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To disarm or not to disarm? Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty enters crunch week!

Parliamentary action could make a difference!

May 22, 2010

Dear PNND members and supporters,

The 2010 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference – the first multilateral nuclear disarmament conference since President Obama announced his vision for a nuclear weapons-free world in Prague – enters its fourth and final week on Monday 24 May. A high-noon stand-off that could scuttle the conference looms between the majority of non-nuclear countries that want to see action to implement such a vision, and the nuclear weapon States that seem poised to resist anything more than the initial steps to which they agreed in 2000.

After a stunning opening two weeks which saw strong support for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s five-point plan including a nuclear weapons convention (international treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons), the third week of the conference gave way to confrontation over Iran’s nuclear energy program and resistance to proposed timelines and new disarmament measures.

There is still hope that the political momentum generated at the opening of the conference will reignite in the final week and encourage the nuclear weapon States to agree to some of the practical steps, particularly those being proposed to address the legal, political, institutional and technical issues that have so far prevented the phasing out of nuclear deterrence and the building of a nuclear abolition regime.

Parliamentary action now can make a difference!

A Draft Action Plan, released on 19 May by Ambassador Alexander Marschik of Austria, Chair of the NPT subsidiary body discussing nuclear disarmament, includes a number of practical and forward-looking proposals such as:

  Marschik and Duarte, CTBT event 2009
Ambassador Marschik with UN High Representative Sergio Duarte, at an event on the CTBT co-sponsored by the Government of Austria and Global Security Institute,
April 2009

  • "All States should make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons. The Five-Point Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, which proposes inter alia the consideration of a nuclear weapons convention or a framework of separate mutually reinforcing instruments, backed by a strong system of verification, contributes toward this goal";

  • "The nuclear weapon states are called upon to convene timely consultations which should inter alia aim to

           a) rapidly pursue on overall reduction in the global stockpile of all types of nuclear weapons…;

           b) address the question of all types of nuclear weapons and related infrastructure located on the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States;

           c) further diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons in all military and security concepts, doctrines and policies;

           d) discuss declaratory policies, including mutual pledges of no-first-use…;

           e) consider further reducing the operational status of nuclear weapons…;

           f) reduce the risk of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons;

           g) further enhance security and increase mutual confidence."

  • "Based on the outcome of these consultations, the Secretary-General of the United Nations is invited to convene and open-ended high-level meeting to take stock and agree on a roadmap for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, including by means of a universal legal instrument.

    Parliamentarians can ensure that these, and other practical recommendations in the draft action plan, are accepted and adopted this week, by communicating their support to their governments.

    For more information see:

    - 2010 NPT Review Conference – Reaching Critical Will site

    - Official UN website

    - Parliamentarians join UN Secretary-General to urge progress at the NPT

    - Parliamentary actions presented to UN Secretary-General

    - Inter-Parliamentary Union calls on NPT to advance UNSG’s plan

    - NPT News in Review

    - Acronym Institute Blog

    - NPT TV

    - Abolition Caucus Statement on MCI and SBI drafts