Project on European Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PENN)
PENN Newsletter No. 11 / July 2000


c/o BITS ·  Rykestr. 13  · D-10405 Berlin ·   Germany  ·  Phone: +49-30-446858-0   ·    Fax: +49-30-4410221


Dear Friends

the NPT Review Conference is over. The nuclear weapons states agreed to a declaration that acknowledged their duty to eliminate all their nuclear weapons. However, no timetable was set. All states parties agreed to negotiate a fissile material treaty over the next five years. However, they delegated negotiations to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, where India, Pakistan and Israel, all not members to the NPT, could block such negotiations. Furthermore, what if a US decision to deploy a National Missile Defense triggers China to oppose such negotiations in order to retain the option to increase its nuclear arsenal? The NPT has survived its sixth review conference, but the regime gets weaker and weaker from the inside. Shortly after the NPT Review ended, NATO's Foreign Ministers' meeting in Florence, Italy, called the Treaty an "essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament" and at the same moment gave final approval to NATO's new military strategy, MC 400/2, which does not exclude the option for NATO to use nuclear weapons to fight opponents owning biological and chemical weapons "only". Since then, the public debate has concentrated on US plans to build an NMD system and the future of the ABM-Treaty, another longterm cornerstone of international arms control. The fate of the ABM-Treaty indeed might well indicate the future of most of the Cold War arms control architecture. The PENN network has engaged in almost all aspects of the debate. Thus it had a fairly interesting and challenging time.


  • Analysis


Disarmament Progress slow, uncertain at NPT Review Conference

Amid signals that the United States will implement a national missile defense (NMD) system, increased importance of nuclear weapons in Russian security policy, and allegations of missile threats from "rogue states," the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was held 24 April – 19 May 2000 in New York. The 187 States Parties to the Treaty undertook rigorous debate and negotiations on a variety of nuclear issues, including export regulations, technology transfers, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, regional instability from nuclear weapons possession, and weapons non-proliferation and disarmament. Both the agreements reached and the negotiation process itself moved disarmament efforts forward, but vaguely worded measures and a notably absent timeline for action on these concepts indicate that progress will be very slow.

Disarmament Successes...
Despite an atmosphere of uncertainty for the non-proliferation regime at the outset, the Conference’s final document broke new ground in the regional issues and disarmament arenas. For the first time ever, the Conference’s final report acknowledged by name the states not parties to the Treaty, and strongly urged India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear states. Nuclear Weapon States also agreed to language on disarmament measures that emphasized the goal of "total elimination" of nuclear arsenals through progressive steps, such as a ban on fissile material production, a moratorium on nuclear testing pending CTBT entry into force, reduction of the role of nuclear weapons in security policy, and greater transparency regarding nuclear capabilities. The meeting also made significant progress in prodding Nuclear Weapon States to increase accountability for their arsenals and encouraged concrete steps toward global nuclear disarmament. The Conference’s unexpected success provides a checklist of accountability which NGOs and governments can use in the coming five years to advance the political process in a variety of institutions.

… and Setbacks
However, the qualified language of the disarmament commitments showed the influence wielded by the Nuclear Weapon States in the final stages of negotiations. The various steps that the Nuclear Weapon States should take leading to disarmament were preceded by the chapeau, "in a way that promotes international stability." The phrase provides a loophole for each nuclear state to individually approve or reject measures, thus placing each step at the mercy of the whims of each government and hindering collective progress. The measures themselves include language that encourages Nuclear Weapons States to make "efforts," conduct an "unequivocal undertaking," and have the "ultimate objective" of disarmament, words which soften the impact of the steps that they accompanied. Delegations at the Review Conference also acknowledged that the lack of a timetable for nearly all of the disarmament measures allows for further procrastination by the nuclear five on initiating disarmament steps.

Compromise Ground Found
International sensitivities complicated the disarmament text negotiations, but compromise was found. In order to provide more careful deliberation, forward-looking language on disarmament was separated out of the Conference’s Main Committee One and moved to a subsidiary body. A key compromise was struck between the nuclear states and the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) of Non-Nuclear Weapon States in the overarching commitment to total disarmament. At the Conference’s outset, NAC states boldly expressed strong disappointment with the lack of initiative or progress shown by nuclear states under their Article VI commitment. The NAC then proposed that "the five Nuclear Weapon States make a new and unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals and, in the course of the forthcoming review period 2000-2005, engage in an accelerated process of negotiations and to take steps leading to nuclear disarmament to which all States Parties are committed under Article VI." This formulation lasted, virtually intact, until the last week of the conference, during which they compromised with the nuclear five by removing the expectation of new or accelerated negotiations in the next five years. A Western nuclear state delegate later acknowledged that the small-group negotiations between the nuclear five and the NAC was fundamental in shaping language that was close to the overall expectations of other states.

