Posted by Abolition, 17th Nov 2005 | Category: Treaties and Parliaments News
This is a very long resolution, even by EU standards.
Click here for a summary and commentary on selected items
Read the full text of the resolution
To help guide you through this resolution, the most important paragraphs relating to nuclear disarmament are reproduced here.
Commentary (in italics) from George Fairbrother (World Court Project, UK)
The European Parliament
- having regard to the fact that all European Union Member States are States Parties to
the major multilateral agreements that make up the non-proliferation regime, namely the
1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons
Convention (BTWC), the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the 1996
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and that two Member States, the UK and France, are
nuclear-weapon states as defined in the NPT, and that US tactical weapons are stationed
on the territories of many more Member States: Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom,
Greece, the Netherlands and Belgium and states applying for EU membership, Turkey in
Interesting to see the US tactical weapons referred to - and it develops some teeth
in para 63.
- having regard to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice of 8 July
1996 on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons,
Good to see the ICJ given due importance.
C. whereas the EU Council achieved a Common Position (including some 41 separate
measures) that was presented at the 2005 NPT Review Conference, but failed to persuade
the other members of the NPT to pursue a like-minded common strategy as set out in the
Common Position, notwithstanding that proliferation of WMD is to be considered as the
most dangerous threat to global security;
D. whereas this highlights the urgency with which the European Union must provide new
leadership to safeguard its interests by reinvigorating the measures in the Common
Position and the EU WMD Strategy in order to strengthen the non-proliferation regime,
It seems clear that the EU is becoming increasingly impatient with the consistent
failures in international fora, having put a lot of work into its position. They must
feel the same way about the Millennium + 5 summit and in UNGA Committee 1 where it also
had a common position - presented by the UK. It is much milder than this Resolution
and might be worth studying for any changes in emphasis.
The UK Ministry of Defence has written to World Court Project Supporters indicating
... Like many other countries, the UK was disappointed that so little had been achieved
at the NPT Review Conference, particularly after the strong urging given to the
Conference by the UN Secretary General in his opening address. The Foreign Secretary
was, therefore, pleased to accept the Norwegian Foreign Minister's invitation to join
an initiative, to which you refer, that sought to redress the lack of substantive
language on non-proliferation at the Review Conference with a robust declaration on
these issues at the Millennium Review Summit. In this initiative, as in our work for
the NPT Review Conference, the UK hoped this would spur the international community to
strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
The UK worked tirelessly and to the last minute, both nationally through this
initiative and in other fora as EU Presidency, to seek the best possible outcome on
non-proliferation and disarmament at the Millennium Summit. We share the UN
Secretary-General's severe disappointment at the lack of international commitment
displayed in the ultimate inability of States to agree any language on these subjects.
Non-proliferation remains a firm Government priority, and we are currently considering
how best to move forward to find sensible and pragmatic solutions to overcome this
deficit and enhance the nuclear non-proliferation regime. ...
2. Believes that the proliferation of nuclear weapons seriously increases the danger of
nuclear war and, considering the catastrophic impact that such a war would have upon
all mankind, calls on all nation states to make every effort to build an effective,
efficient and equitable system that reduces and progressively eliminates nuclear
3. Rejects the development of new-generation nuclear weapons (so-called mini-nukes or
bunker-busting bombs) and changes in nuclear doctrines, since these are increasing the
military utility of nuclear weapons, rather than reducing their prominence, thereby
undermining positive developments such as the United States-Russia strategic nuclear
weapons reductions; once again calls on the US administration to permanently stop such
developments; therefore welcomes the willingness of the US Senate and Congress not to
make available any further funding for the development of mini-nukes;
The UK would not accept such strong language directed at the US. Even the New Agenda
Resolution, which has been progressively weakened and is now quite cautious was
rejected by the UK in UNGA Committee 1 even though many NATO and other EU states
supported it. In fact, the UK seriously considered abstaining this year but still felt
that the language of the resolution did not give enough credit for disarmament progress
by the Nuclear Weapon States.
b) greater emphasis on disarmament initiatives as well as non-proliferation issues;
The UK did support the Japanese-sponsored resolution in UNGA Committee 1 this year,
which contains a similar view.
