Luxembourg Forum Experts Discuss Non-proliferation Perspectives after Entry into Force of the New START Treaty
On June 13-14, 2011, Stockholm hosted a conference of Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe billed as “Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament Perspectives after Entry into Force of the New START Treaty.” The Luxembourg Forum held the conference jointly with Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The conference brought together world’s leading experts, including prominent public activists and experts in the sphere of arms control and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe was established pursuant to a decision of the International Conference on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, held in Luxembourg on May 24-25, 2007. The Forum is one of the most authoritative institutions, uniting nearly fifty leading world-renowned experts on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, arms reduction and control. The Forum’s members have demonstrated a rare ability to find acceptable compromises to enhance global security. In most cases, official diplomats and leading politicians fail to do so.
The Forum’s tasks include facilitating efforts on deep cut-backs of nuclear weapons, counteracting growing threats to the nuclear non-proliferation regime and erosion of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as well as promoting global peace and security through implementing new approaches and formulating practical proposals to leading heads of state and heads of major international organisations on nuclear non-proliferation and arms control critical issues. Viatcheslav Kantor is the Forum’s President.
The Forum’s Supervisory Council is comprised of prominent political and public figures, world-renown academicians, including former IAEA Director General Hans BLIX, a famous U.S. politician, co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative Sam NUNN, former U.S. Secretary of Defense William PERRY, former chairman of SIPRI Governing Board and former OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Rolf EKÉUS, Director of the East-West Space Science Center at the University of Maryland (U.S.), Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Roald SAGDEEV, RAS Vice President Nikolay LAVEROV, former Russian Foreign Minister and former Russian Security Council Secretary, professor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) Igor Ivanov, and Co-chairman of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament and former Austrian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans.
The Supervisory Council meetings held each December in Moscow are always a high-profile event in the political and academic life. During these meetings, the Supervisory Council meets with the Russian Foreign Minister and top officials from the Russian Security Council. The address by the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to the meeting participants, which was read at the most recent meeting of the Supervisory Council in December 2010, recognized the Forum’s importance for strengthening the NPT regime, improving arms control tools and preventing nuclear terror threat. It also stressed that proposals and recommendations of the Luxembourg Forum have been practically implemented to address international issues.
Particularly, the Forum maintains a detailed professional expert analysis of specific issues viewed as most acute in the immediate perspective dealing with nuclear arsenal reduction, nuclear non-proliferation, and ways to resolve most threatening nuclear missile crises. The conference in Stockholm was the eleventh in succession.
The principal distinctive feature of the Forum’s operation is that at the end each workshop and conference it adopts memoranda to be circulated to leading heads of state, UN Security Council, leaders of the CIS, CSTO, NATO, IAEA and other international organizations.
It is important for the Forum members that their intellectual contribution to addressing the key issues of enhancing nuclear non-proliferation regime is in demand, and that the Forum’s recommendations not only reach their addressees, but are considered in practical political decision-making. This assurance is based on feedbacks received from leaders of states and the IAEA, NATO, EU and many other international organizations.
The conference in Stockholm on June 13 was attended by President of the Luxembourg Forum Viatcheslav Kantor, SIPRI Director Bates Gill, members of the Forum’s Supervisory Council Hans Blix, Rolf Ekéus, His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, formerly Director General of Saudi Arabia's Al General Intelligence Directorate and ambassador to the United Kingdom and the United States, Chairman of the SIPRI Governing Board Göran Lennmarker, members of SIPRI Governing Board, including President of the Pugwash Conferences Jayantha Dhanapala, Deputy Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Baranovsky, Assistant Minister/State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia Dewi Fortuna Anvar, Head of the International Security Centre of IMEMO of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Arbatov, Chair of Luxembourg Forum Organizing Committee, Principal researcher of the IMEMO, Russian Academy of Sciences, Major General, ret. Vladimir Dvorkin, President of Center for Policy Studies (PIR Center) Vladimir Orlov, Vice President for Studies and Director of the Nonproliferation Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace George Perkovich, Director of the Institute for Strategic Assessments Sergei Oznobishchev, Senior Fellow for Non-Proliferation at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies Mark Fitzpatrick.
The Stockholm conference discussed the current state and perspectives of nuclear non-proliferation, ballistic missile defense cooperation as the key issue of further nuclear disarmament, as well as the status and prospects of resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis.
The ratification of the new START Treaty raised significant disputes related to interpreting some of its provisions. “Unless these disputes are resolved, further steps towards nuclear disarmament and building partnership are to face considerable difficulties,” underscored the Luxembourg Forum President Viatcheslav Kantor. “These steps include reduction and limitation of non-strategic nuclear weapons and reaching agreements on cooperation in the area of ballistic missile defence system in Europe.”
Traditionally, as the conference outcome, the members of the Luxembourg Forum formulated their recommendations on the key issues under discussion.
In the nuclear sphere, they recommend starting without a delay the next stage of U.S.-Russian negotiations on the follow-on START Treaty, as well as the U.S.-Russian consultations on non-strategic nuclear weapons.
It is advisable to speed up resumption of limitation process for conventional forces and arms in Europe.
The Forum’s experts believe that it is vital for the parties to agree upon their positions on the ballistic missile defence system and to that end they suggest specific incremental steps.
The UN Security Council members, despite their different views, should take a joint position on tougher sanctions regarding Iranian nuclear program in line with Articles 41 and 42 of the UN Charter.
A joint stand should be taken by the G6 to bring North Korea back to the IAEA safeguards regime and stop the process of further plutonium separation and uranium enrichment sought by Pyohgyang.
It is of utmost importance that the Russian and U.S. parliaments expand contacts and search the spheres of common interest in the widest scope of issues of their possible cooperation.
The intensity of the expert dialogue should continue for generating new ideas and finding solutions in facilitating the process of disarmament and non-proliferation.