NPT 2010: A STEP FORWARD
The International Movement for a Just World (JUST) welcomes the consensus achieved at the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference held at the UN Headquarters in New York from 3 to 28 May 2010.
That consensus was achieved, and a final document adopted, is a victory of sorts for the non-nuclear weapons states that constitute the overwhelming majority of the 189 member nations of the NPT. The last NPT Review Conference in 2005 failed to achieve a consensus or to produce a final document.
The two most significant proposals to emerge from the 2010 NPT are its appeal to the five recognised nuclear weapons states --- Russia, the United States, Britain, France and China---to work towards total disarmament and report back to a preparatory committee in 2014, after which the 2015 NPT Review Conference will take stock, and its request to the UN Secretary-General to convene a conference in 2012 to seek “ the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.( WMDs)”
By asking the ‘Big Five’ to report to a preparatory committee of the NPT and by asserting the right of the next NPT Review Conference to evaluate the progress made by the Big Five, the NPT nations are in fact exercising a degree of moral authority over the powerful. This is important in itself. It is a reflection of the growing desire of hitherto marginalised states to play their rightful role in determining the fate of the human family. These states in the Global South and the Global North are no longer prepared to allow a handful of powerful actors to ride roughshod over their interests.
Similarly, by pushing for a Middle East that is free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, the NPT is signaling to the only state in the region that possesses nuclear weapons to come clean. It is asking Israel to get rid of its stock of about 400 nuclear warheads. The NPT knows that Israel’s nuclear arsenal will only encourage other states in the region to also acquire the weapon, thereby intensifying tensions and conflicts in the world’s most volatile region. Israel, which is not a signatory to the NPT, has already rejected the NPT’s demand for the elimination of WMDs. It has made it clear that it will not allow the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect its nuclear facilities.
It is partly because of Israel’s intransigence and arrogance that the NPT nations should go beyond the final document that they adopted on the 28th of May. The Non-Aligned bloc within the NPT, comprising 118 states, should launch a massive campaign through the
media, especially the alternative media, to ban all weapons of mass destruction everywhere. In this campaign, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) should work closely with NGOs and religious bodies. JUST would like to propose that NAM initiate a meeting for this purpose.
There is no need to emphasise that in order to create the momentum to persuade the Big Powers and Israel to act positively, we have to mobilise global public opinion immediately. Popular sentiment is undoubtedly in favour of the total elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. To enhance the credibility of NAM in this endeavour, NAM leaders should first coax the only two countries within NAM who possess nuclear weapons--- namely India and Pakistan---- to get rid of their arsenal.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar,
International Movement for a Just World (JUST).
07 June, 2010