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Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
April 15, 2019
March 2008
Edition Date: 
Saturday, March 1, 2008
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Russia Pushes Pacts as U.S. Kills Satellite

Wade Boese

At the stalemated Conference on Disarmament (CD), Russia recently urged states to pursue separate pacts to outlaw all arms in space and ban certain types of missiles already forsworn by Russia and the United States. Chances for work on those two proposals or other long-standing subjects appear slim, however, as no issue commands the prerequisite consensus at the 65-member conference. The negotiating climate was further clouded in late February by the U.S. destruction of a faulty U.S. satellite.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Feb. 12 submitted draft frameworks of the two agreements to the conference. The Geneva-based body convenes annually for three multiweek working periods but last negotiated a treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, in 1996. Members have been arguing since that time about what they should negotiate next.

Lavrov said his country’s initiatives were not intended to further complicate the ongoing struggle to adopt a CD work agenda. Beginning last year, members have focused debate on a compromise plan to launch negotiations to halt the production of key fissile materials, plutonium and highly enriched uranium, for weapons purposes. The draft agenda also calls for establishing less formal talks on outer space, nuclear disarmament, and assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states that they will not suffer nuclear attack.

Last year, all but three countries, China, Iran, and Pakistan, were prepared to accept that agenda. The trio argued, in part, that all the issues should be treated equally rather than giving priority to a U.S.- and Western-favored fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). European diplomatic sources in Geneva say that Algeria, Egypt, India, Israel, and Sri Lanka also harbor reservations about the proposed agenda.

Lavrov indicated that Russia’s outer space proposal, co-sponsored by China, was not in opposition to the draft agenda or an attempt to change it. Instead, he described the Russian proposal as having a “research mandate.” But Lavrov added, “We hope that subsequently, when appropriate conditions are there, our work can be channeled into a negotiating format.”

Similarly, Lavrov suggested that Russia was not seeking to graft its missile proposal on to the agenda. He said Russia was circulating the concept for “study” in hope of sparking a “constructive dialogue.”

Neither Russian proposal garnered a warm U.S. reception. Washington has long maintained that the existing 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which bans placing unconventional weapons in orbit, is sufficient. In its 2006 space security strategy, the Bush administration stated it would “oppose the development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space.” (See ACT, November 2006. )

The administration further contends that it would be difficult to ensure compliance with a space weapons ban because of the inherent ambiguity and dual-use capability of many space technologies and systems. For instance, a vessel used to conduct repairs on an orbiting satellite could alternatively damage or disable it.

In addition to proscribing the placement of any type of weapon in orbit or on celestial bodies, the draft Russian-Chinese treaty would obligate future states-parties “not to resort to the threat or use of force against outer space objects.” But Washington argues the measure would fail to prevent the research and development of air-, sea-, and land-based anti-satellite weapons, such as the system China used last year to destroy one of its aging satellites. (See ACT, March 2007. )

Seemingly underscoring its own point, the United States Feb. 20 smashed into small pieces a defunct U.S. satellite using a modified Standard Missile-3 interceptor, which is designed to counter short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Many independent experts sharply questioned the stated U.S. justification for the action: protecting people against the slight possibility of injury or death from exposure to the satellite’s highly toxic hydrazine fuel.

Several days before the satellite intercept, Ambassador Christina Rocca, the U.S. permanent representative to the CD, said the proposed “engagement is not part of an anti-satellite development and testing program.” Moscow saw it differently. Reuters Feb. 16 quoted a Russian Defense Ministry statement accusing the United States of “going ahead for tests of an anti-satellite weapon. Such tests mean in essence the creation of a new strategic weapon.”

Two days later, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao described China as “highly concerned.” After the incident, Liu asked the United States to share data on the resulting debris, which unlike that created by the Chinese satellite destruction is not expected to pose threats to other satellites or spacecraft because the U.S. strike took place at a much lower altitude, around 250 kilometers instead of approximately 850 kilometers. Consequently, the U.S.-created debris is lower than where most satellites operate and will more quickly be pulled into the Earth’s atmosphere and burned up on re-entry.

U.S. officials denied that they would alter additional anti-missile interceptors to transform them into satellite killers. General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Feb. 21 that the modifications are “not something that we would be entering into the service in some standard way.”

Increased U.S. interest in developing anti-ballistic missile defenses in the late 1990s helped fuel Chinese and Russian demands for a new space agreement to limit U.S. systems. The Bush administration has subsequently sought seed money for a so-called space-based missile defense test bed, but lawmakers have consistently denied it funding, including for the current fiscal year. Still, the administration Feb. 4 resurrected the $10 million request as part of its fiscal year 2009 budget proposal (see page 30).

Like the United States, Russia expresses concern about other states’ growing missile capabilities; unlike the United States, Russia has not turned to missile defenses. One of the Kremlin’s initial reactions was to contemplate withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty so Russia could legally field missiles comparable to those being developed by other countries. The INF Treaty bars the United States and Russia from possessing ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Moscow’s Feb. 12 missile proposal indicates it has shelved, at least momentarily, the withdrawal option in favor of exploring extending the INF Treaty prohibitions to other countries. The Russian proposal urges other states to complete an agreement to stop flight testing and producing ground-launched missiles with INF Treaty-banned ranges and destroy their stockpiles.

A Department of State official e-mailed Arms Control Today Feb. 14 that the Russian proposal was “well-intentioned” but “not…the best way to address” the spread of missiles. The spokesperson contended a “one-size-fits-all treaty” would be impractical because of “complex regional situations,” such as those in South Asia and the Middle East.

Notwithstanding its skepticism, the United States joined with Russia last October to encourage other states to renounce INF Treaty-class missiles. The spokesperson noted that no government has responded publicly to that petition.

Meanwhile, many appeals to China, Iran, and Pakistan to support the draft CD agenda have failed. Pakistan in particular remains adamant that the plan is unacceptable.

While calling for a balanced work program, Pakistan maintains the current FMCT negotiating mandate is flawed for not specifying that a final agreement must be effectively verifiable. That goal used to be a common conference aim, but the United States declared in 2004 that such an objective was unattainable and should not be a precondition to negotiations. (See ACT, September 2004.) Although disagreeing, most countries have relented to the U.S. position on the understanding that verification measures can be broached in actual negotiations.

Islamabad further insists that FMCT negotiations not begin unless countries can raise the possibility that a potential agreement might go beyond stopping fissile material production to dealing with existing stockpiles. Pakistan is worried about freezing the status quo in which India has a lot more fissile material and weapons potential than Pakistan. Pakistani concerns have been compounded by the U.S. campaign to roll back rules limiting India’s access to foreign nuclear technologies and fuel.

In a rare speech by a defense minister to the CD, Des Browne of the United Kingdom Feb. 5 urged all countries to drop preconditions for negotiations on an FMCT, which he described as a “key milestone” on the road to nuclear disarmament. Despite a preliminary decision last year to extend its nuclear weapons capability at least another two decades, Browne insisted the British government supports “a vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.” He said the United Kingdom would help advance that goal by hosting before 2010 a conference on verifying nuclear disarmament for personnel from British, Chinese, French, Russian, and U.S. nuclear laboratories.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also took the atypical step Jan. 23 to travel to the conference and personally admonish it. Telling the CD that its successes were “distant memories,” Ban implored members to stop holding negotiations on one subject “hostage” to work on another. He warned the conference that it risked “losing its way.”

Conference members have until March 28 to set a course before the first working period expires. The conference will then reconvene May 12 to June 27 and July 28 to September 12.

At the stalemated Conference on Disarmament (CD), Russia recently urged states to pursue separate pacts to outlaw all arms in space and ban certain types of missiles already forsworn by Russia and the United States. Chances for work on those two proposals or other long-standing subjects appear slim, however, as no issue commands the prerequisite consensus at the 65-member conference. The negotiating climate was further clouded in late February by the U.S. destruction of a faulty U.S. satellite. (Continue)

Bush Calls for More GNEP, MOX Facility Funds

Miles A. Pomper

President George W. Bush’s fiscal 2009 budget request, unveiled Feb. 4, calls for a significant increase in funding for two controversial administration nuclear efforts: the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) and a new mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel facility at Savannah River, South Carolina. The administration made the request despite the fact that Congress significantly cut funds for both programs last year and key lawmakers continue to express skepticism about the initiatives.

Administration officials have claimed that GNEP, which seeks to develop new nuclear technologies and new international nuclear fuel arrangements, will reduce nuclear waste and decrease the risk that anticipated growth in the use of nuclear energy worldwide could spur nuclear weapons proliferation. Critics assert that the administration’s course would exacerbate the proliferation risks posed by the spread of reprocessing technology, be prohibitively expensive, and fail to ease waste disposal challenges significantly without any certainty that the claimed technologies will ever be developed. Many of these concerns have been echoed by U.S. lawmakers, but the administration has continued to sign up international partners: Senegal joined Feb. 1 and the United Kingdom joined Feb. 26, becoming the 20th and 21st members.

