The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons | Le Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires

CNWC Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau: “Make nuclear arms control and disarmament a national priority”

Dear Prime Minister:
Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, supported by more than 1,000 recipients of the Order of Canada, write once again to urge you and your Government to make nuclear arms control and disarmament a national priority. In this letter, we make specific suggestions, notably that Canada work diligently toward achieving an international consensus to save the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at its Review Conference in 2020….. [continue reading: CNWC Letter to Prime Minister.Jan22-2020]

Peggy Mason: Canada — From nuclear disarmament stalwart to nuclear weapons apologist

“To understand the extent of Canada’s retreat from staunch defender of meaningful steps towards increased nuclear restraint and eventual disarmament to the shocking role of U.S. nuclear weapons apologist, it is necessary to review the position of Canada in the context of the NPT and NATO.” (Peggy Mason is President of the Rideau Institute.)

Download pdf here: From nuclear disarmament stalwart to nuclear weapons apologist

CNANW Activities 2005-2008

  • Restoring Canada’s Nuclear Disarmament Policies Expert Seminar, February 2008:
    Event Report (english, pdf) Statement (english, pdf)
  • Séminaire d’experts sur la restitution de leadership Canadiene sur le désarmement nucléaire: Déclaration (français, pdf)
  • Canadians Call for End to Nuclear Weapons in NATO;
    Des Canadiens exigent la suppression du recours à l’armement nucléaire par l’OTAN:
    Statement, June 18, 2007 (english; en français)
    Media Release, June 18, 2007 (english; en français)
  • Recent Statements on Nuclear Weapons Issues: view here

  • 2005 Consultations: here
  • Launch on Warning: here

  • What we do
  • Hiroshima 1945, 8:15 A.M.
    Setsuko Thurlow’s Story: here
  • Testimony on Disarmament before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs by Ernie Regehr and Douglas Roche: here

Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: “We believe that the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons are abhorrent and morally wrong. We call on the Government of Canada to work urgently with other nations to conclude a convention which will set out a binding timetable for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the world.”

2004 reports from the NPT prepcom

(Debbie Grisdale, Physicians for Global Survival)

Report #1 Day 1 – Monday April 26, 2004

The day began with the daily delegation meeting at the Canadian Mission. We are 12 people – a combination of DFAIT people (from Ottawa, NY,Vienna and Geneva), DND, the Nuclear Safety Commission and 2 NGO reps (Ernie Regehr of Project Ploughshares and myself). We went over the day’s events, assigned tasks and discussed preparations for the next few days.

The prep com sessions run from 10-1pm and 3-6pm. This first day was devoted to opening statements by countries, including Canada. The UK and China were the 2 nuclear weapon states to present today. Overall the statements are quite repetitive – on dangers of proliferation, need to strengthen the NPT, bring the CTBT into force, achieve fissile material cutoff treaty, rejuvenate the paralysed Conference on disarmament etc. I am struck by the huge amount of time and resources and paper that are devoted to statements and briefs – words by the thousands. So much of what is said is repetitive and it all seems so inefficient when there is so much to do. This is why I am not a diplomat!

Canada is presenting a 3 part package on

  1. greater NGO access to the NPT process,
  2. increased reporting by States on their progress toward compliance with NPT and
  3. addressing the ‘institutional deficit’ of the NPT by creating a standing body with annual general conference mechanism etc to make the NPT more responsive to problems and emergencies as they arise (e.g. DPRK withdrawa in 2003l from NPT). The 3 parts fit quite well together and complement each other.

Several countries expressed interest is looking more at this last idea on institutional strengthening, while the UK minced no words saying ‘The idea is that such measures would strengthen the NPT process. We disagree. ..,.” Our job over the next 2 weeks is to talk up the three notions and get other states and NGOs (not so difficult!) interested in them so the ideas can be further developed and make to the 2005 Review Conference.

At noon the Middle Powers Initiative held a standing-room-only panel on ‘Ensuring Full Implementation of the NPT’ with the New Zealand Minister of Disarmament (only country with Minister of Disarmament), Cdn Ambassador for Disarm. Paul Meyer, former Swedish Ambassador for Disarmament and Tariq Rauf (a Canadian) of IAEA. The room had many government representatives as well as NGOs. Canada is well regarded and certainly featured prominently in this roundtable which was introduced by Doug Roche. (Canada is one of the very few delegations with an NGO rep on it – let alone 2.)

There is, overall, a good turnout of NGOS here – 69 are registered. Tomorrow they will have the whole afternoon to make their 11 presentations to the plenary. A core group has been working on them for the last 6 weeks. Ron McCoy will present IPPNWs on the human face of NW. After tomorrow aft. the government sessions will be closed to NGOs.

It is pouring rain, good thing this hotel is only one block from the UN – perfect location. Will report again after a couple of days.