19. Invites the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy to
provide substance on the question how to integrate the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the
International Court of Justice on the 'Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear
Weapons' in the EU's WMD Strategy;
Who will the EU High Representative consult about "to provide substance on the question
how to integrate the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice".
37. Underlines that nuclear weapons are for deterrence purposes; supports the political
commitments made by the nuclear-weapons States not to use nuclear weapons against
non-nuclear-weapons States ("negative security assurances"), and reiterates that there
would be no winners in a nuclear war;
Perhaps it needs to be pointed out that the negative security assurances are not
watertight and that the USA, in particular, does not see them as important.
39. Calls on the nuclear-weapons States under the NPT - with particular emphasis on
NATO members UK, France and USA - to pursue timely, progressive and significant steps
towards the elimination of their nuclear arsenals in accordance with the undertakings
contained in legally binding treaties and agreements, thereby strengthening their moral
authority and credibility;
The UK claims that it is already doing this. A recent letter says:
The UK has a good record on disarmament and has made considerable progress on the
relevant disarmament measures set out in the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review
Conference, which is consistent with the policy set out in the 1998 Strategic Defence
Review. For example, we have withdrawn and dismantled the RAF's WE177 nuclear bomb so
that Trident is our only nuclear weapons system; dismantled all of our remaining
Chevaline (Polaris) warheads by April 2002; reduced our operationally available
stockpile of nuclear weapons to fewer than 200 warheads, which represents a reduction
of more than 70 percent in the potential explosive power of our nuclear forces since
the end of the Cold War; and reduced the readiness of our nuclear forces - only one
Trident submarine at a time is on deterrent patrol, carrying 48 warheads (compared to a
previously planned total of 96). The submarine on patrol is normally at several days'
"notice to fire" and its missiles are de-targeted.
This echoes similar statements in Parliament.
46. Considering the mistrust aroused by Iranian activities over a sustained period of
more than 17 years, as stated in the resolution adopted on 24 September 2005 by the
IAEA, calls on Iran to take all necessary steps to restore the international
community's confidence and trusts that Iran can responsibly and transparently develop a
civilian nuclear energy programme by:
- meeting in full its commitments, notwithstanding its rights, under the NPT,
- fully cooperating with the IAEA,
- continuing to cooperate with IAEA inspectors as it has done since 2003,
- ratifying, without delay, the IAEA Additional Protocol,
- returning to its commitments under the Paris Agreement,
- re-establishing full and sustained suspension of all aspects of its uranium
enrichment-related activities, including tests and production at the uranium conversion
facility at Isfahan,
- and subject to the above, a full return to negotiations with the EU aimed at the
successful conclusion of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement;
52. Expresses disappointment and deep concern over the failure to reach by consensus
useful recommendations to be addressed to the next NPT Review Conference and regrets
that the European Union did not take up the initiative of the Mayor of Hiroshima for a
nuclear-free world by 2020;
I assume they were also disappointed by shelving the Mayors for Peace "Kickstart"
Resolution in UNGA Committee 1.
53. Expresses disappointment over both the outcome of, and the role played by the
Member States at, the 2005 NPT Review Conference; calls however on the Member States,
the Council and the Commission to pursue in good faith the 41 measures contained in the
Common Position; in this connection, calls on the United States to abandon its negative
attitude to the NPT;
This is a very strong criticism of the USA which goes well beyond the sort of language
used in the UN Resolutions.
54. Calls in particular on France and the United Kingdom to reinvigorate their pursuit
of the 13 disarmament steps and to engage with the United States, Russia and China, who
also committed themselves to the process at the end of the 2000 NPT Review Conference;
63. Calls on the United States to clarify the situation as regards the quantity and
strategic objectives of its tactical nuclear arsenals stationed on European bases;