GNEP calls for research on new reprocessing technologies that administration officials say will not yield pure separated plutonium but rather a mixture that includes plutonium and is less applicable to making bombs. GNEP further calls for construction of new advanced burner reactors to make use of the reprocessed fuel. These “fast reactors” would burn plutonium as well as other elements in the spent fuel, rather than the uranium used to fuel today’s power reactors. The administration also claims that using such facilities will reduce the volume of spent nuclear fuel currently stored at nuclear reactors so that the United States will not have to build another permanent repository.

The proposal has drawn criticism in part because facilities that reprocess spent fuel for plutonium-based fuels might also be used to harvest plutonium for nuclear bombs. By establishing such facilities, critics say, the United States might be encouraging other countries to do so as well, perhaps leading to nuclear weapons proliferation. Because of such concerns, the United States had shied away from spent fuel reprocessing for nearly three decades until GNEP was launched in 2006. He also requested $20 million for the development of smaller-scale reactors aimed at developing countries with “smaller and less developed power grids.”

Bush requested $302 million for the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI), the technology arm of GNEP, for fiscal year 2009, which begins Oct. 1.

In response, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, called GNEP “ill-conceived” and said the proposed budget “raises serious concerns.”

Last year, Bush had requested $395 million for AFCI. But lawmakers cut that request by more than half, allocating only $179 million for the current fiscal year. Congress also chose to limit the program to research, blocking any expenditures for constructing commercial facilities or technology demonstration projects. Congress reached that decision after a National Research Council report concluded that the Department of Energy should return to a “less aggressive research program.” (See ACT, January/February 2008 and December 2007. )

Nonetheless, in Feb. 5 remarks at a nuclear energy industry forum, Assistant Secretary of Energy Dennis Spurgeon gave little indication that the administration had abandoned its plans to move forward quickly with demonstration projects or commercial facilities.

Citing four industry studies commissioned by the Energy Department in September 2007, Spurgeon said that “there are sound economic cases for deployment of near-term recycling [reprocessing] technology, but changes in current waste strategies are needed.”

Spurgeon also suggested that the studies backed a proposal he mooted before Congress in November 2007. That proposal would sidestep annual budget battles with Congress by allowing GNEP to dip into a pool of money that has accumulated from a fee Congress has imposed on nuclear power plant operators to pay for disposing of spent fuel. Last year, Spurgeon said that the U.S. government had accumulated close to $20 billion from this fee, which has yet to be spent because of continued political wrangling over a planned permanent repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Waste is currently piling up at nuclear power plants.

In a briefing to Congress explaining the Energy Department’s nuclear energy budget request, Spurgeon suggested the operation of a “new government entity,” a nonprofit corporation that would be responsible for selling recycled fuels and uranium to utilities as well as collecting waste fees. He also indicated that the current $1 per megawatt-hour waste fee on nuclear power might be increased to sustain this new entity.

Spurgeon told the nuclear industry forum that “[a]lthough these actions require significant changes to legislation and regulations, addressing the waste issue is paramount to a successful nuclear renaissance.”

Spurgeon said that Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman planned to move ahead later this year with a decision on a “technology path forward” for GNEP. He said the industry studies propose different technological approaches to reprocessing. Some favor COEX, a process that extracts and precipitates uranium and plutonium (and possibly neptunium) together so that plutonium is never separated on its own. Other industry studies favor a pyroprocessing technology similar to that being studied by South Korea. Critics have said that neither technology would provide sufficient protection against conversion into nuclear weapons. (See ACT, January/February 2008. )

The scale and expense of the proposed reprocessing facilities and fast reactors vary substantially, Spurgeon said. He added that the studies proposed initial operation of the reprocessing facilities to begin between 2018 and 2028 and that prototype fast reactors would be deployed between 2018 and 2025.

Bush also called for spending $487 million for the new Savannah River facility and related efforts. The new facility will mix weapons-grade plutonium with depleted uranium to make new MOX fuel for nuclear reactors. Last year, the administration requested nearly $432 million for the facility and related costs, but lawmakers only appropriated a total of $279 million.

The administration’s budget request also includes $119 million toward efforts to disassemble plutonium pits from weapons so the material can be mixed into MOX fuel. This total includes spending $27 million toward final design efforts for a pit conversion and disassembly facility at Savannah River, $40 million to start construction of a related facility to solidify liquid wastes from that effort, and $52 million (up from $13 million in current spending) to operate a demonstration pit conversion and disassembly facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Under a 2000 agreement, the United States and Russia each agreed to dispose of 34 metric tons of such plutonium but have not yet disposed of any. The Bush administration had pushed construction of the Savannah River facility as its means of meeting that goal, but ground was broken there only a few months ago. Funding for the project has trickled out for years as some lawmakers, particularly in the House of Representatives, have said other strategies should be employed because of the project’s costs, safety concerns, potential proliferation risks, and the failure of Russia to move forward on its end of the deal. (See ACT, April 2007 .)

Lawmakers last year also made clear that a recent administration effort to restructure the 2000 U.S.-Russian agreement in a fashion more to Russia’s liking had done little to ease their belief that Russia was not upholding its end of the bargain. (See ACT, January/February 2008 and December 2007 .) They redirected all of the $208 million in funds that Congress had previously set aside to meet a $400 million U.S. pledge to help Russia meet its commitment under the deal. The administration only asked for $1 million for the Russian effort in its recent budget request.

U.S. Joins Study of Arms Trade Treaty

Jeff Abramson

All 28 countries invited to do so, including the United States, sent representatives to a UN-sponsored experts meeting in February to explore a global arms trade treaty (ATT). The United States originally voted against starting the effort (see ACT, December 2006), prompting many to believe it would not participate in the process.

The Feb. 11-15 governmental group of experts meeting is the first of three such meetings slated to take place this year. The experts are charged with examining the “feasibility, scope and draft parameters for a comprehensive, legally binding instrument for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.” The expert meetings are closed to the public and are not intended to be negotiations but rather to produce a set of recommendations that could lead to a treaty.

Many governments and civil society groups that have pushed for the UN effort believe that it could result in a treaty. In 2006, 153 countries voted to start the process. Last year, nearly 100 countries submitted their views on a possible legal instrument.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whose country is seen as a leader of the ATT process, said in a Jan. 21 speech in India that “[b]ecause the threat and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is now compounded by the continuing proliferation of conventional weapons, and we know that one person is killed every minute from small arms, Britain will also work internationally to achieve a global arms trade treaty.”

In 2006, the United States voted against beginning the treaty process, contending that that the effort would be time-consuming and that any eventual treaty would contain standards weaker than existing U.S. rules. Nonetheless, U.S. nongovernmental groups urged the Bush administration to participate in part because the United States is the largest arms supplier in the world. The U.S. decision to attend came at the last minute, with Ambassador Don Mahley arriving to represent the United States at the meeting on its second day.

Participants in the meeting said that a number of countries expressed skepticism about the ATT concept, including China, Cuba, India, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States. Given that whatever recommendations emerge will need to be agreed to by consensus, they speculate that a final report would likely include a list of pros and cons on the treaty concept.

The experts group is chaired by Ambassador Roberto García Moritán of Argentina. In 2006, Moritán chaired a similar experts group on the UN Register of Conventional Arms, which recommended improvements to the reporting mechanism, including a standardized form for small arms. The register provides a process through which countries voluntarily report annually on certain conventional arms exports and imports. (See ACT, September and November 2007.)

Experts representing Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated in the February meeting. They will meet again May 12-16 and July 28-Aug. 8, with recommendations expected later this year after the final meeting.

Russia Halts Missile Launch Notices

Wade Boese

Russia recently stopped providing advance notice of its ballistic missile launches to fellow members of a voluntary missile transparency and restraint regime. Other participants, including the United States, also are not fully implementing their commitments.

Established in November 2002, the Hague Code of Conduct (HCOC) calls on its 128 participating states to “exercise maximum possible restraint” with respect to missiles capable of delivering biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons. In addition to cutting their missile forces if possible, participants are supposed to provide annual reports on their missile inventories and activities and give advance notice of ballistic missile and space-launch vehicle firings. Ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles are technically very similar.

Russia’s suspension took effect Jan. 1 and reportedly will last at least one year. HCOC activities are supposed to be confidential, and Russia did not publicly declare the halt, but several foreign government officials confirmed Russia’s action to Arms Control Today.

The suspension only applies to pre-launch notices, which the Kremlin began providing in 2004. Russia is expected to continue submitting an annual report, which many HCOC members fail to do. Most of those members, however, do not possess ballistic missiles or space-launch vehicles.

The foreign sources said Russia identified two main reasons for the suspension. One was the refusal of other HCOC members to adopt a Russian proposal to make the annual reports and pre-launch notification requirements more optional rather than politically binding. Moscow contends that such a move might make code membership more attractive to nonmembers, which include growing missile and space technology powers Brazil, China, India, Iran, and Pakistan. North Korea, a leading missile proliferator, also is not a participant.

Russia’s other rationale for its suspension was that some current members have not been issuing pre-launch notifications. Presumably, the key culprit in Russia’s eyes is the United States, which has never supplied pre-launch notifications through the code. The United States has regularly provided HCOC annual reports.