Report #2 from NPT PrepCom April 27-30 2004

Government Country Statements

On morning of the prepcom’s second day more countries gave their statements. Countries frequently mention the 3 “intertwined” pillars of the NPT — disarmanent, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear technology. The room filled up as names on the list moved down to the US government’s turn. The US focused mostly on issues of treaty non-compliance and how to “devise ways to ensure full compliance with the Treaty’s non-proliferation objectives”. The US seems to feel they are in full compliance with Article VI of the treaty (which deals specifically with nuclear disarmament) and went so far as to hold a special closed briefing at a lunch hour to govts providing “hard evidence” about how they are in compliance. Several countries later, Iran spoke — reading their prepared statement saying after a year of verification by the IAEA there was no indication of diversion of nuclear technology from peaceful uses to a weapons program. Then they added another para to reply to the US accusations saying the US needs to come clean about its violation of the treaty and its proliferation activities. The US has targeted Iran repeatedly in their statements.

The government statements were extremely repetitive. Issues touched on by many countries include: the universal reaffirmation of support for the NPT and its three intertwined pillars; serious concerns about and the need to tackle non-proliferation and compliance (DPRK, Iran, Libya); the need for progress on disarmament; negative security assurances (NW states assurance to non-nuke states that they will not use NW on them — this is fundamental to NPT agreement); the need to deal with the proliferation of nuclear technology; the continuing CD impasse; the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East, the CTBT, the Additional Protocol and interest in the fuel cycle proposals. Many called for the PrepCom to make substantive, not only procedural, recommendations to the Review Conference. But to date, little progress is being made toward any substantive outcome from this prepcom.

NGO Presentations

On Tuesday afternoon 13 representatives from NGOs spoke to the plenary. There were several mayors, Sarah Estabrooks of Proj Ploughshares, Ron McCoy and a wonderful sight of a young German with bright fuschia hair. As the first several NGOs spoke, their directness in addressing the issues was a welcomed relief. The speeches ran long and took exactly the allotted 3 hours with no time for the hoped for Q+A. For details on NGOs recommendations see Report #3.

On Wed morning country statements were finally finished. For the afternoon session NGOs were no longer permitted on the conference room as has been the practice for the last number of years. They are allowed in for country statements only. Procedural issues were on the agenda — dates for next year’s review conference (May2-27), election of officers, agenda, rules of procedure etc. As countries debated the rules of procedure it was difficult to imagine how there could ever be agreement on an agenda, let alone anything of any substance. A number of issues were deferred — including a rule of procedure on NGO access to sessions.

Government Cluster&Mac226; Presentations

Over the next several days the governments delivered statements in what are called Clusters — of which there are 3 and deal with different aspects of the treaty -disarmament, nuclear safeguards and peaceful uses of nuclear technology. (These are supposedly different from their country statements but in actual fact go essentially over the same ground.)

The prepcom Chair (Indonesian Amb Sudjadnan) has kept a low key posture from the start, which is seen generously by some as exemplary of Indonesian subtletly, and by others as revealing a weak grasp of the process. It is believed by some that he is overly influenced by backroom sessions with the NWS, who are seeking a merely procedural outcome that does not attempt substantial recommendations. He did brief the NGOs at one of the early morning sessions.

NGO Access to Government Sessions

By Friday afternoon things had changed considerably for NGOs and they were permitted back into the “cluster” sessions The “cluster” sessions should finish Monday and it is not clear whether NGOs will be allowed to remain in during the remainder of the prepcom when, I believe and hope, there is more actual debate onn recommendations to go forward to the 2005 Review Conference.

Canada has been steadfast on NGO access and intervening on this issue whenever necessary. There are 2-3 other delegations with NGOs on them and so I have been asked a number of times by NGOs from other countries about how is it that Canada has one. I have been dividing my time between the govt sessions and the NGO panels.

NGO Sessions

The NGOs sessions are excellent, covering topics on missile proliferation, US weapons labs, civilian weapons inspectors, resolution of the crisis in the Korean Peninsula etc etc. One noon hour I went from a session by the UK government on their technical verification research program which also included outlining how they undertook mock inspections to a NGO session on “civilian weapons inspections” by representatives from churches and activist NGOs — the difference in the room was palpable in terms of personal engagement with the issue and the depth of the discussion. This holds true for most of the NGO sessions I have been to where they have very good presentations and information and are deeply aroused about nuclear disarmament and very frustrated with the lack of progress.

The question has been raised a number of times about how best to influence the government delegations and whether it is possible to do it here at the N. The answer that frequently comes back is that the work to be done is raising the awareness among civil society back home. For the Americans their first task is a change of president, but that is only the beginning. There was a very interesting presentation from Los Alamos Study Group on the social contract with nuclear weapons labs and the military in the state of New Mexico — the poorest state in the country, where 13% of the workforce is employed at the labs or in the military.

Over the weekend Abolition 2000 organized a town hall evening session on Friday, a rally on Sat (covered in the New York Times Metro section) and an all day general planning meeting on Sunday.

First thing this morning, Monday, Ambassador Meyer gave an “off the record” briefing to NGOs from the Canadian perspective.

The second week begins with the final slate of countries speaking on Cluster 1 issues — disarmament.

Report #3 from NPT Prepcom
Summary of Recommendations from NGO Statements to Plenary Session

Process of Developing the NGO Statements

It took over 6 months of intensive brainstorming, debating, selecting and refining to get to these 13 statements. Not everyone is agreement on all points but the presentations reflect the NGOs “unquenchable desire for nuclear abolition” and “to rid the planet of nuclear weapons, verifiably and irreversibly”.

There were a number of Mayors or deputy mayors who participated in the presentation of the statements.

