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Analytical Studies

Issue Objectives for the Genoa Summit Meeting 2001:
Disarmament/Nuclear Safety

1) Discussing and reaching some constructive conclusions with regards to the US proposed National Missile Defense Plan.

The new US administration is conducting in-depth reviews of its strategic and defence policies, including missile defences. On May 1, President Bush outlined in broad terms his thinking about the need for a new strategic framework (which would re-balance the relationship between deterrence, defence and non-proliferation) as well as on missile defence. He made clear that he intends, "when ready", to deploy missile defences (be they theatre or strategic) and that he wishes to see a system developed that would protect US friends and allies from the emerging long-range missile threat posed by "rogue states." He also stated his willingness to discuss the plans for such a missile defense system with all US allies and other affected parties. The US does not believe that the proposed integrated missile defense system, a more wide-reaching version of the Clinton's administration National Missile Defense System, integrating all forms of missile defence into a multi-layered approach which would incorporate boost-phase, mid-course and terminal defences with land, sea and air elements, is in any way damaging to world wide efforts in the area of non-proliferation and disarmament and should not interfere with NATO and US relations with Russia and China.

The plan proposed by US President George W. Bush is of primary concern to NATO and the Russian Federation. The plan would see the abrogation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, as it would be in direct contradiction of the terms of the 1972 treaty based on deterrence. The US President, at his press conference with NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson after the Special North Atlantic Council Meeting in Brussels on June 13, 2001, justified this drastic move by explaining the US view that "the ABM Treaty embodies the Cold War nuclear balance of terror between rival superpowers. But it no longer makes sense as a foundation for relations that should be based on mutual confidence, openness, and real opportunities for cooperation." Despite this reassurance, US allies within NATO especially are skeptical of the move. French President Jaques Chirac stated in a speech to the Institute for Higher Defence Studies on June 8, 2001:

The ABM Treaty has sealed the strategic balance of the past thirty years. The United States is now keen to define a new framework for this balance. It is above all for Russia to give her opinion on this proposal. France, for her part, is aware that the world has changed and that the very requirements for this balance need to be redefined. But she would like the ABM Treaty - although inspired by a bipolar world France has always denounced - not to be set aside in favour of a non-binding system - one which, under cover of multipolarity, would pave the way for new competition, this time uncontrolled. I appeal for careful consideration to be given to what such a development would mean.

Besides reservations about the effects of swapping the deterrence-based ABM Treaty for the proposed US Missile Defense System, a combination of deterrence, aggressive and defensive policy, US allies in Europe and Asia, especially the other G8 countries, have expressed further concerns about the effects of such a defence system. Most importantly, the NATO countries and the EU have, on the occasion of the Special North Atlantic Council Meeting on June 13, 2001 and the EU-US Summit in Goteburg at the end of June, brought up the possibility of a renewed arms race and an increase in terrorist activity. France, supported by other countries in the EU, has also questioned the financial and technological feasibility of the project.


The other G8 members, in the period between the announcement of the US plan for the Missile Defence System in May and the present, have taken different stances on the project.

Canada, as the US's closest ally, has declined to make a final judgement at this point against or for the proposed Missile Defense System, citing the fact that the US plan is still in its infancy and that it is still too unclear to allow for a fair assessment of its merits. As a result, Canada believes that "missile defence need not be incompatible with arms control and disarmament." Canada is mindful that any decision reached must not alienate Russia and China, must sustain the gains of the international non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament regime must not fail to enhance overall security. In conclusion, Canada's main concerns with regards to this issue are making sure that the necessary multilateral consideration and analysis are given to the plan before any decision is made on any side, and, secondly, that the questions relating to the ABM Treaty stemming from the US plan are thoroughly taken up and considered very seriously by the US and Russia.

France views the US proposal with a little more skepticism. It recognizes that "the US proposal for a new strategic framework calls for allies and friends to rethink the fundamental premises of strategic stability, including missile defenses", as stated by President Chirac in his June 8, 2001 speech to the Institute for Higher Defence Studies, France. However, it has raised questions with regards to the dangers of a new arms race in space as a result of the militarization of space that would accompany the implementation of the Missile Defense System, since it is virtually impossible to attain military monopoly in space. Also, President Chirac cited Russia's threats to withdraw from the Start II Treaty and other such treaties, signaling a concern for strategic stability if the MDS is implemented. Still, France is open to discussing the proposed US plan together with its NATO allies, in the hopes of thoroughly exploring the issue before making a decision. In a May 10, 2001 Franco-German communique, the French stressed the importance of the "process of consultations begun by the American government and their desire to pursue them in close coordination with the European Union partners." However, they are stressing the need not to move too quickly in tossing out the old framework until a new and better one is truly ready to take its place.