Washington and Moscow also bilaterally exchange advance notice on their ICBM and submarine-launched ballistic missile flights as required by a 1988 missile launch notification agreement and the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty limiting their strategic forces. Those notices are conducted through the two countries’ Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers.

When it signed the code in 2002, the United States said it would start providing advance notice under the HCOC when a U.S.-Russian Pre- and Post-Launch Notification System became operational as part of the planned Joint Data Exchange Center (JDEC). The intended purpose of that center is to enable the United States and Russia to share in real time their early-warning data on ballistic missile launches worldwide.

The JDEC, however, has yet to begin operation. The Russian government recently released the property on which the center was to be built for another purpose. Moscow has identified two alternative sites for the center, according to a U.S. government official, who in a Jan. 15 interview with Arms Control Today declined to confirm or comment on Russia’s HCOC suspension.

Progress on the JDEC, initially agreed to in 1998, has been delayed for several years due to various disputes on tax and liability issues. The United States and Russia reached an agreement in 2005 that U.S. officials saw as a basis for resolving the JDEC holdup, but the two governments are still working out legal details. (See ACT, June 2006. )

Moreover, Russian officials told Arms Control Today last April that their country would not move ahead on the JDEC while the United States continues efforts to base strategic anti-missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. U.S. government officials say that Russia has not informed them of that linkage.

Two foreign officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the HCOC confidentiality rule, speculated that other code members providing advance launch notices would continue to do so despite the Russian suspension. They named France, Japan, Norway, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom as some states that have made notifications. But the officials worried that U.S. and Russian nonparticipation would make it less likely that nonmembers might join.

Meanwhile, Russia Feb. 12 proposed the negotiation of a treaty proscribing weapons in space and a universal pact proscribing ground-launched missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (see page 50 ). Washington and Moscow renounced and eliminated that category of missiles in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

Marius Grinius, Canadian ambassador and permanent representative to the 65-member Conference on Disarmament, questioned Moscow’s proposals in light of the current HCOC status. “It may well be unrealistic to call for new [transparency and confidence-building measures] when existing ones that we have worked so hard to create, like the HCOC, are regrettably falling into disuse, whatever the rationalization may be,” he said.

The Austrian government, which serves as the HCOC’s voluntary executive secretariat, notes on its foreign ministry website that members at their annual meeting last year discussed “strengthening” the code’s various confidence-building measures, including pre-launch notifications. Members are scheduled to gather this year May 29-30 in Vienna.

The HCOC is the second agreement in as many months that Moscow has suspended. Last December, Russia indefinitely halted its participation in inspections, data exchanges, and notifications mandated by the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. (See ACT, January/February 2008 .) Russia accused the United States and its Western allies of ignoring Russian concerns and not abiding by the treaty, which limits the deployment of tanks and other heavy weaponry in Europe.

Russia recently stopped providing advance notice of its ballistic missile launches to fellow members of a voluntary missile transparency and restraint regime. Other participants, including the United States, also are not fully implementing their commitments. (Continue)

North Korea Slows Nuclear Disablement

Peter Crail

Two months after a Dec. 31, 2007, deadline to disable its nuclear reactor complex and provide a declaration of all nuclear activities, North Korea has slowed disablement work and has yet to offer a complete declaration. Pyongyang says that faster progress on its obligations is contingent on first receiving concessions from the United States and other parties participating in the six-party talks, which also include China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea. Meanwhile, South Korea’s new and more conservative administration has similarly declared that economic assistance it provides to North Korea must be linked to progress on denuclearization, representing a shift in the reconciliation-oriented policy of Seoul’s two previous administrations.

Disablement Slows

North Korea was supposed to complete disablement of the three primary facilities involved in its plutonium-based nuclear weapons program by Dec. 31, but work is currently poised to continue for several months. The deadline was established as part of an Oct. 3, 2007, joint statement in which North Korea pledged to disable its facilities and provide a declaration of all of its nuclear activities in exchange for additional energy assistance and the rescinding of certain U.S. sanctions against Pyongyang. (See ACT, November 2007. ) The delay in meeting the initial deadline was due originally to technical and safety considerations, but political motives have now slowed progress even further. (See ACT, January/February 2008. )

In Feb. 6 testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, indicated that North Korea was slowing down the disablement process by reducing the number of work shifts from three per day to one. Siegfried Hecker, former head of Los Alamos National Laboratory, provided further details following his mid-February visit to Pyongyang and Yongbyon. He explained during a Feb. 16 press briefing that the fuel rods from the reactor were being unloaded at a rate of about 30 each day. More than 6,000 fuel rods remain in the reactor.

North Korea has declared that it would slow down disablement work due to delays in receiving concessions from the other parties engaged in the talks. The North Korean state-run media quoted a North Korean Foreign Ministry official Jan. 4 as stating, “Now that other participating nations delay the fulfillment of their commitments, the DPRK is compelled to adjust the tempo of the disablement of some nuclear facilities.”

Hill admitted Feb. 6 that the pace of providing the energy assistance pledged to North Korea has not matched the pace of disablement. He explained that, while eight of the 11 disablement steps have been completed at Yongbyon, North Korea has only received 20 percent of the 1 million tons of heavy-fuel oil other parties agreed to deliver in return for the disablement of its Yongbyon facilities and its declaration. However, a deadline was not expressly established for the provision of energy assistance in the October 2007 agreement, unlike the deadlines set for disablement and the declaration.

China, Russia, South Korea, and the United States have each delivered a shipment of 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil to North Korea.

NK Seeks Concessions First on Declaration

In addition to using the heavy-fuel oil delays as an excuse to slow the disablement work, Pyongyang has made receiving this fuel a condition for providing a declaration on its nuclear programs. Hecker said Feb. 16 that North Korean officials told him that until they receive the energy aid and are removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act, “they will not be able to produce what Ambassador Hill calls a ‘complete and correct’ declaration.”

The notion that North Korea is now withholding a complete and correct declaration appears to step back from Pyongyang’s claim in January that it had already “notified the U.S. side” of the contents of its declaration. (See ACT, January/February 2008. )

Regarding two of the most contentious issues related to the declaration, Pyongyang’s suspected uranium-enrichment program and its nuclear cooperation with other states, North Korea has attempted to provide some assurances it is not currently engaged in these activities. Yet, it has not offered such assurances about similar past activities.

On the uranium-enrichment issue, Hill described Feb. 6 North Korea’s explanations regarding thousands of aluminum tubes it imported several years ago that raised suspicions of a North Korean uranium-enrichment program. (See ACT, December 2007. ) North Korea showed U.S. officials two conventional weapons systems that utilized these tubes, one of which was incompatible with this material. Hill told the committee that “it is our judgment that the tubes were not brought into [North Korea] for the weapon system that did not work” and that the tubes were then transferred to another weapons system that did work.

Although it appears that North Korea is currently using these materials for a conventional weapons system, the original intention behind the acquisition of the tubes is unclear. U.S. technicians discovered traces of enriched uranium on the tubes provided by North Korea for examination, further calling into question the original purpose of the material.

Two Asian diplomats told Arms Control Today that the process of uncovering information about a North Korean uranium-enrichment program might move faster if Washington would share its evidence regarding such a program with North Korea and its allies in the region. Hill admitted Feb. 6 that there are different assessments among the other parties engaged in the talks about the existence and nature of a North Korean uranium-enrichment program.

The matter of North Korea’s nuclear cooperation with other states largely hinges on Pyongyang’s possible nuclear assistance to Syria. On Sept. 6, 2007, Israel carried out an airstrike against a suspected Syrian nuclear facility, which may have been constructed with North Korean assistance. (See ACT, November 2007. ) Hill told reporters Feb. 19 that he has continued to discuss “the Syria matter” with North Korea. According to Hill, Pyongyang has stated that it is not currently engaged in nuclear cooperation with other countries and says that it will not do so in the future. North Korea also maintains that it did not carry out any such cooperation with Syria.

Shift Expected in Seoul

The Feb. 25 inauguration of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak brought the first conservative government into power in Seoul in a decade. Lee’s Grand National Party (GNP) has traditionally opposed the “Sunshine Policy” of short-term reconciliation with North Korea adopted by his two predecessors, instead favoring the application of greater pressure on Pyongyang to denuclearize. Although Lee has not suggested an end to Seoul’s engagement with Pyongyang, he has indicated that his country’s assistance to North Korea will be linked closely to progress on the nuclear issue.

The shift in Seoul’s North Korea policy appears to be part of a broader expected realignment in South Korea’s foreign policy focus, with greater attention to be given to the country’s relations with Washington. Moreover, the new president has asserted that such a shift may benefit inter-Korean relations. The International Herald Tribune quoted Lee Jan. 14 as stating, “[I]f South Korean-U.S. relations get stronger, it will actually help improve inter-Korean relations. And it can actually help improve North Korean-U.S. relations.”