Vertical proliferation is defined as increases in the size of arsenals; the introduction of new weapons and new capabilities to arsenals including new means of delivery; and changes in the role of nuclear weapons in defense policy. All the nuclear weapon states are seen as proceeding with vertical proliferation programs that undermine the treaty.

Summary of Recommendations as presented:


  • Convene a Summit meeting on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation tasked with the creation of an International Nuclear Disarmament Organization with the appropriate political and legal authority and financial resources to eliminate all nw and monitor the nuclear-free status.
  • Summit would be a prelude to the opening of negotiations on a Model NW Convention. * Establish clear timetable for the total abolition of nw no later that 2020, and negotiations should begin as of the 2005 NPT Review Conf on a phased program of incremental steps leading to the total elimination
  • NPT States Parties should condemn all practices that violate the letter and spirit of the NPT – inter alia preemptive nuclear strikes, development of new generations of NW
  • disarmament of delivery systems and of warheads
  • Let the radiation history of Indigenous peoples, hibakusha, downwinders, nuclear industry workers, community in the global south and elswhere be living history for all humanity – let us learn from it and prevent history from repeating itself.
  • to address the “disarmament deficit” and to avoid future reliance on the UNSC as a global lawmaker, revitalize the existing NBC-treaty regimes and create new multi-lateral agreements – on non-state actors, fissile materials, a biological weapons verification regime and more.

2. No new nuclear reactors

  • Moratorium on building of new nuclear reactors and old ones close down.
  • Transfer of funds from Export Credit Agencies and governments to an International Sustainable Energy Fund.

3. Implement and strengthen the NPT in a non-discriminatory manner that demands accountability

  • consider development of a permanent NPT body and a UN-based inspectorate, drawing on UNMOVIC capabilities, to address concerns of suspected or confirmed horizontal proliferation within the NPT framework and thereby reinforcing it, similarly for addressing and halting vertical proliferation
  • make common cause with BTWC and CWC in pursuit of mutually reinforcing systems for verification and enforcement
  • reconfirm commitment to 13 Steps to ensure it remains a living document and use as means to assess progress and to plot future steps
  • engage in broad and intensive discussions to acquire commitment to disarmament in 2005. NGOs are prepared to help in any way.
  • NNWS are encouraged to cooperate through diplomatic alliances to propose progressive and concrete recommendations as unified voice.

4. Insist that international mean international

  • Bring SORT into conformity with goal of NPT to achieve global disarmament under “strict and effective international control”
  • NPT member states should send invitations for formal observers from Israel, India and Pakistan at the NPT prepcoms and Review Conferences, and develop mechanisms for giving them greater access to NPT deliberations
  • Start negotiations immediately on a multilateral treaty banning shipment of NBC weapons
  • excess weapon-grade fissile materials of the NWS must be brought under IAEA safeguards. Parts of the nuclear fuel cycle should be brought under multinational control and that export controls should be universalized.
  • Revise withdrawal clause of the NPT and the method of convening States Parties to deal with disputes.
  • Provide financial and political support to the safeguard and verification regime thereby supporting the IAEA in verification of peaceful nuclear activities.
  • Create international controls on uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technology through a multilateral agreement, as proposed by IAEA DG Mohamed ElBaradei
  • International oversight on the UNSC resolution on non-proliferation is required

5. Enhance NGO Access

  • Grant to NGO participants increased access to the proceedings, including fewer closed sessions allowing NGOs to attend cluster discussions and timely access to documentation.

6. Strengthen Member State Reporting

  • All states parties must be held to higher standard of reporting on treaty compliance in order to strengthen this as transparency tool.
  • Increase States’ participation in reporting before negotiating a standard format

7. Create an NPT Secretariat

  • Establish Secretariat to prevent functions and responsibilities and institutional memory of NPT from either falling to wayside or being dealt with in ad hoc fashion
  • Consider modeling on OCPW

8. Missiles, Missile Defences and Space Weapons: prevent an arms race

  • stop testing missiles and missile defence systems
  • initiate negotiations for an international treaty banning tests of ballistic missiles and of missile defence systems
  • initiate negotiations for a global treaty banning ballistic missiles and missile defence systems
  • any research, development, testing, building and deployment of weapons for use in space should be prohibited

9. Depleted Uranium

  • NPT member states are urged to sponsor a General Assembly [resolution] condemning the use of DU weapons and uranium-tipped radiological weapons

References to Canada in NGO Statements

  • “Australia and Japan have already decided to join US missile defence. Canada and the UK are in appropriate negotiations”
  • We also applaud the latest Canadian efforts to develop a comprehensive approach seeking to integrate space security issues with the international community’s need for security and equitable access to space for peaceful purposes, which has recently been presented at a seminar in Geneva”
    *Let us also ban all uranium mining in the First Nations of Canada and the United states, Australia, India and elsewhere that supplies the continuing global nuclear industry”.
  • “inalienable right” under the NPT to nuclear materials for peaceful purposes is given to all NPT parties and implemented by other NNWS such as Japan, Canada, etc

The full NGO statements can be found at

NPT PrepCom Report #4 May 3-5 2004

On Tuesday afternoon after countries had an opportunity to finish the last of the “special time” sessions which was on “Safety and Security of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Programs” the chair announced the program for the remainder of the week. The product of the prepcom will be a Report of the meeting (on procedural issues, provisional agenda for the 2005 Review Conference, Draft Rules of Procedure etc) and an annex to it that contains the Chairman&Mac226;s Factual Summary. After discussing the procedural issues in plenary on Wed AM countries would have a chance on Wed afternoon to meet with the Chair and Vice-Chairs individually to “provide their views” on what should be in the Factual Summary. The draft Report with the procedural aspects would be available on Thurs AM and the draft of the Factual Summary on Friday AM. This was announced by the Chair with no written overview of this timetable provided and many countries remained confused about what the plan was. Even one of the Vice Chairs admitted after in a smaller meeting that she was not exactly sure what was in the Chair&Mac226;s mind.

