Project on European Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PENN)
PENN Newsletter No. 7 / February 1999

Newsletter

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

 

Dear Friends

PENN has a busy schedule ahead, with a coincidence of several important meetings and decisions to take place in the next few months. As described in the following pages, the PENN core group is following a number of key policy debates and hopes to continue to inform the decision-making processes.

 

Reports and Current Activities

Preparing for future nuclear disarmament - the NATO Summit and the steps ahead

Throughout 1999 and early 2000 nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation will be at a crossroads. Until the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, the world faces crucial decisions on both nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, with these areas closely interlocking. If the wrong decisions are made, the existing non-proliferation regime will be substantially weakened, additional nuclear armed powers are likely to emerge, and nuclear weapons will be assigned new tasks within NATO. If the right decisions are made, great opportunities for nuclear disarmament and strengthening the NPT will open up, and nuclear weapons will be devalued as a means of national power.

Throughout 1998 steps were taken in a destabilizing direction. India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons, and began the process of integrating them into their military arsenals. Russia has not ratified START II, while the US bombed the chance that this would happen in late 1998 with its strikes against Iraq. Both Russia and NATO are independently discussing an increased role for their nuclear weapons. The fate of START II is unsure again, in both Russia and also the US, where the Senate must reexamine the Treaty. Russia considers making first use a part of her military doctrine and argues that her nuclear weapons are needed to outbalance NATO's conventional superiority. The US is pushing NATO into considering whether nuclear weapons should have a role in deterring and fighting all weapons of mass destruction, whether owned by states or non-state actors. NATO has engaged in this debate in the midst of its first real post-cold war strategy review.

While the general objective is to move towards global nuclear disarmament by the shortest and quickest route possible, the current situation is that progress is made glacially slow - with the prospect that the pace of 1987-1992 cannot be resumed. The initiative needs to be taken primarily by the US and in addition by its allies. All other parties are in relatively weak positions and have comparably little room to maneuver.

In general the three Western nuclear weapon states (NWS) - France, the US and the UK - have cared and continue to care little for the UN disarmament fora and the disarmament provisions of the NPT. Instead, they continue to regard decisions on nuclear weapons as central to their role in the world. NATO's decisions on nuclear weapons are important to US and UK geo-political strategies. In international fora these NWS are mainly supported by their allies in Europe. However, a gradual erosion of allied support for these NWS in NATO has recently become visible in UN votes, the independent action of some non-nuclear NATO countries in the Conference on Disarmament, and during the German initiated debate on NATO reviewing its first use policy.

However, both NATO and Russia are also facing strong incentives to take new initiatives on nuclear disarmament and safeguarding the NPT. Russia can no longer finance her nuclear arsenal, neither her strategic weapons nor her tactical ones. Neither the current posture nor the ones envisaged under START II and START III can be maintained, without investing huge resources into their maintenance and modernization. However, Russia is interested in maintaining parity with the US. Deep cuts into both sides' arsenals are the only way to accomplish Russian aims. The US also has a serious interest in cutting strategic forces to much lower levels for costsaving reasons. In addition, NATO and the US share a strong interest in making Russian tactical nuclear weapons disarmament a treaty obligation and reducing proliferation risks.

While Russia is not in a good position to take the initiative, the US and its Western Allies are. The ongoing NATO strategy review is a key opportunity to discuss and agree change for the better among Western nations. NATO can make use of existing opportunities to dramatically reduce the numbers of existing nuclear weapons and help safeguard the NPT. Key decisions should be taken by NATO's April Summit, including on the following issues.

1. NATO's strategy review should contain a statement that the fundamental purpose of nuclear weapons in the Alliance is to provide a last resort for deterrence purposes. NATO should explain that "last resort" covers only the one case the International Court of Justice (ICJ) did not rule out as illegal, i.e. if the very existence of one or several member states is at stake. The role of NATO's nuclear weapons would be greatly reduced.

2. NATO should eliminate all language on substrategic nuclear weapons in its new strategy. (This opens the option to take a decision on eliminating this category of weapons after the Summit, maybe unilaterally by the US.)