Coalitions Evolving
Surprises from the Review Conference included the surfacing of unusual alliances and the changing nature of previously immovable coalitions. Among the European Union (EU) states, the involvement of Sweden and Ireland in the progressive disarmament efforts by the NAC contrasted sharply with the more conservative stances shown by nuclear states France and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, NATO’s presumably unshakable alliance was stirred by the disarmament issue. Canada’s strong involvement in disarmament efforts, including condemning statements by Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy on the potential U.S. deployment of NMD, put that country in a difficult position with its NATO allies. The "NATO Five" states of Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway issued a statement in the disarmament committee to encourage greater transparency of nuclear state arsenals, promote the formation of an ad hoc working group to begin disarmament dialogue in the now-stalled Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, and called for elimination of non-strategic nuclear weapons. Even the Eastern Europe regional caucus was disrupted with the recent NATO expansion to include Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Moving Forward
International reaction and activity after the Review Conference closure has been mixed. NATO’s foreign ministers’ meeting communiqué in late May included affirmation of the NPT’s important role in the non-proliferation regime "and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament," and that support was reiterated at the NATO defense ministers’ meeting in early June. However, observers at the CD have noticed some backpedaling by Russia, China and France. While Review Conference texts reinforce the importance of moving the CD agenda forward by negotiating a fissile material cutoff treaty and commencing discussions on disarmament, the CD remains mired in debate over the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), and the consensus body cannot proceed on other issues until this issue is resolved.

With the 2000 Review Conference document successfully negotiated and approved by consensus, the next opportunity for addressing NPT issues will be at the 2002 Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting for the 2005 Review Conference. Although this year’s strengthened review process document did not provide the PrepCom with decision-making powers, Non-Nuclear Weapon States hope to take a preliminary look at the progress made by Nuclear Weapon States on the disarmament commitments set out at this meeting. However, without decision-making authority at the meetings preceding the next Review Conference, States Parties must rely on other international institutions and fora to hold the nuclear five accountable to their promises in the interim.    CK



Will FMT negotiations fall victim to NMD?

The 2000 NPT Review Conference has made negotiating "a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices treaty" a priority for the next five years. The Geneva Conference on Disarmament is "urged to agree on a program of work which includes the immediate commencement of negotiations on such a treaty with a view to their conclusion within five years," says the report of the NPT Review Conference. However, negotiations on such a treaty are likely to depend on whether or not the US decides to deploy a National Missile Defense (NMD) system.

For several years China has warned that deploying a US NMD system will endanger the effectiveness of the Chinese deterrent and might force Bejing to modernize and enlarge the country’s strategic nuclear arsenal. China owns a maximum of 20 and perhaps no more than 7 DF-5 liquid fuel ICBMs which could reach the United States. The rest of the Chinese nuclear arsenal has a much shorter range.

China is believed to no longer produce fissile materials. HEU production was stopped a long time ago; plutonium production in 1991. The US Department of Energy estimates the stockpile of weapons grade plutonium existing in China at between 1.7 and 2.8 metric tons, much less than in Britain or France. The size of the stockpile that has not yet been used in weapons or during nuclear testing might be large enough to allow for some increase to the Chinese strategic nuclear force. However, it would very likely reach its limits if China should decide to build (or just keep open the option to build) a much larger strategic arsenal to possibly include MIRV technology in response to a US decision to create an NMD.

An FMT will be negotiated at the Geneva Conference on Disarmament (CD), which has a longstanding history of making little progress. The CD decides by consensus - even its agenda. Thus it is easy for China to block any negotiations on an FMT. US opponents of an FMT, often proponents of NMD at the same time, are likely to be in a comfortable position.    ON



Florence NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting

On 24th and 25th May 2000, NATO Foreign Ministers met in Florence for a session of the North Atlantic Council (NAC). Also meeting were the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the NATO-Ukraine Commission, as well as several informal bilateral and multilateral groups.

