The prime purpose of the NPT and its review conferences is to bring the international community together in a joint enterprise to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons and work towards eliminating nuclear weapons in their entirety.This project requires states to participate in good faith.
States are half way through their second week at the NPT Review Conference (it lasts four), and the UN Secretary General has observed that the gulf between the five NPT nuclear weapon states and the 185 non-nuclear weapon states is growing wider, threatening the stability of the wider non-proliferation regime.
Nuclear weapons are attracting a higher profile in this UK election debate than they have in any nuclear weapon state in a generation. Yet the focus is dominated by symbolic prejudice (does a political leader have the necessary mettle to resist minority opinions and renew Trident?) rather than strengthening national security in the round, let alone Britain's contribution to global peace and security.
Representatives from China, France, Russia, the US and UK (the five official nuclear weapon states under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty), convened in London last week for a meeting of the so-called ‘P5 process’.
Last week the curtain closed on the 69th session of the UN First Committee on Disarmament. It is the forum for states to discuss the wide ranging disarmament agenda, including nuclear weapons to small arms, and fully autonomous weapons.