Review Conference:  Final Document Optimism

May 26, 2010

The 2010 NPT Review Conference is set to conclude in just three days, and a Western government official ISIS spoke to remains optimistic that there will be some kind of final document.  Conference President Cabactulan is holding to a rigorous work schedule; yesterday afternoon, he led a closed plenary session that went through the draft final declaration text paragraph by paragraph, allowing countries to note any disagreements. 

This method of going through the text in plenary is apparently unique to Cabactulan’s management of the process, and it is not yet clear how he plans to reconcile differences among delegations.  He may introduce compromise language formulated by the drafting committees, or he may form groups to work out compromise language.  The Western government official believes that Cabactulan will accept nothing less than a final consensus document. 

Additional Protocol and Middle East among outstanding issues

The diplomat with whom ISIS spoke does not believe the existing draft language making the Additional Protocol the IAEA’s verification standard would survive the final compromise process.  Governments attempting to help bridge disagreements between delegations have been submitting suggested language and will continue to do so for the remainder of the week.  He acknowledged that the main issue hanging over the conference continues to be progress on the 1995 Middle East resolution, which the United States and Egypt continue to discuss in confidential side negotiations.  Another Western government official noted at the beginning of the conference that negotiations on the Middle East could last until the eleventh hour, when final compromises would be urgent and required in order to have a successful conference. 

As neither the United States nor Egypt want to be held responsible for the conference failing, delegates are hopeful that a compromise can be reached.