A diplomatic source close to the six-party talks told Arms Control Today Feb. 15 that, unlike previous South Korean administrations, the Lee government is not seeking any major accomplishments in regard to North Korea. Moreover, the new administration will review the pledges made by former president Roh Moo-hyun in October 2007 to provide North Korea with a range of economic development assistance and carry them out only if they are supported by a “national consensus.” (See ACT, November 2007. )

Bush Administration Seeks Congressional Authorization

In his Feb. 6 testimony, Hill indicated that the administration requires a congressional waiver of U.S. legislation in order to carry out additional work in North Korea beyond the current disablement process. Due to North Korea’s October 2006 detonation of a nuclear device, U.S. law currently prohibits nearly all agencies from using funds for nonhumanitarian assistance in North Korea. (See ACT, January/February 2008. )

Hill stated that the current funding is enough to cover disablement “but not much more” and that “more substantial” funding would be required with respect to additional activities, which include verification, facility dismantlement, and the removal of spent fuel and other materials. According to Hill, the administration is seeking language in the fiscal year 2008 supplemental appropriations bill funding U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan “or any other appropriate legislative vehicle” that would remove restrictions on the use of funds to carry out further denuclearization work in North Korea.

In his opening statement during the hearing, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), the committee chairman, stated that he and the ranking member, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), “have drafted legislation that would provide the Department of Energy and the Department of State with the necessary authority to implement a robust denuclearization plan.” Congressional sources told Arms Control Today that, at the end of last year, the administration attempted to seek this authorization as part of the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations bill but did not do so in time to incorporate the appropriate language.

Letters to the Editor: “Trust Us” Is Not Enough in Pakistan

Pervez Hoodbhoy

It is good to see Kenneth N. Luongo and Brigadier General (Ret.) Naeem Salik’s unbridled optimism about Pakistan’s ability to safeguard its nuclear arsenal (“Building Confidence in Pakistan’s Nuclear Security,” December 2007). But a more tempered approach would perhaps have been better. In thinking about how well Pakistan may be able to secure its nuclear weapons, materials, and experts, it is worth remembering that Pakistan has been unable to protect its constitution from military coups, has lost half its territory (East Pakistan, now Bangladesh) in 1971, and has failed to safeguard the lives of its most prominent political leaders in recent months.

The goals of Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division (SPD), with which one of the authors was associated, are indeed laudable. With U.S. tutoring and funds, the SPD says it has implemented various technical precautions such as improved perimeter security, installation of electronic locks and permissive action links that require the entry of a code before nuclear weapons can explode, and implementation of a personnel reliability program. Although these increase safety against theft or unauthorized access to weapons and material, it is better to be cautious about such security given the increasingly sophisticated and violent Islamist insurgency in Pakistan and the longer-term direction and intensity of social change.

Some claims made by those in charge of Pakistan’s nukes are brash. Feroz Hassan Khan, a former SPD director, for instance told The Wall Street Journal in late November that “[t]he system knows how to distinguish who is a ‘fundo’ [fundamentalist] and who is simply pious.” If it were truly so, Pakistan need not have suffered the tidal wave of suicide bombings that has crashed through its towns and cities in recent years.

The feeling of being in total control starts at the top of the army. President Pervez Musharraf, who recently resigned from the military, was asked by Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria in January 2008 if he thought Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were safe from Islamic militants. He confidently replied, “Absolutely. [The SPD] is like an army unit. Can one rifle be taken away from an army unit? Can the bullet of a rifle be taken away from an army unit? I challenge anyone to take a bullet, a weapon, away from an army unit.”

But just two weeks later, the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported that Taliban militants had captured four military trucks in Darra Adamkhel on the Indus Highway. Some reportedly carried ammunition, while others were transporting 4x4 military vehicles fitted with sophisticated communications and listening technology. Another week later, the trucks were recovered, minus cargo.

There are other examples. In August 2007, the BBC reported that about 250 Frontier Constabulary soldiers surrendered to the Taliban, together with their equipment and weapons, all without firing a shot. Initially an attempt was made to deny that any soldiers had been kidnapped or had surrendered. But some weeks later, after the BBC interviewed the military officers in the Taliban’s captivity, President and then-General Musharraf criticized them for cowardice and unprofessional behavior.

Here lies the crux of the problem. In spite of the SPD’s professionalism, the fact is that procedures and technical fixes are only as good as the men who operate them. This is not just an academic question. For more than 25 years, the army nurtured Islamist radicals as proxy warriors for covert operations on Pakistan’s borders in Kashmir and Afghanistan. This produced extremism inside parts of the military and intelligence. Today, some parts are at war with other parts.

This chilling truth is now emerging. A score of suicide attacks in the last few weeks, some bearing a clear insider signature, have rocked an increasingly demoralized military and intelligence establishment. Fearful of more deadly attacks, military officers in Pakistan have abandoned use of uniforms except when on duty. They move in civilian cars accompanied by gunmen in plain clothes and no longer flout their rank in public.

The authors state that “there have not been any examples to date of systemic failure” in Pakistan’s nuclear security. But, given that there is no oversight body, how are we to know? Even the nuclear-weapon states, the United States included, have had serious problems at some point. Pakistan has the additional problem that it cannot be guaranteed that the custodians of nuclear weapons will always be responsible to the government.

One also does not know if radical Islamists can eventually hijack a weapon or acquire the technical expertise and the highly enriched uranium needed for a crude, in situ nuclear device. But it is quite certain that, having gone to the trouble of getting it, they will use it if they can. One should not assume that London or New York will be the preferred targets because Islamabad and Delhi may be just as good—and certainly much easier. In the twisted logic of the fanatics, there is little or no difference between apostates and those who are the tools of apostates. The suicide bombings inside mosques, and in Pakistan’s public places, send exactly this message.

I would like to believe Luongo and Salik that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and materials are safe. The problem is that, like me, they really do not know. In a matter involving enormous consequences, for them to say “trust us” is not good enough.


Pervez Hoodbhoy is chairman of the Department of Physics, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, and author of Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality (1991).

Kenneth N. Luongo and Naeem Salik Respond

Kenneth N. Luongo and Brigadier General (Ret.) Naeem Salik

Pervez Hoodbhoy is a longtime observer of political and nuclear developments in Pakistan, and his views are important in the debate over Pakistan’s nuclear security. Our article was a factual assessment of how Pakistan’s nuclear security has evolved over the past nine years, where it stands today, and how it might continue to evolve in the future. In fact, Time magazine characterized this piece as “the most detailed account yet of how Islamabad protects its atomic arsenal.” The article speaks clearly on the threat scenarios that exist in Pakistan and acknowledges the issue of growing religious fundamentalism in both the civilian and military sectors. It emphasizes the importance of assuring and improving personnel reliability. Further, the article makes clear that Pakistan, like all nuclear nations, has ongoing and evolving security challenges and therefore must remain adaptive and open to further improvement. That is why it continues working with the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Surprisingly, however, Hoodbhoy’s letter also introduces examples of challenges faced by Pakistan that are really tangential to the performance of nuclear security. His arguments about Pakistan’s social fragility, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, attacks against military units, and the 1971 secession of its eastern wing are in a category of political and social challenges faced by many nuclear nations. In the nuclear era, the United States has survived the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the attempts on the lives of Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. The United States was unable to prevent the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the British government failed to prevent the London Underground bombings—all acts carried out by religious extremists. These tragic events did not translate into the inability of these nations to keep their nuclear assets safe in crisis situations just as Pakistan has been able to maintain control of its nuclear assets during the recent political crisis.

Political challenges and crises will arise. The important point is to have in place the best systems possible to ensure that nuclear assets are not at risk as a result. We, like Pervez Hoodbhoy, remain concerned with the state of nuclear safety and security in Pakistan because it is important for global security. That is why Pakistan has taken significant steps since the 1998 nuclear tests to strengthen the custodial controls of its strategic assets. This progress is important, and it needs to continue.


Kenneth N. Luongo is president of the Partnership for Global Security and a former senior adviser on nonproliferation policy to the secretary of energy. Brigadier General (Ret.) Naeem Salik is currently the South Asia Studies Visiting Scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Arms Control Today welcomes letters from our readers. Letters should be under 600 words and should include the writer's full name, address and daytime phone number. Please put "LETTER TO THE EDITOR" in the subject line of the E-mail. Letters may be edited for space. E-mail to the Editor.

It is good to see Kenneth N. Luongo and Brigadier General (Ret.) Naeem Salik’s unbridled optimism about Pakistan’s ability to safeguard its nuclear arsenal (“Building Confidence in Pakistan’s Nuclear Security,” December 2007). But a more tempered approach would perhaps have been better. In thinking about how well Pakistan may be able to secure its nuclear weapons, materials, and experts, it is worth remembering that Pakistan has been unable to protect its constitution from military coups, has lost half its territory (East Pakistan, now Bangladesh) in 1971, and has failed to safeguard the lives of its most prominent political leaders in recent months. (Continue)


Pakistan Defends Nuke Security Amid Instability

Peter Crail

In recent months, Pakistani officials have sought to allay concerns that the deteriorating security situation in their country would allow extremist elements to acquire nuclear weapons or materials. Political instability in Pakistan has persisted over the past year, raising questions about Islamabad’s ability to protect its nuclear assets.

