Monday, April 14, 2003

World Disarmament In Tatters?

"In fact, arms control advocates note, there is a particular irony to the war in Iraq: While U.S. forces pound Saddam Hussein in one of the most radical -- and expensive -- unilateral acts of disarming another country, the leading international forum for negotiating multilateral arms control agreements, the United Nations-affiliated Conference on Disarmament, is so frozen by disputes that it is unable even to agree on an agenda. Negotiations of crucial issues relating to nuclear materials, weapons in space and biological weapons are completely deadlocked.

'There is a lot of despair,' said Jayantha Dhanapala, undersecretary- general for disarmament affairs at the United Nations, who worked to extend the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995. 'There is a general feeling that the disarmament machinery is just not working.'"