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"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."
– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
Nuclear Nonproliferation

U.S. Reviewing FMCT Policy

The United States has long pushed for a treaty to end the production of the two key building blocks of nuclear weapons, but the Bush administration may change that policy.

Even as the U.S. commitment to other arms control agreements has lagged in recent years, U.S. officials have continued to champion a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), which would prohibit the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) for nuclear weapons purposes. Yet, J. Sherwood McGinnis, deputy representative of the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Disarmament (CD), said Oct. 27 that Washington is “reviewing specific elements” of its policy toward such a treaty. Speaking at the United Nations, McGinnis further added that U.S. support for a resolution that day urging the start of FMCT negotiations by the 66-member CD “is without prejudice to the outcome of that review.” The diplomatic language means that Washington is reserving the right to change its position, although it does not suggest that the United States will necessarily do so.

McGinnis provided no details about the review. Department of State officials in Washington withheld any comment pending the review’s conclusion.

An FMCT has topped Washington’s negotiating priorities at the CD for a half-dozen years, but formal talks had been blocked by other countries’ insistence that the treaty be negotiated in parallel with other agreements on nuclear disarmament or outer space. In August, however, China dropped its demand or U.S.-opposed outer space negotiations, removing what had been seen as the central obstacle to opening talks. (See ACT, October 2003.)

Completion of an FMCT by 2005 was one of 13 steps to which nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty states-parties, including the United States, committed themselves in May 2000. Yet, since taking office, the Bush administration has acted contrary to several of those steps, such as refusing to support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty’s entry into force and withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which barred Moscow and Washington from building nationwide defenses against strategic ballistic missiles.

The United States, as well as France, Russia, and the United Kingdom, have declared that they no longer produce fissile materials for weapons purposes. China is also understood to have stopped. In addition to codifying these actions, an FMCT would be aimed at blocking India, Israel, and Pakistan from any future production of plutonium or HEU for weapons.

Brazil Prepares to Enrich Uranium for Reactors

Brazil plans to begin enriching uranium for its nuclear reactors next year and hopes to export enriched uranium by 2014, Brazilian Science and Technology Minister Roberto Amaral announced Oct. 6.


The news comes 10 months after Amaral made headlines when he told the BBC that Brazil should not rule out acquiring the ability to produce a nuclear bomb. At that time, a spokesperson for Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva distanced the president from Amaral’s remarks, saying they were not reflective of official policy. Yet, Lula’s own commitment to nonproliferation came under scrutiny last year after a campaign speech in which he criticized the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as discriminatory.

Brazil signed the NPT in 1997 after a series of negotiations with Argentina resulted in each state giving up its nuclear weapons programs. However, Brazil did not entirely forgo the military uses of nuclear energy and its uranium-enrichment program remains linked to the Brazilian navy’s attempts to develop nuclear-powered submarines.

Amaral stressed that the uranium-enrichment program is aimed solely at securing Brazil’s energy supply. Brazil currently receives roughly 90 percent of its energy through hydroelectric power. Severe droughts a few years ago led to energy shortages and rolling blackouts in 2001, creating pressure to diversify Brazil’s energy production capacity and renewing interest in the country’s nuclear energy program.

Department of State spokesperson Kurtis Cooper said that the United States believes Brazil takes seriously its treaty responsibilities under the NPT and the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which calls for a nuclear-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean. However, he added, “The United States urges all states, particularly with sensitive nuclear activities such as uranium enrichment, to adopt the highest nonproliferation standards including the Additional Protocol.”

Although Brazil has not yet signed or brought into force an additional protocol, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spokesperson Melissa Fleming said that the agency is working with Brazilian authorities to bring Brazil’s uranium-enrichment activities under safeguards. She said the IAEA encourages Brazil to sign the Additional Protocol “to provide the agency with the additional authority it requires in order to provide the necessary peaceful use assurances.”

Brazil plans to begin industrial-scale operations in the middle of next year at the centrifuge enrichment plant in Resende and hopes to provide 60 percent of the low-enriched uranium needed to fuel Brazil’s two nuclear power plants by 2010. It is estimated that Brazil’s current reactor needs will be satisfied by 2014, at which time the country plans to export enriched uranium and could also supply fuel for a possible third nuclear power plant.

According to Amaral, the proposed enrichment plan would save Brazil $11-12 million every 14 months. Currently, Brazil sends its raw uranium ore to Canada to be processed into uranium hexafloride, which is then sent to Europe for enrichment by URENCO. Brazil boasts the world’s sixth-largest uranium reserve.

 

Brazil plans to begin enriching uranium for its nuclear reactors next year and hopes to export enriched uranium by 2014, Brazilian Science and Technology Minister Roberto Amaral announced Oct. 6. 

Curbing Nuclear Proliferation: An Interview with Mohamed ElBaradei

Mohamed ElBaradei


ACT: Obviously, it looks like there’s been some good news this morning coming out of Tehran. I just wanted to get your reaction to Iran’s announcement that it will allow IAEA inspections and suspend its uranium-enrichment activities.

ElBaradei: Yes, it’s encouraging news…[but] I still need to be briefed on Iran’s exact commitment. However, this is in line with their commitment to me last week that they are ready to come with a full declaration of all their past nuclear activities and they are ready to conclude a protocol to regulate their future nuclear activities.

And if the news today is correct that they are also ready to suspend, or apply a moratorium on, their enrichment activities as a confidence-building measure, as called [for] by the [the IAEA Board of Governors] in their decision last month, then I think this will open the way for hopefully a comprehensive settlement of the Iranian issues through verification and through political dialogue.

ACT: If this does play out in term of the details that you are hearing, would this address the fundamental concerns that the international community has about Iran’s nuclear programs?

ElBaradei: Well, I think we still have to verify whatever declaration we will get and make sure that it is comprehensive and accurate. So, that would take care of the past activities. We then also need to have the protocol and make sure that all future activities in Iran would be under our verification. As you know, we never have 100 percent certainty. That’s why we would like to have in Iran and everywhere else a continuous process of inspections, and we need the authority of the protocol to enable us in a country with an extensive knowledge and program to do a comprehensive job.

So yes, if we get a comprehensive declaration and we are able to verify that it is accurate and complete, and if we get the protocol and we are able to implement the protocol in all future activities in Iran, then I think this would be a leap forward in terms of the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

ACT: Have you discussed the latest talks at all with the [European]
foreign ministers?

ElBaradei: I think I am going to have that…either tonight or tomorrow.