In early January 2008, Islamabad criticized Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for comments made in a Jan. 8 interview with the pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper in which he expressed concern that “nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of an extremist group in Pakistan or in Afghanistan.” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq characterized such comments Jan. 9 as “unwarranted and irresponsible,” stressing that Pakistan’s weapons are as secure as those in any other nuclear-weapon state.

Responding to Pakistan’s criticism, the agency issued a statement clarifying that ElBaradei was attempting to “call attention to the need to bolster nuclear safety and security measures” worldwide, not just in Pakistan. Although Islamabad has not signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it is a member of the IAEA and has placed a number of civilian nuclear facilities under the agency’s safeguards.

During a Jan. 27 briefing, retired Lt. General Khalid Kidwai, director-general of Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division, which oversees the security of the country’s nuclear arsenal, sought to reassure foreign journalists. He argued that scenarios involving the theft or takeover of Pakistani nuclear assets were unrealistic. In addition to describing steps that Islamabad has taken to enhance its nuclear security, Kidwai asserted that “[t]here’s no conceivable scenario, political or violent, in which Pakistan will fall to extremists of the al Qaeda or Taliban type.” He also noted that “the state of alertness has gone up” in recent months since domestic tensions within Pakistan have increased.

Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division serves as the secretariat of the National Command Authority, which is headed by the president and is responsible for command and control over Pakistan’s strategic weapons and infrastructure. (See ACT, December 2007. ) Both organizations were created in 1999, a year after Pakistan tested nuclear weapons.

Pakistan is believed to have produced enough nuclear material for about 60 weapons. As a security precaution, these weapons are stored unassembled, with the fissile material core kept separately from the explosive triggers.

Following Kidwai’s briefing, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf also sought to underscore the apparent confidence that the U.S. intelligence community places in the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. In a Feb. 14 lecture at a Paris think tank, Musharraf argued that “[i]f you ask the head of [the] CIA or top officials of Western intelligence agencies, they will talk contrary to the point of view being projected by the Western media against Pakistan and its leadership.”

Musharraf’s reference to such an assessment by Western intelligence agencies followed the Feb. 5 testimony of top U.S. intelligence officials to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Although admitting to “vulnerabilities” in the Pakistani military’s control over its weapons complex, John Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence, told the committee that “the ongoing political uncertainty in Pakistan has not seriously threatened the military’s control of the nuclear arsenal.”

Officials from neighboring nuclear rival India, however, continue to cite the risk to Pakistan’s nuclear arms. During a Feb. 18 lecture in New Delhi, Indian Special Envoy Shyam Saran cited the possibility that, “[in] a situation of chaos, Pakistan’s nuclear assets may fall into the hands of jihadi elements.”

In recent months, Pakistani officials have sought to allay concerns that the deteriorating security situation in their country would allow extremist elements to acquire nuclear weapons or materials. Political instability in Pakistan has persisted over the past year, raising questions about Islamabad’s ability to protect its nuclear assets. (Continue)

U.S.-Indian Deal in Limbo as Clock Ticks

Wade Boese

Bush administration officials and some U.S. lawmakers are prodding India to accelerate its efforts to advance a civil nuclear trade initiative or risk losing it. At the same time, domestic political opponents in India are pressing the Indian government not to move ahead on the initiative or chance losing power.

President George W. Bush agreed with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh nearly three years ago to disassemble the legal and regulatory barriers to India’s participation in the civilian nuclear trade market. (See ACT, September 2005. ) The United States had taken the lead in erecting those barriers following India’s 1974 explosion of a nuclear device derived in part from U.S. and Canadian nuclear supplies designated for peaceful purposes.

Congress gave its preliminary and conditional approval to the initiative in December 2006 through legislation known as the Hyde Act after Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), who at that time chaired the House International Relations Committee. (See ACT, January/February 2007. ) Before Congress can take a final vote on an agreement granting India access to U.S. nuclear fuel and technologies, the voluntary 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) must first exempt India from a restriction against nuclear trade with non-nuclear-weapon states, like India, that do not subject their entire nuclear complex to international oversight. Although India possesses nuclear arms, it is classified as a non-nuclear-weapon state by the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which India has never signed.

NSG members, which seek to coordinate their export controls, are waiting on India to complete a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before considering exempting India from the group’s trade rule. Safeguards are mechanisms, such as inspections and remote monitoring, placed on a country’s civilian nuclear facilities and materials to verify that they are not being used for nuclear weapons purposes. In addition to six thermal nuclear reactors already under IAEA safeguards, Singh in March 2006 committed to place an additional eight of 16 such reactors under safeguards. (See ACT, April 2006. )

Confidential talks on a new, India-specific safeguards arrangement for those eight reactors began last November between India and the agency, but no final agreement has emerged. General speculation is that the delay stems from India linking its willingness to abide by safeguards, which are supposed to be in perpetuity, to guaranteed nuclear fuel supplies. In a Feb. 18 speech to the India International Centre in New Delhi, Shyam Saran, special envoy on the nuclear initiative for Singh, stated, “Our position right from the outset had been that we have no problem with permanent safeguards provided there are permanent supplies of fuel.”

Whatever the reason for the prolonged negotiations, U.S. supporters of the initiative are anxious. They had hoped that the safeguards agreement would be completed in time for the IAEA Board of Governors to take the necessary step of approving it at the board’s March 3-7 meeting. The next regular board meeting is not scheduled until June 2-6, which is after the planned May plenary of the NSG and presents a sequencing problem for the initiative. Both the IAEA Board of Governors and the NSG can convene extraordinary meetings to take decisions.

Some U.S. lawmakers say that the IAEA and NSG steps must be done before June in order for Congress to take up the initiative for a final vote because of the abbreviated congressional calendar caused by the upcoming November presidential and congressional elections. Visiting New Delhi Feb. 20 with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters, “It is important for India to move the agreement as rapidly as possible, preferably within weeks.”

Similarly, Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, said Feb. 11, “[W]e don’t have all the time in the world.” David Mulford, U.S. ambassador to India, delivered the same message in a Feb. 10 interview with India’s CNN-IBN, and he added, “My opinion is that if this is not processed in the present Congress, it is unlikely this deal will be offered again to India.” The trio of senators similarly said that if the deal did not go through this year, it would likely be renegotiated by a future administration.

But Singh’s government is receiving pressure from the opposite direction from its domestic critics who assert the initiative will make India subservient to the United States or impinge on India’s nuclear weapons program. Leftist parties that align themselves with Singh’s governing coalition have threatened to withdraw their support from the government if they are unsatisfied with the final IAEA safeguards agreement. Such a move could trigger new elections that could oust Singh’s government.

The main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), also has stepped up its attacks on the initiative after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Feb. 13 testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the United States will seek an exemption for India at the NSG “consistent” with the Hyde Act. Indian politicians of all stripes dislike the Hyde Act because it conditions future trade on India’s behavior, including continuation of a nuclear test moratorium. The act also effectively bars, except in special circumstances, transfers to India of uranium-enrichment, plutonium reprocessing, and heavy-water production technologies, which can be used to produce essential nuclear bomb materials.

India prefers what it calls a “clean” NSG exception. As Saran explained in his Feb. 18 speech, “It is our expectation that there would be a fairly simple and clean exemption from these guidelines without any conditionalities or even expectations regarding India’s conduct in [the] future.”

The BJP responded to Rice’s statement by demanding that Singh’s government apologize for misleading and betraying India. BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar asserted Feb. 15, “[T]he primary objective of the Hyde Act is to cap, then roll back, and ultimately eliminate India’s nuclear weapons capability.”

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who took over as acting chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee after Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) passed away Feb. 11, signaled that he would prefer an NSG exemption that reflected the Hyde Act and not a clean one. He told Rice that if the United States pursued a clean exemption for India, “we would essentially be creating two standards for nuclear trade for India, one for the United States and one for the rest of the world.”

Contradictions Still Plague U.S.-Indian Nuclear Deal

Daryl G. Kimball

Two and a half years after President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced their proposed U.S.-Indian civil nuclear cooperation deal, the ill-conceived arrangement faces a highly uncertain future. In the next few weeks, decisions will likely be made at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that will determine whether the deal occurs at all and, if so, at what cost to the global nuclear nonproliferation system.

As soon as this month, the IAEA Board of Governors may be convened to consider a new India-specific safeguards agreement. If approved, the 44 other members of the NSG might then act on a U.S. proposal to exempt India from long-standing guidelines that require comprehensive IAEA safeguards as a condition of nuclear supply. If these bodies agree, the United States and other suppliers could finalize bilateral nuclear trade deals with India.

Although many states are willing to bend some rules to help India buy new reactors and the additional fuel needed to run them, there is growing resistance to forms of nuclear trade that could indirectly enable India’s nuclear weapons program or that would allow continued nuclear trade if India breaks its pledge not to resume nuclear test explosions. There is good reason for such concern because India violated past agreements on peaceful nuclear cooperation when it tested its first nuclear device in 1974 and has refused to allow comprehensive IAEA safeguards.

