Roundtable Meeting of the International Luxembourg Forum on the Prospects of Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation Opens in Prague

The two-day roundtable meeting of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe to discuss medium-term prospect of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation opened in Prague on December 2, 2014.

The meeting is attended by the President of the International Luxembourg Forum Viatcheslav Kantor, PhD., members of the Forum’s Supervisory Board: Nikolay Laverov, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Roald Sagdeev, RAS Academician and Professor at the University of Maryland (USA); Hans Blix, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Rolf Ekeus, a member of the Board of Directors of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, as well as Tariq Rauf, Director of the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Programme of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI); Jayantha Dhanapala, President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs; Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, Secretary General of the Pugwash Conferences; Robert Legvold, Director of the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative; William Potter, Director of the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies, Professor at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Fellow of the Science and Global Security (SGS) Program at Princeton University; Bruce Blair, a co-founder of the Global Zero movement; John Carlson, counselor to the foundation program at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney and other leading international experts in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The roundtable has brought together representatives of 14 authoritative international organizations committed to common goals and tasks aimed at non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear delivery vehicles, guaranteed prevention of nuclear conflicts of various scale.

Further steps towards nuclear disarmament, de-alerting of strategic arms and possibility of transition to a multilateral dialogue have been the focus of discussion. The meeting also dealt with the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, including accounting of nuclear material stocks, and also new forms of negotiations on non-weaponization of outer space. Moreover, the agenda of the roundtable included more efficient role of the OSCE in the European safety, preservation of the Open Skies regime and the Vienna document, and nuclear issues of Iran and North Korea.

The Chairman of the Luxembourg Forum Organizing Committee Vladimir Dvorkin noted that, considering the purposes and tasks of the Forum, the action venue – Prague – is especially important, because the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the US and Russia was signed here in 2010.

Dvorkin read to the participants the address of the President of the Luxembourg forum Dr. Viatcheslav Kantor. The Luxembourg Forum President reminded the attendees that the final document passed at the previous Forum conference in Geneva underlined that there had been a deadlock in the sphere of further nuclear weapons control and joint strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime even before the crisis in relations between the West and Russia caused by the situation in Ukraine.

Experts suggested to keep and develop full control over nuclear weapons not only between the US and Russia, but also all other nuclear states, finish ahead of schedule the process of reduction of strategic nuclear weapons under the Prague START treaty by 2016, reach compromise on missile defense, tactical nuclear weapon and thus to ensure success of 2015 NPT Review Conference. To this end, the Forum members proposed to make every effort to prepare and put into effect the Comprehensive agreement of the P5+1 with Iran to assure purely peaceful use of nuclear energy according to the NPT under the IAEA safeguards and within the framework of the Additional Protocol of 1997. The Forum experts called on the US, China, Egypt, India, Israel, Iran, Pakistan and North Korea, among other steps, to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty as soon as possible . Some of these recommendations have been taken into consideration by the leading states and are in the course of their policy. There is a probability of ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty before the 2015 Review Conference.

“I am sure that, despite the current crisis, we are obliged not only to keep everything that has been developed by the international organizations over a long period of time in the sphere of nuclear weapons control, strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, but also to continue the development of new approaches and solutions to the existing problems,” the Luxembourg Forum President noted in his address.

"Now, when the relations between the West and Russia are in a deep crisis because of the situation in Ukraine, effective cooperation in responding to new greater challenges and threats, preventing an escalation of war in Syria and Iraq, counteracting large-scale attack of Islamic extremists is impossible,” Dr. Kantor added. “Especially when our common opponents cunningly take advantage of the strained relations between recent partners."

The Forum President expressed confidence that when the leading states finally come to understanding that none of the parties involved in the current crisis are able to effectively counter traditional and new threats to their national security, they will find solutions to overcome this crisis. And then the results of our cooperative work will be fully demanded.

On December 4, following the roundtable meeting, the Luxembourg Forum will hold a session of its Supervisory Board to hear annual progress report from the President of the Forum Dr. Viatcheslav Kantor, and discuss plans for the future.