Among the topics dealt with, Croatia joined the Partnership for Peace, NATO-Russia relations were formally resumed for the first time since the Kosovo conflict and discussions continued on the emerging European Security and Defence Policy. Whilst political approval of NATO’s new military strategy, MC400/2, had probably been given by Permanent Representatives before the Florence meeting, Foreign Ministers welcomed the decision on MC400/2 during their NAC session.

Disputes over the USA’s plans for National Missile Defence continued to dog proceedings. Despite Secretary of State Albright’s emphasis on consultation, several Foreign Ministers spoke publicly about their fears for Alliance unity and strategic arms control if NMD were to go ahead. Albright’s assertion that there had been ‘very good discussions on NMD’ was undermined by other Foreign Ministers’ reactions. French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine stated that Europeans questioned the US threat assessment of likely ballistic missile attack and stressed the possible consequences for international security if NMD were deployed. German and Belgian Foreign Ministers Fischer and Michel underlined that the Europeans were working to preserve Alliance unity and wanted to avoid the development of two separate zones of security, as well as emphasising the need for Russian agreement in order to amend the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

The NAC Final Communique contained several paragraphs (53-60) on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament. Para. 54 stated Alliance support for the successful outcome of the recent NPT Review Conference and said: ‘Allies confirm their commitments made at the NPT Review Conference and will contribute to carrying forward the conclusions reached there.’ Para. 55 took up Para. 32 ‘options’ from 1999 and said that Ministers were given a ‘progress report’ and looked forward to receiving a ‘substantive report’ in December. In addition, Ministers instructed the Senior Political Committee to ‘oversee and integrate the work on the process.’ Paragraphs 56-60 reiterated the dangers posed to NATO by WMD proliferation, welcomed recent arms control moves by Russia, and spoke of ‘an active process of consultation within the Alliance on the United States consideration of a possible limited National Missile Defence deployment.’   TMcD



The EU Feira Summit And European Defence

The Feira Summit meeting of the European Council held on 19/20 June has not introduced any breakthrough in the development of the Common European Security and Defence Policy. Instead, the Council merely managed to produce a few decisions and some guidelines for further developments. Feira can be seen as a third stage in the construction of the EU's Common European Security and Defence Policy officially launched a year ago, with Cologne setting the guidelines and Helsinki beginning the implementation. The aim the EU has set itself is to have the capacity for autonomous action within the full range of Petersberg operations. It is now in the process of agreeing on what its capabilities and structures will be. After some major decisions have been taken in the domains of decision making and of military capabilities for crisis management, notably the creation of a Rapid Reaction Force for Petersberg operations, the Feira Summit was expected to specify what the civilian side of the EU's crisis management will look like. The final document shows that what the EU is beginning to do in the military field is taking up the competencies of the WEU, while institutionalising its own long-standing practices in civilian crisis management and complementing it with new ones.

The most important decision came in the field of civilian aspects of crisis management with the creation of a police force for international operations. The intention is that the EU should be able to deploy a total of 5.000 policemen officers by 2003, co-operation with the UN's Department for Peacekeeping Operations is further foreseen in the elaboration of an EU concept for an international police operation. This police force is clearly intended to be complementary to the Rapid Reaction Force for Petersberg missions since both should be ready for deployment by the same date. The police force should take over the monitoring of post-conflict situations where it will train local police ensuring respect for human rights standards. Putting into place a police capability is an appropriate decision since the need for such a force in Kosovo has been repeatedly voiced - especially by the UN Special Envoy Mr Kouchner. This represents a means to facilitate the departure of troops and avoid a military presence such as that in Bosnia. However, initiatives supporting the re-establishment of the judicial/penal systems and civil administration are yet to be finalised. This is somewhat surprising for an organisation with such a high profile in the civilian field. However, there is a certain risk that an emphasis in such capabilities might divert funds from civil administration initiatives.

As for military conflict management, modalities for the participation of non-EU NATO members as well as EU candidates have been finalised. These provisions for each of these groups, reproduce the arrangements within WEU. Candidates that are neither in NATO nor in the EU will share equal rights and obligations as EU participants in the day to day conduct of the operation. However, the political control and strategic direction, as well as the right to launch and end an operation remains exclusively with the Council. Another similarity is an initial limitation of possible contributors to countries signatory to a Europe Agreement. The elaboration of modalities for the participation of Ukraine and Russia has been left to the French Presidency.