Contrary to claims of its proponents, the deal does not bring India into the nonproliferation mainstream. In fact, given India’s refusal to join the five original nuclear-weapon states in halting the production of fissile material for weapons, foreign supplies of nuclear fuel could free up New Delhi’s existing (and limited) uranium stockpile and increase its capacity to produce more nuclear bomb material. Unlike 177 other states, India has not yet signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Meanwhile, Indian officials are highly sensitive to concerns that the deal could affect its nuclear weapons program. To preserve India’s military options, the Singh government has bargained hard for unprecedented fuel supply assurances and unspecified “corrective measures” in the new safeguards agreement to offset disruptions that might occur if India resumes testing.

Indian leaders are also demanding terms of trade with other nuclear suppliers that sidestep the minimal but vital nonproliferation conditions and restrictions established by Congress in 2006 implementing legislation. The law, known as the Hyde Act, would require the termination of U.S. nuclear trade if New Delhi resumes nuclear testing or violates its safeguards commitments.

To improve its fuel production and spent fuel reprocessing capabilities, the Singh government has fought tooth and nail to secure access to uranium-enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technologies. The Hyde Act effectively bars the transfer of these sensitive nuclear technologies, which India could potentially use to enhance its military nuclear program.

Yet, India is demanding an NSG exemption without any of these and other conditions or restrictions. To date, the Bush administration has carried India’s water. The current U.S. draft proposal calls for a “clean” exemption, and the bilateral U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation agreement contradicts the Hyde Act in several areas.

But at a hearing Feb. 13, the new chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), challenged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on this approach, noting that would give other nuclear suppliers, such as France and Russia, a commercial advantage and undermine U.S. nonproliferation objectives. Rice told Berman that the United States would pursue India-specific nuclear trade guidelines that are “completely consistent” with the Hyde Act.

Days later, India’s special envoy, Shyam Saran, contradicted Rice, saying that “it is our expectation that there would be a fairly simple and clean exemption from these guidelines, without any conditions or even expectations regarding India’s conduct in the future.” He asserted that India has “no problem with permanent safeguards provided there are permanent supplies of fuel.”

Saran noted that, in the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation agreement, the Bush administration pledged to help India amass a strategic fuel reserve and provide fuel supplies for the lifetime of its safeguarded reactors. Yet, at the urging of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the Hyde Act stipulates that fuel supplies should only be “commensurate with reasonable reactor requirements.”

Now is the time for Congress and responsible members of the NSG to hold the Bush administration to Rice’s pledge to support international guidelines for trade with India that, at the very least, incorporate the minimal requirements mandated by U.S. law. If India’s leaders cannot even abide by these minimal standards and decide to reject the deal, that is their choice. Additional concessions to India will only further compromise the already beleaguered global nonproliferation system.

Two and a half years after President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced their proposed U.S.-Indian civil nuclear cooperation deal, the ill-conceived arrangement faces a highly uncertain future. In the next few weeks, decisions will likely be made at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that will determine whether the deal occurs at all and, if so, at what cost to the global nuclear nonproliferation system.

As soon as this month, the IAEA Board of Governors may be convened to consider a new India-specific safeguards agreement. If approved, the 44 other members of the NSG might then act on a U.S. proposal to exempt India from long-standing guidelines that require comprehensive IAEA safeguards as a condition of nuclear supply. If these bodies agree, the United States and other suppliers could finalize bilateral nuclear trade deals with India. (Continue)

Getting Down to the Hard Cases: Prospects for CWC Universality

Daniel Feakes

When states-parties to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) gather next month in The Hague for their second review conference, the plenary sessions will be unusually full, and for good reason. Since the ban on developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, or using chemical weapons entered into force in April 1997, the CWC has won support at an unprecedented rate for a multilateral arms control agreement.

The number of states-parties has increased from 87 at entry into force to 183 now with an additional five who have signed but not ratified the convention. The CWC is thus closing in on the goal of universal membership. Only seven states have neither signed nor ratified the pact. Still, bringing these remaining holdouts into the regime will be far from easy, particularly those countries that are in the Middle East.

Given this challenge, CWC states-parties and the treaty’s implementing body, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), need to decide how much attention to devote to winning these states’ full membership in the treaty regime as it moves into its second decade in force. After all, no international arms control treaty has ever attracted universal adherence; the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is closest with only three nonmember states and a fourth state, North Korea, whose legal status is uncertain, not to mention that many CWC states-parties have yet to fully implement their commitments under the treaty. Plus, the organization faces new responsibilities and limited resources in coping with scientific and technological changes and new verification challenges.

Nonetheless, universality has rightly been a key priority during the CWC’s first decade and should be in the next. Many of the key holdouts lie in the Middle East and, given the region’s tensions and history, are among those most likely to use chemical arms. The absence of even small states from the CWC could undermine the treaty by providing safe havens or transshipment points for nonstate actors and smuggling networks. Universal adherence would strengthen the norm against chemical weapons by demonstrating that this principle is accepted in many different political, cultural, religious, economic, and legal settings. Moreover, the number of states adhering to a treaty is one criterion used to judge whether it forms a rule of international customary law and thus is binding on all states whether or not they have joined.

Status of the CWC

The CWC was opened for signature in January 1993, and initial assumptions were that the 65 ratifications required for entry into force would be deposited quickly. These hopes proved optimistic as ratification slipped off the political agenda in many countries and the drafting of new regulations and primary legislation led to inevitable delay. Instead, it took until October 1996 to gather the required ratifications. These did not include Russia or the United States, the two then-admitted and -largest possessors of chemical weapons. Indeed, it was unclear whether either of the Cold War superpowers would ratify the treaty as original states-parties before it was slated to enter into force in April 1997. In the end, the United States ratified the CWC days before it entered into force, following a protracted Senate battle, and Russia ratified it in November 1997.

Since then, membership of the CWC has increased steadily and is now approaching universality. In particular, the number of states-parties increased more rapidly after the treaty’s first review conference in 2003 approved an action plan[1] to achieve this goal: the number of states outside the CWC has fallen from 40 in 2003 to 12 in 2007.

Each of the 12 remaining holdout states has its own unique reasons for remaining outside of the CWC. Bearing this in mind, they can be grouped into the following clusters.

Angola, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and Guinea-Bissau

In theory these four states (one nonsignatory and three signatories) should be the easiest to persuade to join the CWC. They are mostly fairly small countries with no history of chemical weapons possession, no serious external threats to their security, and small chemical industries. Angola differs from the other three in that chemical weapons were allegedly used during the country’s civil war, although no such use was ever confirmed. The main obstacles in these countries are now logistical and resource constraints rather than political issues. An OPCW Technical Secretariat background paper for the treaty’s first review conference identified a number of factors that have distracted attention from the CWC in such countries, including AIDS, desertification and drought, poverty, and debt.[2] OPCW Director-General Rogelio Pfirter told the 2007 Conference of the States Parties (CSP) that such countries “fully support” the CWC.[3] It is therefore likely that all four will join in the relatively near future.


Iraq is a special case given its previous possession and use of chemical weapons, UN verification and destruction activities, and the 2003 invasion and subsequent fruitless search for that country’s presumed chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq refused even to sign the CWC, but it is now very close to becoming a member state. In November 2007, the Iraqi Presidential Council endorsed a bill on Iraq’s accession, and the Iraqi Foreign Ministry announced that accession would occur in the near future.[4] It will mark the culmination of a process that began in 2004 soon after sovereignty was returned to Iraq. Since then, Iraqi officials attended every session of the annual CSP and at least two sessions of the Executive Council (the OPCW’s governing board) as observers and have participated in several OPCW regional seminars and workshops. In addition, the organization’s Technical Secretariat has organized four training workshops for Iraqi officials. Iraq has also begun the process of preparing its initial declaration to the OPCW. Iraq’s imminent accession is unlikely to lead to major shifts in the views of Egypt, Israel, or Syria on whether to join the CWC, although it will further isolate those Middle Eastern states still refusing to do so.[5]

Lebanon, Myanmar, and Somalia

This group is slightly disparate, but all three share varying degrees of serious internal political tensions that have delayed CWC membership. Lebanon could accede in the very near future as it is at an advanced stage in the process of accession, having completed the necessary parliamentary procedures. The current inability of the Lebanese parliament to elect a new president has slowed the process. Myanmar had been proceeding well toward ratification, but its efforts “now seem to have paused,” according to Pfirter. Allegations of chemical weapons possession and use by Myanmar have been made but remain unproven. The long-running lack of a functioning government in Somalia and the current humanitarian crisis mean that CWC accession by Somalia in the near future is probably unlikely.