On Wed AM discussion on the provisional agenda for the 2005 Review Conference (which is essentially the 2000 Review Conference’s agenda) hit a snag when Canada proposed that that the review should take into account not only the decision taken at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference but also „the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference”. Sounds reasonable, the 13 Steps, a very important achievement, came out of the 2000 RevCon. Canada proposed it as simply a technical adjustment, an update, to the agenda not a substantive change. There followed a lengthy discussion in the plenary many countries supporting Canada but the US in particular unable to see any value in adding in 2000, another hour in a smaller group, a third session in the afternoon and still there is no agreement. Discussions on this “technical” and definitely “not political” point begin again today. These smaller group sessions are chaired by Canada&Mac226;s Ambassador Paul Meyer, doing an admirable job. Most of the countries support Canada&Mac226;s suggestion except the US and Russia and the UK. The UK suggested putting in the phrase “where appropriate”, until it was pointed out that this was “cherry picking”. Discsussion continue this morning.

The NGOs have daily briefings at 9AM by various delegations and delegates. Yesterday I meet with NGOs to talk about being “an NGO on the Canadian Delegation”. A number of NGOs are interested in knowing the background on the Canadian situation.

Below is the May 5,2004 editorial of the daily newspaper “News in Review”, put out by the financially struggling WILPF&Mac226;s Reaching Critical Will Project (NIR). It is ,handed out at the door of the conference room and read avidly by delegates. All the NIRs can be read at

Playing Chess with Damocles

International relations have often been described as a complex game of chess, played on multiple boards simultaneously, wherein a decision on one board directly affects the strategies and opportunities on all the others.

Over the past week and a half that this PrepCom has been in session, the accuracy of this metaphor has been highlighted several times. First, the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) were given fresh impetus in their quest to frame the discussion on non-proliferation, rather than disarmament, when Security Council Resolution 1540 was passed last week. The resolution, as the News in Review has commented several times, struck a blow to the delicate balance between disarmament and nonproliferation by failing to reaffirm the intrinsic link between the two indivisible goals.

The multidimensional chess game was in full action yesterday at the UN as well, as the PrepCom devoted special time to Regional Issues while the “Quartet” – the UN, U.S., E.U., and Russia- met in a separate part of the building to discuss the tattered Road Map to peace in the Middle East.

Nearly a dozen States took the floor to call for Israel&Mac226;s accession to the treaty- the main obstacle in the creation of a Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (NWFZ)- and to reaffirm the urgency of universalization and the denuclearization of the volatile region. The United States, meanwhile, utilized the Special Time to once again accuse Iran of “serious violation of its NPTobligations.”

France, the only other Nuclear Weapon State to take the floor yesterday, heralded Security Council resolution 687 and the proposals from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and offered a “checklist” of conditions necessary to create a much needed “new regional security framework.” In order to achieve a NWFZ in the tumultuous region, France called for: an established dialogue amongst all parties; compliance with NPT commitments from the region&Mac226;s States Parties; cessation of arms and delivery systems proliferation; strict adherence to the NPT, CWC, BTWC, and the CTBT; adoption of Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the placement of all facilities under IAEA monitors; the elimination of existing stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as their means of delivery; and more.

It could be argued that had the 1995 Review and Extension Conference not adopted the resolution on the Middle East as part of the “Package of Decisions” States Parties might not have been able to ascertain the indefinite extension that prolonged the treaty&Mac226;s lifespan. Although the resolution has yet to be implemented, it remains, as Kuwait remarked yesterday, “an integral part” of the international disarmament and nonproliferation regime.

The absence of further decisions on the Middle East at the 2000 Review Conference was entirely due to the possibility of the 13 Practical Steps. In 2000, Non Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) in the Middle East were temporarily content to relegate the region to the back burner in exchange for the “unequivocal undertaking” by the NWS to disarm. Now that the NWS have clearly reneged on that diplomatic achievement, the NNWS are duly determined to reprioritize the Middle East as a front issue for the NPT at the next Review.

While the Quartet deliberates how to reconcile Israel&Mac226;s proposed withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, States Parties trek back to their Missions to consider how the NPT can best address the crisis.

Neither framework is likely to discover a silver bullet in the next few days. But, as pawns and bishops scuttle across their separate boards, the nuclear sword of Damocles continues to loom over the Middle East and the entire world.

