade Centre is a nuclear one." Graham defended the US from the common accusation that it applied different standards of criticism to Israel. He said the Administration was "understanding of Egypt's position demanding Israel's adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty", but reminded his readers that Israel "is not involved in acts of terrorism like Iran and Iraq."

The same day, responding specifically to Graham's interview, Iran's Foreign Ministry issued a statement reading:

"[The US] has once again resorted to its old strategy of levelling totally absurd and irrelevant allegations against Iran... Iran has scrupulously adhered to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and volunteered [for IAEA inspections]... [Iran] reserves its inalienable right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes."

Russia remains adamant that Iran's nuclear ambitions are purely civil, and that it is justified in helping to realise them. Last year, it finalised agreement on completing the long-delayed construction of a nuclear complex at Bushehr. According to Itar- Tass on 18 March, Russia may be planning for an even closer involvement. The news agency quoted Russia's Ambassador to Iran, Sergei Tretyakov, as saying, in an interview with the Iranian newspaper Abrar that "after Russia finishes building the nuclear power station...it is possible that it will help Iran build other atomic power stations." However, Tretyakov cautioned: "This is just a plan at this stage." He added that US policy towards Iran was "not understandable to us."

On 10 April, Oleg Soskovets, First Deputy Prime Minister, met Iran's Ambassador, Mehdi Safari, to assure him of Russia's continued cooperation. According to Interfax, the Ambassador was told that "Russia will keep working under the contract to build a power station in Bushehr in spite of criticism coming from the United States."

It is not, of course, only the United States which is critical, or dubious, of Iran's programme. On 26 March, the Acting Under- Secretary of the United Arab Emirates' Foreign Ministry, Saif Saed, reportedly expressed his strong reservations. His remarks incurred the following wrath (28 March) from Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahmud Mohammadi:

"It is regrettable that UAE officials do not feel atomic threats from Israel but express worry about the possibility of Iran's acquiring nuclear weapons in the future... Iran is opposed to any investment in developing nuclear arms and the UAE's worry is unfounded..."

Criticism is also present within Russia. On 15 April, Alexei Yablokov, an advisor to President Yeltsin on environmental issues, expressed outright opposition to Russia's stance:

"It is strange that Iran, a nation with huge stocks of oil and gas, has decided to build such a dangerous facility [Bushehr] as a nuclear power plant... If Iran has nuclear specialists, it will make great progress toward the creation of its own nuclear armaments... One can make a primitive nuclear charge without a colossal nuclear industry."

Indian BJP pledges re-evaluation of nuclear policy

In advance of India's General Election, commencing on 26 April, the main opposition grouping, the strongly nationalistic and assertively Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People's Party - BJP), is making clear that it favours a more overt nuclear weapons stance and programme than the 'threshold' capability currently maintained. According to its Manifesto, released on 7 April:

"The BJP will re-evaluate the country's nuclear policy and exercise the option to induct nuclear weapons... Though the BJP stands committed to a nuclear-free world, we cannot accept a world of nuclear apartheid."

On 12 April, a spokesperson for the ruling Congress party reaffirmed that it would retain its existing policy if re-elected: "We remain concerned about Pakistan's nuclear agenda. India will keep all its options open with this in view."

US insists on option of nuclear response to chemical attack

On 28 March, addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Defense Secretary William Perry made clear that the US intended to continue to reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in retaliation against a chemical weapons attack. The Committee is conducting hearings into the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which the Administration wants the US to ratify as soon as possible. Perry was seeking to reassure those who fear that joining the Convention will limit America's capacity to respond or deter a chemical weapons attack:

"The ability to retaliate with CW [chemical weapons] is no longer a necessary element in countering chemical weapons. We have an effective range of alternative capabilities to deter or retaliate against the use of CW... The whole range would be considered... We have conventional weapons, also advanced conventional weapons - precision-guided munitions, Tomahawk land-attack missiles...and then we have nuclear weapons. ... If any country were foolish enough to use chemical weapons against the United States, the response would be absolutely overwhelming and devastating."

The Chair of the Committee, Jesse Helms (Republican - North Carolina), was not convinced, describing the CWC as "fatally flawed", "not verifiable" and without "a chance [of] accomplishing reductions in arsenals of countries hostile to the United States."

