Project on European Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PENN)
PENN Newsletter No. 5 / June 1998

Newsletter

c/o BITS   Rykestr. 13  D-10405 Berlin    Germany    Phone: +49-30-446858-0      Fax: +49-30-4410221

 

Dear friends,

these are unpleasant times: First, on May 8, the Preparatory Commitee of the NPT ended in a political deadlock and could not produce anything near a substantive result. Three days later India did further damage to the NPT by detonating three nuclear devices. Despite the threat of economic sanctions, Pakistan felt compelled to react with nuclear tests of its own. These recent events have put into question over thirty years of efforts to stop nuclear proliferation and ban nuclear weapons. Undoubtedly, they will have a profound impact on our field of work: nuclear weapons in Europe.

Reports and Current Activities

NPT PrepCom fails

From 27 April to 8 May 1998, the Preparatory Committee for the 2000 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) met in Geneva. The goal was to review and strengthen the NPT. Despite intense efforts during the last three days the conference failed to reach agreement on substantive issues.

The main reason for this failure was disagreement over Article 6 of the NPT which commits the declared nuclear weapons states to nuclear disarmament. Non-aligned states continuously point to this obligation which, in their eyes, remains unfulfilled. This year's PrepCom again failed to solve this underlying conflict and could not agree on next steps towards nuclear disarmament. The nuclear weapon states again were very reluctant to commit themselves to more concrete disarmament measures. While proposals were put forward by a number of states, and initial agreement on some issues ha been reached, in the end, a complete deadlock could not be prevented.

Several PENN members from BASIC, BITS, CESD and SPAS Working Group Eurobomb were present at the PrepCom, talking to delegates and to the media. This presence proved to be very effective. For the first time, more than 100 member states of the non-aligned movement (NAM) jointly and publicly criticized NATO nuclear sharing arrangements. A NAM working paper demands that „the Nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT ... refrain from, among themselves, with non-nuclear weapons states, and with States not party to the Treaty, nuclear sharing for military purposes under any kind of security arrangements."

A number of individual countries also targeted NATO nuclear arrangements. The representative of Ukraine stated during the general debate his concern that the expansion of NATO would extend nuclear sharing. Ukraine welcomed NATO’s declaration not to deploy nuclear weapons on the new members' territories, however added that there is an „urgent necessity" to adopt a „mandatory document on this issue." The representative of Turkey, in a Freudian slip, said „Turkey ... apart from the nuclear umbrella of the NATO alliance, does not possess nuclear weapons."

It remains to be seen to what degree NATO's new Strategic Concept, which is supposed to be completed prior to the Alliance's summit in April 1999, shortly before the 3rd NPT PrepCom, will reflect these statements. OM

PENN has issued several press releases during the PrepCom. These, official documents from the 1998 PrepCom, as well as material on the NPT can be accessed at BASIC's homepage at http:\\www.basicint.org.

***

PENN Seminars focus on NPT Review and NATO Strategy Review

Two seminars conducted in Geneva by PENN members contributed to the preparation of the 2nd NPT PrepCom for the 2000 Review Conference. On 11 February, PENN member CESD organized a seminar briefing in cooperation with the Quaker United Nations Office. The briefing "The New NPT Process: The 1997 Session Evaluated and Prospects for the Future" was chaired by Dr. Patricia Lewis, Director of UNIDIR, and featured presentations by Mr. Timo Kantola, First Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Helsinki; Ambassador Mark Moher, Permanent Representative of Canada to the Conference on Disarmament (CD), Geneva; and Mr. Peter Goosen, Minister, Permanent Mission of the Republic of South Africa to the CD, Geneva. The seminar was attended by more than 60 members of national delegations to the United Nations.

On March 24, PENN members ASPR, BASIC, BITS and CESD hosted a seminar "The New NPT Review Process and NATO’s Strategy Review: Reevaluating the role of nuclear weapons" for diplomats attending the 1998 PrepCom. The seminar featured three speakers: Ambassador André Mernier (Belgium), Ambassador Mounir Zahran (Egypt) and Dr. Rob de Wijk of the Clingendael Institute, Netherlands.

The presentations at the seminar focused on the NPT Review Process and on NATO’s Strategy Review. In April 1999, the Preparatory Committee for the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT will convene in New York. The same month, NATO’s new Strategy Review will be completed. These two events will have a decisive influence on the role of nuclear weapons not only in Europe. The seminar revealed that both processes - the formulation of NATO’s new Strategy Concept and the Review Process of the NPT - are closely related.

Disagreement occurred, however, over the question whether the NPT with its unique set of obligations placed on the member states could be an appropriate forum to discuss NATO’s Strategy Review. The political pressure to deal with these issues in the NPT context, and to clarify whether NATO nuclear sharing is in accordance with the spirit and letter of the NPT is rising (see also the following article on the NPT PrepCom). The remaining 12 months leading up to the NATO summit and the 3rd PrepCom should therefore be used to emphasize the opportunities and risks for nuclear proliferation associated with both events.