— Rhianna Tyson, Reaching Critical Will

For my Report #5 I am attaching below the report of veteran NPT watcher Rebecca Johnson. As she outlines, the whole process bizarrely and despairingly fizzled out at the end, at 8pm Friday May 7 – 2 hours past the scheduled closing. There no agreement on any substantive urgent issue. Any agreement that there was was on purely procedural items and even many of those items saw no agreement at all and so cannot go forward as official documentation from this prepcom to next year’s Review Conference.

Overall the experience was a good learning opportunity in many aspects, but it reinforced indelibly for me that any progress on nuclear disarmament will come as a result of civil society pressing for it.

Lots to be discussed at the Board meeting. See many of you then.


Date: Sat, 08 May 2004 15:00:43 +0100
From: Rebecca Johnson <
Subject: NPT PrepCom crashes in disarray

Confusion and Anger as NPT Meeting Closes in New York

The Third Session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2005 Review Conference of the NPT closed in disarray around 8 pm Friday May 7, 2004, with adoption of only parts of its final report containing the most minimal agreements to enable the 2005 Review Conference to take place. States Parties were unable to take decisions on important issues such as the agenda and background documents, in large part because the US delegation was determined to oppose and minimise references to the consensus final document from the 2000 Review Conference, which had resulted in the ground-breaking 13-step plan of action on nuclear disarmament. The United States, actively abetted by France and Britain, with the other nuclear weapon states happy to go along, wanted to rewrite the NPT’s history by sidelining the 2000 Conference commitments, at which they had made an “unequivocal undertaking& to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals”. A majority of other states, by contrast, wanted the 2005 Review Conference to build on both the groundbreaking agreements from 2000 and the decisions and resolutions from the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.

The meeting, chaired by Ambassador Sudjadnan Parnohadinigrat of Indonesia, was expected to be difficult, but was made more so by the ideological US obstruction to anything that mentioned the CTBT or the 2000 agreements. The nonaligned states, frequently spearheaded by South Africa, a key player in both 1995 and 2000, refused to capitulate, though far too many of the western non nuclear weapon states appeared ready to roll belly up and settle for a lowest common denominator trade-off. Most notably, as the meeting went through its motions, a significant number of parties showed preference for ‘waiting out’ the problem, in the hope that time, further consultations and, most importantly, more constructive political circumstances (which many associated with possible regime change in the United States in November), might make consensus more reachable before the 2005 Conference opens.

Throughout the meeting, there was much stating of positions, but little stomach for confrontation or compromise. After two weeks of lacklustre debates, with much repetition and very few new ideas, the last day of the meeting turned into a bad-tempered shambles that ended in near farce, with a series of confused decisions taken without interpretation, with the majority speaking English but two delegations insisting on French. The PrepCom even failed to abide by its own rules whereby, if discussions have been held in closed session, the meeting is opened to the public for formal decisions to be properly taken.

Along with the rest of civil society, the Acronym Institute was outside the room throughout the long day, gleaning information from a series of frustrated delegates as they wandered back and forth for cigarettes or coffee. As debates went round and round in circles, messing up earlier agreements on access for nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), adding and subtracting words to slide just one outstanding – but importantly context-establishing – paragraph on the agenda past the US blockage, it was clear that many delegates, including, some complained, the Chair, had lost the plot. Their confusion about what they were doing even extended to the final decisions, as illustrated by contradictory reports of what occurred at the end.

President-Elect Ambassador Sergio Duarte of Brazil may have to wait some time before there is full clarity about what was decided and what he will have to do over the next year to create the conditions for the Review Conference to get to work in May 2005. Certainly, the PrepCom failed to agree any substantive recommendations and refused to annex the Chair’s summary of the meeting, which will be issued merely as a chair’s working paper, with no authority. The Chair’s summary, issued late on Thursday evening, was – as with its predecessors – challenged by several states, including the United States and Iran. Canada was angry that the summary had failed to mention initiatives on strengthening the Treaty’s enforcement mechanisms; there were complaints that text on nuclear energy and safeguards provided by the Vice Chairs had been ignored. Illustrating the difficulties of walking this Chair’s tightrope, the summary provoked grumbles from some states that it too closely resembled the chair’s summary issued by Ambassador Laszlo Molnar of Hungary the previous year, while others complained that it read like a NAM (non-aligned states) document, of which Indonesia is a prominent member.

As it turned out, however, the chair’s summary was little more than a sideshow, paling into insignificance as states parties realised they were in danger of not being able to take the necessary decisions to enable the 2005 Conference to be held. After much to-ing and fro-ing it appears that the disputed parts of the report dealing with the more fundamental issues of agenda, background documents and subsidiary bodies will now be turned into a chair’s working paper that will be forwarded together with the bare bones of a report that were agreed.

In view of the confusion and the lack of reliable documentation on the decisions, a more substantive analysis will be published by the Acronym Institute once the decisions have been clarified and the statements and documents have been further analysed.


The NPT PrepCom opened at the United Nations in New York on April 26, 2004, and ran for two weeks. The meeting was required to come up with recommendations for the 2005 Review Conference, but seemed just to go through the motions, managing only to adopt a timetable of work at the end of the first week. On Friday, April 30, the decision was taken to enable NGO representatives to attend and receive statements and documents from the so-called ‘cluster debates’, on the non-tranfer and acquisition of nuclear technologies and nuclear disarmament, safeguards, and nuclear energy for non-military purposes. The objections to the timetable centred on whether there should be ‘special time’ allocated to the issues of security assurances (in accordance with which the nuclear weapon states commit not to use nuclear weapons to attack states without nuclear weapons) and the Middle East.

