Nonproliferation Panel Begins Work

An international commission looking to set an agenda for the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference held its first meeting today in Sydney, Australia, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Sept. 2).

The International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, a group led by Australia and Japan, plans tomorrow to resume its first conference of retired diplomats and high-level officials.

"We see this as a genuine … nongovernment dialogue which will encourage a sharp focus by the international community on short-term good results from the NPT conference but also to start moving forward again on nuclear disarmament," said Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith. Canberra provided the commission $2.7 million in funding this year.

The elimination of all nuclear weapons is not a feasible short-term goal, "but it's the Australian government's long-term objective that the manufacture (and) the possession of nuclear weapons cease," Smith added.

The conference — which included delegates from 15 nations, including France, Pakistan, Russia and the United States — notably addressed a civilian nuclear cooperation deal that made U.S. civilian nuclear fuel and technology available to India in exchange for partial transparency of New Delhi’s nuclear sites.

Former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, who leads the panel with former Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, called nuclear nonproliferation an issue that should receive the same attention as the current international economic troubles.

"It's a problem of the same magnitude, but capturing zero attention," he said (Rohan Sullivan, Associated Press/International Herald Tribune, Oct. 20).

October 20, 2008
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An international commission looking to set an agenda for the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference held its first meeting today in Sydney, Australia, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Sept. 2).