Export Controls for Nuclear Weapons Technology

ACT: Switching to another subject, we just read your very interesting article in the [October 16] Economist. You mention that the “sheer diversity of [nuclear] technology has made it harder to control both procurement and sales” of that technology. What steps would you suggest to alleviate this problem?

ElBaradei: You mean in terms of export control or overall?

ACT: Export control or any other steps we can take to deal with this diversity of technology that you mention.

ElBaradei: I think export control is obviously something where we need to continue to tighten the screws. It is becoming more and more difficult; a lot of these items are dual-use, but I think that one possibility is to obviously link arms export controls to the conclusion and implementation of additional protocols. I think it would be particularly good to see an item that could be used toward a nuclear activity that could only go to a country where the [IAEA] applied a comprehensive and in-depth verification through additional protocols. But export control is just one aspect of the problem and, as you saw in the recent Economist, there are lots of things that we need to do, concurrently if you like, because they reinforce each other.

ACT: Can you elaborate a little more on those? What sort of sequence do you envision, and what are the possibilities—political possibilities—of implementing those steps as well as the other suggestions that you made?

ElBaradei: Well, I think that the first thing, which is probably the easiest, is to make sure that countries that are parties of the NPT (nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) have safeguard agreements and additional protocols enforced. I think the second step is to make sure that the export control regime is more inclusive, more transparent. The reporting requirements, for example, are shared. For the international community to be vigilant, for efforts to import items for weapons. Again, as I suggested, we need to look into whether the sensitive parts of the fuel cycle need to be multilateralized, such as enrichment and reprocessing activities. In other words, keep national control from weapons-usable material as far [away] as we can. I think that is a very important measure in the regime. To remove HEU (highly enriched uranium) or limit very much HEU and plutonium from the fuel cycle, and if it were to be used, again, it would be under multilateral control.

That will be a major step forward. That will take time, and we need to think about how to move in that direction. Then, obviously we need to continue—and that was not in my Economist piece—we need to continue to work on drivers or incentives for why countries work to acquire nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction. These are your standard reasons: instability, insecurity, festering disputes, deteriorating economic and social conditions in many parts of the world.

And again, obviously continue to work to delegitimize nuclear weapons. We continue to have nuclear weapons relied on as a weapon of choice. If that policy were to continue, we continue to have countries who are in a security bind, if you like, or perceive themselves to be in security bind to look for acquisition of nuclear weapons. So, we need to delegitimize the nuclear weapon, and by de-legitimizing…meaning trying to develop a different system of security that does not depend on nuclear deterrence. But also, we need at the same time to provide some system of inclusive security where countries do not feel that their security is threatened and they need to provide themselves a deterrent like the big boys. These are issues that we need to look at; they all reinforce each other. There is a relationship between all these measures.

I firmly believe that in the long run you cannot just continue to have the privileged few relying on either nuclear weapons or the nuclear weapons umbrella and others are told, “You cannot have nuclear weapons,” because again we continue to have these failures. We continue to act as simply fire brigades, trying to put a fire out somewhere, and then we discover there is a fire erupting somewhere else. We need to change the whole nonproliferation security environment and with that also have a much more inclusive, comprehensive nonproliferation regime.

Changing the Nonproliferation Regime

ACT: You’re calling for some significant changes. I guess you don’t think that the nonproliferation regime is doing that very well right now. Is that fair to say? Would you characterize things that way?

ElBaradei: I think it is fair to say that it is under a great deal of stress, and if I am asking for significant changes, it is because the world is going through significant changes. A few years back, the terrorist phenomenon was not the major phenomenon we had to face. Efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction were not with the intensity we see in the last few years. The security threats are changing, and with it our response needs to change.

ACT: Now, the steps you called for—are these things the IAEA can implement on its own, or does this need political action by the member states?

ElBaradei: Well, I think we need…first of all, we need the realization by member states that the system we have right now is inadequate and needs to be improved. Once you have that, you know, sinking in, that feeling that you need to change the system, then I think we can move forward. Some of these measures, of course, we can do within the confines on the IAEA. That’s basically the question of more comprehensive safeguards, more intrusive verifications, possibly multilateralizing the sensitive aspects of the fuel cycle.

Other parts, of course, have to be dealt with somewhere else, primarily in the United Nations— developing a better system of collective security or energizing the system of collective security, trying to intervene early in situations of threats of weapons of mass destruction or massive violation of human rights. So, it’s between the agency, between the United Nations, between some of the regional organizations like the European Union, NATO. Everybody has to chip in, I think, and see how we can have a functioning system of collective security where we do not continue to face the threat of countries trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction or particularly nuclear weapons. Right now what we have is countries [having nuclear weapons] because of historical incidents. They developed them in the ‘50s and ‘60s or…that again, that was not meant to be the norm in the future. It was suppose to be a temporary situation. We need to bite the bullet and see how we can move beyond nuclear weapons deterrence, and I think that we have not done that yet.

ACT: Many critics argue that one weakness currently in the nonproliferation regime is that it allows states-parties to withdraw after acquiring the equipment necessary to develop fissile material. Do you have any recommendations for overcoming this problem?

ElBaradei: Well I think, again, the whole system needs to be linked to security. I mean, it is not…we should not and I see undue reliance on saying that countries are in the system and they need to comply. That’s correct. But we also need two things. The system needs to continue to serve their security needs. You cannot expect them to continue to participate as a part of the system if their security is not being served. And the fact that they can withdraw from the treaty…I mean, that’s true, but that doesn’t mean that’s the end of the road.

If you look, I think, in 1992, there was a Security Council meeting at the summit where they had heads of states and government. At that meeting, I think they issued a declaration saying that the proliferation of nuclear weapons—I think weapons of mass destruction—is a threat to international peace and security. What does that mean? That even if a country were to move out of the regime, and there are indications that they are developing weapons, the Security Council is going to come back after them. So yes, countries have a right to opt out of the regime if their supreme national interest, or what have you, is threatened, but that does not mean that the Security Council cannot come back after them—not because they walked out of the regime but because their situation is a threat to international peace and security.

If you want a treaty whereby there is no withdrawal whatsoever, you then have to have a universal treaty. That’s what I am really arguing at the end of the day—that you have a regime which prohibits nuclear weapons, which is universally applied and which is regarded as a peremptory norm of international law, which means that whether you are in or out, you are bound by that regime. But we are still a long way from that because the regime that we have now is not universal: you have countries outside the regime, and even inside the regime are countries, that continue to have nuclear weapons. So under the present regime, countries need to keep this opting-out clause because they might be in a position or their security, as they say, might be threatened by a state, and they need to opt out.