It was finally decided to fold the security assurances discussion into a session devoted to consideration of the practical pursuit of nuclear disarmament measures, and to include the Middle East question in a session on regional issues. For ‘equity’ among the three ‘pillars’ of the NPT, it was also decided to devote a session to ‘the safety and security of peaceful nuclear programmes’. Symptomatic of the lack of real progress at this PrepCom, it turned out that many statements to these special sessions merely repeated, with slightly more detail or argument, on points already given in general debates.

As anticipated (see my Disarmament Diplomacy 76 article on “The NPT in 2004: Testing the Limits”), the main focus of interventions from the United States has been noncompliance by North Korea and Iran and the need for stricter measures to deal with NPT parties who use the Article IV provision on nuclear energy to fulfil nuclear weapon ambitions. At the same time a large number of states, including many US allies, highlighted the importance of fulfilment of disarmament obligations – with emphasis on core agreements such as the CTBT – while also raising concerns about new developments in nuclear weapons or doctrines. States lined up to support Additional Protocol, and suggestions were put forward for how to manage nuclear fuel cycle supply, restruct exports in sensitive technologies and materials and provide better institutional tools for states parties to strengthen the treaty’s implementation.

The General debate heard interventions from: Mexico on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition; New Zealand; Ireland on behalf of the European Union; China; Britain; Algeria; Mexico; Malaysia on behalf of the Group of Non-Aligned States Parties; Australia; Peru; Indonesia; South Africa; Egypt; Bangladesh; Republic of (South) Korea; Switzerland; Japan; Syria; Venezuela; Canada; Belarus; Kazakhstan; Bahamas and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The General Debate continued on Tuesday and Wednesday with statements from France; Brazil; the Holy See; the United States (John Bolton); Norway; Iran; Russia; Viet Nam; Burma/Myanmar; Cuba; Ukraine; Morocco; Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group; Nepal; Chile; Argentina; Serbia and Montenegro; Mongolia; Saudi Arabia; Kyrgyzstan; Cuba; Nigeria and Ecuador. As a result of the decision to open the cluster debates to NGOs, these statements are also obtainable from the website of

In one three hour session, the PrepCom was addressed by thirteen civil society representatives, including the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Senator Patrik Vankrunkelsven from Belgium, the Mayor of Kiev, Olexandr Omelchenko, the Hon Bill Perkins, the Deputy Majority Leader on New York City Council and attended by a host of others. The full texts of the NGO statements, as well as a daily news review with summaries of the many civil society panels held during the first week, are also available from

The 2005 Review Conference will be held from May 2 to 28. A fuller analysis of the third PrepCom will be published in Disarmament Diplomacy 77, due out in June.

Senior Advisor, Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction <

Executive Director
The Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy
24 Colvestone Crescent,
London E8 2LH,
England UK
website: <
tel: +44 (0) 20 7503 8857
mobile +44 (0) 77 333 60955 ron

Letter to Minister Bill Graham, January 2003

January 23, 2003

The Honourable Bill Graham,
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade,
House of Commons,
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G4

Dear Mr. Graham,
Re: Canada’s policies with respect to nuclear weapons

We are very grateful that Canada cast a favourable vote at the UN on the New Agenda Group resolution. We are aware that this is a result of your knowledge of, and principled leadership on this issue. This vote is consistent with Canada’s undertakings and statements at the NPT May 2002 Review Conference and within the Conference on Disarmament.

Please be advised that we have requested an explanation of vote from other NATO states.

We write now to express our deep concern with regards to recent nuclear weapons developments, and the current unravelling of the international legal infrastructure relating to nuclear disarmament and abolition. Recent events such as the setbacks with the CTBT, the ABM Treaty, the proposals with respect to missile defence and weaponization of space, the suggestion of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states and the funding for developments of mini-nukes make us fear that we are moving more surely toward nuclear war than to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Rarely in recent years has our objective seemed more important, or the achievement of our goal more remote.

We request that Canada’s commitment to nuclear weapons abolition be specifically reaffirmed in the upcoming Foreign Policy Review.

We are particularly concerned with the failure of NATO governments to address, let alone reconcile the glaring contradiction between their “unequivocal undertaking” to abolish nuclear weapons under the NPT, and NATO’s policy that nuclear weapons remain essential for the foreseeable future. We are asking the Canadian government to make every effort to urgently resolve this contradiction in a manner that is wholly consistent with our obligations under the NPT and the undertakings related thereto.

Knowing the immense capacity of nuclear weapons to cause destruction, we are further proposing that this problem be addressed by the SCFAIT. More specifically, we propose that the Committee examine:

a) progress in implementing those recommendations accepted by the Government from the SCFAIT Report entitled “Canada and the Nuclear Challenge”, December 1998; and

b) Canadian progress, and progress within NATO, in implementing the “13 Practical Steps” agreed upon in the Final Agreement of the May 2000 NPT Review Conference.

Representatives of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons held meetings about this NATO-NPT contradiction with MPs Irwin Cotler, Stockwell Day and Bernard Patry on October 31st. Mr Day and Prof. Cotler were both supportive of our proposal that the SCFAIT address this NATO-NPT contradiction next year. Dr. Patry indicated that he would consider it.

