Overall Grade: B
The issue areas of disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation were addressed primarily at the G8 Foreign Minister's meeting in Rome (July 18-19, 2001). The Foreign Minister's meeting was used as a forum to discuss the international political agenda and its developments. Thus, little discussion commenced in Genoa regarding disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation, with the exception of the National Missile Defence System (NMDS). In their conclusions, the Ministers demonstrated their commitment to maintaining stability and international security through multilateral regimes and export control arrangements. The Ministers agreed to strengthen the following:
The G8 states expressed enthusiasm in regard to the commencement of a Fissile Material
Cut-Off Treaty to Ban the Production of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the immediate commencement of negotiations on this Treaty in Rome and agreed to maintain the the five year deadline, which had previously been set.
The Ministers also recommitted to the full ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty. Canada, in particular, has placed emphasis on the completion of the Ottawa Treaty, and has continued to maintain momentum in this area, as demonstrated by the Conference on Understanting the Ottawa Conference on AP mines (June 2000). In Rome, the Ministers agreed that emphasis must be placed on mine clearance, humanitarian demining, victim assistance, and the development of technology for mine action. Nevertheless, it is still necessary that the US and Russia sign the Mine Ban Treaty and significantly reduce their stockpiles in order for the project to be fully successful.
The Ministers further stressed the importance of the full implementation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and urged non-signatory states to ratify the Treaty while in Rome. Currently, all G8 states have signed and ratified the Treaty with the exception of the US, which has failed to ratify. The Test Ban Treaty has been identified as an international concern and it is necessary that the US ratify the Treaty for the global application of the provisions.
Finally, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that weapon-grade plutonium no longer required for defence purposes is never used for nuclear weapons. Russia was supported in its decision to destroy its chemical weapons, as declared in the Chemical Weapons Convention. Furthermore, doner-states to the Russian Federation disposition programme were encouraged to complete an international financing plan and to negotiate a multilateral framework for the programme.
The National Missile Defence System (NMDS) has been a pressing issue that was not examined at length at either the Foreign Minister's meeting or the Genoa Summit. In the conclusions of the Rome meeting, the Ministers stated only that they welcomed the readiness of Russia and the US to continue deep reductions in their strategic offensive arsenals and to strengthen strategic stability. NMDS was not addressed in the 2001 G8 Communique, although the issue was brought up in the bilateral discussion between Russia and the US. The Russian and American Heads of State agreed to tie US plans for building a missile defence shield to talks on reducing nuclear stockpiles. Both sides expressed their willingness to reduce arms; overall, Russia seemed to provide more leeway considering its initial opposition to the US plan, and subsequent willingness to work with the US President in regard to the defence shield.
Not only was NMDS not discussed at length, no commitments had been made in regard to the stance of other G8 states on the topic. Germany and France seemed to be most apprehensive to the idea of a defence shield and the challenge such a plan poses to the ABM Treaty. England has not provided a stance on the issue, but is expected to support the US when the NMDS becomes more prominent. During the final G8 briefing for Canada, Prime Minister Chretien stated that the Americans had not demonstrated what the system would entail and, therefore, that a statement on the issue is unnecessary. Furthermore, the Prime Minister stated that the only discussion that has commenced thus far occurred between Russia and the US and has revolved around the reduction of offensive arms. The Prime Minister implied that the NMDS was, as of yet, a non-issue.
Overall, disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation was addressed sufficiently at this year's Summit. Nevertheless, the NMDS remains a pressing issue that concerns both G8 states and the international community; consequently, it is a matter that requires further evaluation.
Prepared by: Jennifer Stanton and Oana Dolea of the G8 Research Group.
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