On the occasion of the meeting of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in Geneva, the GCSP jointly with the German Permanent Representation to the Conference on Disarmament (CD) reported on past discussions they had initiated about assurances of non-attack of non-nuclear weapon states by nuclear-armed states (‘negative security assurances’).
After welcome remarks by Ambassador Michael Biontino, Permanent Representative of Germany, GSCP expert Marc Finaud introduced his detailed report of the past discussions, and Angela Kane (Vienna Center for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament) and Paul Ingram (British-American Security Information Centre) reflected on the issues addressed in those meetings.
Even if differences of approaches continue to exist between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear weapon states as well as among them, there was a general feeling that this topic deserved further consideration in light of recent developments, some of which tend to increase or simplify the existing assurances while others may lower the threshold of use of nuclear weapons. Also the need was expressed to clarify some current nuclear doctrines and their implications because of new complexities. Finally, the strong nexus between such assurances and progress in both non-proliferation and disarmament was reaffirmed.