Last week, March 30th, I was given an opportunity to attend a conference on a World Without Nuclear Weapons at the US State Department with guest speakers from the government, academia, and NGO’s.  Ambassadors Bonnie Jenkins and Susan Burk discussed the administration’s views and history of the last few decades with the issue of proliferation. Students from Georgetown, GWU, and Missouri State University discussed with the audience how to strength the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) with strengthening the UN Security Council. Some suggested making the treaty tough on violators with more effective sanctions; and others suggested restructuring the makeup of the Security Council.  None of them suggested the idea of the General Assembly using the Resolution for Peace, which would require the Secretary General to deal directly with the issue.  Joe Cirincione of Ploughshares Fund gave the closing remarks suggesting that a world without nuclear weapons is possible.   The world saw the people of Europe free themselves of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. The overall idea of the conference was to begin an active discussion on how do we rid ourselves of nuclear weapons  and why is it important to you?

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty).  The treaty is focused on three pillars; non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful use of nuclear technology. The idea of this treaty was to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons while allowing peaceful use of nuclear technology. Every 5 years it up for review by the party states; this year it will be held at the UN Head Quarters in New York City.  This year marks a real chance for our nation and the world to actively begin the process but we also must be realistic that it will take time.

Some important dates that are coming up:

April 12th and 13th leaders from 44 nations will gather with the President in Washington DC to discuss ways to prevent nuclear materials from falling in the wrong hands.

May 3rd -28th Member states to the NPT will meet in New York to review the treaty and suggest, to the UN, changes to the treaty if needed. http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/index.shtml

The State Department has established an online forum for people to discuss the issues that the American people want to see address. www.state.gov/opinionspace

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