Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The United Kingdom acts to globalize nuclear disarmament progress

On February 5, 2008, the British Secretary of Defence Des Browne addressed the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on “Laying the Foundations for Multilateral Disarmament.” He made a bold statement of the United Kingdom’s commitment to its nuclear disarmament obligations:
“The UK has a vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and, in partnership with everyone who shares that ambition, we intend to make further progress towards this vision in the coming years.”
Browne continues, emphasizing the need for progress nuclear disarmament to be verifiable, not only to the nuclear weapons “haves,” but also to the non-nuclear weapons states:
“Our chances of eliminating nuclear weapons will be enhanced immeasurably if the Non-Nuclear Weapon States can see forward planning, commitment and action toward multilateral nuclear disarmament by Nuclear Weapon States. Without this, we risk generating the perception that the Nuclear Weapon States are failing to fulfil their disarmament obligations and this will be used by some states as an excuse for their nuclear intransigence.”
Browne reminds us that nuclear armament and disarmament are global issues, just as the obligation in Article VI of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) apply to all states parties to the Treaty. The Government of the United Kingdom has again made clear that it will not abdicate its responsibility for nuclear disarmament nor will it exclude its NPT partners, particularly with regard to its new initiative to develop new technologies for verifying nuclear disarmament.
“Developing such techniques will take time but it is very important it is not undertaken in ‘splendid isolation’. It must be built on the requirements of Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Weapon States alike. We need to consider not only what information we are willing to divulge but also what information a Non-Nuclear Weapon State will want to receive.”
Finally, Browne made a strong new proposal to host a conference to actively involve technical specialists from the national laboratories of the United Kingdom, United States, Russia, France, and China:

“the UK is willing to host a technical conference of P5 nuclear laboratories on
the verification of nuclear disarmament before the next NPT Review Conference in
2010. We hope such a conference will enable the five recognised nuclear
weapons states to reinforce a process of mutual confidence building: working
together to solve some of these difficult technical issues."

1 comment:

  1. The immediate step to globalize nuclear progress is to lobby for the passage of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty(CTBT). It still lies without entering into force exactly for the last 12 years. It was kept open for signatures on 24 Sept 1996 at New York. Main obstructionists are the USA and China.

    See my blog on CTBT on the site given below:

    Suraj Jain

    Sept 24,2008