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2016 Nuclear Security Summit: Obama’s Last Hurrah

Analysis by Jayantha Dhanapala*

KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - In the practice of general medicine a placebo is defined as a medicine or a procedure prescribed for the psychological benefit for the patient – to humour or placate rather than for any physiological or therapeutic effect. U.S. President Barack Obama’s rhetoric in Prague in April 2009 gave the world a tantalizing vision of a nuclear weapon free world: “The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War …. I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”  [P01] CHINESE TEXT VERSION PDF | JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF | NORWEGIAN

UN Chief Welcomes Outcome of Nuclear Security Summit

By J Natranis

NEW YORK (IDN) - The international community must pursue broader measures of prevention in the context of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, in particular by addressing the conditions conducive to terrorism, especially preventing violent extremism, stopping the flow of foreign fighters, blocking terrorist financing, and working to promote human rights and sustainable development, according to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Obama Joins Japan and Kazakhstan to Campaign for CTBT

By Catherine Baumann

BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) - “The security of the world demands that nations — including the United States – ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and conclude a new treaty to end the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons once and for all,” wrote U.S. President Barack Obama in his opinion article for the Washington Post on March 30 on the eve of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.

Responding to Obama’s call, Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), tweeted: “(We) need a #CTBT summit to cast test-ban into law & stop countries like #DPRK developing #nuclear weapons.”

U.S.-Kazakhstan Cooperation on Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation

By J C Suresh

TORONTO (IDN) - The Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC on March 31-April 1, to be joined by 50 world leaders, is the fourth under the leadership of President Barack Obama who stated in his speech in Prague in 2009 that nuclear terrorism is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security.

Obama announced an international effort to secure vulnerable nuclear materials, break up black markets, and detect and intercept illicitly trafficked materials. The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington, DC in 2010, and was followed by Summits in Seoul in 2012 and The Hague in 2014

Nuclear Weapons Challenge the World’s Highest Court

By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN | THE HAGUE (IDN) - After ten days of public hearings involving teams of eminent international lawyers – some backed by staunch proponents of ‘nuclear zero’ and others clinging to the doctrine of ‘nuclear deterrence’ – the world’s highest court is faced with a challenging task of far-reaching significance.

Not the least because this year marks the twentieth anniversaries of the 1996 ‘advisory opinion’ by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the opening for signature of the CTBT, the treaty banning all nuclear tests everywhere – nuclear tests that are at the heart of nuclear proliferation. [P44] JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF | NORWEGIAN

2016 Crucial for Promoting a Nuclear Weapons Free World

By Jamshed Baruah

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) - The 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and the twentieth anniversaries of the opening for signature of the treaty to ban all kinds of nuclear tests as well as of the unanimous advisory by the world’s highest court are three significant hallmarks of the year 2016.

“These historical dates are an important occasion for pooling the efforts of all countries to promote a nuclear-free world," said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on March 2 during a meeting in Astana with the heads of foreign diplomatic missions accredited in the republic. JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF

World’s Highest Court Addresses Nuclear Disarmament

By Ramesh Jaura

THE HAGUE (IDN) - Aided by a team of eminent international lawyers and backed by staunch proponents of ‘nuclear zero’, the tiny but resolute Pacific Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) wants the International Court of Justice (ICJ), principal judicial organ of the United Nations, to hold the nine nuclear weapons states – U.S., Russia, UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea – accountable to their disarmament commitments.

These are the first contentious cases about nuclear disarmament to be brought before the world’s highest court, said Rick Wayman, Director of Programs at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF

Youth Campaign for a Legally Binding Global Ban on Nuclear Tests

By Jamshed Baruah

BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) - An international group of students and young graduates has decided to campaign for North Korea and seven other hold-out states ratifying a global treaty banning all nuclear tests so that it becomes legally binding for all states.

Since the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature twenty years ago, 183 countries have signed it, of which 164 have also ratified it, including three of the nuclear weapon States: France, Russia and the United Kingdom.

But 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries must sign and ratify before the CTBT can enter into force. Of these, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the USA are still missing. In fact, India, North Korea and Pakistan have yet to sign the CTBT.

New Sanctions on North Korea May Prove Counterproductive

By Rodney Reynolds

UNITED NATIONS (IDN | INPS) – After nearly two months of closed-door negotiations, the 15 member UN Security Council (UNSC) decided to impose new sanctions on North Korea penalizing Pyongyang for its fourth nuclear test conducted on January 6.

The resolution, adopted unanimously by the UNSC, imposed some of the toughest sanctions on North Korea calling on all UN member states to inspect cargo destined for – and coming from – Pyongyang, in all airport and sea ports.

The Beginning of the End for Nuclear Weapons?

By Daisaku Ikeda *

TOKYO (IDN | INPS) - Last year’s NPT Review Conference closed without bridging the chasm between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states. It was deeply regrettable that no consensus was reached at this significant juncture marking the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Hope still remains, however, thanks to a number of important developments. These include: the growing number of countries endorsing the Humanitarian Pledge, a commitment to work together for the resolution of the nuclear arms issue; the adoption in December 2015 by the UN General Assembly of several ambitious resolutions calling for a breakthrough; and rising calls from civil society for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. READ IN JAPANESE