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Future of the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015: Proceedings of a Russian—U.S. Workshop
non-nuclear states on the ways and pace of nuclear disarmament; problems with bringing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)319 into force; the deadlock at the Disarmament Conference on concluding a convention to end the production of fissile materials; the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM)320; the standstill in establishing new nuclear-weapons free zones; and the United States’ increasing inclination to use force in resolving international problems and the resulting incentive this gives to a number of non-nuclear countries to obtain nuclear weapons (modern knowledge and technology makes this easier to do, and nuclear weapons are seen as a way for a country to raise its political status and give itself added protection against external pressure).
In this context, the issue of countering proliferation of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery remains very relevant. At the same time, it has become clear that the efforts of individual countries (or even groups of countries) to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation are not effective. Proliferation is a global problem and this makes international cooperation all the more important.
In his Address to the Russian Federation Federal Assembly in 2006, President Vladimir Putin spoke of the need to adopt comprehensive nuclear non-proliferation measures as “one of the most important issues in today’s world.”321 Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is almost always on the agenda and reflected in the documents of G8 summits (see Appendix D).
The non-nuclear NPT signatories consistently express their dissatisfaction with the pace of nuclear disarmament. They quite fairly view nuclear disarmament not as some kind of alternative, but as a strict obligation taken on by the nuclear states under the NPT’s provisions in which progress has virtually come to a halt. Despite the NPT’s positive achievements, it has not become a universal treaty and its lifetime has seen the emergence of de-facto nuclear states – India, Israel, and Pakistan – which symbolize the serious crisis facing the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Moreover, other countries still continue their attempts to join the ‘nuclear club.’
All of the unresolved issues affecting the non-proliferation regime’s effectiveness traditionally emerge in most concentrated form during the NPT review conferences. A program adopted by the conference in 2000, 13 Steps Towards Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, has still not been implemented.322 The most recent conference in New York in 2005, failed to produce a single document containing concrete recommendations for strengthening the NPT.323 The deep-running contradictions that have built up between nuclear states and developing countries over many years have led to a situation where these conferences become bogged down in discussing organizational issues instead of concentrating on matters of substance, namely the NPT signatories’ commitment to the Treaty’s three main principles: non-proliferation, disarmament, and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The most active position on nuclear disarmament during the conference was taken by countries that are part of the Coalition for a New Agenda: Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden. These countries highlighted the issue of the nuclear states’
The text of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty can be found at http://www.ctbto.org/; accessed April 6, 2008.