Nuclear weapons can be eliminated: PrepCom for NPT Review Conference discusses draft recommendations

by Noritaka Egusa, Editor/Senior Staff Writer (dispatched from New York)

On the morning of May 12, the third Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference held at U.N. headquarters in New York began discussing draft recommendations for the NPT Review Conference to be held next year.

A total of 21 delegations expressed their views on the draft presented by the chair of the proceedings, Boniface Guwa Chidyausiku.

Regarding the three pillars of the NPT, namely nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the nuclear weapon states made the noticeable comment that “the descriptions for these three are not balanced well.” This seemed to constitute a gentle admonition to the committee not to focus on nuclear disarmament to the exclusion of the other two issues in the draft.

The United States judged the draft as “having constructive contents” on the whole. Russia, meanwhile, urged more description concerning the fear of nuclear terrorism. China, though, took a harder-line approach. The nation repeatedly urged the committee to make recommendations that reflected the dialogue among the member nations.

Sweden, on behalf of the seven nations comprising the New Agenda Coalition (NAC), commented, “The committee should proceed, based on the draft recommendations presented by the chair.” The non-nuclear weapon states, including Japan, also overwhelmingly expressed a positive view of the draft recommendations. Iran, as well, stated, “The draft reflects the common denominator of every nation.” Egypt, Indonesia, and the Czech Republic recommended that the draft include additional description concerning the problems in the Middle East.

No strong opposition to the contents of the draft was made during the roughly two-hour discussion, though Mr. Chidyausiku pronounced a recess until the morning of May 13. During the recess, the committee members are expected to iron out differences of opinions outside the venue.

(Originally published on May 14, 2009)

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