It is clearly a weakness. But we need to deal with [that] short term by saying to those who want to walk out that walking out is not clearly justified or that the Security Council can in fact examine the situation and might come to a different conclusion. And in the long term, let’s work for a universal regime where it is applied and there is no opting out.

Limiting Access to Nuclear Technology

ACT: I had a question about Article IV of the NPT, which was a chief incentive for countries to join the NPT and which provided for the sharing of peaceful nuclear technology. Given the concerns raised about the spread of dual-use nuclear technology, do you think that there is anything that can be done to provide countries with other incentives to belong to the nonproliferation regime? And if so, what would they be?

ElBaradei: To provide other incentives, you mean…

ACT: Yes, because Article IV is suppose to be an incentive, but it’s caused a lot of concern about dual use [for both civilian and military applications] of technologies.

ElBaradei: Well, first of all, we now have everybody with the exception of India, Pakistan, and Israel, and I don’t think these three countries are going to join by simply providing them an incentive, in terms of technology. They already themselves have the technology, in many ways, indigenously developed.
But on Article IV, I don’t think Article IV is a problem. I think the problem under the NPT is that you can have the full gamut of fuel-cycle technologies, and that really is the problem. The concern is not that a country has a power reactor or a research reactor. The concern is that the country might have a reprocessing capability or an enrichment capability, which would enable it to develop nuclear weapon-usable material. And I think in the future one can think of having, in my view, possibly an additional protocol to the NPT, whereby you limit the right of—the individual right of—countries to have certain parts of the fuel cycle.

Again, I come back to the multilateralization of the fuel cycle. So, you can say “Article IV is applicable, we will give you the technology to use it for health, agriculture, medicine, radiotherapy, cancer treatment, water, you can have it for research reactors, you can have a power reactor. But if you need enriched uranium or you need to reprocess plutonium, that should not be under national control, it should be under international control or the very least some sort of multilateral process.” You would continue to provide the technology, you would continue to give countries access to the technology, but you would restrict the parts of the fuel cycle that create the most concern, and these are, in my view, the reprocessing and enrichment and also, possibly, a final repository where you have spent fuel with plutonium in it.

Realizing Article VI Disarmament Commitments

ACT: Getting back to the question of nuclear weapons states and delegitimizing nuclear weapons, what do you think would be some of the most important near-term steps that nuclear weapons states could take toward meeting their Article VI disarmament obligations?

ElBaradei: I think, to start, they need to have a major reduction in their existing arsenals. I read we still have something near 30,000 warheads in existence. That’s absolutely unjustifiable by any scenario of nuclear deterrence. We can still have, I think, the nuclear weapon states can have major, major cuts in their nuclear arsenals to show their commitment toward—to show that they are serious in implementing their commitment under Article VI. We still have the CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty), which has always been regarded as a key to the implementation of Article VI, unratified. We still have the FMCT (Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty), which would put a cap on fissile materials for weapons. We are not even able to agree on a method to negotiate for the last 10 years.

So, these are to me three clear indicators of the seriousness of the weapon states on moving forward implementing Article VI. Even the CTBT is not really the panacea because, as we know now, we can do a lot of testing through computer simulation and subcritical testing.

So, at the very minimum, at least we have a ban on nuclear testing, we have a ban on producing yet again additional material for weapons, and [we] try to move energetically on getting rid of many of the stockpiles that are still in existence; even if they are not operational, we still need to dispose of all the warheads. When we come to a situation where we have hundreds instead of the thousands we have, then we need obviously to take the second step, and that’s what sort of alternative security regime we will have if we are to dispose completely of nuclear weapons.

But we are not even there yet because we are still far away from reaching this low threshold, which would force us at that time to think of the alternative system, although in my view we need to start thinking today of what kind of world we can have if we do not have nuclear weapons and how we can assure our security. We definitely need a reliable system of security, but a system that does not rely on nuclear weapons, and possibly more of an inclusive system that does not rely on unilateral or preemptive use of force but rooted primarily in the collective security system which we have under the UN Charter. If you have a collective system of security, then you need to develop. Again, the system you have now is almost dormant. You need to deal with the new threats. How do you deal with the possible cheats, even if you ban nuclear weapons? How do you deal with imminent threats of massive abuse of human rights, genocide? You need to have a collective system but also a collective system that is not paralyzed by veto or by [lack of] consensus—a collective system that is dynamic, that even in certain situations has to be preemptive. Given some of the risks right now, we cannot just wait until things happen. You need to take the initiative, and you need to be preemptive. But you need to be preemptive within a collective system and based on an international legitimacy.

ACT: Do you think the nuclear weapons states’ stance on their Article VI commitments has influenced other countries’ decisions maybe to lag in concluding additional protocols to their safeguards agreements?

ElBaradei: Yeah, I think some of the countries have been, frankly, grumbling that no progress on nuclear disarmament has made them rethink their obligations, the urgency of them concluding additional protocols. I heard that argument made here in the [IAEA] by a number of large and small non-nuclear weapons states: Why should we rush into an additional protocol if the weapon states are not energetically pursuing [the] Article VI process?

India, Israel, Pakistan

ACT: Turning to the outliers of the NPT—India, Israel, and Pakistan—they’ve obviously been a persistent concern for nonproliferation advocates. Do you think the NPT can survive without these countries’ membership, and if they choose to stay outside the treaty, is there any progress that can be made short of getting them to sign up?

ElBaradei: I think the NPT can survive—has survived—without them. But I think, ultimately, that the nonproliferation regime will not survive without them. The NPT is a part of the regime, and if we talk about the regime—global, universal, enduring—then it will not survive without the three. Until we manage to bring them into the regime, I think we need to continue to start a dialogue with them. I for one believe that, rather than just trying to continue treating them as pariahs, we need to try and see how we can engage them as partners in an arms control process, maybe not necessarily under or within the framework of the NPT but within the framework of a larger arms control process.

As you probably know, they were supposed to be a part of the FMCT, they were supposed to be a part of the CTBT, [but] they haven’t yet joined either of these. None of them have ratified the CTBT, and we don’t yet have serious negotiations regarding the FMCT. I think we need to engage. I think the policy, right now in my view, the wise policy would be to engage these three countries and not just to continue to treat them as an outsider because, in the long run, we need to get everybody on board. And if we haven’t succeeded to get them through the NPT, we need to think of other ways to get them on board.