Egypt, Israel, and Syria

The Middle East is the most serious obstacle to achieving CWC universality. Indeed, the situation seems unfavorable to any form of arms control.[6] The CWC’s prohibitions should most rapidly be extended to the region, however, given that Egypt, Israel, and Syria are all widely identified as chemical weapons possessors and that the two most recent conflicts involving these arms (Egypt’s intervention in Yemen in the 1960s and the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s) took place in the Middle East. These factors combined with the existing tensions in the region mean that the area could witness the use of such weapons. In addition, Iran, although a CWC member state, is suspected by some of possessing a chemical weapons capability, although this claim is unproven and Iran is subject to routine OPCW inspections.[7]

There have been past attempts to establish a regional arms control infrastructure. In April 1990, Egypt proposed a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ), and all states in the region have since committed themselves to this goal, at least in principle.[8] During the 1990s, the Arms Control and Regional Security (ACRS) Working Group met as part of the Middle East peace process. The ACRS collapsed in the mid-1990s mainly due to the dispute between Egypt and Israel regarding nuclear weapons.[9]

The main obstacle to breaking the CWC deadlock in the Middle East is the political linkage between chemical and nuclear weapons made by Arab states. Many refused to sign the CWC in 1993, although since then all Arab League states except Egypt, Lebanon, Somalia, and Syria have joined the convention, thus eroding this policy. Complicating the situation is the fact that the linkage works both ways, with some analysts citing the chemical weapons stockpiles of neighboring countries as justification for Israel’s nuclear arsenal. As Pfirter put it, in the Middle East, chemical weapons are “hostage” to nuclear weapons. The OPCW has been trying to decouple nuclear and chemical weapons, hoping to make progress on chemical arms independently and thereby building confidence that could then contribute to progress in other areas.[10] One of the key issues is which country takes the first step toward decoupling. Israel is reluctant to make the first move after its decision to sign the CWC in 1993 was not reciprocated by key Arab states, despite U.S. diplomatic pressure. If this can be overcome, Libya’s 2004 accession as a possessor state offers a possible model for others in the region to follow.

Little is known publicly about the chemical weapons programs of Egypt or Syria and the internal thinking behind either country’s policy toward the CWC. Both are widely assumed to possess such capabilities,[11] and Egypt is alleged to have used chemical arms in the 1960s in Yemen and assisted Iraq’s chemical weapons program in the 1980s.[12] Egypt was an active participant in the CWC negotiations and was widely expected to join the CWC. Egypt was instead the most vocal proponent of the linkage policy and, along with Syria, refused to sign the CWC in 1993. Neither state has officially confirmed that they possess chemical weapons, but both are likely to view such stockpiles as a strategic counterbalance to Israel’s nuclear weapons. During the 1990s, Egypt held firmly to the linkage policy by not joining consensus on the annual CWC resolution in the UN General Assembly and preventing the Organization for African Unity from calling for CWC universality. Syria adopted a similarly standoffish approach to the CWC. Since 2003, however, both countries have become more engaged with the OPCW while maintaining their concerns about the regional security situation. Egypt and Syria have since sent participants to OPCW regional workshops and have participated in recent universality seminars. Egypt attended the 2006 CSP as an observer, and in April 2007, Pfirter visited Cairo. In October 2007, he told the UN First Committee that Egypt (and Israel) had kept the door open “for a constructive dialogue.”[13]

Like Egypt and Syria, little is known publicly about Israel’s chemical weapons capability and whether it still remains active.[14] Much more is known about the domestic debate surrounding Israel’s policy toward the CWC. Unlike Egypt and Syria, Israel is a CWC signatory, binding it politically to the treaty’s objectives and purposes. Its status also allowed Israel to participate in the meetings prior to the treaty’s entry into force, which it did actively. Despite its participation, Israel decided in 1997 not to ratify, following a lengthy internal political debate. Israel’s reluctance is based on its perception of the security situation in the Middle East and its requirement for verifiable arms control regimes and normalized relations with its neighbors. Unilateral ratification was considered in 1997 but rejected, despite the potential for damage to the Israeli chemical industry from the CWC’s trade restrictions if Israel did not join. Instead, security concerns dominated the debate. Israel likely views such possession in terms of retaliation-in-kind for chemical weapons attacks by others and as an intermediate deterrent between its conventional and nuclear options.[15]

Israel also has concerns about the CWC’s on-site verification regime, presumably due to fears of a challenge inspection at one of its nuclear facilities.[16] Indeed, during the preparatory meetings, Israel strived to water down the on-site inspection procedures. As a CWC signatory, Israel has remained engaged by sending observers to the CSPs and participating in regional workshops and seminars. Israel’s engagement has increased since 2003, with a visit from the director-general in April 2006 and participation in recent universality seminars. Senior Israeli delegations have also twice visited OPCW headquarters in The Hague, most recently and most interestingly the day after Pfirter had visited Cairo.

North Korea

Even less is known publicly about the chemical weapons capability of North Korea, but it is widely suspected of possessing a substantial program.[17] Whereas the OPCW has been able to make contact with other nonmember states, North Korea has not responded to any OPCW overtures. This issue has been overshadowed by the ongoing negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons, especially since its nuclear test in 2006 and the ongoing disablement of its nuclear program. If the nuclear question is satisfactorily resolved, however, attention could turn to Pyongyang’s chemical weapons program, although North Korean officials might oppose extending the process to such arms. Perhaps the fact that South Korea is a declared chemical weapons possessor and is destroying its stockpile in accordance with the CWC could have some influence on the North.[18] The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1718 in October 2006 may also have increased the likelihood of international attention, as it not only requires the North to abandon its nuclear program but also “all other existing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programme in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.” These other programs are not specified, but the best way for North Korea to abandon its suspected chemical weapons program in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner would be to join the CWC as a possessor state as Libya did in 2004. For that to happen, it would probably require a lengthy process of secret negotiations and diplomatic pressure from key countries, such as China and the United States.

The OPCW Approach to Universality

Even if a government is inclined to join the CWC, doing so is not a simple matter. In most countries, initial consideration of whether to join takes place within the foreign ministry. The foreign ministry then consults with other ministries and domestic stakeholders, such as the chemical industry, and recommends a course of action to the executive. In some countries, the executive can then deposit the instrument of ratification or accession; in others, prior parliamentary approval is required. This whole process can be extremely prolonged, with delay at any stage, whether due to interdepartmental opposition, crowded parliamentary agendas, national elections, changes in government, or bureaucratic politics. Of the 12 remaining nonmember states, some are at an advanced stage in this process, while others have not yet begun.

The OPCW Technical Secretariat and member states undertake a range of activities to encourage holdouts to complete this process, part of an innovative OPCW approach to universality that has since been imitated by other organizations. At the time that the treaty was signed, the conventional wisdom was that “a state’s decision to join a security-related treaty is strictly an internal, sovereign matter.”[19] The slow progress toward entry into force, however, led to a more proactive approach. Sergey Batsanov, who was deeply involved in the process, said the OPCW departed from “the experience of ‘older’ multilateral arms control regimes” and took “a hands-on role in persuading new states to join and helping them to develop domestic implementing legislation and regulations, while taking into account their specific political, legal, and economic conditions.”[20]

Regional seminars were and still are an essential tool in raising awareness as well as providing information on CWC implementation requirements. The OPCW also uses bilateral meetings with officials from nonmember states, and when possible, Pfirter visits such states to press the case for CWC membership. On occasion, the OPCW has also been involved in behind-the-scenes negotiations with, for example, Afghanistan, Libya, Serbia and Montenegro, and Sudan, and it made a low-profile contribution to the successful ratification processes in the United States and Russia.[21] Consecutive CSPs since 1997 have urged full universality, particularly for those states believed to possess chemical weapons. The OPCW has also been able to count on the active support of the United Nations and its secretary-general, who acts as depositary of the CWC.

Alongside the Technical Secretariat, OPCW member states have been equally active in promoting universality through demarches, visits and meetings, and action within international and regional organizations. Individual member states have also made voluntary contributions supporting the OPCW’s universality activities or have sponsored or hosted events such as regional seminars. The OPCW has developed strong working relationships with regional organizations that have in turn promoted CWC universality in their own specific contexts. The European Union has provided significant financial and diplomatic support. Assistance from member states is most useful when they have historical, cultural, or linguistic links with a nonmember state or when they carry a significant influence due to economic or other relations. For example, the EU has drafted a nonproliferation clause for insertion into its bilateral trade agreements, including some that are not CWC member states. The clause commits its signatories to take “steps to sign, ratify, or accede to, as appropriate, and fully implement all other relevant international instruments.”[22] The EU and Syria signed an association agreement containing the clause in 2004, but the EU has deemed that political circumstances so far are not good for ratification. By linking arms control and trade issues, the EU hopes to exert more leverage over nonmember states. Assistance from member states is likely to become more important as the number of nonmembers decreases and those remaining have serious political or security concerns.

