Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Fourth Report

9  Non-proliferation

392. The FCO has made non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction one of its strategic priorities. In its strategy paper "Active Diplomacy for a Changing World" the FCO wrote:

    Preventing terrorist groups and states of concern from acquiring WMD will remain a high priority. Regional stability and the strength of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime will depend on preventing and containing destabilising military nuclear programmes. We will use the full range of non-proliferation and counter-proliferation tools to do so. This includes continuing to support effective international agreements, taking part in practical multilateral action and implementing our own legal obligations.[514]

393. Professor Paul Wilkinson agrees about the importance of non-proliferation efforts: "In view of al Qaeda's serious efforts to acquire [Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear] weapons much more intensive efforts are required to tighten and police the international arms control and counter-proliferation regimes to enable them to encompass prevention of proliferation to non-state groups. Far more than changes in international treaties is required. We urgently need powerful international agencies to police such regimes. The IAEA is an encouraging, though far from perfect model. We need to build similar mechanisms to deal with chemical and biological weapons."[515]

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

394. The chief safeguard against the proliferation of nuclear weapons is the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Signed in 1968, the NPT permits the possession of nuclear weapons by the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China—the Nuclear Weapons States (NWS)—and forbids other states from joining the nuclear club. In exchange, the NWS will reduce their arsenals towards eventual disarmament under Article VI of the NPT, which states: "Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."[516]

395. The NPT enshrines states' rights to pursue a peaceful nuclear energy programme. At present, 188 states are members of the NPT. Three states with nuclear weapons—India, Pakistan and Israel—remain outside the Treaty regime[517] and North Korea has withdrawn from the NPT.

396. We asked Jack Straw about the NPT. He told us:

    [T]he more states that have nuclear weapons and the less the behaviour of those states is constrained by international laws and obligations, the greater the likelihood is that there will be either by accident or by design a nuclear war…While it is easy to make points that the Permanent 5 have got nuclear weapons, the Permanent 5 have nuclear weapons in historical circumstances we all know about but by international agreement, and that was the purpose of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. President Kennedy and others said in the early 1960s that if the world carried on this arms race it could by the turn of the century just gone end up with 20-30 countries with nuclear weapons and who knows what would be the consequences. That was the political origin of what became the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It was a deal between the so-called nuclear weapon states, the P5, and all others by which everybody agreed that there would be no more nuclear weapon states. In return for that, the non-nuclear weapon states would have this very clear right — it is not an unqualified right — to develop nuclear power and in certain circumstances nuclear weapon states would be able to ensure the availability of civil nuclear technology to the non-nuclear weapon states. Meanwhile, the nuclear weapon states were under an obligation to reduce their reliance on nuclear weapons.[518]

397. Last year, our predecessor Committee expressed the hope that the May 2005 Review Conference would strengthen the NPT, and called on the Government to encourage the USA to take steps towards disarmament.[519] The Government agreed and wrote in its response to our Report:

    The Government is making every effort at this May's NPT Review Conference to ensure that all three pillars of the Treaty, namely non-proliferation, peaceful uses and disarmament, are strengthened. The Government believes that strengthening each element of the NPT is in the interest of all States Parties to the Treaty. However, the Government recognises that many Non Nuclear Weapon States will need to be convinced that Nuclear Weapon states have demonstrated their ongoing commitment to their NPT Article VI obligations concerning nuclear disarmament if there is to be a constructive dialogue in other areas, in particular on non-compliance issues.[520]

398. Non-proliferation measures were high on the agenda at the May 2005 meeting, and included proposals limiting the production of weapons-usable material, developing nuclear energy systems that do not generate weapons-grade material, promoting multinational approaches to management of material, including the potential establishment of an international nuclear fuel bank, and the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the adoption of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).[521] However, differing visions of the NPT regime crippled the May Review Conference. While the NWS contended that control of the nuclear fuel cycle was essential to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS) demanded disarmament in line with Article VI, arguing that a two-tier international system of nuclear haves and have-nots was emerging.[522]

399. Assessing why the Conference failed, Arms Control Today wrote:

    The nuclear-weapon states were probably pleased to avoid any new disarmament obligations, some [Non-Aligned Members] could take satisfaction in preserving the 2000 NPT Review Conference package rather than having it supplanted by a weaker set of commitments, and Iran had to be relieved to escape without an official rebuke of its nuclear activities.[523]

However, the failure of the Review Conference casts serious doubt on the willingness of the five NWS to pursue disarmament measures, on the implementation of other controls over the nuclear fuel cycle put in place under the framework of the NPT, and perhaps most importantly on the future of the NPT regime itself.