3. The US and Russia should conclude work on a politically binding framework (such as the Helsinki framework agreement) for an arms control agreement which covers tactical nuclear weapons and includes a withdrawal of US-owned European-deployed tactical nuclear weapons. This could happen within or outside the START-framework. If such a framework proves impossible, because NATO-Russia relations have deteriorated too much, NATO should agree to unilaterally withdraw all US free-fall bombs from Europe.

4. This would allow the European states to make their own input and declare that they no longer require such weapons during peacetime. It would also likely smoke out secret progress in NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group towards supporting the US in its push for pre-emptive nuclear counter-proliferation preparations, because forward deployed B-61s may form part of that strategy and European dual capable aircraft might be asked to join American ones in such operations.

5. The Alliance should adopt the new members' standard on nuclear co-operation for all non-nuclear NATO-members. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have joined NATO as first class members while accepting that they will be eligible to participate in NATO nuclear planning and consultation agreements. However under current and foreseeable circumstances all new members will neither deploy nuclear weapons on their soil, nor host the infrastructure for doing so, nor train pilots to participate in NATO nuclear operations, nor enter Programs of Cooperation. They have no requirement to deploy nuclear-capable aircraft either. If Poland, NATO's new 'front-line' state, does not need nuclear arms then clearly there is no need for other countries, such as Greece and Belgium, to prepare to fly nuclear missions. A number of arguments and political developments, outlined later in this paper, support such a change.

6. NATO should issue a separate document on nuclear policy during the Summit. This paper should include statements on nuclear policies agreed earlier by the NWS, such as the 1985 commitment that the NPT is valid under all circumstances or the 1995 commitment entered in the context of the NPT "Principles and Objectives" as well as the statement on the Middle East and on Article VI. Because NATO states have successfully insulated their military policies (and officers) from the NPT commitments they will be reluctant to re-issue these commitments, however refusal will be hard to sustain and extremely damaging to the NPT as it would constitute a revocation of the core political commitments made in the permanent extension of the NPT. The US in particular is keen to dismiss the statement on the Middle East - something Europeans approach differently.

7. NATO should change its first use doctrine. However the change should be put in a different context. No first use is no longer primarily the European security issue that is was when the idea was discussed in the 1980s. Today, NATO should commit itself to a no first use policy in the context of meeting the Alliance's obligations under existing negative security assurances, which NATO would violate in almost all cases if the Alliance ever were to use nuclear weapons first against a non-nuclear weapon state.

8. The Alliance should state that it no longer requires SLBMs to be kept on short notice to fire. This is a concrete means of adding to the de-alerting debate as well as indicating that NATO is willing to implement a no first use policy. The UK has already announced that it can operate its SLBMs at a reduced notice to fire - although it does not call this de-alerting. NATO's fighter bombers are already off quick reaction alert. If the US maintains its forces on alert it should do so without an alibi from Europe.

For some five years the PENN Network, working transatlantically, has sought to re-open political debate within Europe on NATO related nuclear weapons issues. Today, this debate has been re-opened. NATO faces challenges over its nuclear policies from several perspectives:

* NATO members are facing strong demands to meet their commitments on nuclear disarmament.

* NATO members are being challenged over the political legitimacy and the legality of NATO nuclear sharing under the NPT. Neutral and Non-Aligned States have called on NATO to revoke nuclear sharing arrangements, since they are incompatible with the NPT.

* NATO members are likely to face both the risks resulting from future nuclear proliferation and the blame for not having acted in time in making progress on nuclear disarmament and safeguarding the NPT.

NATO's nuclear weapon states have tried to avoid the change urgently required. Thus they have risked the future of both nuclear disarmament and the NPT. Since they did not succeed in entirely prohibiting the debate within the Alliance, they are now indicating they might be willing to discuss the nuclear aspects of NATO's strategy after NATO's April Summit within a high level NATO group. However, this position is likely to be changed once NATO has adopted its new strategy during that Summit and - maybe - some minor changes to the nuclear paragraphs have been made. Unless NATO enters a firm and binding commitment to fully revisit the role of nuclear weapons in its strategy and to draw conclusions at its autumn 1999 Ministerials, i.e. in time for the world community to prepare positions for the 2000 NPT Review Conference - NATO's nuclear members are likely to argue that no further change is required for a strategy just adopted after a thorough review. This would close the window of opportunity for fresh momentum to nuclear disarmament that exists today and would put the NPT at risk. DP/ON

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Germany calls for no first use

After an initial heated exchange of arguments over the no first use proposal made by the German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, the debate on it began to calm down. There was a lot of speculation that there would be no follow-up. However, the Fischer/Scharping paper (see box) distributed to NATO in December made it clear that the new German government wished to discuss all aspects of NATO's nuclear strategy, without solely sticking to the no first use proposal. This initiative continues to exist.