Another unresolved question is the elaboration of modalities for the relationship between EU and NATO, who maintain only indirect contacts through WEU. Some guidelines for consultation have been released, but they remain extremely vague. The most important issue is the conditions under which the EU will be allowed to use the Alliance’s assets –i.e. overwhelmingly US assets - for its operations "where NATO as a whole is not engaged." This issue will be specifically addressed by one of four workings groups tasked with the elaboration of permanent arrangements with NATO, which will count with the participation of DSACEUR. The EU is considering adapting WEU-NATO arrangements to its emerging relationship with NATO. In this process, the Feira document stated that "the different nature of both organisations should be taken into account." However, there is no clear indication of what this could mean in practical terms. The delicate nature of the problem is evident: the EU will for the foreseeable future not be able to operate without recourse to NATO assets. The Alliance's say on EU operations has to be arranged on an interim basis if it is not to hinder the European defence project at this early stage. Each step taken provisionally is likely to cause distrust in the US, in particular since the final objective towards which the EU is proceeding is still unknown.

This transfer of competencies opens the question of where this leaves the WEU, and in particular, what will be the destiny of the mutual defence commitment enshrined in Article 5 of the Brussels Treaty. Until WEU is either dissolved or integrated into the Union, it will find itself deprived of its conflict management functions, while it remains unclear how the mutual defence commitment will be made credible. Some light might be thrown into these questions when Member States and EU associates announce which national capabilities they will make available for Petersberg operations. This will happen during the Capabilities Commitment Conference scheduled for the end of the year. The main decision taken at Feira is that the bulk of the work falls on the French Presidency.     CP



Clinton Bids Farewell To Moscow

President Bill Clinton's trip to Moscow on June 3-5, 2000 brought few tangible results, and no breakthrough. Still, this was a useful trip, and it can further the dialogue between the Americans and the Russians at the juncture of two strategic regimes.

The Clinton-Putin agenda included a number of items, but the focus was on arms control. For the outgoing Clinton administration the overriding goal was political, i.e. helping Vice President Gore's campaign by sending a message to the U.S. public that relations with Moscow were fully manageable, and that Russia was by no means "lost". Originally, the White House set its aims very high. Until six weeks before the visit the Administration still entertained hopes of a grand bargain with Moscow involving a U.S. agreement to lower ceilings (at 1,500 warheads) on strategic offensive arms in exchange for Russia's willingness to modify the ABM-Treaty to allow deployment of a limited National Ballistic Defense System. Eventually, however, it was persuaded by the Republican opposition in the Senate, the Pentagon's lack of readiness to scale back its list of missile targets, and the Kremlin's recalcitrance on the ABM modification issue to drop its too ambitious goals. This turned out to be wise.

The incoming Russian administration, by contrast, had very low expectations. Vladimir Putin's ambition was to become accepted by members of the Presidents' Club, and a visit paid to Moscow by a U.S. President less than a month after Putin's inauguration, and six weeks before the Okinawa G-8 summit, came in handy. The Russians were in no hurry. They had made a series of steps (START-2 and CTBT ratification among them) to gain the initiative on the subject of arms control and thus make it more difficult for the Americans politically to carry out their NMD plans. They concluded that, if they dealt with Clinton, the deal would probably not stick and they would waste their political capital needlessly. Thus, while receiving respect from Clinton, they decided to wait for a new U.S. president.

The summit produced three principal agreements: (1) the disposal of some 34 tons of plutonium stockpiled during the Cold War; (2) the establishment of a joint early warning center, located in Moscow, to monitor missile launches; and (3) a set of principles governing strategic stability.

The first agreement is important but highly technical in nature. The second will help build confidence between the two militaries, but it essentially represents a clearing house for information exchange. The third is a political statement devoid of any hard commitments. Yet, it is useful to study the statement to look for pointers for the evolution of the strategic dialogue between Russia and the United States.

The document itself should be placed in the context of previous statements on this issue adopted after the Clinton-Yeltsin meetings in Helsinki (1997), Moscow (1998) and Cologne (1999). This time again, continuity has been preserved.