400. Part of the responsibility for that failure lies with the NWS, which continue to maintain their nuclear weapons. However, the former Foreign Secretary was quick to defend the United Kingdom's record on disarmament. Jack Straw told us: "We, in this country, have got a better record than any of the other nuclear weapon states. We have reduced the number of weapon systems from three to one. We were in the forefront of trying to secure a constructive outcome to the revision conference which took place in May of last year. I regret that no such outcome was possible but it was not for the want of trying by us."[524] However, the question of the renewal of the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent raises doubts about the Government's commitment to disarmament and is the subject of a current inquiry by the Defence Committee.[525]

401. We conclude that the failure of the May 2005 NPT Review Conference is a matter of serious concern. We recommend that the Government do all in its power to sustain the NPT, as the most effective tool for the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

402. The adoption of the Additional Protocol on Safeguards to the NPT in 1997 gave the IAEA a crucial role in monitoring compliance with the NPT, formalising an informal process that began in 1993. The Additional Protocol established four main provisions: a much expanded provision of information to the IAEA; an expansion of the number of facilities open to IAEA inspections; improved short notice inspection thanks to speedier visa processing for inspectors; and provision for the right to use environmental sampling. As of January 2005, 62 states had adopted Additional Protocols which were in force, while 28 had them pending.[526]

403. At present, the IAEA has 138 member states, whose representatives meet annually for the General Conference to elect the 35 members of the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors meets five times a year and is a consensual body which prepares decisions to be made by the General Conference. General Conference sessions are held annually in Vienna. Additionally, the IAEA supports a research centre in Trieste (Italy) that is administered by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

404. The IAEA and its Director General were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December 2005.[527] At the time, Dr ElBaradei said that the award would strengthen his resolve, and in a speech to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) he pointed to three particular challenges facing the IAEA. These were the proliferation of nuclear material and technology, the emergence of clandestine procurement networks such as the AQ Khan network (which ran an international nuclear material and know how supply network), and progress on disarmament.[528] He then outlined a six-pronged strategy to resolve the problem, calling for:

  • Improved control on access to the nuclear fuel cycle, since the fuel cycle is a recognised 'choke point', perhaps by establishing an international system of supply for nuclear fuel.
  • Enhanced verification measures, by expanding the membership of the Additional Protocol to the NPT Safeguards agreement, and by extending the IAEA's authority to investigate weaponisation programmes that do not directly relate to the nuclear material. At present, the IAEA funds its verification with a budget of US$120 million, with which it oversees 900 faciliities in 71 states.
  • Strengthened enforcement mechanisms, by introducing a prohibition on withdrawal for states parties.
  • Greater protection of nuclear material, in line with legal obligations under UNSCR 1540 and the new International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. Reducing the number of reactors that enrich unranium to 90% or higher, the standard necessary for nuclear weapons.
  • Accelerated disarmament efforts, by finalising the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and starting negotiations on a Fissile Material (Cut Off) Treaty.
  • An alternative security strategy providing for increased sustainable development, building social, political and economic links.[529]

405. We met Dr ElBaradei and other IAEA officials in Vienna in January 2006. During these meetings we heard that the IAEA may not have the tools to tackle the threat of nuclear terrorism, as it is geared towards working with states. In addition, we heard that the IAEA's funding for dealing with non-state actors comes from ad hoc contributions, and although these are generous, this system makes it difficult to plan a budget and programme of work. We fear that without measures to improve work on non-state actors, the IAEA may be unable to limit the spread of nuclear technology or materials as effectively in the future as it has in the past.

406. We recommend that the Government set out in its response to this Report what it is doing to strengthen the non-proliferation tools available to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and set out its views on the proposals for strengthening the IAEA put forward by Director General Dr Mohammed ElBaradei. We further recommend that the Government work with its IAEA partners to establish a permanent section of the IAEA dealing with nuclear proliferation by non-state actors, with adequate and sustainable funding arrangements.


