Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Panel proposes global center for nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament

SYDNEY (Kyodo) -- An international nuclear nonproliferation panel set up two years ago by the leaders of Japan and Australia recommended Monday the establishment of a Global Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament by early 2011 to work toward ultimately achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.

The International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, in a communique issued after its final meeting in Vienna, said the center is needed "to focus and encourage the continuing interest of the whole international eliminating nuclear threats once and for all."

The commission said the center would publish an annual "report card" evaluating the performance of both nuclear-armed and non-nuclear armed states in implementing 64 follow-up actions on disarmament, nonproliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy contained in the final document of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference held in New York in May.

The center would also "lead worldwide research aimed at refining and developing a model Nuclear Weapons Convention, with the object of having a fully worked through draft available to inform and guide multilateral disarmament negotiations as they gain momentum," it said.

The center would be an independent nongovernmental organization governed by 15 "individuals of high international standing, and representative of the world's major regions" who would meet at least annually. It would be financed by contributions from supportive governments, foundations and private donors.

As to where the center would be situated, the communique said Canberra, Vienna and Geneva are all possibilities.

The commission, co-chaired by former Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, was established in 2008 at the initiative of then Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

In October last year, at a meeting in Hiroshima, the commission recommended to world leaders to reduce the number of nuclear arms from more than 20,000 at present to 2,000 or less by 2025.

(Mainichi Japan) July 6, 2010

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