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Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation Letter to UN Missions regarding the Millenium +5 Summit

August 17, 2005

To: All Permanent Representatives to the United Nations
From: Reaching Critical Will of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy, Greenpeace International, and the Arms Control Association
Re: Outcome Document for the Millennium + 5 Summit - Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Commitments

Dear Ambassador,

As civil society organizations working for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, we are writing to urge you to retain essential commitments on “disarmament and non-proliferation” set forth in the most recent (August 5) draft outcome document for the Millennium + 5 Summit and to adopt further commitments that would strengthen the document.

We urge you to remain steadfast in the commitment to the commencement, without delay, of negotiations on a global comprehensive fissile materials treaty. These negotiations should not be linked to the initiation of negotiations on effective measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space. Further, as the Seven Nation draft outcome text proposes, it should be a commitment to commencement of negotiations "without preconditions."

We also urge you to hold firm on the commitment to maintaining the moratorium on nuclear test explosions pending entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and to bringing the treaty into force. This goal has been repeatedly endorsed by the vast majority of states at the UNGA, the NPT Review Conference, and the CTBT entry-into-force conferences (the next of which will convene in September). If one or another state cannot at this time endorse this goal, that state should not be allowed to silence the vast majority that do, and the document should note that state’s perspective as the recent OAS resolution endorsing CTBT entry-into-force does.

We make these recommendations in the larger context of the urgent need for verified reduction and elimination of nuclear arsenals globally together with global control and disposition of weapons-usable fissile materials. The current draft outcome document represents only a minimal set of commitments, and should not be diluted further.

In its current form, the document fails to refer to imperatives recognized in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty context of applying the principles of verification and irreversibility to reduction and elimination of strategic and tactical nuclear arsenals, diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in security policies, and reducing the operational status of nuclear forces. Commitments concerning these imperatives would be highly desirable. As Secretary-General Kofi Annan said regarding the Summit in his May 30, 2005 op-ed in the International Herald Tribune: "I hope leaders will think seriously about what more can be done to reduce - irreversibly - the number and role of nuclear weapons in the world."

The document also deletes useful language contained in the July 22 draft outcome document regarding the spread of uranium enrichment and plutonium separation technologies and facilities. It is widely recognized that this problem deserves serious attention and action.

In his op-ed, Mr. Annan wrote that the non-proliferation "regime will not be sustainable if scores more countries develop the most sensitive phases of the fuel cycle, and are equipped with the technology to produce nuclear weapons on short notice." The Seven Nation draft outcome text also includes useful language. We emphasize, as governments so far have failed to do, that support of renewable, non-nuclear technology is an essential part of the solution.

The August 5 draft outcome document appropriately commits to “Strengthen the verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency of the peaceful use of nuclear energy by adopting the Model Additional Protocol, the standard for compliance," calls for "universal accession to the comprehensive safeguards agreements [and to] additional protocols,” and recognizes that "such instruments enable the IAEA to verify the peaceful use of nuclear energy, thus preventing nuclear proliferation." Unfortunately, the draft fails to call for compliance with these standards as a condition for the supply of nuclear technology.

The obligation of every country in the world, as affirmed by the International Court of Justice, is to "pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations on nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control." The outcome document should recommit the nuclear weapon states, and all states, to the fulfillment of their nuclear disarmament obligations.

The disappointing failure of the participants in the 2005 NPT Review Conference to reach agreement on a meaningful plan of action to strengthen the non-proliferation and disarmament system was largely due to the inflexibility of a small number of states. The Millennium + 5 Summit cannot afford to allow a similar pattern to weaken the outcome document. To quote Mr. Annan again: "Bold commitments at the September meeting would breathe new life into all forums dealing with disarmament and nonproliferation.… Solutions are within are reach; we must grasp them."


Jennifer Nordstrom, Project Associate, Reaching Critical Will, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

John Burroughs, Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy

Nicky Davies, International Disarmament Campaigner, Greenpeace International

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association


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