North Korea

ACT: Turning to the question of North Korea, in the event that a settlement to this crisis is reached, what do you think needs to be done to verify a freeze or a dismantlement of the nuclear facilities, in terms of technical tools or a political agreement?

ElBaradei: Well, again we do not know what exactly they have right now. We need to go back in the country and do a proper verification. And I think we need at a minimum an additional protocol with the safeguards agreement and possibly some additional rights to ensure that we have a powerful system to detect every aspect of the nuclear program. I think we clearly need all the intelligence information that we can get. We need satellite imagery, which we now use almost as a routine. We need environmental sampling.

I think, with the new technology, the verification system is becoming much more powerful than, say, a decade ago. But we need the authority to apply that system, which means right of access, right of no-notice of inspection, right of getting all the information we need. So, I would say, at the minimum, I think we would need the additional protocol and possibly again, if we go back and discover that we need some additional authority, then we need to make North Korea understand that they should be as transparent as possible.

Again, if I can revert back to Iran for a second, I made the statement in the last couple of months that, you know, sometimes if you have a complex nuclear program that has not been subject to verification and you need to create credible assurance, you cannot just stick to the legal requirements of a safeguard agreement or protocol, but what you are really looking for is absolute comprehensive transparency by the country. If the country is cooperating, if they are claiming they have nothing to hide, they have every interest to work closely with us.

So, the short answer is yes, we need as much authority that we have—at the minimum, additional protocols—but expect that we might ask for an additional measures of transparency by North Korea if we are not able to resolve certain issues through simply [an] additional protocol or safeguard agreement.

ACT: Is there anything you can say about North Korea’s uranium-enrichment program?

ElBaradei: Not really. You hear that they confess to having an enrichment program, you hear again that they have denied that they have an enrichment program. So, the only way to really get the facts is to go back and do verification. At this stage, I am not able to say with any degree of confidence whether they do or do not have a uranium-enrichment
program.

ACT: Technically, as you know, it is much more difficult to verify a uranium-enrichment program. How confident are you that, if you did have access there, you would be able to verify whether or not they had a uranium-enrichment program?

ElBaradei: It’s not easy because, as you said, uranium enrichment could be a very small facility and you cannot detect it through environmental sampling. But we will have to continue to rely on information, intelligence information, satellite monitoring, environmental sampling. But also I think the key to any verification process is to continue doing that. We will never, even after a year or two, be able to say, “We have 100 percent certainty.” We don’t have 100 percent certainty anywhere, and therefore the solution is to be there all the time, and I think North Korea will not be an exception. We will reach a point when we say, “Yes, we believe that we have no indication they have anything undeclared.” But that’s not sufficient. We need to continue to be there all the time, and as I said, if they are cooperative, cooperating with us, if they are showing transparency, then we have a higher degree of certainty, but in all situations, we need to be there all the time. Can I give 100 percent assurance? No, I can’t, in Korea or anywhere else. The answer is that I am there all the time to be able to catch anything which we have not detected previously, and if a country were to be detected in noncompliance, then obviously…then the international community has to react and they have to react strongly to any breach or any
violation.

 


Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), shared his perspective on a number of nonproliferation issues during an October 21 interview with Arms Control Today editor Miles Pomper and ACA research analyst Paul Kerr.
.

 

 

Interviewed by Miles A. Pomper and Paul Kerr

U.S. Imposes More Proliferation Sanctions

Wade Boese

The Bush administration in September continued to show that it would not be shy about sanctioning entities suspected of proliferation activities, levying penalties against a Russian entity and a Chinese firm, as well as sanctioning the Chinese government.

Since taking office, the administration has aggressively imposed sanctions at a rate about triple that of the Clinton administration. (See ACT, July/August 2003.) Including these latest sanctions, Washington has penalized foreign companies and individuals 23 separate times this year alone.

On Sept. 16, the United States announced that the Russian firm Tula Design Bureau would be prohibited from receiving aid, signing contracts, or trading in military equipment with the U.S. government for one year due to its sale of advanced conventional weapons to Iran.

Three days later, Washington announced that the Chinese firm China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) would be barred for two years from trading in missile-related goods with the U.S. government because of unspecified missile proliferation activities. The firm will also be prohibited from shipping any items it produces to the United States.

Both the Russian and Chinese companies are repeat offenders. Tula Design Bureau was last sanctioned in September 2002, but NORINCO has already been sanctioned twice this year.

The Bush administration also decided to sanction the Chinese government. Beijing will be barred from importing any goods appearing on the export control list of the 33-member Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) for two years if the import is for China’s development or production of electronics, space systems and equipment, or military aircraft. The MTCR control list includes missiles, their subsystems and components, and related technologies. Similar sanctions were imposed on the Chinese government in September 2001.

The administration also had the option of penalizing the Kremlin but decided not to. In its public statement, the administration explained that providing aid to the Russian government was “important to the national interests of the United States.”

 



 

 

 

The Bush administration in September continued to show that it would not be shy about sanctioning entities suspected of proliferation activities, levying penalties...

U.S. Refuses to Lift Sanctions Against Libya

Paul Kerr

Citing concerns about Libya’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the United States will continue bilateral sanctions on Tripoli despite the UN Security Council’s Sept. 12 decision formally to lift similar decade-old sanctions.

The UN sanctions were initially imposed in 1992 in response to the bombings of a Pan Am flight en route from London to New York in 1988 and a French flight over Niger in 1989. The sanctions were lifted by a 13-0 vote, with the United States and France abstaining, after Libya agreed to take formal responsibility for the attacks and compensate the families of the Pan Am flight victims.

The UN had suspended the sanctions in 1999 after Libya handed over two officials for trial in the Pan Am bombing and following France’s acknowledgement that Libya cooperated with French officials investigating the 1989 bombing.

Department of State deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said Washington abstained from the UN vote because it did not want action on the resolution “to be misconstrued as a decision to modify” U.S. bilateral sanctions on Libya and because the Bush administration has concerns about Libya’s “pursuit of weapons of mass destruction” as well as “other aspects” of the country’s behavior, including its poor human rights record and “history of involvement in terrorism.”

