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Arms Control Association Welcomes Blix-Led WMD Commission Report

For Immediate Release: June 1, 2006                  Press Contact: Daryl G. Kimball, (202) 463-8270 x107

(Washington, D.C.) Today, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix presented UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan with a report recommending 60 steps for reducing global dangers posed by biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. The nongovernmental Arms Control Association (ACA) welcomed the report as a crucial and compelling call to action for addressing the world’s most deadly weapons.

“Blix and the WMD Commission provide a much-need wake up call and a practical and balanced menu of options for effectively getting back to the business of eliminating biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons,” said ACA Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball. “We urge the Bush administration not only to act on commission recommendations aimed at curbing the spread of WMD, but also to show greater leadership by significantly reducing U.S. nuclear forces and missions,” he said.

The Swedish government established the independent Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Commission in December 2003. Chaired by Blix, who formerly led the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission, the WMD Commission includes 13 international weapons and security experts, including former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry and former UN Undersecretary-General Jayantha Dhanapala.

After two years of work, the commission concluded that “there has been a serious, and dangerous, loss of momentum and direction in disarmament and nonproliferation efforts.” Blix largely attributes this trend to the failure of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to “seriously” abide by their commitments to nuclear disarmament enshrined in the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

To reverse this downturn, the commission recommends a raft of measures ranging from nuclear-armed states forswearing the first use of nuclear weapons to all countries agreeing on limiting the spread of facilities and technologies that can be used to produce nuclear arms. It further urges governments to bolster the regimes outlawing chemical and biological weapons and to ban the future deployment of weapons in outer space.

Blix singles out two actions as potentially providing the greatest boost to reenergizing the worldwide disarmament and nonproliferation agenda: bringing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty into force and concluding a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would ban the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for bombs. He warns that if the United States does not exercise its “decisive leverage” to lead on these two issues then “there could be more nuclear tests and new nuclear arms races.”

Underlying all of the commission’s recommendations is the general notion that all countries must work together and that appropriate approaches be impartial and universal. The commission notes that it “views all WMD as inherently dangerous, in anybody’s hands” and “so long as any state has such weapons—especially nuclear weapons—others will want them.”

On June 7, Blix will join ACA in Washington, D.C. to discuss the commission’s report. For more information on attending this event, please visit <http://www.armscontrol.org/events/20060607_Blix.asp>.

The Arms Control Association (ACA) is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting effective arms control policies. ACA publishes the monthly journal Arms Control Today. ACA Senior Fellow Randy Rydell has served as Senior Counsellor and Report Director for the WMD Commission.