U.N. Disarmament Gathering Highlights Nuclear Tensions


Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire
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 »
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
1 days ago

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
1 days ago

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
1 days ago

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
20 hours ago

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
7 hours ago

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.