Snail's progress at Conference on Disarmament in Geneva

The very useful CD (Conference on Disarmament) Report put out by the excellent ReachingCriticalWill project reports on the conclusion of this year’s CD work by implying that there might have been a very slight movement forward.

Reading this CD Report, however, one gets the distinct impression that what is being viewed as progress is a mobbing situation, where constant attempts are made to isolate and blame China for causing the difficulties in the CD.

China has insisted that it can only agree to start work on negotiating a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), which the U.S. wants, if China’s top priority, which is the Prevention of An Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), is also given some attention.

China has been given critical support by Russia — though Western European diplomats have been watching with relish and malicious glee for any possible weakening in Russia’s position (though this has not happened so far).

ReachingCriticalWill’s Report says that “The annual CD report reflects the progress of the 2007 session towards consensus on a program of work by chronicling the development of the ‘Presidential Proposal’, beginning with the Presidential Draft Decision (L.1) put forth by Sweden in the first session, followed by the introduction of a clarifying Complementary Presidential Statement and the Draft Decision of the Conference in the second session, which linked the three documents in a concise package. The report does not go into detail about the substantive thematic informal discussions, but rather lists documents produced in relation to these discussions, including the Coordinator’s reports. In his statement, Ambassador Kahn of Pakistan raised the question of why a fissile materials treaty was dealt with under agenda item 2, prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters, instead of agenda item 1, cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament. The report answered this question (paragraph 41) by ‘recognizing that the issues of the prohibition of production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices is pertinent to agenda item 1, this topic was discussed under agenda item 2, for practical reasons’ … In contrast, last year’s report included minimal description of the process of work on the agenda items. It listed a timetable for discussion of substantive issues, based on the P6 joint proposal, which experts from capitals participated in. In September 2006, when the CD was discussing the annual report, the Netherlands suggested the report be used as a vehicle to endorse the timetable for substantive discussions that could be built upon in 2007. However, the final report did not include any conclusions or recommendations, except to request that the incoming Presidents conduct consultations during the intersessional period and to make recommendations based on all relevant proposals, views, and discussions (paragraph 25). The 2007 annual report does note the situation that developed in the CD when certain Member States continued to block consensus on the Proposal while the majority of the Conference was ready to move forward … Looking ahead to continuing the progress made in the CD this year, many delegations took the floor to express their frustration and hopes for achieving a consensus on the L.1 package. It will remain a focal point of the work of the 2008 session. Other delegations highlighted the continuation of work on a Fissile Materials Treaty (FMT) and Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) in next year’s session”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *