Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament
98. The Security Strategy identifies the proliferation
of Weapons of Mass Destruction as a key threat, stating that it
is "potentially the greatest threat to our security".
Our witnesses also identified this as a key threat (for example
Jim Murphy MP, the then Minister for Europe p 94; Commissioner
Ferrero-Waldner Q 165). Jim Murphy said that the nuclear threat
had become "more acute" since the adoption of the European
Security Strategy in 2003 (Q 364).
99. The Government want to use the European Security
Strategy review to highlight priorities for future action in combating
proliferation and in particular nuclear proliferation. They see
the review as an opportunity to update the perception of threats,
including on regions of concern and terrorists' use of chemical,
biological, radiological or nuclear materials; and to highlight
emerging issues, such as the proliferation risks of the potential
renaissance of civil nuclear technology (p 95).
100. One of the key pillars of international
non-proliferation efforts is the multilateral nuclear disarmament
agenda. The main fora in which multilateral discussions take place
are the Conference on Disarmament, based in Geneva, and the Review
Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation
of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) which take place every five years, with
the next one in 2010. Given the forthcoming change of administration
in the United States, there is an opportunity for the US and the
EU to forge a strong partnership to make progress on multilateral
nuclear disarmament ahead of the 2010 Review Conference. There
have been very important developments in the last few months on
both sides of the Atlantic with regard to the need to revive the
multilateral nuclear disarmament agenda.
101. Jim Murphy said that he wanted to see the
EU, including the EU Member States, playing a bigger role and
devoting greater energy to the multilateral disarmament commitments
that nuclear nations had signed up to (Q 364). The Government
believe that the review of the European Security Strategy should
reflect EU priorities for the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties
to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (p 95).
102. Javier Solana, High Representative for the
CFSP, thought that there was an opportunity to make progress with
the new US administration. The EU was cooperating with the teams
of both candidates, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. He
expressed optimism on what could be achieved both on the reduction
of the numbers of nuclear weapons and also on the question of
nuclear posture: "That will put us in a much better position
for dealing with Iran" (Q 227). However, how to deal
with it at the EU level depended very much on how it was looked
upon by France and the UK, the two Nuclear Weapons States as defined
by the NPT. For Javier Solana, the EU should be a forum in which
the issues pertaining to the 2010 Review Conference could be discussed
103. In the same vein, Robert Cooper of the Council
Secretariat said that where the EU could "get its act together"
it could have quite a lot of impact in the context of the NPT
Review Conference, notably because the EU represented states ranging
from Ireland to Britain and France. "Something that commands
consensus in the European Union at the very least attracts a lot
of attention from parts of the non-aligned movement, for example,
and can become the focal point for a consensus. In that multilateral
context the EU is not a negligible actor at all. On the whole,
what either of the US potential presidents is going to do takes
them much more in the European direction and ought to assist the
process of creating the large consensus that is very important.
All of those developments seem to me to be very welcome indeed"
104. The fundamental interest that the EU
has in the revival of negotiations on multilateral nuclear disarmament
should figure prominently in the review of the European Security
Strategy. We believe that the EU will need to discuss in depth
the multilateral nuclear disarmament agenda ahead of the 2010
NPT Review Conference. We strongly encourage the Government to
work towards a consensus on a common EU approach. We recommend
that the EU maintain an intensive dialogue with the US administration
and the new US president so as to capitalise on the recent initiatives
on both sides of the Atlantic in favour of significant progress
on this issue.