Puzzlin Evidence: who is this man, and how many nuclear weapons does he have?
The conference's official title is the third nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee (NPT PrepCom)
meeting for the 2005 NPT Review Conference (RevCon).
Sound exciting? Actually, it's about as dull as dirty dishwater.
Sound important? Yes, it is, for anyone concerned about weapons of
mass destruction of the nuclear variety, whether they're owned by
so-called "rogue states" or self-declared "responsible global
Long before Vanunu went to jail, throughout the 1960's diplomats
gathered in Geneva to negotiate a treaty - the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, which entered into force in 1970.
A deal was struck: the five nuclear weapons nation agreed to disarm
while every other nation would renounce nuclear weapons in return
for access to so-called civil nuclear technology. Only three states
remain outside the NPT - India, Israel and Pakistan. North Korea is
a state in limbo, neither in nor out. It is the most universally
adhered to treaty in the world.
This meeting will be an important test for the international
community's resolve on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
At the last Review Conference, in 2000, consensus was only just
achieved on a series of 13 "practical steps for the systematic and
progressive efforts" to control the spread of nuclear weapons.
Those steps include sensible things like supporting the global ban
on nuclear testing and starting negotiations on a treaty banning
the production, possession and use of nuclear materials for nuclear
Nothing radical, just steps that urgently need to be
implemented, yet even these tiny steps are continually blocked by
those who have the most to lose: their weapons of mass destruction.
We all know who they are: the US, Russia, China, France and
years on, President Bush is spending over US$5,000 million every
year maintaining an arsenal of over 10,000 nuclear weapons. He's
planning to spend US$485 million over the next five years on
developing and producing a new nuclear weapon commonly known as a
"bunker buster" -- a low-yield nuclear bomb designed to smash its
way into the ground to destroy hardened underground targets. (The
fact that Saddam Hussein was discovered in a conventional basement
has somehow not discouraged the development of this weapon) The US
military's Defence Science Board recently proposed scrapping most
of the US nuclear arsenal and replacing it with smaller yield
nuclear weapons that would "minimize collateral damage". The Bush
Administration's doctrine of "preventive war" declares that the US
would be justified in using nuclear weapons against anyone in any
conflict even before they actually attacked.
A treaty in critical condition
The international nuclear non-proliferation regime has been in
crisis since President Bush took office. Body blow after body blow
has been struck to this fragile international regime: The US has
failed to sign up to the global ban on nuclear testing. Bush is
preparing the way to actually resume nuclear testing. The US
government disagrees with crucial elements of the hard-won NPT '13
steps'. They refuse to enter into arms-control negotiations with
Russia that would lead to 'real' reductions in nuclear arsenals.
They brought about the collapse of negotiations on a verification
regime for the treaty that bans biological weapons.
This is no longer a battered and bruised regime in need of a bit
of repair mixed with some tender loving care. The international
nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime is on life
support, and the Bush administration is intent on pulling the
We believe that the '13 steps' should neither be weakened nor
renegotiated, but should be strengthened by the 2005 NPT
We're proposing language that, if adopted and implemented by all
NPT Member States, would take the NPT process further towards
achieving its end goal of "a treaty on general and complete
disarmament under strict and effective international control".
We hope those states which possess weapons of mass destruction
will heed their own agreements, and start down the path of a world
free of nuclear weapons.
The NPT needs a Vanunu: someone to blow the lid off the lies
that a few powerful states have been telling for almost 40 years,
and calling for them to get rid of their weapons of mass
Read Greenpeace's in-depth background and briefing documents in
NPT Policy Corner.
our comments on the NPT '13 Steps'.