The text is essentially balanced between Russian and U. S. positions, without either side giving away too much, even in terms of general principles. Still, there are interesting openings, if slight. The Americans agreed that the ABM Treaty was a cornerstone of strategic stability, and conceded to the offense-defense linkage. The Russians, for their part, recognized that the strategic environment was indeed changing, and that the viability of the ABM Treaty needed to be enhanced. To an optimist, this looks like a very arly opening bid for an eventual compromise which would amend the 1972 treaty, allow limited U.S. missile defenses (which would not diminish Russia's deterrence potential), and set the new ceiling for strategic offensive arms under a START-3 accord at a level Russia could afford.

Yet most members of the Russian national security environment remain wary of U.S. plans. It is difficult to see whether a grand bargain will indeed be struck. There are signs, however, that even if no agreement is reached, and Washington proceeds to withdraw from the ABM Treaty or violates it (while claiming that its actions are permitted under the treaty), Moscow's response will be a measured one, avoiding a total collapse of arms control.

Indeed, after the Clinton visit, Putin traveled to Italy, Spain and Germany where he presented the NATO countries with a proposal for a theater missile defense system to cover Europe, which implicitly recognized the reality of missile threats to the continent and invited the Americans and West Europeans to cooperate. This Russian proposal, which was originally drawn up by experts close to the center-right Yabloko faction in the Duma, was also discussed during U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen's visit to Moscow on June 12-14. The summit is over, the working-level dialogue now becomes even more intensive.   DT



Country Report PENN Netherlands

The Dutch part of the PENN network has engaged the Dutch political process fairly successfully during the last year. After we made a determined effort in the Dutch parliament to advocate a yes vote for the NAC resolution at the United Nations at the end of 1999 (which unfortunately did not quite succeed), our efforts shifted to the NPT Review Conference which took place at the UN in April 2000. To focus public and political interest on this conference, we organised two major events.

NPT Events
The first took place in the Dutch parliament on 19 April. Co-organisers were the NVMP (IPPNW-Netherlands) and the Atlantic Commission and it drew in a substantial part of the diplomatic community in The Hague, parliamentarians, and a cross section of NGOs. It was addressed by a broad combination of speakers, including representatives of the nuclear weapon states themselves and a good combination of critics. Among them were the American Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Miller, Rebecca Johnson of the Acronym Institute, Achin Vanaik of the Movement for Indian Nuclear Disarmament and Rob Green of the Middle Powers Initiative. A report of this meeting was written and distributed a few weeks later to all the delegates at the NPT conference in New York (this report is available from PENN Netherlands). The second event was a public meeting held on the evening of 19 April in Amsterdam and attracted 100 people, including some press. A new Dutch-language book on nuclear weapons written largely by us was presented to a representative of Bishop van Luyn, chairman of Pax Christi Netherlands. Achin Vanaik gave an impressive speech on the nuclear arms race in India and four parliamentarians (two from the governing coalition parties) presented their views on Dutch involvement in NATO nuclear policy and the NPT. The combination of the public event and the book presentation resulted in a fair amount of media attention.

Dutch Policy: The NPT Review
As is well-known, the basic negotiations at the NPT were between the nuclear weapon states and the New Agenda Coalition. The five NATO states which backed some degree of change in NATO nuclear policy played the role of intermediary between these two groups. Within the NATO five (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway), the Netherlands and Norwegian delegations played a fairly substantial role in encouraging the others to support at least part of the NAC position. This also went some way beyond the EU position taken at the beginning of the conference. The bridging role is vital in the diplomatic sphere of activities and the NGOs therefore threw in their weight to encourage the NATO five to play it. We also had questions asked in parliament relating to NATO nuclear policy (MC 400/2) and the negative security assurances which are supposed to protect the signatories of the NPT.

Follow-up in Netherlands
In the week following the agreement on a final document the Dutch media picked out the commitment to nuclear disarmament by the nuclear weapons states as the most striking result of the conference. Almost all of the newspapers and tv coverage included the comment that no timetable for disarmament was included. The Dutch delegates claimed that the conference was a success and this was reflected in the official report to parliament.

