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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Call for new nuclear thinking
By Jonathan Marcus
BBC diplomatic correspondent

Mushroom cloud from nuclear explosion
The report says international teamwork is essential
Current efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons are insufficient and need a radical overhaul, according to a respected think-tank.

The Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is presenting a plan on Monday meant to guide the future of nuclear weapons policy.

It is entitled Universal Compliance - a Strategy for Nuclear Security.

Those behind it say they are hoping to avoid having the same argument in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion.

Nuclear bargain

Nobody could criticise the report's authors for not thinking big.

Some might argue that tackling a problem like Iran or North Korea's nuclear programmes is difficult enough, but this new report argues that the only way to stem the spread of nuclear weapons is to bring all of these individual arms proliferation problems under one broad umbrella, which it calls "universal compliance".

The idea is that if everyone is to gain, everyone has to be seen to give something up.

So, for example, if Iran is to guarantee that it will not develop nuclear weapons, then existing nuclear weapon states must halt the production of fissile materials and abandon the development of new generations of nuclear bombs.

One issue is not directly linked to the other but the Carnegie Endowment's intention is to reinvigorate the essential nuclear bargain between countries who have nuclear weapons and those who do not.

Resolve

This 96-page report has some tough advice for whoever wins the US presidential election in November.

It says that stopping the spread of nuclear weapons requires more international teamwork than the Bush administration recognises, and more international resolve than previous administrations could muster.

Over the next two days here in Washington, virtually every major figure in the arms control debate will be discussing the new plan, which, as one of the report's authors notes, is intended to answer one very basic question that would be asked in the wake of a nuclear exchange or a terrorist attack involving nuclear weapons: What should have been done to prevent this?




SEE ALSO:
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US accuses China of weapons trade
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05 Feb 04  |  South Asia
Non-Proliferation treaty explained
10 Jan 03  |  Asia-Pacific


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