"The government is in favor of a step-by-step approach. It is our intermediate goal for the Strategic Concept to further reduce the importance of nuclear weapons as a military means, as compared with 1991. We will favor giving the relevant institution a mandate to deliberate - with the participation of France - the following subjects on the basis of the government's platform:

  • confidence and security building mechanisms

  • non-proliferation

  • nuclear consultations with Russia in the framework of the Founding Act

  • nuclear disarmament

  • nuclear strategy.

In this framework the pros and cons of all strategic options on the way to further nuclear disarmament will have to be evaluated."

At the annual Conference on Security Policy in Munich, 5-7 February 1999, despite strong US criticism both Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Foreign Minister Fischer insisted on discussing NATO nuclear strategy. Fischer suggested that during its April 1999 Summit (at which NATO's new strategy will be announced) NATO should begin a review of its nuclear strategy and thus take the initiative for future steps in nuclear and conventional disarmament as well as strengthening weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-non-proliferation. He did not suggest a specific format for such a review, however he demanded that it should be "open and unprejudiced". Chancellor Schröder gave the debate his support, while at the same time saying it was not the German intention to make this a major dispute at the Washington Summit. Schröder's and Fischer's remarks came despite a Washington intervention in the Bonn Chancellory warning that a public debate on first use was seen by the US "with substantial concern" and would "prove non-productive and damaging". The intervention came as a reaction to Schröder indicating to the Canadian Prime Minister Chretien that he was backing Fischer's proposal to discuss no first use.

Washington circulated its intervention among Brussels-based NATO diplomats. The paper repeated the US stand and the diplomats were told: "The revised strategic concept should not change the nuclear doctrine. We hope you agree". It warned that there is "strong opposition to re-open NATO nuclear policy".

US Secretary of Defense Cohen used the Munich conference to sharply reject any calls for a discussion. He stipulated that the German proposal was a "serious mistake", endangering the security of the Alliance. Furthermore he repeated his call to widen the role of nuclear weapons in NATO's strategy by saying, "It is my firm belief that the best hope for protecting ourselves against those who would unleash weapons of mass destruction, be they nuclear, biological or chemical, is to reserve the right to respond to such attacks with any means at our disposal". Cohen also said, "Any question about that policy undermines our deterrent capability. I think we have to make that very clear to all who would contemplate unleashing any sort of a weapon of mass destruction on the alliance."

Cohen again did not mention that NATO has not yet specified a role for nuclear weapons in offensive counterproliferation. As recently as the December 1998 Defense Ministerials, when NATO discussed the ministerial guidance for NATO's future force goals, the task of countering the threat of WMD was expected to be met by developing conventional force capabilities, not nuclear forces. According to NATO officials, no requirement was agreed that could be interpreted as encouraging the development of a role for nuclear weapons in counterproliferation. ON

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Is there a chance left for START II ?

During December 1998 there was for the first time a real chance that the Russian parliament might ratify the 1993 START II treaty. This became possible when Primakov, elected as prime minister last September, came near to reaching a consensus in the Russian Duma. But the US-UK air strikes against Iraq destroyed these expectations. Instead, anti-American sentiment was stirred up.

For the opponents of the treaty, namely the Duma-leading Communist party, the bombing of Iraq was a welcome opportunity to - at least - postpone ratification.

