International Luxembourg Forum’s Supervisory Council Annual Meeting

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On December 8-9 the meeting of Supervisory Council of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe was held in Moscow. This meeting has become an important international event in the sphere of advancing nuclear arms reduction and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Forum’s experts also discussed possible scenarios of settling the Iranian and North Korean nuclear crises.

To highlight the significance of the meeting, its attendees have discussed 2010 results of Luxembourg Forum activity and next year outlook will include Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russian Federation; Igor Ivanov, former Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation; William Perry, former United States Secretary of Defence; Nikolay Laverov, Fellow of the Russian Academy of Sciences, vice president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, formerly - deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers; Rolf Ekeus, Chairman of the SIPRI Governing Board, former High Commissioner on National Minorities appointed by OSCE; Roald Sagdeev, full academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Director of “East-West” Centre at the University of Maryland; Nikolai Spassky, Deputy Director General of Rosatom state corporation; Alexei Arbatov, Head of the Centre for International Security Centre of the Institute for International Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Vladimir Dvorkin, Chairman of the Forum’s Organizing Committee, Principal researcher of the IMEMO, Russian Academy of Sciences; Major General, retired and other experts.

According to the expert’s opinion, in the context of the current global trends the expiring year, full with significant events in nuclear sphere, requires constructive dialogue, comprehensive discussion and definite proposals on the settlement of existing problems.

The recent NATO Lisbon Summit approved a new Strategic Concept of North-Atlantic Alliance, which holds that the Alliance poses no threat to Russia. This idea was confirmed at the Russia–NATO Summit, where NATO offered Moscow cooperation in the sphere of creation of European missile defence system. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev supported this initiative, stating that missile defence system shall be universal, it shall not be built to protect particular countries only, or to cover particular military theatres only.

“Such major international projects are absolutely vital today,” - claims Igor Ivanov, former Russian Foreign Minister. “They are attended by respected authoritative experts, widely recognized in the world; and evidently, the major credit for that is deserved by Viatcheslav Kantor, President and initiator of the Luxembourg Forum. Our task is to define our points of convergence.”

The ratification by the Russian and the U.S. parliaments of the new START treaty signed by both Presidents in Prague, in April 2010, is expected in the near future. This event is going to become a milestone in the process of nuclear disarmament and reinforcement of the regime of WMD non-proliferation in the modern world.

According to Kantor, “there is apparent progress in the sphere of nuclear arms reduction and confidence that in the near future the Prague START treaty between Russia and the U.S. will be approved by legislative bodies of both countries and will enter in legal force. If for any reason this does not happen, the regime of nuclear non-proliferation will suffer a heavy strike.”

“In case of ratification of the new START treaty, the next step of disarmament will be associated with consultations on limitation and reduction of non-strategic nuclear arms. Russia and the U.S. will have to solve the most complicated issues, caused by asymmetry in the geostrategic conditions of both countries. That is why it is reasonable to discuss the ways to settle already existing disagreements in this sphere. We should consider and to revive the practices of successful cooperation we used to apply before 2008, and to recommence our joint military exercises on missile defence,” – stated the President of Luxembourg Forum.

Intricate situation with nuclear programmes of Iran and Northern Korea, which continue their implementation despite international sanctions, was one of the key issues addressed at the meeting.

As Viatcheslav Kantor noted, “participants of the Forum understand that none of new resolutions of the United Nations Security Council with symbolically tougher sanctions will stop the Iranian nuclear programme. The longer vain negotiations on this matter with Tehran, the closer Iran to the stage of nuclear weapons production.”

Should we fail to settle Iranian and Northern Korean crises, “nuclear weapons will be obtained by many countries, not only in the Middle East, but in other regions as well,” – thinks Viatcheslav Kantor. “Mainly, in the countries, balancing on the edge of transformation of ruling regimes into more radical systems and of civil wars. In this case international terrorism would also get access to the nuclear materials.”

According to Viatcheslav Kantor’s proposal, experts, with support of political powers, should urgently define the limits of tolerance for the global community with respect to the developments in Iran and Northern Korea, and further establish in Old Europe a direct-action headquarters which will be assigned with operational procedure in the case of diminution of security to the critical level. The right to make a decision on the threat occurrence shall be granted to Russia and the U.S. as major leading powers in the sphere of nuclear issue (both countries made fundamental steps in the process of nuclear disarmament, and nevertheless they possess 90% of global nuclear armament).

The experts have consolidated currently available best practices in reduction of nuclear arms generated by different parties, resumed the results of various events held in 2010, and summed up offers and develop a specific response plan of mutually beneficial strategic partnership, which would not infringe the interests of any party.

Following the results of Luxembourg Forum Conference in Washington D.C. on September 20-21, 2010, the Final Document, reflecting main resolutions of the Conference was circulated to the heads of leading nuclear states and European countries, European Union agencies and nuclear disarmament experts. This document has been disclosed to mass media at a press conference on December 8, 2010.