407. In September 2005, the USA agreed a deal with India on nuclear co-operation; President Bush and Prime Minister Singh signed the deal in February 2006. The essence of the agreement is that in exchange for civilian nuclear support from the USA, India, which remains outside the NPT regime, will divide its nuclear programmes into civilian and military sectors, sign the Additional Protocol on Safeguards, and allow IAEA inspections of its civilian sector.[530] The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a group of states that seeks to control nuclear proliferation through lists of controlled goods, and the US Congress, could then adopt the legislative changes required to permit civil nuclear trade (nuclear co-operation with India is currently illegal in the USA). However, the agreement faces opposition in both New Delhi and Washington, particularly from within the US Congress. [531] The NSG has also cast doubt on the deal, by refusing to approve the changes necessary to permit the export of items on trigger lists to India, despite applications by the USA.[532] This agreement has enormous implications for the non-proliferation regime and we intend to consider it further in our forthcoming Inquiry into the Sub-Continent.

408. Previous efforts to reform the NSG have not succeeded fully. The FCO wrote to the Quadripartite Committee in December 2005, saying: "The UK, as G8 Presidency, played a leading role in using the G8 to try and leverage changes to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Guidelines. Revised proposals were put forward to establish objective criteria that a state must meet in order to receive transfers of sensitive nuclear technology, together with agreed factors that suppliers should take into account before allowing such transfers to take place. But, because of reservations on the part of a number of key suppliers, attempts to strengthen the guidelines were only partially successful. We remain committed to taking this work forward."[533]

409. We recommend that the Government set out in its response to this Report what impact the agreement between New Delhi and Washington on nuclear co-operation might have on the existing non-proliferation framework. We also recommend that in its response to this Report the Government set out what progress has been made on introducing revisions to the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

410. Following the end of the Cold War, and spurred on by nuclear testing moratoria introduced by Russia, France, and the USA, multilateral negotiations on a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) took place, concluding in August 1996. The treaty, which "prohibits any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion" aims to constrain the qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons, curb proliferation, and advance disarmament. The primary purpose of the CTBT is to prevent the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons.[534]

411. To date, 176 states have signed and 120 have ratified the treaty. However, the CTBT will only enter into force after 44 designated 'nuclear-capable states' have ratified it; of the 44 states, India, Pakistan and North Korea have not signed the treaty, and only 33 have ratified the treaty. The United Kingdom has ratified the CTBT. [535]

412. The CTBT verification system, managed by the CTBT Organization (CTBTO), includes the International Monitoring System (IMS), the International Data Centre, and the On-Site Inspection regime. The IMS comprises 321 monitoring stations worldwide with sensors that can detect possible nuclear explosions using four technologies—seismic, hydroacoustic, radionuclide, and infrasound. The International Data Centre collects information from the IMS and disseminates data for feedback. In the event of a suspected nuclear explosion, states can request inspection of an alleged violator under the On-Site Inspection regime, and the CTBT allows states-parties to pursue strong measures to tackle non-compliance.[536] The CTBTO Preparatory Committee completed its 25th Session in November 2005, at which Tibor Toth, the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Committee, outlined the CTBTO's work to establish an effective system of monitoring.[537]

413. On a visit to the CTBTO in January 2006, we saw first hand the progress which the Organisation has made towards establishing an effective and global monitoring system, and were most impressed by the confidence of the CTBTO staff that they would be able to detect almost any nuclear test worldwide. However, we also heard about the need for more states to ratify the treaty before it enters into force. Three states in particular have not ratified the treaty for technical reasons—Colombia, Indonesia, and Vietnam—but other influential states, such as the USA, are also a concern.

414. We conclude that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a crucial tool for the control of the spread of nuclear weapons, and the work of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) is both technically impressive and of great worth. We recommend that the Government urge those states that have not yet ratified the CTBT to do so, concentrating its efforts on the states which have not ratified for technical reasons, such as Colombia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention

415. Last year, our predecessor Committee commented that the lack of a verification mechanism for the Biological Weapons Convention was an extremely serious gap in the international non-proliferation regime, and recommended that the Government work to garner support for a verification regime, particularly from the USA. The Committee also recommended that the Government outline the most important developments relating to the BWC, in areas such as the implementation of a code of conduct for biological weapons scientists.[538]

416. In its response, the Government said that the United Kingdom "has always played a leading role in the negotiations and implementation of the Convention and has strongly supported all measures that would strengthen the BWC, including attempts to establish an effective verification regime."[539] However, it rejected the Committee's calls for the establishment of a "coalition of the virtuous" which would establish a verification mechanism for the BWC, since an "optional arrangement would inevitably mean that those States about which the UK had most concerns could opt out of a protocol leaving those inside any such coalition with more onerous obligations than others, without providing us with any more security."[540] Nonetheless, we remain concerned about the lack of a verification regime.