Under START II America and Russia agreed to scrap up to two-thirds of their deployed strategic warheads, going to 3500 each by 2007. While the Kremlin and the government, considering that a quick ratification would improve Russia's prospects of receiving much-needed aid from the International Monetary Fund ( IMF ), see a need to slim down their forces to be able to afford to modernize them, the opponents of the treaty, including military leaders, argue the other way around. Russia cannot afford to modify its Strategic Nuclear Forces in compliance with START II and pay for eliminating the surplus. Furthermore they believe such a modification would endanger Russia; Alexandr Lebed attacked the treaty saying it "may cause irreparable damage to Russia's national security". Among other commitments, under START II heavy landbased ICBMs (SS-18) will have to be destroyed which according to Russian military leaders are their most effective launch systems, whereas 'obsolete' missile-carrier submarines will continue to be permitted. The Russian military leaders think that the consequence would be that the US is left in a better position.

The debate is further complicated by many Russians linking ratification to the US giving up its intention to review and modify the 1972 ABM Treaty. Alexei Podberiozkin, a Communist supporter of START II said the US announcement of its desire to review the ABM Treaty and build a missile defense system could be the death knell of START II.

But ratifying START II is in Russia's interest. Russian military officials say that many of Russia's nuclear weapons are nearing the end of their service life and will have to be dismantled in any case, whether under START II or not. Russia simply cannot afford even the upper limits allowed by START II.

The follow-up START III, as envisaged in the 1997 Helsinki Agreement between Clinton and Yeltsin, intends further cuts in both countries' arsenals, the inclusion of warhead dismantlement, and possibly also reductions in the numbers of tactical nuclear weapons and transparency measures. Lower limits are more in line with Russia's economic situation, and so could help to assure nuclear parity with the US. But the US Senate insists that START II be ratified before progress can be made on START III.

An early ratification of START II, although provisionally on the agenda of the Duma for this March, is unlikely. Vladimir Ryzhkov, Deputy Speaker of the State Duma and a supporter of the treaty, told Interfax on 4 January that a majority of Deputies supporting the ratification is "so far not in evidence." The supporters of the treaty, such as Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, describe it as "necessary and beneficial for Russia". But many other Russian politicians who support the treaty - including President Boris Yeltsin's representative in the Duma, Alexander Kotenkov - believe that there is no chance of ratification until the election of a new parliament at the end of 1999.

However early ratification is necessary because the US and Russia are committed to substantive progress in nuclear disarmament as agreed in Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as was reinforced in the 1995 NPT Review Conference "Principles and Objectives". All nuclear weapon states should take steps to ensure that the NPT Review Conference in 2000 is successful, otherwise the future of the NPT could be jeopardized. RM

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Ambassador Graham and General Butler promote no first use for NATO

Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr., President of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security (LAWS) and General George Lee Butler, former Commander of the US Strategic Command, have just visited eight European NATO capitals to discuss opportunities for updating the 1991 Alliance Strategic Concept. Between them, they met with senior officials of the Defense and Foreign Ministries in Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Spain, as well as with senior NATO officials.

Central to their message was the idea that proliferation of nuclear weapons constitutes one of the chief security threats to NATO and should be a defining priority in the development of Alliance strategy and policy. Ambassador Graham and General Butler advocated careful consideration of a no first use policy with regard to nuclear weapons, and other revisions of Alliance nuclear doctrine and strategy to account for the non-proliferation priorities of member states and reduce the political value of nuclear weapons.

The Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the major adversaries of NATO during the Cold War, have dissolved and NATO faces different threats today. But although the Cold War has been over for years, NATO still retains an outdated nuclear doctrine, relying excessively on nuclear weapons as the 'supreme guarantor' of NATO security, as an essential political link between Europe and North America necessary to Alliance cohesion and security, and reserving the right to introduce nuclear weapons into future conflicts. Attaching such high political value to nuclear weapons encourages other states to do the same and runs counter to the non-proliferation objectives of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which all NATO members are party, and to the security needs of the Alliance.

NATO now represents the strongest conventional force in the world. Maintaining the first use option enhances the political value of nuclear weapons thereby encouraging acquisition of these weapons by non-nuclear weapon states faced with many of the same security threats. Nuclear weapons proliferation would neutralize NATO's conventional superiority and diminish its security. Moreover, NATO's retention of the right to use nuclear weapons first is particularly troublesome to many non-nuclear weapon states parties to the NPT, who believe that the NATO first use option may be inconsistent with the negative security assurances and therefore undermines the commitment of many non-nuclear weapon states in the developing world to the NPT. No exception was made regarding possible attacks involving chemical and biological warfare. The International Court of Justice reaffirmed the importance of these negative security assurances by making them legally binding.