We published an op-ed in the daily Trouw to add a somewhat more critical note to the public discourse. In it we noted the weaknesses of the NPT agreement and compared it to developments in the nuclear weapon states and NATO (to make the connection with Dutch foreign policy and the questions we had put to the foreign minister in parliament). BASIC's Dan Plesch wrote a letter to the NATO foreign ministers on the eve of their meeting in Florence (24 May 2000) which we passed on to friendly parliamentarians. In it the NPT conference outcome was connected with the NATO paragraph 32 review, which we have also been supporting in our work (see previous reports). Finally we made a fairly intensive effort to have the negative security assurances, the NPT and NATO nuclear policy debated in the foreign affairs committee before parliamentary recess at the end of June. We pointed out the importance of comparing NATO's nuclear policy with the outcome of the review. An article in Defense News concerning MC 400/2 was also used in this approach. However, the foreign affairs committee has given priority to other matters, which means that the NPT debate will probably take place in September.    KK



Country Report PENN Belgium

In Belgium, the NPT Review Conference was an occasion to have political parties speak out on nuclear weapons politics. We did not believe in a change in governmental policies but used the event in our oNGOing campaign since 1997.

After 10 years of silence about nuclear weapons, the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 8 July 1996 about the legality of nuclear weapons gave a good start for a new campaign against nuclear weapons. After delivering a ‘Citizens summons’ at the NATO summit in Madrid, Forum voor Vredesactie and For Mother Earth started in the summer 1997 with ‘Citizens War Crimes Inspections’ at NATO in Brussels and at the air force base in Kleine Brogel, where B-61 nuclear bombs are stored. The focus of this campaign is the illegality of nuclear weapons : the verdict of the ICJ is used to claim that international law leaves no opportunity for policy-making involving nuclear weapons on Belgian soil.

Because no political will was available to put nuclear weapons on the agenda, the aim was to force politicians to do so. This was done by a legal strategy to have courts issue verdicts about the (il)legality of nuclear weapons. For this reason the actions always contained a carefully chosen violation of the law, invoking the Nuremberg Principles. Political work in this stage was to get politicians involved in our actions. Politicians of the Greens and the Flemish regionalist party participated, sometimes accompanied by socialists. The legal strategy worked half-way. The actions resulted in one trial with three MP’s before the criminal court, which declared itself ‘incompetent’ by considering the accusation as a ‘political crime’. Prosecution was stopped after this because of the unpredictable result of such a trial for the government. The results now are not verdicts about nuclear weapons, but a disarming of the legal repression system. Actions on military places in Belgium are not prosecuted anymore.

With nuclear weapons on the political agenda, we could start to differentiate our message and lobby politicians with proposals of possible political steps towards a change in policy. The NAC Resolution was the first opportunity to try to raise parlimentarian debate. At this time, the government was able to postpone and then cancel the discussion. Talking with officials made clear that the government stuck to NATO-doctrine and that it was no use to lobby them. With the NPT Review Conference coming up, we visited several political parties in the beginning of March with a proposed resolution. This proposal was tabled unchanged by greens and socialists. The aim was not really to try to change governmental policy but to have a serious debate in parliament. This would force all parties to rethink their position on nuclear weapons. Working for a change in governmental position is a following step.

Seen from these aims the result is quite good. Despite big pressure from Foreign Affairs to turn the resolution down, it was passed with a broad majority (including liberals and christian-democrats) and without being completely watered down. Calling for governmental support for ‘reviewing strategic doctrines’, for interim measures to avoid accidental launch like de-alerting and for legally binding negative security assurances, was passed without a no-vote. The result is a signal from the whole parliament to the government asking for a change in nuclear policy.

What was thrown out was the statement that the parliament felt bound by the NPT in all circumstances and all times. This did effectively raise the debate about the interpretation of the NPT and nuclear sharing. The government stated that the NPT was not valid in war time and avoided further debate. Greens (Agalev and Ecolo), flemish regionalists (Volksunie) and the Flemish socialist party (SP) made public stands against nuclear weapons in Kleine Brogel. This shows the broad opposition, also within the majority, that is growing against the nuclear sharing.

Despite this the government does not move. This is due to the parcellisation inside the government, which results in ministers making policies according to their party lines. Foreign Affairs is held by the French liberal minister Michel. The French liberal party (PRL) sticks firmly to the nuclear doctrine. Although the greens and the flemish socialists are clearly against nuclear weapons, they have other priorities to fight for. French socialists (PS) and Flemish liberals (VLD) are moderate: they are in favour of a change as long as they do not get in trouble in NATO. Prime Minister Verhofstadt already learned his lesson. When he promised more openness about nuclear weapons in November, he was called back by NATO.