There is some dispute about the United States' entitlement, under the terms of the security assurances it has offered non-nuclear- weapon States, to use nuclear weapons in the event of chemical attack - or even its entitlement to threaten to use nuclear weapons in such a case. Although security assurances offered by the US (as well as the UK, France and Russia) under the NPT are hedged with ambiguities and reservations, newer assurances, such as those offered under the Pelindaba Treaty (see above), do appear to prohibit the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon State Party.

Libya-US chemical weapons dispute

The US has repeated claims (see last issue) that Libya is constructing the "world's largest" chemical weapons facility, in a mountain site at Tarhunah, 60 kilometres Southeast of Tripoli. Senior Administration officials spoke of America's determination to prevent the completion of the facility, by military means if necessary.

The most widely-reported remarks were made by Defense Secretary William Perry, during and on his return from a visit to Egypt in early April. Asked, in Ismailia on 2 April, whether the US was contemplating a military strike, he returned the classic formula "I wouldn't rule anything out and I wouldn't rule anything in." On 4 April he stated, fairly cagily: "The opening of the second plant is not imminent...certainly more than a year away. We have many ways of dealing with this problem..." Two days later he added, more fulsomely:

"There are many ways we have of keeping that plant from being opened and, as [with] every other defense problem we work on, we use several lines of approach, the first being...our diplomatic approach to keep it from being opened. The second is deterrence, and then, if we don't get the consideration, of military operations until or unless those other means have proven to be ineffective... We're certainly not at that place yet, but we have many ways of dealing with this problem and I believe we will be successful...."

During his visit to Egypt, Perry sought to persuade President Mubarak of the gravity of the situation. In his own words (3 April): "I showed him photographs and they demonstrate that the Libyans are not now producing chemical weapons but they have an extensive program under way to develop a chemical weapons production facility and I provided him with some evidence to support that." The Egyptian government was evidently unpersuaded (see below).

On 11 April, Perry hosted a press conference to reinforce his message. Referring to his 6 April remarks, he stated bluntly: "If you would like to consider that a warning to Libya, you can so consider it." The conference also featured senior US intelligence officer Lieutenant General Patrick Hughes (US Army), who insisted: "The intelligence we have on this facility is good...it is to produce weaponized chemical materials." Hughes also produced a photograph of the alleged plant. He added that Libya's chemical weapons effort was being aided and abetted from outside:

"...several countries are involved, people from various countries throughout the world who may not be representing national entities for now but indeed are representing commercial interests or in some cases individual interests..."

Earlier, on 4 April, State Department spokesperson Glyn Davies said work began at Tarhunah in 1992. Libya claims it is part of the 'Great Man River' irrigation project. The US assessment, according to Davies, is that "this...will be used to produce blister agents such as mustard gas and perhaps nerve agents as well."

The following day, Davies stated that the time for thwarting Libya's alleged plan was fast approaching: "The United States believes that the international community now has to firmly demonstrate its opposition to this plant... In the months ahead, all members of the international community ought to work together to help ensure that [the plant] is never completed and that it never goes into production... We hope very much that we are able to get enough of a consensus...to pressure Libya to cease and desist." But even if such a consensus was not forthcoming, Davies warned, "Libya should take seriously our seriousness...to see that this plant does not ever go into production. We are resolved that the key will never be turned on this Libyan chemical weapons plant..."

On 8 April, Davies was even graver and more graphic: "If it were to go forward, it would be counter-historical. At a time when the world is working very hard and seeing some progress in arms control, here comes Libya building a monster chemical weapons factory that can do nothing but deal death. It's insane..."

On 11 April, Libya's Foreign Minister, Omar Mustafa al-Montasser, told a press conference:

"The United States always seeks a whipping boy, and because the Soviet Union doesn't exist any more, the United States has picked on Libya... nothing of what Perry said exists except in the imagination of US intelligence... There is no chemical weapons factory in all Libya, either above or below ground. I challenge the US Defence Secretary and the Pentagon to prove the existence of anything that even looks like a factory in any tunnel in Libya... We take [the threat of military action] very seriously but we will not acquiesce and we are willing to fight. It is really bullying... It is because of Libya's stand against US hegemony in the Arab and Third World."

