U.S. blocks agreements

UNITED NATIONS — Nearly two weeks into the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference here, the first step — agreement on an agenda — has been reached. However, the process of beginning the conference’s work immediately stalled, again due to barriers put up by the Bush administration.

Most states wanted the agenda to include references to the 1995 and 2000 agreements, including the indefinite extension of the treaty and a ban on nuclear testing, but the U.S. refused, saying that these agreements were no longer relevant.

The stalemate ended when other states agreed it was necessary to move forward and capitulated to the United States. The current agenda has no mention of the past reviews — the review conference president will only mention 1995 and 2000 in a statement.

The new U.S.-sponsored roadblock is the issue of subcommittees, which are formed to deal with specific issues. At first, the U.S. said it would have none, but later agreed to all but one.

“A lot of the countries in the nonaligned movement want a subsidiary body on negative security assurances and the U.S. is totally opposed to it,” said Rhianna Tyson of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Negative security assurances are the promises made that nuclear states will not use nuclear bombs on non-nuclear states.