The conclusion is that good opportunities are available for a policy change in Belgium. A broad political majority is against nuclear sharing, but the continuation of the process has two important conditions. First, the whole process is NGO-driven. The subject is not a priority for Belgian politics and discussion on the issue follows only when we keep the pressure high. Second, the Belgian government will never take the initiative. It is not going to take the risk to become isolated within NATO. Also, it will follow only when the whole government forces the minister of Foreign Affairs to do so.      HL



Israeli test of a sea-launched cruise missile?

The Israeli government denied a press report that it tested a submarine-launched cruise missile of 1.500 km range. The British Sunday Times reported, the Israeli military had fired cruise missiles from at least one of its two Dolphin-Class submarines during trials off Sri Lanka in May. These submarines were built by the German yards of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG and Thyssen Nordseewerke and delivered to Israel last year. A third boat is to follow soon. They were equipped with a conventional warhead, but may be nuclear capable as well. Their range was about 930 miles.

The submarines were paid for by the German government as a compensation for Israeli politics during the 1991 Gulf war. While the Israeli's intention of using the German submarines as roving nuclear launch platforms had long been suspected, few experts had expected them to develop the capability to fire medium-range SLCMs so soon. Besides the USA and Russia, Israel is the third country with submarine-based cruise missiles.

The launches were "designed to simulate swift retaliation against a pre-emptive nuclear attack from Iran," the Sunday Times reported. Israeli intelligence services believe Iran will develop nuclear weapons within two years.

Last January, the Israeli government had asked the USA for Tomahawks as part of US military compensation for its planned withdrawal from the Golan Heights, but the US Administration refused to approve the request because of restrictions by the MTCR.

Despite the British press report and the somewhat unclear Israeli denial, important questions remain. First: If Israel surprisingly has developed a medium range SLCM capability, did Jerusalem do so on the basis of technological capabilities of its own or did the country get outside help? If there was outside help, from where did it come? Second, why did the German government support the design and construction of the submarines for Israel, which according to their technical specifications had a capability to fire an unknown and unusual weapon from 650mm torpedo tubes? While these questions are likely to remain unanswered for quite a while, it is noteworthy that the German Navy has begun to discuss a requirement for a future submarine launched stand-off weapon capability to be integrated in the second batch of Germany's new U-212 class.    GP


  • Editor's Note


BITS/Boell Conference

Conference Announcement:
The Future of Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control, and Non-Proliferation

In cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the ASED (Asia-Europe-Dialogue) Project, BITS will host an international conference on "The Future of Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control, and Non-Proliferation." The conference, which aims to start an international policy oriented dialogue among independent experts, will be held in Berlin, Sept. 24th – 26th 2000. The intention is to find new approaches for nuclear arms control and non-proliferation.

In an international forum with experts from politics, NGO’s, academia, and the media from West-, East- and Central Europe, Russia, USA, China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Israel and South Africa, the conference will discuss the current situation in nuclear military planning, disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation issues. It will analyse the regional security problems in Asia and Europe, and develop and discuss possible political strategies for influencing the political agenda by raising the question of what governments as well as NGOs can do.

BITS and the Heinrich Böll Foundation intend to use this conference as a start-up to a series of international meetings and activities around the world until the end of 2001 to develop political strategies and proposals to influence the official agenda. GB



  • PENN - Suggestes Readings


There is a close relationship between the upcoming US decision on deploying a National Missile Defense (NMD) system and discussions on the future of (nuclear) arms control and non-proliferation. BASIC and BITS have prepared a number of briefings and policy papers that can help to understand the European debate on NMD. Paper copies can be ordered from BASIC and BITS. Electronic versions are available at BASIC’s homepage

NMD: Allied Fears in Focus, BASIC’s Occasional paper No 32, gives an overview about NATO’s initial look at NMD. It was written by Theresa Hitchens and Stuart Samuels in April 2000.

National Missile Defense under Attack, BITS Policy Note 2000.2, written by Denise Groves, describes positions in the US, European countries and Russia by early June 2000.

