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PNND Alert – US President Obama’s message
to the NPT preparatory meeting:

Chairs’ draft recommendations to be decided this week

Dear PNND Members and Friends,

PrepCom in session
photo credit: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs

A significant opportunity has arisen this week to make progress on significant multilateral nuclear disarmament steps and to build momentum for the achievement of a nuclear-weapons-free world. On 5 May US President Obama sent an inspiring message to the opening day at the United Nations of the two-week long preparatory meeting (Prep Com) for the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference - the first multilateral intergovernmental forum for non-proliferation and disarmament since President Obama was elected. This set the scene for a speedy adoption of the agenda for 2010 – something that was expected to be subject to political difficulties and delays.

Following this positive start to the meeting, on 8 May the Chair Ambassador Boniface G. Chidyausiku released a paper entitled Draft Recommendations to the Review Conference for discussion and potential adoption by the end of the conference on May 15.

The paper includes recommendations on key steps such as:

  • Entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;
  • Commencing negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a fissile materials treaty;
  • Expanding transparency with respect to nuclear weapons holdings;
  • Ensuring disarmament steps are irreversible;
  • Reducing the operational readiness to use nuclear weapons;
  • Further diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in security policies;
  • Refraining from modernisation or improvement of nuclear weapons systems;
  • Establishment of additional Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zones.

The paper also recommends that States Parties “Examine, inter alia, ways and means to commence negotiations, in accordance with Article VI, on a convention or framework of agreements to achieve global nuclear disarmament, and to engage non-Parties to the Treaty.”

These recommendations reflect the many statements and working papers submitted to the NPT Prep Coms in 2007, 2008 and 2009 as well as the recommendations in the UN Secretary-General’s five point plan released in October 2008, the many statements of political leaders and former leaders, the recent Inter-Parliamentary Union resolution and European Parliament report/resolution, and the many civil society initiatives.

H.E. Mr. Boniface Guwa Chidyausiku, Chairman of the Third Preparatory Committee conference

Adoption of the Draft Recommendations to the Review Conference would signify that governments are ready to take these ideas seriously and to start work on their implementation. However, there is a very real possibility that attempts will be made by some States to water down the draft recommendations – especially those calling for more comprehensive goals such as the convention or framework of agreements.

Mayors for Peace has also proposed that the 2010 NPT Review Conference adopt a decision based on the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Protocol which would fast-track a prohibition on the use of nuclear weapons and place a timeline on conclusion of a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

Parliamentarians, mayors and civil society representatives observing the NPT Prep Com have put out a call to their colleagues around the world to support the Chair’s draft recommendations by contacting their Foreign Ministers, Foreign Ministries, UN Ambassadors/Missions in New York and Ambassador Boniface G. Chidyausiku the Chair of the 2009 NPT Prep Com.

Contact Ambassador Boniface G. Chidyausiku
Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the United Nations
128 E. 56th Street New York, NY 10022
Tel: +1 212-980-9511
Fax: +1 212-308-6705
Email: zimbabwe@un.int

For more information see 2009 NPT Preparatory Committee.