Jeffrey LewisMovement at the CD?

José Maria Sert’s 1934 mural depicting the progress of humankind toward peace.

Wow, the Conference on Disarmament may be moving toward a program of work.

The good folks at Reaching Critical Will report that the CD could take a decision as early as Tuesday to begin negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty:

On behalf of the six Presidents (P6), Sri Lanka presented a proposal for work, and a draft decision (CD/2007/L.1) for the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to endorse that proposal, on Friday, March 23. The draft decision appoints a Coordinator to preside over negotiations on a treaty to ban the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons (FissBan or FM©T). It also appoints Coordinators to preside over substantive discussions on nuclear disarmament and the prevention of nuclear war, issues related to the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), and appropriate international arrangements to assure non-nuclear weapon states against the threat or use of nuclear weapons (NSAs). The P6 intend for the CD to take this decision next week, and if it is adopted, the CD will begin negotiating a new disarmament treaty for the first time in 10 years.

Rumor has it that the United States has finally agreed to substantive discussions on the other issues, including outer space. (Yea!) Unfortunately, China is rumored to be less interested in starting discussions on space than in blocking an FMCT. (Boo.)

India is rumored to be attempting to block the deal. If true, this is a substantial issue: In order to waive certain pertinent sections of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 under Public Law 109-401, the President must certify among other things that “India is working actively with the United States for the early conclusion of a multilateral treaty on the cessation of the production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

Fortunately, I am off to Geneva on Friday for a couple of days (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) for a conference and (now) to do a little reconnaissance.

Local readers interested in grabbing a beer in Geneva on should send me a note at armscontrolwonk [at] Most likely, I’ll be at Mr. Pickwick Pub, knocking back a Boddingtons or two.