In late March, Libya had reacted angrily to a CIA briefing (24 March) purporting to prove nefarious activity at Turhunah. Information Minister Fauzieh Shalabi stated (25 March): "The lies by the CIA aimed at preventing this so-called factory are part of an American decision to prevent Arabs, and Libya in particular, from obtaining modern technology in industry... The American objective is to prevent industrial and economic development programmes in Libya, which are aimed at achieving the country's economic independence and break its subordination to the West."

Egypt's President Mubarak, evidently taking the possibility of US military intervention seriously, has been seeking to defuse the crisis. On 7 April, speaking after a meeting with President Chirac, he told journalists: "To avoid the use of violence, we will talk with the Libyans... Perhaps we can agree that a European party go with us to see the place which is said to be producing chemical weapons..." Chirac was non-committal: "I don't have enough information on this subject to comment." On 9 April, Mubarak issued another call for calm, this time in a CNN interview: "We will do our utmost. If there are chemicals, we will do our best...to get rid of this factory and stop this... But we are against using force to do that. Military actions would cause a hell of a lot of problems in this part of the world."

On 7 April, the Arab League, meeting in Cairo, issued a statement defending Libya's honour: "Libya has repeatedly said it has no intention to produce chemical weapons and had denied having such a programme... Members of the international community must work towards making the Middle East a region free of weapons of mass destruction and particularly free of nuclear weapons as Israel is the only country in the region that owns any." The statement also criticised the perceived belligerence of recent US pronouncements: "The League expresses its regret at such comments... It is important for all countries and their representatives to deal with problems calmly and diplomatically and without threat of using violence." League President Esmet Abdul Meguid issued his own statement urging restraint: "All nations must adhere to treating problems by peaceful diplomatic means without threats."

On 11 April, Russia added its voice to those counselling against military action. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mikhail Demurin told reporters: "These threats are not based on any evidence. The use of military force is unacceptable, whatever the motives."

New measures and accusations against Iraq

The process of verifying the complete destruction of Iraq's stocks of, and programmes to develop, weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, and of asserting Iraq's incapacity to regroup and re-start those programmes, continued apace during the period under review without seeming to be brought any nearer a conclusion.

On 11 April, the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) on Iraq submitted its latest full-length update, the first since December. The tale was a familiar one: "In all areas for which the Commission has responsibility, Iraq has yet to provide sufficient evidence that it does not still possess proscribed weapons or materials related to them..." Most striking of all, perhaps, was the report's claim that "it is prudent to assume that Iraq retains the theoretical capability to produce nuclear weapons-usable material to fabricate nuclear weapons and to design and manufacture a missile delivery system."

The UNSCOM report, compiled by Commission Chair Rolf Ekeus of Sweden, said that the main problem remained ascertaining the extent of the destruction of materials and evidence which Iraq claims took place in 1991: "The Commission's concerns stem particularly from the difficulties encountered in substantiating Iraq's claims that...in flagrant violation of its obligations...it secretly destroyed large quantities of these prohibited weapons and materials instead of declaring and handing [them] over for the Commission's verification." Consequently: "Iraq must now provide solid evidence on the list of proscribed items involved and on their actual destruction.."

Reportedly, UNSCOM characterised Iraq's missile stocks and production-capability as its "foremost concern", and claimed that Iraq's pre-Gulf War programme for developing long-range missiles was "more advanced than previously declared." Between six and twenty long-range missiles remained unaccounted for, reports suggested. After a private 18 March briefing to the Security Council, Ekeus told the press: "our concerns are still such that we have not cleared up completely that Iraq is free from prohibited missiles." On 20 March, addressing a US Senate Committee, Ekeus spoke about "serious concern about remnants of a missile programme in Iraq, because if they have that they can deliver biological and chemical agents." However, asked whether he was confident that Iraq currently possessed no chemical or biological warheads, he replied "precisely so".

In lieu of the successful completion of UNSCOM's work, a lifting of the sanctions against Iraq - reviewed every 60 days by the Security Council - seems highly improbable. The next review is scheduled for 6 May.

Negotiations to arrange emergency oil sales by Iraq to raise funds for humanitarian supplies were not de-railed by the UNSCOM findings. However, as of mid-April, neither had they been concluded. The Security Council is reportedly offering Iraq a $1 billion sale every 90 days. On 14 April, the head of Iraq's negotiating team, Abdul al-Anbari, said the Council had made important, late revisions to the conditions attached to the deal:

"I'm puzzled that the UN Secretariat, under pressure from some member countries, is changing the goal posts... until we have an agreement on everything, we don't have an agreement. ... I have to put an end to this game of taking something back that's been agreed to..."