417. Another concern is the forthcoming BWC Review Conference. The Government described current work on the BWC in its response to the last Report:

    Following the 5th Review Conference in 2002 States Party agreed a three-year programme of work leading up to the 6th Review Conference in 2006. This programme consists of annual meetings of technical experts and representatives of the States Party to "discuss and promote common understanding and effective action" on a number of specific issues. Meetings in 2003 and 2004 were successful. The UK (John Freeman, Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva) is chairing the international meetings during 2005. The topic in 2005 is "the content, promulgation, and adoption of codes of conduct for scientists". It is too early to know what can be achieved in 2005, but the Government hopes to ensure the fullest possible exchange of views between States Party and science stakeholders in the expert session in June, so that the discussion by States Party later in the year can lead to a successful outcome.[541]

418. Daniel Feakes from the University of Sussex and other academics raised concerns about the BWC Review Conference. He wrote to us saying: "It is essential that states parties carry out a comprehensive and effective review of the treaty at the 2006 Review Conference, as this has not been achieved since the 3rd Review conference in 1991 (the 5th review conference (2001) could not even adopt a final declaration, while the 4th Review Conference focused on the negotiations for the compliance protocol, which subsequently failed)…A successful outcome is vital to avoid the risk that the BWC may be seriously undermined at a time when biological weapons are recognised as a growing threat to international security. It is therefore imperative that constructive preparations and consultations for this year's review conference begin as early as possible."[542] We agree that a successful review conference is crucial to maintain international confidence both in the BWC and—after the failure of the NPT review conference—in the existing non-proliferation framework in general.

419. We conclude that a successful outcome of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) Review Conference is essential in order to preserve confidence in the global non-proliferation regime. We recommend that the Government outline what progress has been made by the various meetings of experts and state parties since the middle of 2005, and set out what it hopes to achieve at the Review Conference. We also recommend that the Government explain how it proposes to ensure compliance with the BWC without the existence of a verification mechanism.

Chemical Weapons Convention

420. Our predecessor Committee concluded that the United Kingdom's continued support for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is essential, and recommended that the Government continue to proceed with its chemical weapons disarmament programme, in compliance with all terms of the CWC. The Committee also recommended that the Government offer support to states that lack capacity in the implementation of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Action Plan.[543] The Government said in its response that it offers full support to the OPCW's Action Plan on National Implementation Measures, and that it works to support states without capacity in the adoption of the Action Plan through the EU, and has made technical assistance visits to Ethiopia and Cambodia.[544]

421. At present, 175 states are full members of the CWC, and universal adoption is becoming a realistic goal for the CWC. However, gaps still exist in the CWC regime; for instance, a number of Middle Eastern states, such as Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria, have not ratified the convention; other problems are in the implementation of the CWC, including the slow pace of destruction of chemical weapons by some states, such as the Russian Federation and the USA.[545]

422. We conclude that universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention is a most desirable objective, and we recommend that the Government step up its efforts to encourage Middle Eastern states such as Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria to ratify the CWC. We also conclude that the destruction of chemical weapons is a priority, and recommend that the Government urge other states to accelerate the destruction of their chemical weapons.

The G8 Global Partnership

423. The G8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction seeks to secure and destroy WMD, particularly in the former Soviet Union. The Partnership was launched in June 2002 at the G8 summit at Kananaskis in Canada, when the G8 states pledged '10 plus 10 over 10'—US$10 billion from the USA and US$10 billion from the other member states over the next ten years to manage Russia's WMD legacy.

