From August 26 to 28, the XXIst United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues, recognized as one of the most important forums for dialogue regarding political scenarios related to nuclear non-proliferation, took place in the Japanese city of Niigata. This conference has been recognized since 1989 by Japan, which is the only country to have suffered the consequences of an atomic bomb, in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War.
The main conclusion of the event, in which 90 delegates and academics from 21 countries participated, was that it is necessary “to convert the visions of a world free from nuclear weapons into concrete actions”. Such actions include the unequivocal reduction of nuclear weapons by the States possessing them, implementation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT, 1996) and acceleration of the implementation of the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT).
Political will, leadership and flexibility were indicated as essential elements for reaching lasting agreements during the next Conference for Review of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (TNP, 1968). “The lack of progress in respect thereof is creating dissatisfaction among the Treaty signatories”, noted Libran N. Cabactulan, Ambassador of the Philippines to the United Arab Emirates, who will preside over the Review Conference to take place in New York in May 2010.
Yoriko Kawaguchi, the former Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and the co-President of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), stated that “it is necessary to promote mutual trust among the nuclear states and organize discussion that takes into consideration the security situation in each region”. Furthermore, he praised the recent nuclear reduction agreements between the United States and Russia: “The circumstances relating to nuclear disarmament strongly contrast the situation of a few years ago”, he pointed out.
“The Nuclear-Armed States must lead by example by reducing their nuclear weaponry”, asserted Kanat B. Saudabayev, Secretary of State for Kazakstan, a country that was once part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics until its downfall in 1991. “Our nation suffered a great deal of damage due to repeated nuclear testing during the Soviet era, and we have voluntarily embarked upon the path of nuclear abolition”, he explained.
One of the principal speakers was Susan Burk, United States Representative for Nuclear Non-proliferation Issues. Burk re-affirmed the commitment of Barack Obama to a world without nuclear weapons. “The United States cannot do it alone –she stated-, but may lead other nations”. Moreover, Ms. Burk stated that the United States “will reduce the military’s role (nuclear weaponry) by reducing reserves” and would subsequently request that other Nuclear-Armed States take similar measures.
Katsuhito Asano, the Japanese Chief of Cabinet, lauded the U.S. president for having defended “the right of people all over the world to live free from fear (of nuclear weapons) in the XXIst century” and stated that “movements in favor of nuclear disarmament are growing, and now is the time to cooperate”. The attendees agreed that the role of media and civic organizations is fundamental in this regard, reported In Depth News.
In fact, it was a representative from a civic organization from New Zealand who proposed a platform for solving the problem of “nuclear umbrellas”. “Countries should withdraw from nuclear umbrellas in exchange for a commitment from the Nuclear-Armed States to neither attack nor threaten attack with nuclear weapons those countries not possessing that type of weapon”, he explained.
*(Translation provided by Iuslingua LLC)*