The United States maintains a series of sanctions against Libya that prohibit a wide range of economic activities. Under the 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, the United States can punish foreign companies for providing goods or services that contribute to Libya’s ability to acquire chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

In recent months, the Bush administration has stepped up allegations that Libya is trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction. During a Sept. 16 hearing before the House International Relations Committee, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton identified Libya as one of four “rogue states”—along with Iran, North Korea, and Syria—attempting to “acquire or develop WMD and their means of delivery.” In what could be construed as a veiled threat, Bolton in April said the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq should signal to Libya that “the cost of [its] pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is potentially quite high...the determination of the United States…to keep these incredibly dangerous weapons out of the hands of very dangerous people should not be underestimated.”

That said, so far Libya’s WMD capabilities appear to be relatively modest. In February, CIA Director George Tenet told Congress that “Tripoli has been able to increase its access to dual-use nuclear technologies” since the 1999 suspension. (See ACT, March 2003.) An April CIA report to Congress covering the first half of 2002 expresses concern over “Libya’s continued interest in nuclear weapons” since the UN sanctions were suspended in 1999. A 2001 Pentagon report, however, assesses that “Libya has made little progress” on its nuclear program because the program “lacks well-developed plans, expertise, consistent financial support, and adequate foreign suppliers.”

Additionally, the CIA assesses that Tripoli is seeking to “acquire” the capability to develop and produce biological weapons agents. The Pentagon report states that the suspension of UN sanctions will improve “Libya’s ability to acquire biological-related equipment and expertise” but Libya’s biological weapons program “has not advanced beyond the research and development stage.”

The CIA report also states that Libya appears “to be working toward an offensive [chemical weapons] capability” and has “reestablished contacts with sources of expertise, parts, and precursor chemicals abroad” since the UN sanctions were suspended.

According to the Pentagon report, Libya maintains an “aging Scud missile force,” and the missiles are probably poorly maintained and their operational status “questionable.” Tripoli will probably be able to build a medium-range ballistic missile “with continued foreign assistance,” the CIA warned.

Libya has ratified the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Biological Weapons Convention and subscribes to the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. It has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.

A Libyan official denied the country is attempting to develop weapons, according to a Sept. 15 report from Jana, Libya’s official news agency.

 



 

 

 

Citing concerns about Libya’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the United States will continue bilateral sanctions on Tripoli despite...

U.S. Shows More Flexibility in North Korea Talks

Paul Kerr

With another round of six-party talks concerning the North Korean nuclear crisis likely to take place, the Bush administration has signaled new flexibility in its bargaining position. Although U.S. policy is still far from fully formed, the biggest change appears to be that the United States will not insist that North Korea completely dismantle its nuclear facilities before Washington addresses some of North Korea’s concerns. Instead, Department of State officials say, they are looking at a step-by-step approach to reduce tensions.


Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sept. 22 that future multilateral discussions are likely, and officials from South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China—the other participants in the recent talks held in Beijing—have all expressed support for another round.

North Korea, however, has been ambivalent. An Aug. 30 statement from the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) indicated that Pyongyang was uninterested in further six-party talks. But a Sept. 2 agency statement reaffirmed Pyongyang’s “will to peacefully settle the nuclear issue…through dialogue.”

Subsequent North Korean statements have argued that future six-party talks will not be useful unless Washington changes its “hostile policy” of threatening a military attack and economic strangulation. Pyongyang officials have repeatedly demanded that the two countries conclude a non-aggression treaty before Pyongyang destroys its nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang’s ambivalence toward future talks stems from its aversion to U.S. demands that North Korea dismantle its nuclear program before addressing any of North Korea’s concerns. Indeed, the United States has repeatedly insisted that North Korea dismantle its nuclear program as a necessary—although not necessarily sufficient—condition for improved bilateral relations.

North Korea contends that the United States continued to articulate this position during the Beijing talks. (See ACT, September 2003). However, a senior State Department official insisted during a Sept. 4 press briefing that the U.S. delegation actually displayed more flexibility than the North Koreans claim and that Pyongyang’s statements seemed “pre-scripted” rather than responsive to the actual discussions.

The official said the U.S. presentations were “different in tone and in content” from those made during talks with North Korea in Oct. 2002 and this past April. The official added that the U.S. delegation “made clear that we are not seeking to strangle North Korea…we can sincerely discuss security concerns in the context of nuclear dismantlement, and...we are willing to discuss a sequence of denuclearization measures with corresponding measures on both sides.” The United States did not specify what measures it would take, the official said.

This account of the U.S. position is somewhat consistent with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Aug. 29 statement that all parties had reached a “consensus” to solve the nuclear crisis “through synchronous and parallel implementation.” However, a Sept. 1 statement from the South Korean government said there were “sharp differences” between the two sides, and Wang told reporters the same day that—despite his earlier comments—Washington’s policy is the “main problem” preventing diplomatic progress.

Pyongyang’s Proposal

During the talks, North Korea reiterated and elaborated on its solution for resolving the standoff. According to an Aug. 29 KCNA statement, North Korea proposed a step-by-step solution, calling for the United States to conclude a “non-aggression treaty,” normalize bilateral diplomatic relations, refrain from hindering North Korea’s “economic cooperation” with other countries, complete the reactors promised under the 1994 Agreed Framework, resume suspended fuel oil shipments, and increase food aid. In return, North Korea would dismantle its “nuclear facility,” as well as end missile testing and export of missiles and related components.

North Korea made a similar proposal during a round of trilateral talks held in Beijing in April. A Sept. 10 KCNA statement also said that Pyongyang would discuss verification measures for any agreement “only after the U.S. drops its hostile policy.”

“Nuclear facility” appears to refer to its plutonium-based nuclear reactor frozen under the Agreed Framework—the agreement that defused the first North Korean nuclear crisis by providing North Korea with heavy fuel oil and two proliferation-resistant light water reactors in exchange for freezing its plutonium-based nuclear facilities. An August KCNA statement denied U.S. charges, first made during a bilateral meeting in Oct. 2002, that North Korea possesses a uranium-enrichment program—another method for producing fuel for nuclear weapons.

A Compromise?

Following meetings with Bush and Powell in early September, South Korean Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Yoon Young-kwan said in a statement that the United States would probably go to the next round of talks with a proposal that would likely address North Korea’s security concerns. Powell said in August that the United States could support some form of written security assurance to North Korea, although he ruled out a nonaggression treaty.

Although State Department spokesman Richard Boucher Sept. 5 said the United States is not “going to grant inducements to North Korea to change its behavior,” a State Department official interviewed by ACT Sept. 24 said Washington is “looking at a sequence of steps” toward North Korean dismantlement. The senior State Department official stated Sept. 4 said North Korea would not “have to do everything before they would hear anything.”