Your consideration of this letter is most sincerely appreciated.

Bev Tollefson Delong
President, Lawyers for Social Responsibility and
Chairperson, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

On behalf of the following members of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons:
Jacques Boucher, Centre de ressources sur la non-violence
Bev Delong, President, Lawyers for Social Responsibility
Paul Klopstock, Les Artistes pour la paix
Michael Call, PeaceFund Canada
Dr. Hanna Newcombe, Director, Peace Research Institute Dundas
Debbie Grisdale, Executive Director, Physicians for Global Survival
Dr. Ernie Regehr, Executive Director, Project Ploughshares
Dr. John Valleau, Science for Peace
Nancy Gordon, National President, United Nations Association in Canada
David Morgan, National President, Veterans Against Nuclear Arms
Rev. Bern Barrett, President, World Conference on Religion and Peace
Fergus Watt, Executive Director, World Federalists of Canada

cc: to All SCFAIT members

Bev Delong: Canada, missile proliferation and controls

Briefing note for Government-Civil Society Consultation Feb. 24 & 25th, 2004

The literature in this area seems based in a fantasy world of good guys and bad guys, or perhaps even a world where the only owners of nuclear weapons are North Korea, China, India, Pakistan and Israel. Rare are references to the legal obligation to eliminate nuclear weapons. And nonexistent are references to the warnings given by Dr. Joseph Rotblat, General Lee Butler, Dr. Bruce Blair and others of the dangers involved in states persisting with policies of launch on warning. (1)

Thankfully greater realism has obviously encouraged Canadian officials in their persistent work in moving from the MTCR to the Hague Code of Conduct. The clarity of thinking is very evident in Rob’s excellent paper. We are in a somewhat more secure world due to his work on Pre Launch Notifications in the Code. Mark Smith of the Mountbatten Centre has commented on the importance as well of the establishment under the Code of basic working relationships and he notes that “Stopgap solutions, after all, are better than a widening gulf.” (2)

There is some evidence the MTCR has slowed transfers of sophisticated technology.(3) But all these initiatives fail to define disarmament as an urgent legal obligation.(4) And I think that apart from improving the procedures defined under the Hague Code and widening its membership, we may now be at a halt.

Why do states want missiles? Regional quarrels obviously support the drive to buy nuclear weapons. But, more importantly, I think that demand is fuelled when states are subjected to threats of nuclear use. The US is known to have made such threats over 20 times.(5) And the new- and near- nuclear states have noted the profound hypocrisy of NATO states who, while claiming to support the NPT, simultaneously maintain their capacity to threaten nuclear use.

Given this dangerous state of affairs, what could the Government of Canada do to build international energy toward fulfilling our legal obligation of nuclear disarmament?

A. The Government could use the opportunity of the NPT PrepCom to publicly move to an authentic position of legal compliance with the NPT. We can join South Africa and 61 other states now in NWFZs in delegitimizing nuclear weapons. This soon-to-be-historic (!) speech at the PrepCom would require several elements. The Canadian Government would:

1st, call upon all Nuclear Weapons States to immediately de-alert their nuclear weapons recognizing the threat posed by launch-on- warning strategies;

2nd, Canada would refuse the offer made by the US to Canada in the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction to use nuclear weapons to defend us, noting that such a defence is immoral, unlawful and could trigger a nuclear holocaust (6).

3rd, the Government would announce that Canada will no longer participate in NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group noting that such planning for the use of nuclear weapons is both immoral and unlawful as a breach of international humanitarian law; [I reject the “seat at the table”argument and think officials need to be very mindful of the implications of the Nuremberg Principles for those “planning…a war in violation of international law..”]

4th Canada would call upon the US to honour its Negative Security Assurances and withdraw its threats against the several states named in the Nuclear Posture Review; and finally

5th, Canada would call upon the US to withdraw its threat of preemptive nuclear use against states thought to possess WMD. Such threats simply encourage those states to acquire missiles and weapons to protect themselves against the US.

Imagine how such a speech might serve to delegitimize nuclear weapons?

In addition, there are other steps Canada could take to limit missile proliferation and to delegitimize nuclear weapons.

B. It is obvious that Canada should withdraw from all US plans for missile defence, noting that this program is encouraging the maintenance and indeed expansion of nuclear arsenals and missile technology worldwide. (7) As an alternative, the government could engage like-minded states in discussion of the possibility of a missile flight test ban. Indeed, Canada should invite other states to discuss the new threat potentially posed to satellites by missile defence technology and the need for satellite security. (8)

C. Canada might host meetings to explore the necessary elements of model domestic legislation criminalizing not just the activities of those involved in sales of nuclear technology – as Dr. El Baradei has proposed – but the activities of those involved in all aspects of nuclear weaponry. If we start a process of one state after another criminalizing nuclear weapons activities, perhaps it would build public support and political momentum toward a norm of rejection of nuclear weapons.

D. Canada could investigate means of supporting the renewal of a US-North Korea security agreement. The American assurance against the threat and use of nuclear weapons from the 1994 Framework Agreement should be urgently renewed. North Korea should quite simply be bought off with food aid and fuel.

