Informal Update on Day 7

RIchard Guthrie sent out another informal email update on progress in The Hague today.

“This is an informal update and the outline provided here will be filled in with more details tomorrow in the regular report.

Tuesday has seen more late night working on the draft declaration with consultations finishing at around 9.30pm local time.

Some sections were gone through a second time. While the universality section is now almost bracket-free, the sections on general obligations and destruction remain heavily bracketed. Only the first few paragraphs of the verification section have been looked at again, and these also remain heavily bracketed.

At the end of the Tuesday evening consultations a decision to have two ‘facilitators’ on specific sections was taken. Ambassador Maarten Lak (Netherlands) will focus on general obligations and Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco Tonda (Mexico) on destruction. The facilitated consultations on general obligations are scheduled to run in parallel with the main informal consultations during the morning, with a similar procedure following for destruction in the afternoon.”

German Bundestag Resolution on the CWC Review Conference

On April 9 the German Bundestag passed a resolution on the CWC review conference. Both the governing Christian Democrat and Social Democrat parties, and the opposition Liberal Party voted for the resolution, while the Green Party abstained and the Socialists voted against it.

Here is a link to the original German resolution, as well as a rough English translation kindly provided by Oliver Meier of the Arms Control Association. According to Oliver there was also a short debate on the CWC where speakers which praised its progress in universality, weapons destruction and verification. They also highlighted the importance of German G8 contributions to speed up the weapons stockpile destruction process in Russia. A German transcript of the debate is available here or online. However Oliver also provided (in English) a list of his personal highlights from the debate:

“Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg, arms control spokesperson for the Conservatives highlighted the fact that some non-signatories such as Angola, Somalia and Egypt are among the top recipients of German development aid. Von Guttenberg called upon the German government, particularly in the cases of Egypt and Syria, to increase emphasis of the importance of joining the CWC. He said this might be helpful to reduce Israeli threat perception and convince Tel Aviv to ratify the CWC.”

“Uta Zapf, chair of the Bundestag’s subcommittee on disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation, warned that against the background of peace-keeping operations, insurgencies and counter-terrorism operations, the temptation to develop new incapacitants is great. She said that the review conference must address this “hot topic” and define the CWC prohibitions in terms of which agents may be used under what cirumstances. This was echoed by Elke Hoff, arms control spokesperson of the Liberal Party who also emphasized the importance of national implementation measures.”

“By contrast, Paul Schaefer, Social spokesperson for arms control, accused the German government of wanting to legitimise non-lethal weapons and called the resolution ambivalent. Winfried Nachtwei of the Green Party highlighted the fact that were the CWC approach applied to nuclear weapons, we would have a nuclear-weapons free world by 2020. Nachtwei also called on the German government to be more transparent about its own research on non-lethal weapons and urged the government to deal with the problem of old CW dumped in the Baltic Sea.”

It is interesting to note that the resolution specifically mentions the use of non-lethal or incapacitating agents under the CWC and Oliver’s highlights show that the debate included mention of this topic as well. It seems that the Second Review Conference will not deal explicitly with this issue, but hopefully will set procedures in motion that will allow for an in depth look at incapacitants so that their use under the CWC can be clarified.

Thanks for the information on this Oliver!

Agenda for Day 7

If the tentative work programme is still being followed, today the meeting of the Committee of the Whole continues with its morning session focusing on:

“implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention relating to the protection of confidential information”

and the afternoon session looking at:

“implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention relating to the general functioning of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”

It is likely that significant time will be devoted to refining the draft text for the declaration of the conference, and potentially cause negotiations to continue into the evening again today.

Report on Day 6

Richard Guthrie’s report on Day 6 of the Review Conference “Start of the second week: Picking up the pace” is now available. In it Guthrie describes some of the negotiations taking place over the text of the Conference draft declaration. A large portion of the declaration text had been drafted at pre-conference meetings by the Open-Ended Working Group on the Second Review Conference, but it has now been significantly expanded and altered during the closed-door, informal meetings of the Committee of the Whole that have been taking place over the past few days. Not unexpectedly, the wide range of states from different regions and economies also have differing interests and priorities for the CWC and the declaration of the Second Review Conference.