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Statement of the INESAP Coordinating Committee

Conclude the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty - Start Negotiations on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Several incidents in the last year, and in the recent months in particular, have lead to an erosion of both the political support and the legitimacy of nuclear weapons which is unprecedented in nuclear history. Numerous statements from both governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have made clear that a world free of nuclear weapons is a widely shared aspiration of humanity. The current window of opportunity must be used to make substantial progress towards a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC), which similar to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) would ban and eliminate nuclear weapons, the last remaining unbanned weapons of mass destruction, under strict and effective international control. Progress is urgent as the continued existence of nuclear weapons could induce further nuclear proliferation, military counterproliferation and missile defense programs which could seriously and irreversibly threaten international stability.


The Window of Opportunity for Nuclear Abolition
The following positive events especially deserve to be mentioned:

    * All 170 states at the Review and Extension Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) extended the NPT in May 1995 with a statement calling for "systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating these weapons." This demand was intensified by a majority resolution in the UN General Assembly in 1995, calling "upon the Conference on Disarmament to establish, on a priority basis, an ad hoc committee to commence negotiations early in 1996 on a phased programme of nuclear disarmament and for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework".

    * The INESAP Study Group "Beyond the NPT", comprising more than 50 experts from 20 countries, worked out and published a report in April 1995 in New York on how a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World (NWFW) could be achieved through various steps, leading to a NWC. Steps towards abolition could include deep reductions in the nuclear arsenals, a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), cutoff agreements to stop the production and (re-)use of weapon-usable nuclear materials, measures to prevent the horizontal and vertical proliferation of delivery systems, and regional approaches to nuclear disarmament.

    * More than 200 NGOs called in April 1995 for immediate "negotiations on a nuclear weapons abolition convention that requires the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons within a timebound framework, with provisions for effective verification and enforcement." This statement was the basis for the foundation of the Abolition 2000 Global Network in November 1995, in which several hundred organizations from all over the world are now working together to demand an agreement by the year 2000 on abolishing nuclear weapons.

    * The 50th anniversaries of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have reminded the world of the devastating impact of nuclear attacks, fuelling the moral condemnation of nuclear weapons use.

    * The 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for the Pugwash Movement and its President Joseph Rotblat was an honoring of scientists and engineers who refused to work on nuclear weapons and became active towards peace and disarmament in the past decades. It encourages anybody who promotes the concept of a NWFW.

    * Continued Chinese and French testing after the NPT conference led to significant worldwide protests against the tests, strengthening support for a CTBT. Meanwhile, all nuclear explosions have been stopped after France's and China's last tests this year.

    * By signing the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone (NWFZ) Treaty of Pelindaba in April of this year in Cairo, 43 African States declared a whole continent to be free of nuclear weapons. South Africa was the first state to abandon completely its nuclear weapons. Together with similar treaties for South East Asia in 1995, for the South Pacific (Rarotonga) in 1985, signed by the Nuclear Weapon States in March 1996, for Latin America and the Caribbean in 1967 (Tlatelolco), and Antarctica in 1959, almost the whole Southern hemisphere is free of nuclear weapons. In this respect the South is more developed than the North.

    * The International Court of Justice, in a historic Advisory Opinion on July 8 in The Hague, stated that "the threat and use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and particularly the principles and rules of humanitarian law". Even in "an extreme circumstance of self-defense, in which the very survival of a state would be at stake" the Court did not approve the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. In conclusion the Court made it clear that there exists an obligation to pursue and conclude negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.

    * In November 1995 the Australian government initiated the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, including a number of high-ranking individuals from science, politics and military, like Joseph Rotblat, Robert McNamara, Michel Rocard, Maj-Britt Theorin and Jacques-Yves Cousteau. On August 14th 1996 the Commission presented its far-reaching report. Persuaded "that immediate and determined efforts need to be made to rid the world of nuclear weapons and the threat they pose to it", the Commission has identified a series of steps towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, including further US/Russian bilateral agreements, a CTBT, a fissile cut-off convention, a no-first-use treaty and nuclear weapon free zones, with specific mechanisms to answer the security concerns of each region. The Commission leaves open the question whether the NWFW could be best given effect by the "incremental approach of a number of separate instruments or through a comprehensive approach which would combine all relevant instruments into a single legal instrument, a nuclear weapons convention."

    * The Conference on Disarmament in Geneva has worked out a Draft Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which would effectively ban all nuclear explosions, although not all research and development on nuclear weapons. While India insists on connecting the CTBT with a disarmament agenda, there is an extensive debate on getting the CTBT done.

