Parliamentary Update 9th June 2015

Attachments: Parliamentary Update - Acronym 09.06.2015.pdf
9 June 2015

elsewhere in Europe.

Another encircling of the base occurred in December that year with 50,000 women. Sections of the fence were cut and there were hundreds of arrests. Weapons were kept at the base from November 1983 to March 1991 when they were removed as a result of disarmament treaties signed by the US and the USSR. The last four protesters left the site in 2000. Mr Hammond said there was ‘no clear sign’ of an imminent attack on Ukraine but said President Putin was ‘keeping his options open’.

The Foreign Secretary told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show Russia has a ‘sense of being surrounded and under attack and we don’t want to make unnecessary provocations’. David Cameron said yesterday he was hopeful the G7 summit would show ‘a united front against Russian-backed aggression’ in Ukraine. He said sanctions imposed on Moscow following the annexation of Crimea last year should be retained when they come up for renewal at the end of July.

View Original Article here.

 

Reviewing a review conference: can there ever be a successful NPT RevCon?

 

Henrik Salander, Former Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Secretary-General of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission.

June 8th 2015.

 

Every time an NPT Review Conference (RevCon) ends without a final consensus document, it is seen as a serious failure and a sign that the Treaty may be falling apart. So far, this has been an exaggeration. Expectations were already low before this year’s RevCon ended without agreement. It is clear that the NPT has been under pressure for a long time. State parties have been disappointed with the Treaty for over two decades for diverging reasons: many want more disarmament, others want more effective non-proliferation. Since 1995 every RevCon has triggered a combination of hope and fear, later followed by disappointment.

The undertakings that secured the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995 have been delayed or unfulfilled: the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the disarmament objectives and the Middle East agreement. Similarly, after 2000 all of these and several additional agreements have been left hanging: the operational status of nuclear weapons, their diminishing role, tactical weapons, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) process. This has bred frustration amongst the Non-Nuclear-Weapon States (NNWS), for whom the slow reductions in nuclear weapons numbers can’t satisfy. For the NNWS, it doesn’t matter much whether present Nuclear-Weapons States (NWS) have 20,000 or 10,000 warheads between them.

Despite the talk of the NPT being in a crisis, there are no criteria against which success or failure of the Review Conferences can be measured. The RevCons of 1980, 1990, 2005 and 2015 ended without agreement (”failures”), whereas those of 1975, 1985, 1995, 2000 and 2010 produced consensus documents (”successes”). But there is no discernible correlation between those outcomes and what happened afterwards in nuclear weapons policy and politics.

This doesn’t mean however that NPT Review Conferences are unimportant.

Can we know what a consensus agreement is worth? No, because it is impossible to know whether promises and undertakings will be upheld or not. Consequently, it is also impossible to know whether it is good or bad to get a consensus outcome that most governments don’t like, as is most often the case with hard-fought compromises. Again this year, delegations and governments were genuinely unsure. Are principled substantive positions better in the long run (even with failed conferences and no agreements) than pragmatic and practical compromises? Nobody can know, since nobody knows whether the compromises will be adhered to.

Let’s say that the next NPT RevCon in 2020 ends in “failure”. That would be the first time that two consecutive RevCons crash. Will that be disastrous? My tentative answer would be probably not in the short term, but possibly in the longer. At the very least, two consecutive NPT non-agreements would make all multilateral approaches to the nuclear-weapons regime much more difficult to manage, perhaps impossible. This pertains not only to disarmament but also to the most pressing non-proliferation problems, such as Iran and North Korea.

It is possible that the longer-term fate of the NPT will be viewed differently before the next Review Conference. The frustration that has built up among NNWS may result in unexpected developments taking place before 2020.

Behind the sour mood and

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