Saturday, 4 April 2009

Summit Communique on Arms Control and Disarmament

Communiqué language on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation is somewhat disappointing. There had been hopes that, with the Obama administration publicly committed to ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, that would be mentioned in the communiqué. Also, with the US and Russia issuing a joint declaration on strategic arms control this week, it would have been better had some greater detail on those issues emerged from Strasbourg.

During the Bush years, NATO’s commitment to arms control and disarmament has dwindled, as the consensus rule for NATO decision-making meant that nothing opposed by the Bush administration (more or less all arms control) could be mentioned. However, the strong language on the NPT, and the promise to work constructively for the success of the 2010 NPT Review Conference gives some hope for future NATO activities in this field.

Similarly it is to be hoped that the new atmosphere of cooperation with Russia can lead to progress on restoring the CFE Treaty to full operation.

Summit Communique on Arms Control and Disarmament

55. In Bucharest we reaffirmed that arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation will continue to make an important contribution to peace, security, and stability. In response to our tasking to the Council in Permanent Session to keep these issues under active review, we note its report on raising NATO’s profile in this field. The report displays a broad range of activities being undertaken, including continuing efforts in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and destruction of excess small arms and light weapons and surplus munitions. The Allies continue to seek to enhance security and stability at the lowest possible level of forces consistent with the Alliance’s ability to provide for collective defence and to fulfil the full range of its missions. NATO and Allies should continue contributing to international efforts in the area of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. We aim at achieving a higher level of public awareness of NATO’s contribution in these fields. We task the Council in Permanent Session to continue to keep these issues under active review, as part of NATO’s broad response to security challenges.

56. NATO Allies reaffirm that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), with its three mutually reinforcing pillars, remains important and Allies will contribute constructively with a view to achieving a successful outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Alliance nations have dramatically reduced nuclear weapons and delivery systems, and remain committed to all objectives enshrined in the Treaty. We call for universal compliance with the NPT and universal adherence to the Additional Protocol to the International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguard Agreement and full compliance with UNSCR 1540. We will intensify our efforts to prevent state and non-state actors from accessing WMD and their means of delivery. In this regard, we endorse NATO’s comprehensive strategic-level policy for preventing the proliferation of WMD and defending against Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear threats. We remain deeply concerned about the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and related proliferation risks and call on Iran to comply with relevant UNSCRs. We are also deeply concerned by the programmes and proliferation activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and call on it to fully comply with relevant UNSCRs.

57. We place the highest value on the CFE Treaty regime with all its elements. We underscore the strategic importance of the CFE Treaty, including its flank regime, as a cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic security. We reiterate our endorsement at the Bucharest Summit of the statement of the North Atlantic Council of 28 March 2008 and fully support the December 2008 statement of our Foreign Ministers. We reaffirm the Alliance’s commitment to the CFE Treaty regime, as expressed in the Alliance’s position contained in paragraph 42 of the 2006 Riga Summit Declaration, the final statement by Allies at the CFE Extraordinary Conference in Vienna, and Alliance statements reflecting subsequent developments. We are deeply concerned that, since 12 December 2007, Russia has continued its unilateral “suspension” of its legal obligations under the CFE Treaty. Furthermore, Russia’s actions in Georgia have called into question its commitment to the fundamental OSCE principles on which stability and security in Europe are based: principles which underpin the CFE Treaty. These actions run counter to our common objective of preserving the long-term viability of the CFE regime and we call upon Russia to resume its implementation without further delay. Because of our commitment to cooperative security and fulfilment of international agreements as well as the importance we attach to the confidence that results from military transparency and predictability, we have continued fully to implement the Treaty despite Russia’s “suspension”. However, the current situation, where NATO CFE Allies implement the Treaty while Russia does not, cannot last indefinitely. We offered a set of constructive and forward-looking proposals for parallel actions on key issues, including steps by NATO Allies on ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty and by Russia on outstanding commitments related to Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. We continue to believe that these proposals address all of Russia’s stated concerns. We continue to urge Russia to work cooperatively with us and other concerned CFE States Parties to reach agreement on the basis of the parallel actions package so that together we can preserve the benefits of this landmark regime.

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