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Conference on Disarmament 2012 Session Ends With Impasse Intact
The international Conference on Disarmament on Thursday wrapped up its 2012 work period without any meaningful progress made in moving past a deadlock that has stymied the body's ability to negotiate new nonproliferation treaties for more than 15 years.
The 65-member nation body had been warned this could be the final year it had to show it was capable of reaching consensus on a new work plan. Several member states have threatened to begin negotiations for arms control pacts such as a fissile material cutoff treaty outside of the conference if the impasse was not broken.
U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane in a speech at the end of this year's conference session pleaded with participant nations to maintain their involvement.
"National security is also linked to the security of one’s neighbors, and to regional and global security," Kane said in comments provided in a U.N. press release. "Recognizing this indivisibility of security is the first and most crucial step toward advancing the security interests of all, at the expense of none."
In its 33-year history, the conference has negotiated several key arms control agreements including the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Pakistan this year blocked passage of a conference work plan because it would have included a focus on beginning study of a treaty prohibiting production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. The body makes decisions by consensus, which Pakistan has also exploited to quash agendas in previous years.
Breaking the body's impasse "is less of a challenge of administrative reform than of reconciling differences among member states through diplomacy," Kane said. The senior U.N. official recommended convening senior-level meetings in new settings to try to undo the gridlock. She suggested this month's U.N. General Assembly meeting could be used to discuss new solutions.
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