Still, U.S. policy is clearly in flux. For example, the senior State Department official said Washington has not “completely decided” on procedures for verifying any North Korean agreement. And although Bush said in May that the United States “will not tolerate” a nuclear-armed North Korea, the administration has not said how it will respond to North Korea’s producing nuclear weapons. Powell stated during a Sept. 22 interview with Business Week that the United States will say “Gee, that was interesting” if North Korea test nuclear weapons, contending that North Korea would only conduct such a test to “scare the international community.”

State Department Spokesman J. Peter Ereli said Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly is to meet his counterparts from South Korea and Japan Sept. 29-30 to coordinate their North Korea policies.

A Nuclear Doctrine?

North Korea articulated the circumstances under which it would use nuclear weapons in a Sept. 1 KCNA statement, which describes Pyongyang’s “nuclear deterrent” as “defensive,” adding that its weapons will “remain unused” unless another country “provokes” it. North Korea does not intend to sell its nuclear weapons or provide them to terrorists, the statement adds.

North Korea told the U.S. delegation during the April talks that it had nuclear weapons and made a veiled reference to testing them. According to the senior State Department official, during the August talks the North Korean delegation threatened to test nuclear weapons or “demonstrate the means that they would have to deliver” them—an apparent reference to their missiles. The Sept. 2 statement warned that North Korea “will have no option but to increase its nuclear deterrent force” if the United States does not change its policy.

KEDO’s Future

Meanwhile, Bush agreed Sept. 14 to waive the restrictions on funding to the Korean Peninsula Development Organization (KEDO), the U.S.-led consortium that is building the reactors under the Agreed Framework. Congress had prohibited funding KEDO unless Bush determined “that it is vital to the national security interests of the United States.” Bush’s decision provided “up to” $3.72 million for KEDO’s administrative expenses—not for the actual reactors, which the United States has never funded.

U.S. allies have opposed scrapping the reactor project. Minister Yoon said Seoul favors a “temporary suspension” of the project, as opposed to terminating it, according to a September press release.
Decisions about the reactor project’s future would be made at a KEDO Executive Board meeting, but no meeting has been scheduled, a KEDO official said during a Sept. 24 interview.

A North Korean Proposal

The following is the keynote speech given by Kim Yong II, North Korea’s vice minister of foreign affairs, at the six-party talks in Beijing Aug. 27. It is the most detailed account to date of what the North Koreans proposed, and appeared in an article published by KCNA, the state-run news agency:

For a package solution, the U.S. should conclude a non-aggression treaty with the D.P.R.K., establish diplomatic relations with it, and guarantee the economic cooperation between the D.P.R.K. and Japan and between the north and the south of Korea. And it should also compensate for the loss of electricity caused by the delayed provision of light-water reactors [LWRs] and complete their construction.

For this, the D.P.R.K. should not make nuclear weapons and allow the nuclear inspection, finally dismantle its nuclear facility, put on ice the missile test fire, and stop its export.

According to the order of simultaneous actions, the U.S. should resume the supply of heavy-fuel oil and sharply increase the humanitarian food aid while the DPRK should declare its will to scrap its nuclear program.

According to this order, we will allow the refreeze of our nuclear facility and nuclear substance and monitoring and inspection of them from the time the U.S. has concluded a nonaggression treaty with the DPRK and compensated for the loss of electricity.

We will settle the missile issue when diplomatic relations are opened between the DPRK and the U.S. and between the DPRK and Japan. And we will dismantle our nuclear facility from the time the LWRs are completed.

First, the DPRK and the U.S. should make clear their will to clear up bilateral concerns.
The DPRK will clarify its will to dismantle its nuclear program if the U.S. makes clear its will to give up its hostile policy toward the DPRK.

Second, all the countries participating in the six-way talks should agree on the principle to implement the measures for solving the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S. through simultaneous actions.

If our reasonable proposal is turned aside at the talks, we will judge that the U.S. does not intend to give up its attempt to stifle the DPRK by force at an appropriate time while persistently insisting the DPRK “scrap its nuclear program first” to waste time.

In this case, the DPRK cannot dismantle its nuclear deterrent force but will have no option but to increase it. Whether the nuclear issue will be settled or not depends on the U.S. attitude.

In His Own Words

The following are excerpts from the first public comments made by Charles L. “Jack” Pritchard, former special envoy for negotiations with North Korea, since he resigned from the State Department in late August (prior to the Beijing talks) over the Bush administration’s approach toward North Korea. The comments were made during a Sept. 8 press briefing at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.:
“I’ll start off by saying…the prospects for success, unless the format is slightly altered, are very grim. [T]he six-party formulation is in fact the right one. Multiparty internationalization of the issue, particularly on the nuclear issue, is the right track to take…The change that has to occur is putting in the component of a true bilateral engagement between the United States and North Korea....
“What is required is a sustained involvement by the United States with North Korea. Does that mean that we’re going to resolve the problem bilaterally? No. We’re going to lay the ground work that will put it back into the six-party format….But it cannot occur without a sustained and serious dialogue between the United States and North Korea. You cannot get to the point where you understand who your opponent is at the negotiating table unless you have had continuous contact with them over a period of time….
“[I]t’s going to be very difficult to trust any arrangements that are made with the North Koreans. But the alternative is not acceptable. Allowing the North Koreans to become a declared nuclear weapons state, testing the nuclear weapons, and potentially having the ability to transfer the technology or the weapons is not acceptable. Nor is not negotiating acceptable….
“Rather than the drive-by meetings that occur, where we roll down the window and we kind of wave to the North Koreans and then move on, we’ve got to have a full-time negotiator who can do the coordination with North Korea, do the coordination of our policies with our allies Japan and South Korea on a continuous basis, and touch base with the Chinese and the Russians….”

 

 

 

 

 

With another round of six-party talks concerning the North Korean nuclear crisis likely to take place, the Bush administration has signaled new flexibility in its bargaining position. 

Summit Leaves Iran, North Korea Questions Unanswered

Christina Kucia

Despite what they described as “open, very frank” discussions about Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs, U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded their Sept. 26-27 talks at Camp David without any concrete decisions on how to address the crises.

At a joint press conference Sept. 27, Bush said the United States and Russia “share a goal…to make sure Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon or a nuclear weapons program.” Putin maintained that “Russia has no desire and no plans to contribute in any way to the creation of weapons of mass destruction, either in Iran or in any other spot, region in the world.” He noted that Russia’s decision to help Iran build a nuclear reactor at Bushehr is in full compliance with the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and agreed with Bush that both countries will continue to urge Iran to comply with International Atomic Energy Agency requirements.