Europe’s NMD Dilemma, BITS Policy Note 2000.3, prepared by Clara Portela-Sais and Denise Groves in June 2000, analyses the European choice whether to take a joint position on NMD; and Strategic Challenge? – Russia, the EU and NMD, written by Otfried Nassauer in June 2000, BITS Policy Note 2000.5, looks at Russia's challenge to Europe over NMD and the future of arms control.

For those of you who might wish to read about the basics of the upcoming US decision and the consequences it might have on arms control, weŽd like to suggest a study written by Stephen Young, a long-time PENN member, now working for the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear dangers. It is entitled "Pushing the limits", and available in full text on the coalition’s homepage

On a different subject. Nadja Westphal has prepared another status report on European developments related to the EU’s Common European Security and Defense Policy. Published as BITS Briefing Note 2000.4 the German language note describes the decisions to be taken during the Feira Summit of the European Council.    ON



  • Diary




9 – 10 July

Okinawa G8 - Sous - Sherpa Meeting

11 – 13 July

Presentation of French Presidency Work Programs before EP

10 – 12 July

Kuala Lumpur: U.S. and North Korea resume missile talks

19 July

EU – Japan Summit

21 – 23 July

G8 – Summit, Okinawa

24 – 29 July

Bangkok: 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial Conference plus ASEAN Regional Forum and Post-Ministerial Conference

6/9 August

55th anniversary of the Hiroshima / Nagasaki bombings

7 August – 22 Sept.

Geneva: Conference of Disarmament (CD), third session of 2000


President Clinton to decide on NMD

2 – 3 Sept.

Evian: Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers

5 Sept.

New York: Opening of the "Millennium Assembly of the U. N."

6 – 8 Sept.

New York: The Millennium Summit of the U.N.

11 – 15 Sept.

Geneva: Second meeting of the States Parties to the convention banning anti – personnel land mines

15 Sept.

Paris: EU-Ukraine Summit

18/19 Sept.

EU General Affairs Council

22 Sept.

Paris: EU Defense Minsters

24 Sept.

4th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

24 – 26 Sept.

Berlin: BITS-BÖLL-ASED-PENN Conference "Future of Nuclear Disarmament"

27 Sept.

Berlin: Bundestag Hearing on Proliferation

28 – 30 Sept.

U.N./NGO Conference

2 Oct.

Paris: U.S. - EU Ministerial Meeting

10/11 Oct.

Birmingham: Informal NATO Defence Ministerial Meeting

13/14 Oct.

Biarritz: Informal European Council

16 – 18 Oct.

U.N. Disarmament Week symposium

21 Oct.

Seoul: ÊU-Japan Ministerial

23 Oct.

Bejing: EU – China Summit

30 Oct.

Paris: EU-Russia Summit

7 Nov.

U.S. Presidential Election

13 – 14 Nov.

Marseilles: EU-Mediterranean Ministerial and Summit

13 – 24 Nov.

Geneva: Biological Weapons Convention Protocol Negotiations

14 Nov.

Euro-Mediterranean Summit

16 Nov.

Marseilles: WEU-Ministerial

17 – 21 Nov.

Berlin: North Atlantic Assembly

23 Nov.

EU Ministerial with future members

2 – 3 Dec.

EU General Affairs Council

4 – 7 Dec.

WEU-ESDA 46th Session, Second Part

5 – 6 Dec.

Brussels: NATO Defense Ministerial Meeting

7 – 9 Dec.

Nice: EU Summit: Heads of Government Meeting

14 – 15 Dec.

Brussels: NATO Foreign Ministerial Meeting

18 Dec.

Washington: EU – US Summit



BITS would like to thank the W. Alton Jones Foundation for its generous support for the PENN program for the fifth year.


ViSdP / Responsibility at BITS: Otfried Nassauer (ON), Roman Michaels (copy editor) and authors indicated: Gerd Busmann (GB) – BITS, Karel Koster (KK) – Working Group Eurobomb/PENN Netherlands, Christine Kucia (CK) – British-American Security Information Council (BASIC), Hans Lammerant (HL) – Forum voor Vredesactie/PENN Belgium, Tom McDonald (TMcD) – BASIC, Gerhard Piper (GP) – BITS, Clara Portela-Sais (CP) - BITS, Dmitri Trenin (DT) – Carnegie Moscow Center, Nadja Westphal – BITS.

ISSN 1434-4262