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Disarmament Times Summer 2010 Email

Published since 1978 by the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security

Opinion / Sergio Duarte
Many commentators have concluded that the 2010 NPT Review Conference was a success just in reaching consensus on a substantive final document. But the real success of the conference was less in its documentation of progress in fulfilling the goals of the treaty and more in the seeds of future action that were planted.
 
Sergio Duarte is the U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and heads the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs.
 
On 28 May, the 2010 NPT Review Conference adopted by consensus a final document and forward-looking action plan. While hailed by many as a success, the carefully crafted document essentially preserves the status quo on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. How then should we view the 2010 Review Conference? Adoption of the final document is perhaps not the best measure of its success or failure – or even its primary achievement. Its most significant contribution may well be the emergence of a new debate on the relevance and legality of nuclear weapons and the overwhelming support from the vast majority of countries for a legally-binding agreement to achieve their abolition.
 
Ray Acheson is the project director of Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
 
Opinion / John Burroughs
The Nuclear Posture Review publicly released by the U.S. Department of Defense on 6 April 2010, while a marked improvement over recent past reviews, largely carries forward decades-old policies regarding deployment of nuclear forces, modernization of infrastructure and nuclear forces, arms control and disarmament, and doctrine on use. While it proclaims a U.S. commitment to the long term goal of eliminating nuclear weapons globally, in many respects it conveys the opposite intention.
 
John Burroughs is the executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy.
 
Opinion / Daryl Kimball
With a strong push from Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, U.S. and Russian negotiators have concluded the most important strategic nuclear arms reduction treaty in nearly two decades. The new treaty limits deployed strategic warheads and delivery vehicles and replaces the previous verification regime with a more effective and up-to-date system to monitor compliance. Now the U.S. administration must undertake a smart effort to mobilize Senate support for the treaty, and then the U.S. and Russia should announce their readiness to resume consultations on the next round of arms reductions.
 
Daryl Kimball is the executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Arms Control Association.
 
Opinion / Tim Wright
In the course of the month-long NPT Review Conference more than 130 states parties expressed their support for a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention. But in the end the conference was unable to reach agreement to pursue negotiations on such a convention. Given widespread support from governments and civil society, there may be opportunities to revive the idea in a forum that does not require consensus.
Tim Wright works for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
 
MIDDLE EAST NUCLEAR WEAPON FREE ZONE Front and Center
Dominic Moran
As in past treaty reviews, the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction was an important focus of this year’s NPT Review Conference. Indeed reaching consensus on this year’s final document depended in large part on successful negotiation of this issue. In the end there was agreement to convene a 2012 conference in the Middle East, but its future is uncertain given that both Israel and the U.S. have made statements opposing the idea.
 
Dominic Moran is the senior Middle East correspondent for ISN Security Watch and works as an analyst for Greenpeace.
 
NEWS in BRIEF
Governments met for the Fourth Biennial Meeting of States, 14-18 June, to review progress on the U.N. Program of Action on Small Arms and agreed to strengthen cooperation to reduce gun trafficking and armed violence.
 
 
 
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