Besides the activities of the Technical Secretariat and member states, the CWC itself also contains incentives for states to join, most explicitly the treaty’s restrictions on chemical trade with nonmember states. These were first proposed by President George H. W. Bush in 1991 to “provide tangible benefits for those states that join the Convention and significant penalties for those that fail to support it.”[23] Trade with nonmember states in two of the CWC’s three categories of controlled chemicals is already banned, and trade in the third category could also be banned.[24]

The ability of states-parties to request assistance and protection in the event of a chemical weapons attack is the flip side of the universality coin. The CWC attempts to negate the risk that, in forgoing a chemical weapons option, states could put themselves at a strategic disadvantage vis-à-vis other states. The CWC does this by giving each state-party the right to request assistance and protection if it believes chemical weapons have been used against it or their use is being threatened. Another incentive is provided by the CWC’s provisions aimed at economic and technological development under which member states are supposed to be able to participate in the fullest possible exchange of chemicals, equipment, and scientific and technical information. To meet this goal, the OPCW has supported internships, research projects, and laboratories in developing member states, although such programs do not go far enough for some developing countries

The Second Review Conference and Beyond

The not too distant future could see the CWC reach a stage similar to that of the NPT, with perhaps only four nonmember states—Egypt, Israel, North Korea, and Syria. However, achieving this status will require continued, intensive work by the OPCW and its member states. The upcoming review conference could usefully urge the remaining nonmember states to join as soon as possible and instruct the Technical Secretariat and member states to continue providing assistance. The conference should also commend the 2002 action plan and its achievements to date and renew its mandate for as long as required. Targeted pressure and bilateral assistance should be maintained on Angola, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Somalia until they complete their ratification or accession processes. Getting all of these states into the CWC will further isolate and highlight the remaining nonmembers. States remaining outside of the CWC by this stage will be leaving themselves open to serious suspicions that they possess chemical weapons at a time when, given the almost universal nature of the CWC, possession is seen as entirely illegitimate and in contravention of international customary law.

The Middle East is likely to remain the key sticking point, leaving total CWC universality dependent on a resolution of the wider political and security situation in the region. There are intermediate steps that the OPCW and its member states could encourage that might contribute to a wider political solution. These would depend on further progress in the OPCW’s attempts to decouple consideration of chemical and nuclear weapons, which would likely require support from key actors, such as the United States or the EU. Arab efforts to link these issues have already largely eroded, and if Egypt and Syria remain its only adherents, enough diplomatic and economic pressure could be put on both states to encourage them to accede. In that situation, Israel would have little remaining justification in not ratifying. Israel could also be encouraged to join by OPCW member states agreeing to actively consider a trade ban on Schedule 3 chemicals. CWC adherence by all three states could be undertaken in a carefully stage-managed, reciprocal process modeled on Libya’s accession in 2004 or the 1968 Syrian and 1969 Israeli accessions to the 1925 Geneva Protocol. Such a process would require high-level support and involvement from key states in cooperation with the OPCW, but it could make a significant contribution to confidence building in the region, as well as efforts to create a WMDFZ.

The second review conference may find it useful to strengthen the link between universality and national implementation. Many new member states find that they need advice and assistance to implement the treaty nationally while others draft their national implementing legislation prior to joining and therefore require assistance with ratification, accession, and national implementation before joining. Rather than maintaining a distinction, Batsanov suggests an integrated approach, perhaps through a combined task force.[25] There are also clear overlaps with UN Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement a variety of domestic measures to prevent nonstate actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery, and related materials. The conference should encourage continued collaboration between the OPCW and the 1540 Committee. It is important to remember that “universality comprises more than just numbers of states parties.”[26] Getting a state to join the CWC is only the start of a long-term process. CWC adherence counts for little if states then do not follow through on their obligation to effectively implement the treaty domestically. Even in a world of universal CWC membership, the threat of safe havens will remain unless all states enact implementing legislation. So, although complete CWC universality would be a significant step on the road toward a world free of chemical weapons, even if that goal is achieved, much work will remain to be done.

Daniel Feakes is a research fellow at the Science & Technology Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, co-editor of The Creation of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons: A Case Study in the Birth of an Intergovernmental Organization (2007), and creator of the website cwc2008.org, which highlights the upcoming Chemical Weapons Convention review conference.


1. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), “Action Plan for the Universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” EC-M-23/DEC.3, October 24, 2003. As a document of the OPCW Executive Council, the action plan is not publicly available, but it has been reproduced. See Scott Spence, “Achieving Effective Action on Universality and National Implementation: The CWC Experience,” in Strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention, Review Conference Paper No. 13, ed. Graham Pearson and Malcolm Dando, April 2005, annex II.

2. OPCW, “Background Paper on Universal Adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention,” RC-1/S/5, April 25, 2003, p. 6.

3. OPCW, “Opening Statement by the Director-General to the Conference of the States-Parties at Its Twelfth Session,” C-12/DG.11, November 5, 2007, p. 14.

4. Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Chief of Organizations and International Cooperation Department at Foreign Ministry Stresses Presidency’s Endorsement on Law of Iraq’s Affiliation to Agreement of Prohibition, Storage and Using of Chemical Weapons,” November 22, 2007.

5. Markus Binder, “Iraq Moves Toward CWC Accession,” WMD Insights, December 2007-January 2008.

6. Dalia Dassa Kaye, “Time for Arms Talks? Iran, Israel, and Middle East Arms Control,” Arms Control Today, November 2004, pp. 6-10.

7. Dany Shoham, “Image vs. Reality of Iranian Chemical and Biological Weapons,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Winter 2004), pp. 89-141.

8. The 1995 and 2000 NPT review conferences endorsed the idea of a Middle East WMDFZ. For more on a WMDFZ, see Jan Prawitz, “A Note on the Proposed Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East,” Paper presented at the Second Conference on the Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, September 17-18, 2007.

9. Bruce W. Jentleson and Dalia Dassa Kaye, “Security Status: Explaining Regional Security Cooperation and Its Limits in the Middle East,” Security Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1 (September 1998), p. 205.

10. “Steps Toward Universality: An Interview With Rogelio Pfirter, Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Arms Control Association, September 23, 2005, www.armscontrol.org/interviews/20050923_Pfirter.asp.

11. On Egypt, see Dany Shoham, “Chemical and Biological Weapons in Egypt,” Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Spring-Summer 1998). On Syria, see Magnus Normark et al., “Syria and WMD: Incentives and Capabilities,” Swedish Defence Research Agency, FOI-R--1290—SE, June 2004.

12. On the Yemen allegations, see The Prevention of CBW: The Problem of Chemical and Biological Warfare, Vol. V (Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell, 1971), pp. 225-238. On Egyptian assistance to Iraq, see Central Intelligence Agency, “Comprehensive Report of the Special Adviser to the DCI on Iraq’s WMD,” Vol. III (September 30, 2004), p. 63.

13. OPCW, “Statement by HE Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” October 17, 2007.

14. See, for example, Magnus Normark et al., “Israel and WMD: Incentives and Capabilities,” Swedish Defence Research Agency, FOI-R--1734—SE, December 2005.

15. Eitan Barak, “Israel, the CWC and the Universality Objective: The View From Jerusalem,” The CBW Conventions Bulletin, June 2005, pp. 3-4.

16. Avner Cohen, “Israel and Chemical/Biological Weapons: History, Deterrence and Arms Control,” Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Fall-Winter 2001), pp. 46-47.

17. See Elisa D. Harris, “Threat Reduction and North Korea’s CBW Programs,” Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Fall-Winter 2004); International Institute for Strategic Studies, “North Korea’s Weapons Programmes: A Net Assessment,” January 2004.

18. There are five remaining declared chemical weapons possessor states in the OPCW: India, Libya, Russia, the United States, and an unidentified country known in OPCW publications as “A State Party.” This is widely acknowledged to be South Korea. A sixth possessor, Albania, completed destruction of its stockpile in July 2007.

19. Sergey Batsanov, “Approaching the Tenth Anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention: A Plan for Future Progress,” Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 13, No. 2 (July 2006), p. 341.

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid.

22. Council of the European Union, “Fight Against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Mainstreaming Non-proliferation Policies Into the EU’s Wider Relations With Third Countries,” 14997/03, November 19, 2003.

23. The White House, “Statement by the President on Chemical Weapons Initiative,” May 13, 1991. The statement is accompanied by a fact sheet on the Chemical Weapons Initiative. The proposed restrictions were detailed in a subsequent U.S. working paper tabled in Geneva. See “Measures to Ensure Universality,” CD/CW/WP.357, August 8, 1991.

24. Trade in Schedule 1 chemicals with nonmember states was banned starting with the entry into force of the CWC. These chemicals have been developed or used as chemical weapons, pose a high risk to the object and purpose of the CWC, and have little or no use for other purposes. A ban on trade in Schedule 2 chemicals came into force in 2000. These chemicals pose a significant risk to the object and purpose of the CWC, can be used as precursors for Schedule 1 chemicals, and are not produced in large commercial quantities. A ban on Schedule 3 trade has been possible since 2002, but member states have not reached consensus on this issue. Jonathan B. Tucker, “Strengthening the CWC Regime for Transfers of Dual-Use Chemicals,” The CBW Conventions Bulletin, March 2007, p. 2.

25. Batsanov, “Approaching the Tenth Anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” p. 352.

26. Jean-Pascal Zanders, “The Chemical Weapons Convention and Universality: A Question of Quality Over Quantity?” Disarmament Forum, No. 4 (2002), p. 23.

When states-parties to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) gather next month in The Hague for their second review conference, the plenary sessions will be unusually full, and for good reason. Since the ban on developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, or using chemical weapons entered into force in April 1997, the CWC has won support at an unprecedented rate for a multilateral arms control agreement. (Continue)


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