OM

***

NGO Statements call for revision of NATO nuclear politics, negotiations on tactical nuclear weapons

More than 100 NGO representatives were present at the 1998 PrepCom. Representatives of these organizations were able to present their ideas on the NPT Review Process to delegates on Tuesday, April 28. One afternoon session was reserved for 13 short statements. PENN was charged with coordinating the statement on NATO nuclear weapons, transfers and export controls. Karel Koster of Working Group Eurobomb presented the statement and urged delegates to "openly discuss whether NATO nuclear sharing violates the spirit and intent of the NPT." The statement called on member states "to seize this opportunity to discuss and seek consensus on the status of NATO nuclear sharing and expansion under the NPT." Two policy proposals were put forward: first, the NPT member states should explicitly and clearly state that the treaty remains in force in times of war. Secondly, the PrepCom should urge EU members to declare that eventually the EU will become a non-nuclear member to the NPT.

After the first week of the PrepCom, PENN members present in Geneva drafted a Working Paper, which reflected statements and input provided by official delegations as well as PENN's own policy ideas. At the start of the second week of the conference, the Working Paper was then distributed to delegates.

A statement drafted by NGO representatives from Germany, Japan and the US called on all non-nuclear weapon states to issue "unilateral declarations that its own security is compatible with and will not be compromised by the adoption of a no-first-use policy by nuclear weapons states parties and that such a policy is desirable as an immediate step." The statement, which received wide attention and was signed by some 30 NGO representatives from more than ten countries, also urged nuclear weapon states to withdraw their tactical nuclear weapons and implement de-alerting measures. OM

Official NGO statements made during the PrepCom can be viewed at the International Peace Bureau homepage at http://www.ipb.org. The PENN Working Paper can be viewed at http://www.basicint.org.

For further information or a copy of the Trilateral Initiative please contact BITS, Rykestr. 13, D-10405 Berlin, Tel.: +49-30-4410220; Fax: +49-30-4410221; e-mail bits@bits.de.

***

India and Pakistan declare themselves nuclear weapon states

Only three days after the NPT PrepCom had failed to give new impetus to nuclear arms control, non-proliferation efforts experienced another major setback. On May 11, India detonated three nuclear devices, followed by another two underground nuclear explosions two days later. Subsequently, the Indian government declared India a nuclear weapon state, thereby jeopardizing worldwide non-proliferation efforts. Pakistan followed two weeks later with a test series of its own and also sees itself now as a nuclear power. The tests and declarations were almost unanimously condemned by the world community. It became however apparent that India had caught the West off-guard: responses to the tests were not unified and differed from cautious criticism to sanctions. With the Pakistani tests and the announcement of the Chinese government to rethink its nuclear test stop, South Asia is on the brink of a nuclear arms race.

PENN-members have argued in a number of press releases, op-eds and articles that not only India but also Western hyprocrisy is to blame. Successive Indian governments had sought a global ban on nuclear weapons but were blocked by the nuclear powers' unwillingness to give up their nuclear prerogative. Looking ahead two points can be made: developments in South Asia necessitate a thorough reevaluation of Western nonproliferation policies. And one slim hope can be gathered from India's and Pakistan's recent tests: it could lead to a comprehensive reevaluation of the role of nuclear weapons in security policy by the five declared nuclear states. LH

PENN Press releases on the Indian and Pakistani tests can be viewed at BASIC's homepage at http:\\www.basicint.org. BITS press-releases are available at BITS, Rykestr. 13, 10405 Berlin, Tel.: +49-30-4410220; Fax: +49-30-4410221; e-mail bits@bits.de.

***

US Senate resolution puts emerging NATO-Russia nuclear talks in danger

Conservatives in the US Senate, led by Senator Jesse Helms have distorted the process of NATO expansion and the future of the NATO-Russia relationship. The Senate resolution on NATO Ratification that was adopted on April 30, attaches a number of conditions that will curtail substantive discussions on subjects such as Bosnia, arms control and military cooperation. The resolution stipulates that "NATO will not discuss any item with the Russian Federation prior to agreeing to a NATO position within the North Atlantic Council on that agenda item." It goes on to say that "the Permanent Joint Council (PJC) will not be a forum in which NATO's basic strategy, doctrine or readiness is negotiated with the Russian Federation". The resolution intends to restrict the relationship between NATO and Russia to information exchange only. Even if this is not against the letter, it is certainly against the spririt of the NATO-Russia Founding Act.

Ramifications for nuclear disarmament could be far-reaching. The PJC in December 1997 had decided to establish an experts working group on nuclear weapons that, for the first time, integrates the United Kingdom and France in a permanent forum for discussion on nuclear weapons. Also, for the first time, this group will touch on tactical nuclear weapons, until now excluded from nuclear arms control.

The Senate resolution that in the words of Senator Helms, reduces the PJC to a "forum for explaining - not negotiating" takes the edge off PJC talks on nuclear matters - and on other issues. If NATO follows the US Senate's demands, this emerging road to progress in nuclear arms control will be blocked. LH

For further information see BASIC's homepage at http://www.basicint.org.

***

German government states that NATO nuclear sharing will stay in place

According to the German government, „the necessity of nuclear first-use has not been questioned by anyone within NATO." Almost ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany sees no reason „to question the principles of cooperation in the context of nuclear sharing". These statements were part of a response that was given to the German MP Angelika Beer of Bündnis 90/ The Greens and published shortly before the end of the 1998 NPT PrepCom.