The United States has criticized Russia’s assistance to Iran in constructing the $800 million reactor and providing nuclear fuel for the plant. Russia has maintained that it will require Iran to return any spent fuel, although the two countries have yet to sign an agreement enforcing this pledge. (See ACT, January/February 2003.) Concern over Iran’s nuclear energy program escalated in September after international investigators detected traces of highly enriched uranium in two facilities. (See “Concern Heats Up Over Iran’s Alleged Nuclear Program,” p. 20.)

Both presidents agreed that North Korea must cease its nuclear weapons program. At the press briefing, Bush reiterated his call for North Korea “to completely, verifiably, and irreversibly end its nuclear programs.” Putin, however, also pressed the United States to offer Pyongyang “guarantees in this sphere of security,” drawing attention to U.S. reluctance to provide such explicit guarantees. (See “U.S. Shows More Flexibility in North Korea Talks”) On the Iraq front, Bush failed to secure military or financial support from Putin for Iraq’s reconstruction.

Also during the summit, both sides discussed implementation of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, which entered into force in May 2003. (See ACT, June 2003.) The Bilateral Implementation Commission, which is scheduled to meet twice yearly, has yet to convene. The commission’s first meeting may be scheduled later this fall, in late October or early November.

 

 

 

Despite what they described as “open, very frank” discussions about Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs, U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President...

India, Pakistan Trade Barbs Over Nukes

Karen Yourish

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has denied reports that Pakistan shared its nuclear technology with other countries, namely North Korea. “All our [nuclear] assets are under strict control,” Musharraf asserted Sept. 25 at a gathering in Ottawa organized by the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies. “I can guarantee they will not fall in the wrong hands.”

The Pakistani president rejected charges that “lower ranks” of the country’s military could be passing nuclear information to other countries or possible terrorists. He admitted having had “defense relations with North Korea” but said those were limited to surface-to-air missiles with conventional warheads. The U.S. government has been unable to prove reports that Pakistan’s Dr. A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) engaged in a nuclear-for-missile swap with North Korea. (See ACT, September 2003.)

Earlier in the day, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee raised the allegations against Pakistan before the UN General Assembly in New York. He said member states should be “particularly concerned at the various recent revelations about clandestine transfers of weapons of mass destruction and their technologies. We face the frightening prospect of these weapons and technologies falling into the hands of terrorists.” The prime minister went on to criticize international conventions such as the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) for their inability to reign in such exchanges. “Surely,” he argued, “something needs to be done about the helplessness of international regimes in preventing such transactions, which clearly threaten international security.”

“The same regimes expend considerable energy in imposing a variety of discriminatory technology-denial restrictions on responsible states,” the prime minister said.

India and Pakistan have refused to join the NPT or the CTBT, both of which would open up their nuclear arsenals to greater scrutiny. The two countries shocked the world in May 1998 when they detonated a series of nuclear devices weeks apart from each other.

In an address to the General Assembly Sept. 25, Musharraf attacked India for embarking on a “massive buildup” of its conventional and nonconventional military capabilities and warned countries who “oppose the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction” to review their decisions to offer major strategic systems to India.

India is seeking Washington’s blessing to buy the U.S.-Israeli Arrow anti-ballistic missile system from Israel. In August, the U.S. government gave Israel the green light to sell three Phalcon airborne early-warning radar command and control systems to India for an estimated $1 billion.

The Pakistani president warned that “sustainable security in South Asia requires India and Pakistan to institute measures to ensure mutual nuclear restraint and a conventional arms balance.” India’s interest in purchasing new weapons systems, he said, “will destabilize South Asia and erode strategic deterrence.”

President George W. Bush met with Musharraf Sept. 24 and had lunch with Vajpayee. According to the Department of State, the president discussed cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and support for the war on terror with both of the leaders. Musharraf said he raised concerns over India nuclear weapons purchases during his meeting with Bush.

India Consolidates Its Nuclear Force

The Political Council of India’s Nuclear Command Authority met Sept. 1 for the first time since it was established in January (See ACT, January/February 2003). The council, headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and set up to formulate political principles and administrative arrangements to manage India’s nuclear arsenal, took action to transfer ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons from India’s military services to the Strategic Forces Command now in charge of the country’s nuclear arsenal. “These decisions will consolidate India’s nuclear deterrence,” a statement issued after the meeting said.

 

 



 

 

 

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has denied reports that Pakistan shared its nuclear technology with other countries, namely North Korea. “

Interdiction Initiative Starts to Take Shape

Wade Boese

Aiming to give sea legs to their evolving effort to intercept global shipments of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), ballistic missiles, and related technologies to terrorists and countries of proliferation concern, participants of the 11-country Proliferation Security Initiative held their first maritime interdiction exercise in September. The group also approved a broad set of principles to guide their actions under the U.S.-led initiative.

In the Coral Sea on Sept. 12-13, a U.S. Navy destroyer joined ships from Australia and the Japanese Coast Guard, as well as French and Australian aircraft, in hunting down, boarding, and seizing the cargo of a merchant vessel pretending to carry WMD-related goods in an exercise dubbed “Pacific Protector.” Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom—the other seven members of the initiative—sent observers.

Pacific Protector marked the first in a series of 10 exercises envisioned over the next several months. Two are tentatively scheduled for October. France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States will lead some of the future practice interdictions, which will include ground, air, and sea scenarios.

The exercises’ objectives are two-fold. They are designed to improve the 11 countries’ capabilities to coordinate and carry out interdictions together and send a signal to potential proliferators that heightened attention is being paid to their dealings.

Senior U.S. government officials recently have argued that the initiative and its exercises are intended make proliferators take greater pains to hide their trade, making it more arduous and less profitable.

Though the initiative is ostensibly not targeted at any specific countries, top Bush administration officials, such as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, leave little doubt that North Korea is the country that Washington most wants to feel the initiative’s pinch. However, some U.S. officials, as well as diplomats of other governments, are quick to declare that the initiative is not a blockade of North Korea.

Pyongyang has reacted negatively to the initiative. North Korea’s state-run press described the exercises as “blatant military provocations” that could lead U.S.-North Korean relations to an “explosive phase.”