It is thus in NATO's best interest to lower the value of nuclear weapons and reduce their political importance. Their role should be limited to that of core deterrence, which may be achieved by ensuring a second strike capability to ensure reliable defense, while also limiting the political status of nuclear weapons, thereby contributing to limiting the incentives for proliferation.

While there is no broad consensus among NATO governments on the best way to sustain the non-proliferation regime, Germany's support for no first use is not unique. Many officials privately agree no first use may represent a path toward strengthening the NPT, although some still value uncertainty in the minds of potential adversaries. Officials were unanimous in their support for the discussion of a review and update of the Strategic Concept after the 50th anniversary as was agreed by the United States and Germany. LT

***

CD remains split over nuclear disarmament

On January 19 1999, US Ambassador Robert Grey opened this year's session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva. Expectations were high because the CD last year agreed to start negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile materials (Fissile Material Treaty, FMT). However, this decision must be formally reiterated before negotiations can start in earnest. As yet, no such decision has been taken. The CD has adopted an agenda for 1999 which is the same as last year's, but this does not signify much progress as the much more difficult decisions on a program of work and the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee have not been taken.

During the first four weeks of the CD, however, a number of attempts were made to break the political stalemate that prevented progress on nuclear disarmament. The most unusual one came on January 28, when South Africa tried to force a decision on future nuclear disarmament talks in the CD by formally requesting that the president of the CD appoint a Special Coordinator on nuclear disarmament. This request was founded on an interpretation of the rules of procedure and is unconventional insofar as the CD usually can only take decisions by consensus of its 61 members. It came after a South African proposal to establish an ad hoc group "to deliberate upon practical steps for systematic and progressive efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons" failed to get support from all CD members.

On February 11, President Grey denied the South African request to appoint a Special Coordinator. Grey said that he had been unable to establish consensus among CD members on this question. In his parting speech as president, Grey urged delegations "to get down to work" and warned that "semantic overkill will get us nowhere". South Africa insisted that the president is bound to appoint a Special Coordinator and requested that the legal advisor of the UN be charged with an interpretation of the relevant documents.

Three other proposals to discuss nuclear disarmament are also on the table of the CD. Egypt proposed on January 26 to "establish an ad hoc committee under agenda item 1 on nuclear disarmament to commence negotiations on a phased program of nuclear disarmament with the objective of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons". On February 2, Belgium proposed to establish "an ad hoc working group to study ways and means of establishing an exchange of information and views within the Conference on endeavors towards nuclear disarmament". This proposal was supported by four other non-nuclear NATO states: Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway. And on February 4, Canada proposed that the CD "establish a mechanism for the substantive discussion of nuclear disarmament issues with a view to identifying if and when one or more issues might be negotiated multilaterally" in addition to beginning negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty. OM

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Declassified NPT History

The PENN network has worked hard over the last five years in conducting historical research on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), with particular reference to the question of NATO nuclear sharing.

Most recently, in anticipation of the 1999 Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) Martin Butcher and Tanya Padberg have been looking carefully through newly declassified archives in Washington and have come up with new evidence in two key areas. The first of these is the historical definition of General War (at the outbreak of which NATO considers that the NPT is no longer controlling, and therefore dispersal of nuclear warheads to NATO non-nuclear weapon states becomes legal). General War, although still present in the 1991 NATO Strategic Concept, is a 1950s concept. It is defined as the state of war that exists during and after, a massive nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and NATO.

The second area of evidence concerns historical opposition from countries such as India and Yugoslavia to the NATO Multilateral Force (MLF) on the grounds that this force would constitute an act of proliferation. The proposed MLF, although never implemented, was the forerunner of NATO's Nuclear Planning Group and today's nuclear sharing arrangements. Unlike these, the MLF was published before being put into operation. The MLF debate puts the later debate on nuclear sharing as proliferation, and non-NATO nations objections to NATO policies, very clearly into focus.

