Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee

April/May 2003

From: Dave Knight



The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force, became international law, in 1970 and now all countries are members except four: India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea (which has just withdrawn).

The NPT was a deal between Nuclear Weapon States (NWS): China, France, UK, US and USSR (now Russia), and the Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS). The NWS promised to carry out nuclear disarmament (under Article VI of the Treaty) but (unfortunately) allow the spread of so-called ‘peaceful’ nuclear energy and the NNWS promised to not develop and deploy nuclear weapons.

The NPT was indefinitely extended in 1995 on the promise of greater accountability by the NWS in particular, since they had clearly not carried out their part of the bargain. There is a 4week Review Conference (RevCon) every 5 years, with 3 Preparatory Committees (PrepComs), each lasting 2weeks, in between and nearly all states attend.

The NNWS have for the most part kept their side of the deal. However, of the non-member states India, Pakistan and Israel definitely possess nuclear weapons and North Korea may have 1 or 2.

At the 2000 RevCon the NWS made an unequivocal commitment to the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals and agreed 13 steps to carry this out.      The point concerning the ABM Treaty and START II and III has already been lost.

This year

The PrepCom this year will be focused on compliance with the NPT: Iraq, North Korea and Article VI. In addition the Middle East and Israel’s nuclear arsenal will figure highly as well as the reporting by states on their activities in support of the Treaty and how the Treaty could operate between meetings. The fears of NNWS with regard to the Nuclear Posture of the US in particular, lead them to doubt the Negative Security Assurances (NSAs) given them by the NWS: that they would not use nuclear weapons against them.

 What we can do

Missile defense and the militarisation of space may be well down the official agenda but it is important to raise these specific issues and how they relate to global (in)security.

We are not alone! There are states still willing to try to carry the disarmament agenda forward, despite considerable opposition, particularly from the United States.

In addition the work of Non-Governmental Organisations is supported by many states.

We have wide support for our views on missile defense and even wider for those on weaponisation of space (see reports from the UN First Committee).

Highlighting the dangers of Theatre Missile Defense is crucial since so many countries are being ‘tied in’ to the missile defense concept through TMD. In addition promoting the declaration by space-user states of Independent Moratoriums on the Development and Deployment of Weapons in Space will enhance the likelihood of a Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space Treaty (see separate Briefing).

 This year’s PrepCom is being held in Geneva and I shall be there for a week, to lobby Delegates on behalf of the Global Network, focussing on the militarisation and weaponisation of space and missile defence and how they relate to the international nuclear disarmament process. GN Board member Regina Hagen will be making a presentation to the PrepCom and we will be launching a European Working Group on Missile Defence and Space Weaponisation.

But lobbying of their own governments by members of the Global Network will greatly enhance the chances of keeping our issues on the disarmament agenda.

So please write, fax, email or phone your Foreign Ministry/State Department urging them to reject missile defence, the militarisation of space and nuclear deterrence.

Demand that they carry out their nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation obligations under the NPT, support "universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory agreements" on ballistic missiles and a treaty on PAROS and declare a Moratorium on the Development and Deployment of Weapons in Space.

If your country is ‘one of the good guys’ encourage them in their efforts.

Contact information for your country’s Foreign Ministry can be found at:

Try, also, to get friendly politicians to raise the issue in your Parliament/Representative Body.

Finally, as difficult as it is, please try to raise media interest in the process. A media spotlight might encourage more action!

Only the involvement of radical campaigns will lead to radical treaties.


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