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Stalled Disarmament Body Readies Annual Report for U.N.

The international Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday discussed how it should frame the failure to meet a United Nations demand that it finally approve a work program after a 16-year absence of negotiations for new multinational arms control treaties.

The 65-nation conference must present a yearly report on its activities this month before the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Delegates this week met in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss how "to balance praise for the potential role the conference could play in disarmament with appropriate self-criticism in view of its long-running failure to fulfill its mandate," the U.N. Office at Geneva said in a press release.
Senior U.N. officials and conference member nations had previously warned this was the last year the disarmament body had to agree on a new work plan. Failure to move past the impasse might mean some member nations would pursue arms control negotiations outside the conference.
Pakistan this year blocked approval 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 conference operates by consensus. Islamabad in 2009 also stopped the Geneva forum from taking up a different work plan that included talks on the fissile material cutoff treaty.

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