U.N. Disarmament Gathering Highlights Nuclear Tensions

Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire
Sept. 26, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

Ex­perts mon­it­or­ing a U.N. gath­er­ing that con­vened Thursday to dis­cuss atom­ic-weapons elim­in­a­tion said they ex­pec­ted the event to re­veal ten­sions that have long di­vided nuc­le­ar-armed na­tions from much of the world.

None of the five coun­tries with re­cog­nized nuc­le­ar ar­sen­als ori­gin­ally sup­por­ted con­ven­ing the one-day High-level Meet­ing on Nuc­le­ar Dis­arm­a­ment in New York. An in­de­pend­ent U.N. think tank, though, has held out hope that Thursday’s for­um could fo­cus new at­ten­tion on in­ter­na­tion­al ini­ti­at­ives to elim­in­ate nuc­le­ar arms, and pos­sibly build mo­mentum be­hind ef­forts to re­vive the Con­fer­ence on Dis­arm­a­ment — the world’s only per­man­ent dis­arm­a­ment for­um — from polit­ic­al stas­is.

“In sub­stance, every­body’s aware that noth­ing much will hap­pen” at the event, said Marc Fin­aud, a seni­or res­id­ent fel­low with the U.N. In­sti­tute for Dis­arm­a­ment Re­search. The meet­ing is “not a frame­work for ne­go­ti­ation,” and would con­sist largely of “a series of mono­logues” by dip­lo­mats and spokespeople for non­gov­ern­ment­al groups, he said in a Tues­day tele­phone in­ter­view.

Brit­ish dip­lo­mat Guy Pol­lard last year voiced puz­zle­ment over how the planned gath­er­ing could ad­vance the goals of 3-year-old “road map” backed by sig­nat­or­ies to the Nuc­le­ar Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Treaty. That pact only re­cog­nizes the nuc­le­ar ar­sen­als of the United King­dom and four oth­er coun­tries: China, France, Rus­sia, and the United States.

The “P-5” na­tions made plans to at­tend, though, when an out­cry en­sued over their de­cision to boy­cott nuc­le­ar-ab­ol­i­tion work­ing-group talks held over the sum­mer, Fin­aud said.

“The P-5 ac­tu­ally real­ized that maybe it was not a good policy to be ab­sent from the room” after see­ing “frus­tra­tion” mount over their de­cision earli­er this year, ac­cord­ing to Fin­aud, who was sched­uled to speak at a side dis­cus­sion on mak­ing the most of Thursday’s main meet­ing.

U.N. Sec­ret­ary Gen­er­al Ban Ki-moon opened Thursday’s meet­ing with a plea for non­pro­lif­er­a­tion-treaty hol­d­outs to sign onto the pact. In­dia, Pakistan and North Korea have nuc­le­ar-weapons pro­grams out­side the non­pro­lif­er­a­tion re­gime, and join­ing un­der its cur­rent lan­guage would re­quire them to give up those arms. The same could ap­ply to Is­rael, a non-sig­nat­ory that has neither con­firmed nor denied pos­sess­ing an atom­ic ar­sen­al.

The U.N. chief also urged Ir­an to an­swer long-stand­ing ques­tions about its nuc­le­ar pro­gram. Ir­a­ni­an ne­go­ti­at­ors are due on Fri­day to join new talks aimed at clear­ing the way for in­ter­na­tion­al in­vest­ig­at­ors to ex­am­ine wheth­er Tehran once took sci­entif­ic steps tied to nuc­le­ar-arms de­vel­op­ment.

What We're Following See More »
House Republicans Pour Cold Water On 35 Percent Tariff
2 hours ago

Donald Trump went on a Twitter rampage Sunday morning, promising a 35 percent tariff on goods imported by businesses that leave America. Not so fast, say Republican leaders in Congress. "I don’t want to get into some kind of trade war," said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a comment later reiterated by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who instead called for overhaul of corporate taxes instead of a punitive tax.

Al Gore Meets with Ivanka and Donald Trump
2 hours ago

Former Vice President Al Gore found himself in a room with Donald Trump Monday just after meeting with Trump's daughter, Ivanka. Gore discussed the topic of climate change with both Trumps and called his discussion with Donald Trump "extremely interesting." It remains to be seen if Donald Trump will deal with the topic of climate change during his presidency.

Funding Bill To Be Released Tuesday
3 hours ago

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Monday that the government funding bill will be released on Tuesday. The bill is the last piece of legislation Congress needs to pass before leaving for the year and is expected to fund the government through the spring. The exact time date the bill would fund the government through is unclear, though it is expected to be in April or May.

Mayor Bowser to Sit Down with Trump
5 hours ago

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is making the pilgrimage to Trump Tower tomorrow, where she and Chief of Staff John Falchiccio and Senior Adviser Beverly Perry will meet with President-elect Donald Trump. In a statement, she said she'd be discussing "DC’s growth and common areas of interest."

Pat McCrory Finally Concedes
7 hours ago

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.