China, which hosted six-party talks in August to try and defuse tensions regarding North Korea’s bid to acquire nuclear weapons, also expressed criticism of the initiative, fearing it could further stress an already strained situation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kong Quan said Sept. 4, “Quite some countries have doubts over the legality and effectiveness of the [initiative]. Under such circumstances, one should act in a prudent manner.” He recommended that dialogue is the best way to prevent proliferation.

Concerns about the initiative also appear to extend to some capitals with close ties to Washington. Neither Canada nor South Korea has publicly joined the effort, though U.S. officials say the initiative is to be expanded as broadly as possible. China, Russia, and South Korea have all reportedly been consulted about the initiative.

The initiative is still in its formative stages. President George W. Bush announced the initiative May 31 and the participants held just their third formal meeting Sept. 3-4 in Paris, where they agreed upon a set of nonbinding principles framing the new interdiction strategy.

Participants pledged not to ship weapons of mass destruction or related delivery vehicles and technologies themselves and to “seriously consider” cooperating in letting their vessels or those flying their flags be stopped and searched if suspected of carrying such cargo. They also vowed to inspect vessels and airplanes reasonably suspected of transporting dangerous goods entering their territorial seas or airspace.

The initiative does not license its participants to conduct search and seizures unconditionally. A vessel in international waters, generally 24 kilometers and further from a coastline, is typically off-limits unless it is unmarked or the country whose flag the ship is flying gives permission for it to be boarded.

The initiative does not authorize or empower its adherents to do anything that they could not do before. It is more a spur to action to take greater advantage of existing national and international law to try and stop proliferation.

U.S. and foreign officials view sparse and tardy intelligence—not a lack of authority or forces—as the biggest hurdle to implementing the initiative. To remedy this shortcoming, the 11 countries committed to improve their procedures for sharing information on illicit or undesirable trade in a timely fashion to enable effective action.

 

 

 

Aiming to give sea legs to their evolving effort to intercept global shipments of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), ballistic missiles, and related technologies to terrorists and countries of proliferation concern...

Bush Calls on UN to Curb Proliferation

Christine Kucia

The Bush administration is urging the UN Security Council to adopt an anti-proliferation resolution that would call upon member states to “criminalize” the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. In a Sept. 23 address at the opening of the UN General Assembly, President George W. Bush warned that “[t]he deadly combination of outlaw regimes and terror networks and weapons of mass murder is a peril that cannot be ignored or wished away.” He called on states to adopt tighter export controls, stronger legislation, and better border security to prevent the illicit transfer of materials and offered U.S. support to any country that needed help devising such programs.

Bush used the speech to justify further his handling of the war in Iraq and, amid criticism over Washington’s preemptive strike policy, called on member states to lend their support to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Speaking earlier in the day, UN General Secretary Kofi Annan harshly attacked the Bush administration’s position—without actually naming names. “Now, some say…states have the right and obligation to use force pre-emptively, even on the territory of other states, and even while weapons systems that might be used to attack them are still being developed.” Annan condemned such logic, warning it “could set precedents that result in a proliferation of the unilateral and lawless use of force, with or without justification.”

Beyond calling for the nonproliferation resolution, Bush offered no new initiatives and failed to mention the world’s most pressing proliferation concerns: Iran and North Korea. Instead, the president stuck to familiar themes, reiterating the existence of measures such as the newly formed Proliferation Security Initiative (see page 24) and the Nunn-Lugar program as examples of steps that are being taken to prevent dangerous materials from getting into the wrong hands.

French President Jacques Chirac also stressed nonproliferation in his comments. He proposed holding a council summit meeting to frame a “genuine” UN action plan against proliferation, as well as creating a permanent corps of inspectors under the council’s authority.

In Their Own Words...Excerpts from the UN General Assembly Sept. 23

By President George W. Bush

A second challenge we must confront together is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Outlaw regimes that possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons—and the means to deliver them—would be able to use blackmail and create chaos in entire regions. These weapons could be used by terrorists to bring sudden disaster and suffering on a scale we can scarcely imagine. The deadly combination of outlaw regimes and terror networks and weapons of mass murder is a peril that cannot be ignored or wished away. If such a danger is allowed to fully materialize, all words, all protests, will come too late. Nations of the world must have the wisdom and the will to stop grave threats before they arrive.

One crucial step is to secure the most dangerous materials at their source. For more than a decade, the United States has worked with Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union to dismantle, destroy, or secure weapons and dangerous materials left over from another era. Last year in Canada, the Group of Eight nations agreed to provide up to $20 billion—half of it from the United States—to fight this proliferation risk over the next 10 years. Since then, six additional countries have joined the effort. More are needed, and I urge other nations to help us meet this danger.

We’re also improving our capability to interdict lethal materials in transit. Through our Proliferation Security Initiative, 11 nations are preparing to search planes and ships, trains and trucks carrying suspect cargo, and to seize weapons or missile shipments that raise proliferation concerns. These nations have agreed on a set of interdiction principles, consistent with legal—current legal authorities. And we’re working to expand the Proliferation Security Initiative to other countries. We’re determined to keep the world’s most destructive weapons away from all our shores, and out of the hands of our common enemies.

Because proliferators will use any route or channel that is open to them, we need the broadest possible cooperation to stop them. Today, I ask the UN Security Council to adopt a new anti-proliferation resolution. This resolution should call on all members of the UN to criminalize the proliferation of weapons—weapons of mass destruction—to enact strict export controls consistent with international standards, and to secure any and all sensitive materials within their own borders. The United States stands ready to help any nation draft these new laws, and to assist in their enforcement....

By President Jacques Chirac

In the face of proliferating weapons of mass destruction, we reject all faits accomplis. We must stand united in ensuring the universality of treaties and the effectiveness of nonproliferation regimes. We must strengthen our means of action in order to ensure compliance....

By Secretary General Kofi Annan

In the Korean Peninsula, and elsewhere, the threat of nuclear proliferation casts an ominous shadow across the landscape….

Weapons of mass destruction do not threaten only the western or Northern world. Ask the people of Iran, or of Halabja in Iraq. Where we disagree, it seems, is on how to respond to these threats….

The council needs to consider how it will deal with the possibility that individual states may use force preemptively against perceived threats. Its members may need to begin a discussion on the criteria for an early authorization of coercive measures to address certain types of threats; for instance, terrorist groups armed with weapons of mass destruction….

Excellencies, we have come to a fork in the road. This may be a moment no less decisive than 1945 itself, when the United Nations was founded….

 

 

 

The Bush administration is urging the UN Security Council to adopt an anti-proliferation resolution that would call upon member states to “criminalize” the...

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