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2003 PrepCom: MPI Calls for Advancing 13 Steps
MPI Event
Palais des Nations
United Nations, Geneva
April 25, 2003

On April 25, 2003, the Middle Powers Initiative (MPI) held another successful Strategy Consultation. The closed door meeting - the 8th of its kind since the creation of MPI in 1998 - preceeded this year's 2nd NPT PrepCom, which took place from April 28 to May 9 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Right Honourable Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada and MPI Steering Committee Member, chaired the Consultation. Speakers included H.E. Mr. Laszlo Molnar, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN in New York and Chair of the 2nd NPT PrepCom; Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima and GSI advisor; H.E. Mr. Tim Caughley, Permanent Representative of Aotearoa/New Zealand to the UN in Geneva and Ambassador for Disarmament; and Dr. Tariq Rauf, Head of the IAEA Verification and Security Policy Coordination in Vienna.

The goal of MPI, a coalition of eight international advocacy groups, is to reinforce so-called middle power governments in their efforts to encourage the nuclear-weapon states to fulfill their commitments under the NPT and take immediate practical steps that reduce nuclear dangers. In accordance with this mission, MPI over the past five years has built a close working relationship with the New Agenda Coalition (NAC, including Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden).

Together, the substantive work of these like-minded governments and civil society experts helped move the nuclear disarmament agenda forward at the 2000 NPT Review Conference. Together, MPI's Chair Senator Douglas Roche now hopes, the two groups will again be able to make a substantial contribution to the 2005 Review Conference.

"Let us keep in mind a core statement of the Final Document of the 2000
Review Conference - namely, that 'the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only absolute guarantee against the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons'," Roche stated in Geneva. "This is the central message MPI and the NAC must get into peoples' heads between now and 2005."

The MPI Strategy Consultation, which focused on strategies suitable to advance the 13 Practical Steps adopted at the 2000 NPT Review Conference, was well attended. In addition to the representatives of 20 plus middle power countries, including Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Spain, Turkey and the NAC, more than 30 NGO representatives and observers participated in the 3 hour meeting.

Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima and key note speaker at the Consultation, underscored Roche's call for continued close cooperation between likeminded NGOs and governments. "Civil society and elected leaders must pull together and approach the 2005 NPT Review Conference with absolute determination to strengthen the non-proliferation regime and stop the trend toward nuclear proliferation," Akiba stated. "The development of new nuclear weapons by the nuclear-weapon states will do nothing but encourage nuclear proliferation," the Mayor further observed, concluding his intervention with a passionate call for a complete ban of nuclear weapons by 2005.

Ambassador Laszlo Molnar of Hungary, Chair of the 2003 PrepCom, and
Ambassador Tim Caughley of New Zealand, currently coordinating the NAC, in their addresses both stressed the continued relevance of the 13 Practical Steps as a solid roadmap toward full implementation of Article VI. "The 13 Steps were developed and agreed as a means to an end, not as an end in themselves," Caughley reminded the participants. It is precisely for this reason, Molnar and Caughley concluded, that the irrelevance of some of the steps in the new strategic context does not weaken the overall "unequivocal undertaking" the nuclear-weapon states made in 2000 to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.

According to Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada and Chair of the MPI Consultation in Geneva, the meeting achieved its purpose in spite of an unusually cautious audience." We called for this Consultation to reaffirm the importance of the 13 Practical Steps and to shore up middle power countries in their efforts to get the nuclear-weapon states back on track," Campbell said after the meeting. "Well, that's what we did and will continue to do until 2005 and beyond."

Links:

- April 2003 MPI Briefing Paper, "Advancing the NPT 13 Practical Steps" (PDF)

- May 2003 PrepCom Report of the MPI Chair, "Ritualistic Fašade" (PDF)

- May 2003 MPI Consultation Report, "Advancing the NPT 13 Practical Steps" (PDF) (coming soon)