    * The large majority of the non-aligned states (Group of 21) in the Conference on Disarmament, including India, but excluding South Africa and Chile, has proposed a detailed Programme of Action for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons which contains very important elements that should be seriously considered. The decision on the CTBT and further steps towards nuclear disarmament will be taken by the UN General Assembly in September and October this year.

    * Within the Abolition 2000 Network there is an on-going process of drafting a Model NWC which is intended to influence the future disarmament debate. A resolution of the UN General Assembly is being prepared, calling for negotiations on the NWC.

Challenges and Obstacles
These on-going developments clearly suggest that the time for action is now. Never have the chances been so good to initiate a process leading to the abolition of nuclear weapons. On the other hand, potential dangers to this process should not be overlooked.

    * Most important to start the process towards zero would be a committment by the Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a foreseeable time frame. But the five Nuclear Weapon States show no sign of willingness to give up their nuclear weapons. Instead they continue modernization of their nuclear arsenals, using computer simulation and laboratory experiments for nuclear weapons development. While China and Russia have declared in principle to eliminate their nuclear arsenals if all NWS do so, the Western NWS refuse to discuss this issue.

    * The allies of the NWS hope to profit from their "nuclear umbrellas", in contradiction to the obligations they have signed under the NPT as non-nuclear weapon states and in conflict with the World Court's Advisory Opinion. With NATO expansion to Eastern Europe, this could lead to more countries in which nuclear weapons might be or will in fact be deployed.

    * As long as the NWS give a negative example by maintaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and related technical capabilities is difficult to stop. While a few countries have already passed the nuclear threshold, a number of countries are building technical capabilities to be able to do so if perceived as necessary according to their national interest. The continued existence of nuclear arsenals and production complexes pose opportunities for nuclear smuggling and nuclear terrorism.

    * The perception that rogue states or terrorists are aiming for nuclear weapons is a driving motive for military counterproliferation and missile defense programs in Western countries, which undermines the ABM Treaty, could fuel North-South arms races and may severely degrade the political conditions for disarmament.

    * The fear of Western dominance, fuelled by NATO expansion and revision of the ABM Treaty, leads to resistence against ratification of START-2 and the CWC in the Russian Parliament.

An Agenda for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World
These negative tendencies could undermine the above-mentioned positive developments if serious actions are not taken soon by the international community. The following steps are especially urgent to start the process towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World:

    * Conclusion of the CTBT in 1996

    * Joint declaration on No-First Use and No-Use guarantees by the Nuclear Weapon States

    * Declarations by the Nuclear Weapon States to commit to rapid and complete nuclear disarmament, to renounce new nuclear weapons, and to close/dismantle/convert related research and development facilities.

    * Confirmation of the ABM Treaty, ratification of START-II and beginning of START III negotiations.

    * Immediate steps for reducing the nuclear danger: taking nuclear forces off alert, removal of warheads from delivery vehicles, ending deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons, and a ballistic missile flight test ban.

    * Begin negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a Comprehensive Cut-Off Convention (CCC) on nuclear weapons-usable materials.

    * CWC ratification and full implementation, strengthening of BWC verification

    * Southern hemisphere to be declared nuclear-weapon-free zone. Further zones to be declared nuclear-weapon-free (Korean Peninsula, South Asia, Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe)

    * Further negotiations among all NWS on the elimination of their nuclear weapons.

    * Negotiation, conclusion and implementation of a Nuclear Weapons Convention, integrating all nuclear arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament measures.

The incremental, step-by-step approach and the comprehensive, NWC-based approach to a NWFW are not contradictory, but complementary to each other. To coordinate the various steps towards a NWFW and avoid deficiencies of the single steps, it is highly important to start negotiations on the NWC as a framework for the elimination of nuclear weapons as soon as possible. Therefore, we call upon the General Assembly of the United Nations and the governments of all states to conclude the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and, as an implementation of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, to support a resolution to begin immediate negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention which would provide for nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.

INESAP Coordinating Committee, including deputies:

Anatoli Diakov (Russia)
Martin Kalinowski (Germany)
George Lewis (USA)
Wolfgang Liebert (Germany)
Zia Mian (Pakistan)
Paul Podvig (Russia)
Jürgen Scheffran (Germany)
Dingli Shen (China)
Fernando de Souza Barros (Brazil)
Johan Swahn (Sweden)

September 4, 1996