New York – December 21, 2010: The Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., founding Chairman of the Middle Powers Initiative (MPI), announced today the appointment of Ambassador Richard Butler AC as Chairman of MPI, effective January 1, 2011. Senator Roche made this announcement on behalf of MPI’s International Steering Committee.
"Richard Butler is one of the world’s leading authorities on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, with a record of solid achievements in those fields. He will be an outstanding leader of MPI, and takes up the role of Chairman at a crucial moment in work to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The subject of a Nuclear Weapons Convention is now firmly established on the international agenda. The stage is set for MPI to deepen its work with key middle power governments on a process leading to a global legal ban on all nuclear weapons.” Senator Roche said.
In a career spanning over three decades, Ambassador Butler has played key roles in some of the most important initiatives in the field of nuclear arms control. He was: Australia’s first Ambassador for Disarmament, Permanent Representative to the UN Conference on Disarmament, Geneva. (1983-88); Chairman of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (1995-96).
In 1996, he managed the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
He represented Australia at four review conferences of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and led the Australian delegation at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Treaty.
In 1997, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed him Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission to disarm Iraq (UNSCOM).
In addition to his distinguished career in arms control, he also served as Australian Ambassador to the United Nations, New York, (1992-95).
During that time, he was the Chairman of the negotiations for the 50th Anniversary Declaration of the UN and was the Vice Chair of the World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen (1995).
As President of the UN Economic and Social Council (1994-95) Ambassador Butler chaired the working group that created UNAIDS.
From 1989-92 he was Australian Ambassador to Thailand and in 1989-91 he served as the Australian negotiator, in situ, for the Cambodian Peace Agreement, later becoming Australian Ambassador to Cambodia.
From 1999-2001 he was Diplomat in Residence at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York.
He is the author of: The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Crisis of Global Security (Public Affairs, 2000) and, Fatal Choice: Nuclear Weapons --Survival or Sentence (Westview Press, 2002).
In 2003, Ambassador Butler was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), Australia's highest civilian honor. He is currently the Distinguished Scholar of International Peace and Security at Pennsylvania State University.