A major NATO arms control conference got underway in Iceland on Monday, as senior experts from more than 50 countries and organisations gathered to discuss the state of global arms control treaties.

NATO say that the two-day conference will cover topics ranging from ballistic missile proliferation and the use of chemical weapons by states and terrorists, to the future of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“Arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation are essential for NATO’s security and for ensuring strategic stability around the world,” said William Alberque, Director of NATO’s Arms Control, Disarmament, and WMD Non-Proliferation Centre.

“Chemical weapons attacks in Syria and the United Kingdom show that the international non-proliferation regime is being challenged,” he said according to a news release, adding that he expected the conference to reinforce the importance of global non-proliferation norms.

NATO’s annual Conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, the 14th of its kind, is being chaired by Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, Ambassador Alejandro Alvargonzález. NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu will deliver keynote speeches.

In her prepared remarks, Deputy Secretary General Gottemoeller stressed that the Alliance strongly supports effective arms control agreements and well-established international legal frameworks surrounding them. Turning to the NPT, Gottemoeller emphasised that the treaty is one of the most important international agreements of its kind and that Allies will not support any approaches to disarmament that ignore global security conditions, or undermine the NPT.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Seems like proliferation is a horse that’s already bolted. Trashing control treaties won’t help it. US, Russia, PRC, UK, Fr, Israel, India, Pakistan & Saudi Arabia(Pakistan paid to supply nukes to Saudis whenever needed), N Korea, Iran?, plus whoever else. Chemical weapons even more widely owned & used with superpower complicity(Assad in Syria). It’s very scary & I doubt these “genies” will ever be put back into the bottle.

  2. The biggest threat to Europe is small arms (and light weapons) proliferation and importing borders to pull the latter’s triggers.

  3. Unfortunately there was never much chance of getting rid of weapons of mass destruction with or without proliferation. It will take something like the first world war with chemical weapons for any chance of change. So what can we do ? We should have the absolute minimum of nuclear weapons to deter any such attack on ourselves and our friends and allies not a single weapon more. Other than that one task they’re unusable, utterly useless and a waste of money that could be spent on conventional and useful weapons.

  4. Bio weapons are the really scary thing. Our ability modify viral RNA, use of vectored DNA and modification/creation of a novel virus/ bacteria is potentially terrifying.

    Gas and nuclear weapons although destructive beyond imaging are self limiting in nature a living organism is not.

    After all just a bit of pot luck has created some epic global killers, the Black Death actually put a dent in the human population charts, imagine a novel bacteria with a 100% CFR and the Ro of measles, made with intent (all known resistances added in to make it pretty much untreatable).

    Makes chemical weapons look like sharpened sticks.

    • ” the Black Death actually put a dent in the human population charts, imagine ”

      Indeed. And add in the general issues with decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics as a global issue (one that worries me as much if not more than global warming) plus the greater mobility of the population around the planet increasing propagation rates and it really puts all other weapons of mass destruction in the shade. It truly is scary stuff.

      This whole area is pretty scary because it doesn’t even need some nut-job terrorist or world leader to set something off. Both the Black Death and the Spanish Flu (admittedly not as destructive as the Black Death but which still killed between 3% and 5% of the world’s population) were naturally occurring rather than engineered weapons.

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