424. A joint statement issued by the G8 at Kananaskis in 2002 stated:

Last year, our predecessor Committee concluded that "the ongoing work under the G8 Global Partnership is of critical importance, and we strongly support the Government's efforts to improve the security of the former Soviet's WMD stockpile and to have it rendered non-harmful."[547] The Committee also expressed support for the Government's work at the Schuch'ye chemical weapons destruction facility in the Russian Federation, but raised concerns about the plutonium disposition programme.[548]

425. Outlining the scope of the G8 Global Initiative's focus, the FCO wrote in its response to the Report:

    The UK's programme is expected to remain focused for the next few years on making spent nuclear fuel safe and secure, assisting in the redirection of weapons scientists and technicians, enhancing security and nuclear facilities, reducing stockpiles of weapon grade plutonium and chemical weapons destruction.[549]

The Government also agreed with the concerns about the slow progress on the plutonium disposition project.[550]

426. The 2005 Annual Report on the G8 Global Partnership from the FCO, DTI and MOD, assessed progress over the last year, during the United Kingdom's Presidency of the G8 and its chairmanship of the Global Partnership Working Group, saying: "As well as ensuring the momentum of the Global Partnership has been maintained during 2005, the [Working] Group carried out a detailed review of priorities to ensure that the Kananakaskis Priorities were still broadly correct. The Group's work has further enhanced the good working relationships that have developed between donors and beneficiaries. The Group has also helped to address the concerns over taxation and access that had some impact on earlier projects."[551]

427. The Annual Report states that the Global Partnership has managed the dismantlement of two Oscar class nuclear submarines; maintained work to establish a storage site for spent nuclear fuel at the Atomflot site in Murmansk; secured US$210 million to maintain the Chernobyl storage facility and developed support projects for the Schhuch'ye Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility, among other projects.[552] The Partnership has also expanded membership and continues to grow in momentum, according to the Annual Report. However, the plutonium disposition programme is not yet in place, which raises continued fears of the acquisition of radiological material by terrorist groups; expansion of its work beyond the FSU to cover other WMD materials attractive to terrorist groups would strengthen the effectiveness of the Global Partnership.

428. We conclude that the work of the G8 Global Partnership makes a valuable contribution to the reduction of nuclear and chemical weapons material in the former Soviet Union, although the slow progress on plutonium and chemical weapon destruction is a serious concern. We recommend that the Government set out in its response to this Report how it will maintain the momentum behind the G8 Global Partnership. We also recommend that it explore the possibilities of expanding the Partnership's work beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union.

The Missile Technology Control Regime

429. Established in 1987, the MTCR has 34 members who restrict their exports of missile technology. The states parties implement export controls on missile technology, according to certain criteria. These are; whether the intended recipient is working towards a WMD programme; the purposes of the missiles and space programmes; potential contribution to the recipients WMD delivery capacity; and whether a transfer would conflict with any multilateral treaty. The MTCR is voluntary and has no penalties for transfers, although the USA identifies any states or entities in breach of the MTCR as proliferators.

430. Last year, our Predecessor Committee concluded "we recommend that the Government set out in its response to this Report what it is doing to encourage other states, such as China, to conform to MTCR standards."[553] In its Response, the Government wrote:

    The Government takes every appropriate opportunity to lobby in support of the MTCR in bilateral contacts on export controls. For those states that lack the legal and regulatory infrastructure to implement and enforce effective export controls the UK also has an active export control outreach programme. This helps the Government to build the links that facilitate an exchange of information and allows the UK to promote the benefits of export controls and the MTCR. Officials carry out a number of outward and inward outreach visits each year, the most recent being an inward visit from China.[554]

431. At its latest Plenary Meeting, the MTCR re-emphasised the impact of UNSCR 1540, which obliges states to take measures to control the transfer of missile technology, and welcomed India's decision to adhere to MTCR guidelines on a unilateral basis. Work on the growing complexity of dual use technologies also took place, given the growing trend of trade in high technology which could have applications on missile construction. Technological ability is most visible in the proliferation of cruise missile technology and in the growing number of space programmes around the world, of which China's is perhaps most notable.[555]

432. We welcome the Government's outreach work on the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and we recommend that in its response to this Report the Government set out what further steps it is planning to take in this area. We also welcome India's decision to comply with MTCR guidelines voluntarily, and we recommend that the Government work to encourage India to become a full member of the MTCR. However, we conclude that the spread of knowledge of cruise missile and space programme related technology may outpace the MTCR's best efforts, and we recommend that the Government set out in its response to this Report how it will ensure that the MTCR keeps pace with the spread of technology and what steps it will take to give the MTCR greater enforceability.

The Wassenaar Arrangement

433. The Wassenaar Arrangement, formally established in July 1996, is a voluntary export control regime whose members exchange information on transfers of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies. Through such exchanges, Wassenaar aims to promote "greater responsibility" among its members in exports of weapons and dual-use goods and to prevent "destabilizing accumulations". To promote transparency, Wassenaar calls on states to make a series of voluntary information exchanges and notifications on their export activities related to weapons and items appearing on the arrangement's two control lists.

