Disarmament Dialogue VI: The Impact and Future of Nuclear Disarmament Initiatives

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November 3, 2014

About the Event

Disarmament Dialogue VI

Indonesia’s Ambassador Desra Percaya hosted; CNS’s William Potter moderated.

On October 10, 2014, CNS and the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations co-hosted the sixth round of the “Disarmament Dialogue” series. Titled “The Impact and the Future of Nuclear Disarmament Initiatives,” this gathering of more than a dozen like-minded states sought to address a broad set of disarmament issues and clarify progress, goals, and objectives leading toward the 2015 Review Conference (RevCon) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  Indonesia’s Ambassador Desra Percaya hosted the dialogue, with CNS Director Dr. William Potter moderating.

Nuclear Disarmament Initiatives

Nuclear Disarmament Initiatives Panel

The informal, off-the-record session sought to assess the status and potential of disarmament initiatives, particularly those with the biggest potential impact on the RevCon, such as the growing focus on humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons. With this in mind, participants discussed various proposals and approaches to advancing the agenda, including those proffered by the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa), the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates), and the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement.

Participants discussed their hopes for the upcoming conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which will be held in Vienna in December 2014, and explored ways to bring the outcome of that conference into the framework of the NPT. One suggestion which attracted attention from the participants was to use the paper presented by the New Agenda Coalition on the NPT’s Article VI, which requires the parties to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament, as a transition to move from the theoretical, fact-based discussions of the Vienna conference to action in the context of the NPT.

Participants debated the status and nature of “P5 unity”—that is, the extent to which the NPT’s nuclear weapon states (United States, Russia, China, France, and United Kingdom) synchronize their RevCon negotiating positions. The attendees also discussed the extent to which the non-nuclear weapon states should acknowledge the values and priorities of the P5 and take them into account in shaping a disarmament agenda.

Regarding possible outcomes of the 2015 RevCon, many participants rejected the idea that the 2010 Action Plan—the implementation of which has been limited—would simply be “rolled over” into another consensus outcome document in 2015. Many participants also voiced concern that recent developments—in particular, the unrest in Ukraine and the deepening divisions between the United States and Russia—may have a negative effect, not only on the NPT Review Conference, but on the broader disarmament agenda at large.

Nuclear Disarmament Discussion

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