On 28 March, perhaps anticipating a gloomy UNSCOM report following Ekeus's 18 March briefing, the Security Council passed Resolution 1051 establishing a new mechanism to review efforts to prevent a resurgent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programme. See Documents and Sources for text and details.

In Dubai on 17 March, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - consisting of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - urged the United Nations "to continue [putting] pressure on the Iraqi regime until it continues implementing" the string of Security Council resolutions put in place post-Gulf War. The GCC statement continued:

"The Council has noted with regret [that] the Iraqi regime is still producing bacteriological weapons of epidemic nature likely to be detrimental to Iraq itself and the region, in addition to producing chemical weapons..."

Russia adopts chemical weapons destruction plan

On 27 March, a government decree was passed adopting a plan for the destruction of Russia's huge stocks of chemical weapons by 2009. According to reports, the plan, entitled 'Destruction of Chemical Weapon Stocks in the Russian Federaation', requires the destruction of all toxin stocks - first those in containers, then those in munitions - between 1998-2005.

Troublesome launch for new arms exports agreement

On 2-3 April in Vienna, 31 States met to inaugurate the Wassenaar Arrangement, a new arms exports agreement. The agreement, finalised by 28 States in the Dutch town of Wassenaar in December 1995 (see issue 2, February 1996), seeks to prevent the transfer of conventional weapons and dual-use technology to States regarded as expansionist, threatening and/or seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

The inaugural meeting was overshadowed by a row between Russia and the United States over the extent of transparency in arms sales appropriate under the new regime. According to a 'Western official' involved in the talks, commenting anonymously on 4 April:

"The United States and Russia were unable to agree. The meeting has been broken off and will reconvene in early July... The talks broke down Wednesday night [3 April] due to a discussion between the United States and Russia over whether members had to circulate information on exports of conventional weapons and dual-use technology... This is the point that will have to be dealt with on a bilateral basis in the next few months until we reconvene..."

According to another unnamed source, speaking on 2 April: "This refusal [of Russia's] is really threatening the whole regime... Without the notification of weapons sales you are lacking seriousness."

The Arrangement's membership is made up of 15 NATO States (the total Alliance membership bar Iceland), five former Warsaw Pact States - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia and Slovakia - and eleven other countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Romania, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland.

Of other States hoping to be admitted, Bulgaria on 3 April expressed extreme unhappiness that it remained excluded. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Panteleri Karasimeonov told reporters in Sofia: "We express discontent [at] the fact that we are not among the founder-States and we hope that this apparent injustice will soon be remedied." According to another Foreign Ministry official, Georgi Dimitrov, only the United States was opposed to Bulgaria's immediate admission.

Despite the apparent rancour and evident lack of progress at the meeting - which was conducted behind closed doors - participants attempted to sound up-beat. On 3 April, an unnamed German delegate told reporters that "Germany welcomes the new export regime...[which is] a first step towards the global harmonisation of export policies."

Weighty US voices back landmines ban

The US appears to be nearer than ever to energetically backing the call for a worldwide ban on landmines - a goal which it already endorses as a long-term objective. Specifically, support is growing within the US military for an American decision to stop equipping its forces with landmines - a move which in itself would be a significant boost for the cause of a global ban.

On 18 March, Department of Defense spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Michael Wood announced that "the Department...is reviewing its policies on the future use of anti-personnel landmines." The previous day, the New York Times reported that such a review was being called for by the Chair of the US Chiefs of Staff, Army General John Shalikashvili. Shalikashvili, according to a source quoted in the report, was "inclined to eliminate all anti- personnel landmines."

On 22 March, the Washington Post reported that a group of senior retired military officers had written to President Clinton urging that the US seek a ban on both humanitarian and military grounds. The most famous signatory was former Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of US forces in the Gulf War.

US assistance for Laos de-mining

At the end of March, the US and Laos signed a Memorandum-of- Understanding under which the US will assist and fund - to the tune of $2.7 million - Laotian mine-clearance efforts. The co- operation is part of the demining-assistance programme established by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Laos in March 1995. According to the UNDP's Ian Mansfield, speaking on 11 April:

"This unprecedented [US-Laos] agreement is an important step in establishing a self-sufficient Lao capability, and ridding the country of this legacy of war..."

Australia suspends use of landmines

On 15 April, Australia's Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Alexander Downer) and Defence (Ian McLachlan) announced that Australia's armed forces would cease to be equipped with landmines. The joint statement read:

"The indiscriminate use of landmines has created a humanitarian and economic crisis of massive proportions... By joining the small but growing number of countries which have suspended the use of landmines by their national defence forces, Australia hopes...to add weight to the international campaign for a global ban on the use, transfer, production and stockpiling of landmines."

The move was immediately welcomed by Cambodia's Information Minister Ieng Mouly, who stated (15 April):

"We welcome the decision of Australia...[as] we welcome any initiative to ban landmines... As a victim country, we don't want to see any country use landmines..."

Red Cross study doubts military utility of landmines

On 28 March, a study on the military utility of landmines, conducted by military officers on behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross, was released in Geneva. The report (see Documents and Sources) decisively rejected all military justifications for the continued use of the devices.

The report's main author was retired UK Army Brigadier Patrick Blagden.

South Africa offers de-mining services

On 11 April, South Africa's official arms company, ARMSCOR, launched a campaign aiming to persuade other States to avail themselves of its de-mining services and technologies. Heading the campaign is former Army General Shai Mulder, who reportedly described South Africa as the world's leading authority in, and exponent of, mines clearance. Referring to the scale of the potential demand which could be satisfied by such a 'market leader' as ARMSCOR, Mulder told reporters:

"Landmines never miss... There are 23 million landmines in Egypt, 16 million in Iran, from 9 to 15 million in Angola and 2-3 million in Bosnia..."

Thailand pushes for Asia-Pacific arms transparency

On 20 March, Thailand's Defence Minister, General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, said that regional arrangements should be put in place to couple arms build-ups - with which the General saw nothing wrong - with increased transparency. Speaking at a conference of military and security analysts in Sampran, Thailand, Yongchaiyudh enthused:

"It is natural that economic progress will lead to efforts to modernise...armed forces. However, measures should be sought to ensure that the development of military power is carried out with greater transparency... Arms procurement and military preparedness are necessary to provide confidence for a nation's inhabitants. If such [transparency] measures succeeded in decreasing the risk of war by a mere fraction of one per cent, they would still be worthwhile..."

UN fund for demilitarisation in Central Africa

The UN is establishing what reports describe as a 'trust fund' to support efforts to demilitarise Central Africa. One of the main priorities, according to Prvoslav Davinic of the UN Centre for Disarmament, quoted on 2 April, will be to try to restrain the trade in small arms: "we have not been paying as much attention to small arms as we should."

Reportedly, the fund will also seek to encourage the establishment of a regional arms register to document transfers of more substantial weapons systems.

The fund's major donor to date has been Japan, which has reportedly contributed $600,000.

A UN 11-State (Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, and Zaire) Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa is also being established to coordinate the confidence-building process. The Committee is scheduled to meet for the first time in Cameroon on 18-19 April.

US non-lethal weapons programme

On 22 April, US Under-Secretary of Defense Paul Kaminski outlined a $5.2 million programme of spending on 'non-lethal' weapons in 1996. Apparently, the money will have to be made available through savings in other programmes.

The US has identified three major uses for the new weapons: peacekeeping and peace enforcement; provision of humanitarian assistance; and safeguarding non-combatant evacuations.

The programme includes $2.4 million of equipment for the Air Force, principally sponge grenades, rubber pellets and batons; $2.1 million of similar equipment, plus 'riot dispensers', for the Marine Corps; and over $1.5 million for the Army, on research and development and ($750,000) 'acoustics bio-effects'. In addition, a report on the Department's long-term requirements for non-lethal weapons will be funded.

Disarmament Diplomacy is edited by Dr. Sean Howard with the assistance of Richard Jones and Simon Robinson. The review is available on the World-Wide Web (http://www.gn.apc.org/dfax) and on e-mail (send the following message - SUBSCRIBE DFAX Name - to listproc@csf.colorado.edu).

Return to main page

Return to top of page