U.N. Disarmament Panel Agrees to Form Agenda Working Group

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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 16, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

The in­ter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on Dis­arm­a­ment on Fri­day agreed to a plan aimed at sur­mount­ing years of para­lys­is, by cre­at­ing an in­form­al work­ing group tasked with de­vel­op­ing a plan for im­ple­ment­ing the body’s agenda.

All 65 mem­ber states of the U.N.-sponsored for­um, as well as coun­tries with ob­serv­er status at the 2013 ses­sion, were in­vited to par­ti­cip­ate in the work­ing group, ac­cord­ing to the ad­op­ted de­cision. The group will meet for the bal­ance of the cur­rent ses­sion and can be re­con­vened, if deemed ne­ces­sary, for the 2014 term.

The Con­fer­ence on Dis­arm­a­ment has been un­able to achieve a con­sensus around ne­go­ti­at­ing any new arms con­trol treaty in 16 years. The last work plan was ap­proved in 2009 but then can­celed after Pakistan with­drew its sup­port.

The United States has signaled it wants the new group to in­clude in the work plan the open­ing of ne­go­ti­ations for a treaty that would ban the pro­duc­tion of any new nuc­le­ar weapons-grade ma­ter­i­al.

The or­gan­iz­a­tion Reach­ing Crit­ic­al Will, which pro­motes nuc­le­ar dis­arm­a­ment, voiced sup­port for the con­fer­ence’s Fri­day de­cision.

The work­ing group of­fers the pos­sib­il­ity of help­ing break the long im­passe, but “it doesn’t make up for the fact that it has be­come ob­vi­ous that the 16 years of dead­lock has sig­ni­fic­antly lowered the bar for what con­sti­tutes pro­gress,” ac­cord­ing to a blog post by Be­atrice Fihn, the ad­vocacy group’s man­ager.


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