434. Although Wassenaar has overcome initial difficulties, problems persist. Foremost among these is the fact that members are divided over its role, primarily over whether the arrangement should be more than a body for exchanging information; Wassenaar operates by consensus, so any state can block a proposal. Additionally, no consensus exists on which countries are "states of concern" or what constitutes a "destabilising" transfer. Another limiting factor is the fact that some major arms exporters—such as Belarus, China, and Israel—are not members.[556] However, the arrangement has made recent efforts to tackle the problem of terrorism by agreeing on non-binding criteria to guide exports of shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles, formally referred to as Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), which are a weapon well suited to terrorist groups, as well as endorsing voluntary best practices for disposing of surplus military equipment, enforcing national export controls, and controlling Very Sensitive dual-use exports. [557]

435. The FCO wrote to the Quadripartite Committee outlining recent progress by the Wassenaar Arrangement, pointing to work to keep up with developments in technology, amendments to the trigger lists, including items of interest to terrorists such as jamming equipment and unmanned aerial vehicles, and the admission of South Africa to the arrangement. Commenting on its other work on small arms, the Government also told the Quadripartite Committee about its work in 2005 to destroy over 100,000 small arms and light weapons in Bosnia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Mozambique, as well as its funding of United Nations Development Programme initiatives on weapons destruction.[558]

436. We had an opportunity to meet the Secretary General of the Wassenaar Arrangement, Sune Danielsson, on a visit to Vienna in January 2006, where we learnt that the Wassenaar Arrangement is not represented in meetings at the UN. Notwithstanding the progress outlined above, we fear that a lack of engagement with the UN could limit the arrangement's ability to cooperate with important international bodies charged with dealing with small arms at a time when moves towards the establishment of an international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) are underway.

437. We welcome the expansion of the Wassenaar Arrangement, both in terms of membership and its trigger lists, but fear that the organisation will continue to work at the lowest common denominator. We recommend that the Government explore means to strengthen the Wassenaar Arrangement, perhaps by establishing an inspections regime. We also conclude that the lack of interaction between the Wassenaar Arrangement and UN bodies dealing with small arms and light weapons hinders the effective implementation of an international non-proliferation regime on small arms and might have a deleterious impact on the establishment of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). We recommend that the Government work to bring the Wassenaar Arrangement into closer collaboration with the UN and other international efforts related to the ATT.

The Arms Trade Treaty

438. Last year, the Quadripartite Committee commented on the prospects of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), and concluded: "While we cannot realistically expect an International Arms Trade Treaty to happen immediately, the UK's language and action must keep the pressure on other nations to add their weight to this initiative. This is the start of a long road, and the UK will need to be a vital driving force if the endeavour is to be successful. We urge the UK Government to use its influence as President of the G8 in 2005 to lobby other countries, particularly fellow G8 members, to support the proposed International Arms Trade Treaty."[559]

439. In a letter to the Quadripartite Committee in December 2005, the FCO described progress on an Arms Trade Treaty, saying:

    The Government has been actively pursuing the initiative for an international Arms Trade Treaty during the UK's Presidencies of the G8 and of the EU. At Gleneagles in July, Leaders of the G8 agreed that the "development of international standards in arms transfers…would be an important step toward tackling the undesirable proliferation of conventional arms". On 3 October European Union Foreign Ministers added the EU's voice to the growing support for an international treaty to establish common standards for the global trade in conventional arms, and called for the start of a formal negotiation process at the United Nations at the earliest opportunity. The Committee may also wish to note that, on 27 November, Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta added their support to calls for work on such a treaty to commence in the UN. We are now working to generate further support for such a process among international partners in order to build momentum towards our objective of beginning initial discussions in the UN later in 2006.[560]

440. We welcome progress towards an international ATT and recommend that the Government continue its work to garner support for such a treaty. However, we recommend that the Government does not allow its desire to establish internationally accepted norms lead to a treaty that operates only at the lowest common denominator.