E. The Canadian Government should be strongly encouraged to support efforts through ASEAN to build military and popular support for a North East Asia Nuclear Weapons- Free Zone. As recommended by the Pacific Campaign for Disarmament and Security, Canada might play a role by encouraging the invitation of civil society from the ASEAN states to present their proposals for this Zone and engage in debate within a ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting. (9) And a similar strategy should be supported in other regions.

F. As for the Proliferation Security Initiative, I am a newcomer to maritime law, but my initial look at the Law of the Sea Convention leads me to believe that interdiction on the high seas – no matter how justified – is currently unlawful. Almost more worrying is my sense that it will be perceived to be an act of bullying by states. We need to avoid rash action. If we want our seas nuclear free, the time must be taken to build consensus on a Nuclear Weapons Free Seas Treaty – applicable to all – or amend the Law of the Sea Convention. The U.S. should be warned that bullying activities may provoke further proliferation or terrorism against them.

G. More generally, but still very important, the Canadian government can confront proliferation by increasing funding directed toward democratization and development strategies worldwide, such work being of particular importance in these “states of concern”. It is this work that will in the long term build a more stable international security. Ernie Regehr has written very persuasively on the need for attention to governance issues. (10)

H. Finally, in accord with its undertakings at the UN on Disarmament Education, the government could fund a nuclear weapons education program to build a norm supporting abolition of nuclear weapons. It could initially be directed to four specific groups each of which might become engaged in discussing missile proliferation within their communities. Might I suggest these groups – all potential citizen inspectors or whistleblowers:
1) new Canadians who might have important contacts in new or near nuclear weapons states
2) scientists who could potentially be invited to engage in research regarding nuclear weapons and their delivery systems,
3) Canadians engaged in work, study and travel abroad, and
4) unions involved in the transportation industry responsible for handling goods in ports, and airports.
Such strategies might provide a truer and nondiscriminatory path to engaging the global public in understanding the risks of missile proliferation.

(1) Bruce G. Blair, “Keeping Presidents in the Nuclear Dark”, Feb. 16, 2004;
Bruce G. Blair, “Rogue States: Nuclear Red-Herrings”, Dec. 5, 2003 (both at
Generals Lee Butler and Andrew J. Goodpaster, “Joint Statement on Reduction of Nuclear Weapons Arsenals: Declining Utility, Continuing Risks”, 2002 (at ;
David Ruppe “Experts Warn of Accidental U.S., Russian Missile Launches”, Jan. 28, 2004, Global Security Newswire,

(2) Mark Smith, “Preparing the Ground for Modest Steps: A Progress Report on the Hague Code of Conduct”, Disarmament Diplomacy, Issue No. 72, August – September 2003, at p. 10 wherein he comments “…while provision of information such as the HCoC’s PLNs [Pre Launch Notifications] and annual declarations is certainly a limited cure for the insecurity generated by missile development, the modest impact of such basic working relationships should not be dismissed. Stopgap solutions, after all, are better than a widening gulf.”

(3) Mark Smith, “Pros and Cons of the MTCR, and Efforts to Move Forward”, INESAP Bulletin 21, publishing a paper delivered on Jan. 24-26, 2003 in Berlin.

(4) W. Pal S. Sidhu and Christophe Carle, “Managing Missiles: Blind Spot or Blind Alley?”, Disarmament Diplomacy, Issue No. 72, August – September 2003, at p. 7.

(5) For instance, see the threat of nuclear use made by the U.S. in the Nuclear Posture Review. This is only one of a series of threats by the U.S. and other nuclear states. For a list of the threats, refer to “A Chronology of Nuclear Threats” which has been researched by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Maryland, USA. For a further update, see the speech”Nuclear Weapons: Forgotten but not Gone”, by Jackie Cabasso, Executive Director, Western States Legal Foundation, on Feb. 24- 25, 2001 at their website within which the author notes: “…. over the past decade the U.S. has threatened the use of nuclear weapons against Libya (April 1996), North Korea (July 1994) and Iraq (1991 and 1998).”

(6) In the U.S. “National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction” released in 2002, it states “The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force – including through resort to all of our options – to the use of WMD against the United States, our forces abroad, and friends and allies.”

(7). Unhappily we note that Russia has just engaged in a huge military exercise to test ballistic missile launches in an attempt to develop weapons systems “capable of providing an asymmetric answer to existing and prospective weapons systems, including missile defence”states Col. Gen. Baluyevsky, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces quoted in “General says maneuvers are response to American nuclear development plan”, International Herald Tribune (online), Feb. 11, 2004.

The report of these exercises in “Military Exercises of the Nuclear Briefcase” from Rossiyskaya Gazeta of Feb. 11, 2004 advises that “Such large-scale exercises have not been organized in Russia for a long time….Strategic nuclear forces will play the main role in the exercise.”

(8) David Wright and Laura Grego, “Anti-Satellite Capabilities of Planned US Missile Defense Systems”, Union of Concerned Scientists, Dec. 9, 2002, at

(9) “Promoting a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free-Zone: An Opportunity for Canada”, Pacific Campaign for Disarmament & Security, August 2003.

(10) The need to support improved governance has been well argued by Ernie Regehr in “Missile Proliferation, Globalized Insecurity, and Demand-Side Strategies”, Ploughshares Briefing 01/4.