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NPT outcome: We did it!

May 28, 2010

After days of excruciating negotiations, often long into the night, threats that the outcome document would be blocked, a series of postponements on the final day, and confusion and uncertainty right up until Conference President Cabactulan dropped his gavel, the 2010 NPT Review adopted a final report accompanied by an action plan that makes two explicit references to a Nuclear Weapons Convention as a way to pursue a comprehensive approach to nuclear disarmament and the fulfillment of Article VI of the NPT.

While a significant gap remains between naming the Convention and recommending a specific workplan to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world with the Convention as its foundation in international law, this is the first time the Convention has been formally included as part of the NPT outcome. Even more important is the path by which it got there. A determined effort by states who would not take no for an answer, a sympathetic (more than that…enthusiastic) Chair, and a cadre of NGOs who started months ago to persuade state delegations that the Convention’s time had come and that they could be in the vanguard, made this happen.

This is only a beginning. The nuclear-weapon states continue to focus on small steps, and some of them resisted inclusion of reference to the Convention all month, which is why the final report only “notes” interest in the NWC rather than endorsing or recommending it. But we now have an important rebuttal to anyone who claims in the future that advocating the Convention is naive or premature. The NPT member states themselves have now brought the NWC out of the shadows.

Detailed analysis of the document will come later, and my train to Boston leaves in 15 minutes. So please forgive the breathless summary. To everyone in IPPNW and ICAN who worked so hard for this result: we did it!

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