This Week’s RevCon News Analysis: a hard-line NAM position; a forward looking United States

March 11, 2010

A pair of noteworthy articles this week illustrates the potential gulf between the positions of some non-aligned movement (NAM) states and those held by nuclear weapon states.

In a March 10 Agence France Presse interview, Egyptian ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Hisham Badr, says that pre-conference focus on additional nonproliferation commitments for non-nuclear weapon states is “puzzling,” and suggests that a new Middle East resolution will be the pivotal element signifying success of the upcoming conference.  Ambassador Badr takes a hard line against stymied efforts to move forward on a Middle East nuclear weapon free zone, stating that countries of the Middle East have been “tricked into giving concessions for promises that never materialized.”  Given that Egypt is the current chair of the NAM, this demand for movement on the Middle East resolution and eschewing of new nonproliferation obligations may signal future obstinacy by the NAM bloc in general toward any new nonproliferation commitments.

The March issue of Arms Control Today features an interview with Ambassador Susan Burk, the U.S. special representative of the president for nuclear nonproliferation who is leading U.S. preparations for the conference.  Burke acknowledges the upcoming difficulties presented by positions of some in the NAM.  Ambassador Burk downplays the significance of achieving final consensus conference document, noting that a final document as historically elusive and looking instead to a “forward-looking statement” that is “brief and concise but specific.”  The United States has launched a diplomatic push to encourage members of the NAM to adopt more pragmatic positions toward strengthened nonproliferation commitments, most recently enlisting the help of South Africa to find ways in which its positions and moderate positions held by some states in the NAM bloc can be reconciled.  In doing so, the United States has underlined recent U.S. and Russian commitments to reductions in nuclear weapons and President Obama’s determination to achieve deep cuts in nuclear arsenals. 

See also ISIS’s March 4 analysis “A Review Conference for Rebuilding” 

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