NPT PrepCom closes without agreement on recommendations, presents only working paper

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

New York – The third session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference closed at United Nations Headquarters in New York on May 9. The participants failed to reach an agreement and decided not to adopt recommendations with regard to the agenda and process for next year’s NPT Review Conference. Instead, Enrique Roman-Morey, Peruvian ambassador and the chair of the PrepCom, submitted a working paper which reflects the views of participating states and calls for discussion with a view to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.

Working papers do not have as much force and effect as recommendations and are considered only as reference material for the Review Conference. The working paper was prepared by amending the draft of recommendations presented by Mr. Roman-Morey. It recommends that next year’s Review Conference discuss steps for realizing the nuclear disarmament of the nuclear weapon states. It refers to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and lists suggestions made by participating nations, including discussion on a legal framework for banning nuclear weapons.

The discussion on May 8 grew tangled with requests for amendments to the draft of recommendations. Multiple nations requested that more stress be placed on the statement concerning the humanitarian consequences of nuclear arms, while France, a nuclear weapon state, questioned the need for including this in the statement. Toshio Sano, the Japanese ambassador for disarmament, commented on the nuclear issues involving North Korea. He suggested that the recommendations convey misgivings about North Korea’s ballistic missile program and urge the country to refrain from launching such missiles, instead of just expressing concern over its nuclear development program.

Mr. Roman-Morey said that his working paper should serve as a basis for future negotiations.

The preparatory committee meets in between Review Conferences, which are held every five years. This final session of the committee opened on April 28. The next Review Conference will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from April 27 through May 22 next year.

(Originally published on May 10, 2014)