La Conferenza di riesame del TNP: quale futuro per la non proliferazione e il disarmo?

11/06/2015, Rome

Seminar with Giovanni Brauzzi, Principal Director for Security, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Chaired by Natalino Ronzitti, IAI scientific advisor.

The seminar focused on the NPT review conference.

Ronzitti reminds the audience that the recent New York conference concerned a review, not a revision, of the non-proliferation treaty. The relevance of the agreement is given not only by the centrality of the problem, but also by its universality. Indeed, around 190 states joined the treaty, with the notable exceptions of Israel, India and Pakistan, who are all possessors of nuclear warheads.

The principal argument that the Minister proposed was whether the closing of the conference without a final text is an indicator of failure, or if it merely signifies a postponement of decisions. The greatest challenge will likely be the conclusion of the final Iranian nuclear agreement, which could result in a more relaxed review of a denuclearised Middle East by the time the Conference takes place. In regards to Italy and Europe, the two had largely prepared for the quinquennial conference but their work did not lead to the results they had expected (at least not at the communitarian level).  In Europe, the counties of Austria, Ireland and Sweden have been pushing the so-called "humanitarian campaign" that could lead to the adoption of a convention for the ban of nuclear weapons. However, the conclusion of a possible treaty on this subject would be unnecessary if the nuclear states do not join in. In fact, even the two European nuclear powers (especially France) prevent any development in this direction.

The European discussion was intertwined with the work of the G7, within which there were strong disagreements as well; indeed, on one hand Japan was commemorating the 70-year anniversary of the nuclear bombardment in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and on the other France had reclaimed its right to self-defense. The formula that the G7 announced on April 15th at the Foreign Minsters’ conference is one of compromise: it proposed a gradual approach and an inclusive process that does not confer the responsibilities on the nuclear states alone. The Minister again reminded that the United States have proposed an International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification, as a sort of shortcut to the total ban on nuclear weapons. This was proposed to give a more coherent structure to Obama’s medium and long-term perspective of abolishing nuclear weapons, something that he announced during his speech in Prague in 2009. This initiative uses the preparatory work of Norway and Great Britain, including the experiences assimilated in the process of disarmament of both the US and Russia, and it exploits these well-developed experiences as a basis for new formulas that involve both nuclear powers and non-nuclear actors. Italy has supported the US in this initiative, and, together with the Netherlands, it will chair the first of the three work-groups of the project.

Accordingly, in order to enhance a deeper legal analysis of the humanitarian campaign topics, the Italian Foreign Ministry has planned a conference at the International Humanitarian Law Institute in Sanremo that will be dedicated to human security and nuclear disarmament. The outcomes of this meeting will be presented next fall at the UN General Assembly, in an effort to provide a contemplated and peaceful contribution to a topic of growing importance in the international agenda.   

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