Germany clearly sides with its nuclear allies in NATO, which so far have blocked any progress on negotiations on negative security assurances (NSAs) to non-nuclear weapon states. After two years of deadlock, the CD in Geneva has recently established an Ad Hoc Committee on NSAs. Given that the NATO position prevails, this committee will not be able to make progress. OM

For further information or a copy of the answer of the German government to the inquiry „Nuclear weapons in Europe" of the MP Angelika Beer, please contact BITS, Rykestr. 13, 10405 Berlin, Tel.: +49-30-4410220; Fax: +49-30-4410221; e-mail bits@bits.de.

***

Poll shows: Germans against nuclear weapons

A recent opinion poll commissioned by the German section of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and presented in Bonn on June 4, reveals that 87% of the more than 1000 polled agree that the nuclear weapons powers should eliminate their arsenals without delay. An equally high percentage requests that the German government take action to remove all nuclear weapons from German soil.

The news triggered spontaneous celebrations at BITS headquarters in Berlin. Knowing ourselves in the vanguard of public opinion makes work so much more gratifying. LH

***

Report on PENN activities in Holland: December 1997 - May 1998

Since December 1997, the Working Group Eurobomb/PENN-NL has initiated and helped coordinate an information and outreach campaign in Holland. Its aim was to draw public and media attention to nuclear weapons as a political issue.

After an initial press conference in December, a series of events was organized around the presentation of the Statement of Heads of State and Civilian Leaders on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons for which the Working Group could garner support from a number of former Dutch premiers and ministers of defence.

The general elections provided a further opportunity to approach politicians and the public. A forum debate was organized in Amsterdam on April 23 in which the five biggest political parties participated. They expressed a willingness to engage in further debate on nuclear weapons issues. A number of meetings with parlamentarians have already been scheduled to further stimulate their interest.

The Working Group also approached the Dutch government in preparation for the PrepCom in April but met with silence on the issue of NATO nuclear sharing arrangement. A follow-up meeting with the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs also did not produce tangible results. The formation of a new government at the moment and the momentum created by public debate will hopefully give rise to new opportunities to convince the government of the illegitimacy of NATO nuclear sharing.

The campaign has also led to a number of publications, among them a paper compiling all official statements by Dutch parties and the government on nuclear weapons issues made in the last two years. Another side-effect of the campaign was intense and productive cooperation with a number of Dutch NGOs working in the same field.

In the coming months, the Working Group will concentrate on informing the Dutch parliament on nuclear weapons issues and will also commission a public opinion poll to emphasize the importance of nuclear disarmament.

Karel Koster (Working Group Eurobomb/ PENN-NL)

Further information:

Karel Koster, Working Group Eurobom, p/a Obrechtstraat 43, 3572 EC Utrecht, Netherlands,

Tel: +31 30 2714376, +31 30 2722594, Fax: +31 30 2714759, E-mail: k.koster@inter.nl.net

New publications

Nuclear Futures: Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, BASIC Research Report 98.2, March 1998, by Hans Kristensen, Consultant.

Based on documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act, this report provides a wealth of information about changes in US nuclear policy since the end of the Cold War. It demonstrates that the US has systematically expanded both its nuclear capabilities and doctrine to be able to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against targets around the globe.

Nuclear Futures: Western European Options for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmamtent, BASIC Research Report 98.5, forthcoming, by Nicola Butler, Analyst, Martin Butcher, Director, CESD, and Stephen Young, Senior Analyst.

The report examines the current role of nuclear weapons in security policy in Europe, focusing on France, the United Kingdom, and NATO. It then describes a wide variety of steps that could be taken by the principal actors in Europe to strenghten the international non-proliferation regime, reduce the risks associated with nuclear weapons, and create a more cooperative security environment. Stephen Young (BASIC)

Both reports can be obtained at BASIC. For information see BASIC's homepage at http://www.basicint.org.

Diary

Info War Festival

Under the title of "Info War", the Ars Electronica Festival of Art, Technology and Society invites artists, experts and scientists to contribute to a social and political definition of the information society. Rather than on technological flights of fancy, the festival will concentrate on the fundamental and sometimes violent transformation society is undergoing.

For further information please contact Dr. Georg Schöfbänker, phone and fax: +43 (0)732770149, or: http://www.aec.at.

Open Seminar on De-alerting

An open Seminar on de-alerting and de-activation is planned to take place in Stockholm on October 9 or 10. Bruce Blair, Peter von Hippel, Peter Pry and Richard Garwin are amongst the possible speakers for this event. The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society will be able to provide more details on the seminar later in June.

Please contact Jens Petersson at the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, Tel. +46-8-7022650, Fax +46-8-7021846, info@svenska-freds.se.

BITS would like to thank the W. Alton Jones Foundation for its generous support for the PENN program.

ViSdP / Responsibility at BITS: Otfried Nassauer (ON) and authors indicated: Lutz Hager (LH), Oliver Meier (OM)

ISSN 1434-4262