The documents put PENN in a very good position to revise and strengthen its argument against nuclear sharing before the 1999 PrepCom. Our aim remains the same: to obtain a renewed declaration from NPT member states that the treaty remains in force under all circumstances, and that NATO nuclear sharing is therefore in breach of the treaty. MB

***

New Agenda Coalition: Update On Activities

The New Agenda Coalition (NAC), also known as "the eight-nation initiative", was born in June 1998 when the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden announced an initiative entitled "Towards a Nuclear Weapon-Free World: The Need for a New Agenda".

The NAC has met regularly to evaluate their results and to plan the future of the initiative. Officials at the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs mention three main fora where NAC ideas are expected to be raised. These include the Conference on Disarmament (CD) where the NAC sees immediate negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty as a top priority. The second forum is the NPT review process. There are differing views on how the NAC can input into April's Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2000 Review Conference, which are being discussed among the eight. The UN General Assembly is seen as the third forum for action, in which the NAC is expected to table its resolution again this year.

"The PENN network has been given a lot of compliments from government officials for the work done on promoting the resolution," says Ms Maria Ermanno, president of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society.

In fact, the methods that were used to push the New Agenda issue in the UN are seen by many to be a model for future work between governments and citizen groups on common initiatives. During the UN drive, governments officials gave timely, targeted information to NGO representatives, who then passed the information on to other NGOs in the field. These others in the network were then able to capitalize on it in their respective areas of influence and achieved very concrete results.

The NAC initiative points to a pragmatic route towards nuclear disarmament. It emphasizes the close connection between preventing the spread of such weapons and the nuclear weapon states' undertakings with respect to disarmament and the abolition of all nuclear weapons, said the Swedish Foreign Minister Ms Anna Lindh in her speech at the Swedish government's annual declaration of its foreign policy on 10 February. JP& SR

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The PENN Campaign in The Netherlands

PENN Netherlands, in close cooperation with several other organizations, has made extensive efforts to restart the public debate on nuclear weapons in Holland. During the second half of 1998 this consisted of a series of approaches to key decision makers in parliament and government, op-ed articles in Dutch newspapers, an opinion poll on Dutch attitudes to NATO nuclear policy, and a permanent effort to inform Dutch grass roots activists about nuclear issues.

Holland, as a small NATO member, is involved in NATO nuclear policy through its continued 'co-sharer' status. A squadron of F-16 attack aircraft continues to be held ready for nuclear war: although the nuclear bombs stored on Dutch soil to arm these aircraft in time of war are formally American, the Dutch involvement is such that most signatories of the NPT regard Holland and other NATO members as being part of and sheltering under the NATO nuclear umbrella.

The nuclear issue was also raised during the vote in the United Nations on the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) resolution in October 1998, when we put a little pressure on key parliamentarians to stop the government opposing the NAC resolution. The government was called to account and clearly changed its position at the last moment.

February 1999 Ambassador Graham and General Butler visited the Dutch foreign ministry and parliament. The day after a Pentagon/State Department delegation was sent to counter the arguments for nuclear disarmament.

the coming months activities will focus on organizing events on NATO nuclear policy. These are meant to educate public opinion and parliament on the need to change NATO nuclear policy in a positive fashion, when it comes up for review in April. PENN Netherlands is also busy contributing to the organization of PENN's activities at the Hague Appeal for Peace, as described below. KK

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Boycott against Russian missile facilities

On January 12 1999, US-President Clinton levied sanctions against three research facilities in the Russian capital: the Moscow Aviation Institute, the Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology and the Scientific Research and Design Institute of Power Technology (NIKIET). The institutions had some transactions with Iran.

In recent years the US government has accused Russian companies several times of providing sensitive material to Third World countries, including Iran. While this raised some American concerns about the danger of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the Russian authorities did not react the way the US administration expected. "We have the impression that there are forces in the US Congress which want to throw the Iranian problem onto Russian-US relations and make these ties virtually hostage to this dossier", then Russian presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky told a press conference on January 23 1998. But on March 11 the USA and Russia set up a joint commission of experts to monitor exports of missile technologies.