514   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Active Diplomacy for a Changing World: The UK's International Priorities, Cm 6762, March 2006 Back

515   Ev 4 Back

516   The Non-Proliferation Treaty, available at: Back

517   Ibid Back

518   Ev 196, Q 10 (Oral evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee on 8 February 2006, HC (2005-06) 904-i) Back

519   HC (2004-05) 36-I, para 362 Back

520   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Sixth Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Session 2004-05; Foreign Policy Aspects of the War Against Terrorism; Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 6590, June 2005 Back

521   Centre for Non-proliferation Studies, "The 2005 Review Conference: Understanding the Challenges and Devising Response", 30 October 2004 Back

522   "Politics and Protection: Why the NPT Review Conference failed", Disarmament Diplomacy, Acronym Institute, issue 80, Autumn 2005 Back

523   "Nuclear non-proliferation treaty sputters", Arms Control Today, August 2005 Back

524   Ev 196, Q 10 (Oral evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee on 8 February 2006, HC (2005-06) 904-i) Back

525   "The Future of the Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: the Strategic Context", Defence Committee Press Release, January 2006 Back

526   "The 1997 Additional Protocol at a glance", Arms Control Association, January 2005 Back

527   "UN watchdog receives Nobel prize", BBC News Online, 10 December 2005, Back

528   Remarks by Mohammed ElBaradei, IISS Alistair Buchan Lecture, 6 December 2005 Back

529   Ibid Back

530   "Bush promises India nuclear co-operation", Arms Control Today, September 2005 Back

531   "Complexity of N-deal with US throws India in a bind", The News (Pakistan), 9 December 2005 Back

532   "Doubts raised on US-India deal", Financial Times, 28 March 2006 Back

533   Evidence received by the Quadripartite Committee (Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development, Trade and Industry), to be published as HC 873 Back

534   "Subject resources: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty", Arms Control Association Back

535   In total 176 States have signed the CTBT. The following 126 states have deposited their instruments of ratification of the CTBT (states with an asterisk have also ratified the CTBT): Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria*, Argentina*, Australia*, Austria*, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh*, Belarus, Belgium*, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil*, Bulgaria*, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada*, Chile*, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo*, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland*, France*, Gabon, Georgia, Germany*, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary*, Iceland, Ireland, Italy*, Jamaica, Japan*, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico*, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway*, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru*, Philippines, Poland*, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea*, Romania*, Russian Federation*, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia*, Slovenia, South Africa*, Spain*, Sudan, Sweden*, Switzerland*, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey*, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine*, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland*, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and Venezuela. Israel has signed but not ratified the CTBT. Back

536   "The international security value of the nuclear test ban treaty", Arms Control Today, 2 November 2002 Back

537   Press Release, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, 2 December 2005 Back

538   HC (2004-05) 36-I, para 391 Back

539   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Sixth Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Session 2004-05; Foreign Policy Aspects of the War Against Terrorism; Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 6590, June 2005 Back

540   Ibid Back

541   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Sixth Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Session 2004-05; Foreign Policy Aspects of the War Against Terrorism; Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 6590, June 2005 Back

542   Ev 191 Back

543   HC (2004-05) 36-I, para 391 Back

544   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Sixth Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Session 2004-05; Foreign Policy Aspects of the War Against Terrorism; Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 6590, June 2005 Back

545   "OPCW director seeks Middle East inroads", Arms Control Today, November 2005 Back

546   Statement by G8 Leaders, Kananaskis Summit, 27 June 2002, available at: Back

547   HC (2004-05) 36-I, para 388 Back

548   HC (2004-05) 36-I, para 388 Back

549   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Sixth Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Session 2004-05; Foreign Policy Aspects of the War Against Terrorism; Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 6590, June 2005 Back

550   Ibid Back

551   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Department of Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Defence, The G8 Global Partnership; Third Annual Report 2005, p 4 Back

552   Ibid, p 5 Back

553   HC (2004-05) 36-I, para 420 Back

554   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Sixth Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Session 2004-05; Foreign Policy Aspects of the War Against Terrorism; Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 6590, June 2005 Back

555   "Land attack cruise missiles pose growing threat", Defense News, April 2006 Back

556   Arms Control Association, The Wassenaar Arrangement at a glance, January 2005 Back

557   Press Release, Wassenaar Arrangement, December 2005 Back

558   Evidence received by the Quadripartite Committee (Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development, Trade and Industry), to be published as HC 873 Back

559   Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees, First Joint Report of Session 2004-05, Strategic Export Controls; HMG's Annual Report for 2003, Licensing Policy and Parliamentary Scrutiny, HC 145, para 161 Back

560   Evidence received by the Quadripartite Committee (Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development, Trade and Industry), to be published as HC 873 Back

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