Meanwhile, on July 22 1998 Iran tested for the first time the Shahab-3 missile with a range of about 1300 kilometers. A Shahab-4 missile with an even longer range is being developed.

In response to the American sanctions, Victor Mizin, division chief for peacekeeping and sanctions at the Russian Foreign Ministry told the magazine Defense News: "There are influential opponents to any kind of export control who view them as a ruse devised by the US government, under pressure from US companies, to squeeze out Russian companies from lucrative world markets... While we hear politically correct words from Russian leaders about concerns [about proliferation to Iran], no one in the political elite seriously is considering the threat of this development."

But American sanctions might even go further. While it has been planned to launch some American satellites with Russian missiles, US officials have threatened to terminate these agreements. That would be bad for the missile production companies such as the Khrunichev Space Research and Production Center in Moscow and the Progress plant in Samara. But then, this could backfire onto American companies, because Khrunichev co-founded the International Launch Service joint venture with Lockheed Martin. While it is not realistic to fight proliferation with military means, a boycott is not appropriate either. GP

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PENN organizes workshops on NATO, NPT

From May 11-13 1999 thousands of peace activists will gather in The Hague, Netherlands to discuss and strategize their work. PENN will co-sponsor two events at the Hague Appeal for Peace (HAP) which will provide the peace movement with an opportunity to assess the outcome of the Third NPT PrepCom and NATO's 50th Anniversary Summit, which will have taken place shortly before the HAP in New York and Washington respectively. PENN plans to co-organize a panel of experts and insiders, which will discuss the outcome of NATO's Strategy Review and the consequences for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Based on this discussion, NGOs will be able to discuss joint strategies in a workshop. Both the panel discussion and the NGO workshop will be co-sponsored by the Fourth Freedom Forum.

The exact date and location have not been decided yet but will be announced on the HAP website at http://www.haguepeace.org OM

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Canadian Parliament recommends nuclear phase-out

In December 1998 the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Canadian parliament released its report on "Canada and the nuclear challenge: Reducing the political value of nuclear weapons for the twenty-first century". After almost one year of hearing dozens of witnesses and experts from around the world, the Canadian parliament has put together thorough compilations of arguments about the future course in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The central recommendation of the study is that Canada should work consistently to reduce the political legitimacy and value of nuclear weapons. Two facts in particular make the report valuable. First, it has a very broad scope. Secondly, the study extensively quotes arguments about next steps to be taken from some of the leading experts in the field.

The report can be downloaded from http://www.parl.gc.ca/InfocomDoc/36/1/FAIT/ Studies/Reports/faitrp07-e.htm OM

Diary

12 March 1999 Accession to NATO of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic
24-25 March 1999 Special European Council (Heads of State to discuss Agenda 2000, Enlargement Process, new applicants)
12-23 April 1999 New York, United Nations, Third PrepCom for the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. (It is likely that this will be postponed until May.)
22 April 1999 Washington, BASIC/BITS/Fourth Freedom Forum NATO Summit conference
23 April 1999 Washington, European/US NGO NATO Summit conference
23-25 April 99 Washington, NATO Summit "NATO at Fifty"
1 May 1999 US, Defense Department report to Congress on counter-proliferation programs
10 May - 25 June 1999 Geneva, CD in session
11 and 13 May 1999 First anniversary of the 1998 Indian nuclear tests at Pokhran
11-15 May 99 Hague Appeal for Peace
18 May 1999 25th anniversary of the first Indian nuclear test (1974) at Pokhran
28 May 1999 First anniversary of the first 1998 Pakistani nuclear tests
1 June 1999 Entry into Force of the Amsterdam Treaty.
4-6 June 1999 EU Council (provisional date).

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: Martin Butcher (MB) - Centre for European Security and Disarmament, Brussels (CESD); Karel Koster (KK) - Working Group Eurobomb, The Netherlands; Oliver Meier (OM) - BITS Geneva; Roman Michaels (RM); Jens Petersson (JP) - Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS); Gerhard Piper (GP); Dan Plesch (DP) - British American Security Information Council (BASIC); Sharon Riggle (SR) - CESD; Leonor Tomero (LT) - Lawyers Alliance for World Security (LAWS).

ISSN 1434-4262