Germany, in turn, acknowledges the US's security concerns as the today's leading power. It also believes that, although whether missile defense is indeed the best solution is still a matter of debate, it is legitimate for the Americans to be looking for new answers to new nuclear threats, such as those perceived to be coming from the so-called "rogue states". In a speech to the 20th German-American Biennial Conference held on June 15, 2001, Karsten D. Voigt, Coordinator for German-American Cooperation in the German Foreign Office, explained that, in Europe and thus Germany's view, "the intricate network of disarmament and non-proliferation treaties must be preserved, strengthened, and expanded." As a result, she continued, "Germany has and will continue to voice its views and pursue its interests with regard to the concept that will underlie missile defense as well as to the effects and implications of this concept", including "a careful and sober analysis of the actual threat potential." As other European and NATO US allies, it Germany has welcomed the US Administration's readiness to consult with its allies about its Missile Defense plans but has also expressed concerns about the effects of the proposed Missile Defense plans on the ABM Treaty.

Italy has expressed interest in the US plan, but is, as part of the NATO and EU forums, interested and supportive of more analysis and discussion of the plans and the consequences they would bear.

Japan, as presented by Deputy Press Secretary Chikahito Harada in a June 1, 2001 Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference, maintains a five-point position on the issue of the proposed US Missile Defense plans. Firstly, it officially acknowledges, in agreement with the US position, that the proliferation of ballistic missiles is a serious threat to Japanese and global security. Furthermore, secondly, it underlines the importance of bilateral cooperation with the US in this matter and officially announces that Japan and the US are at present involved in conducting cooperative research on ballistic missile defense technologies, and will continue to do so. Thirdly, it acknowledges its understanding that the US is considering the missile defense program while also making efforts to address the proliferation of ballistic missiles. Moreover, the Japanese government welcomes President Bush's reference to plans for further cuts in nuclear weapons, in parallel to exploring missile defense plans. Finally, the Government of Japan "hopes that the missile defense issue will be dealt with in a manner that is conducive to the improvement of the international security environment, including in the areas of arms control and disarmament." Japan also welcomes the US's willingness to conduct consultations on this issue with allies and other interested parties as the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China.

Russia, although it has indicated an openness about talking about the plans being forwarded by the US on missile defense, is still very skeptical and opposed to the plan. As the reasons for its skepticism, it cites mainly the uncertainty of the effects on the global security balance that has been maintained for 30 years as a result of the ABM treaty of a possible abrogation of the ABM Treaty or of a US unilateral withdrawal from it. In connection to those concerns, President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly warned of a renewed nuclear build-up if the ABM Treaty is abandoned in favour of US missile defense plans, reiterating Russia's position that scrapping the ABM Treaty would mean the collapse of the START agreements limiting nuclear weapons. He explained, in a press conference after the weekend summit with President Bush at the end of June, that the abrogation of the ABM Treaty and the subsequent effects on the START program would mean that "all countries, including Russia, will have the right to install multiple warheads carrying nuclear weapons on their missiles", and warned that Russia would indeed strengthen its nuclear arsenal in response to a US abandonment of the ABM Treaty.

The United Kingdom has voiced more favourable and optimistic opinions about the US proposed missile defense plans than its other European colleagues. In an interview after the June 13, 2001 NATO meeting in Brussels, Prime Minister Anthony Blair primarily asserted that the UK completely shares US concerns about security threats from "highly unstable states who are developing nuclear capability." Also, he commented that "we have got to look at all the different ways, including defense systems, that can deal with that threat. As a result, the UK seems to place discussions on missile defense plans simply in the context of working out a way to deal with the perceived threat from newly emerging nuclear powers. The UK position on this issue also includes, as Prime Minister Blair underlined in discussing the June 13, 2001 NATO meeting, a strong conviction that "the most important thing that came across, even from those who have reservations about missile defense, is that Europe and America should always stick together." This signals a stronger willingness than other European states present at the moment to follow the US lead in implementing a missile defense system as planned. Finally, as is the case with most US allies, the need for more discussion and analysis of the implications of the plan are also part of Britain's stance on this issue.

The European Union's reaction to the US missile defense system is mixed and there is not a European-wide consensus on the issue. While some member states appear willing to consider the proposal (most notably the UK, Spain and Italy), other countries harbour concerns about the repercussions to other arms control treaties, the possibility of a renewed arms race, and worsening relations with Russia. To-date, the EU has not released a policy statement regarding missile defense.

Although the EU remains divided, some common ground is beginning to develop. Firstly, the EU is likely to favour a defense system that is supported by Russia (and possibly China) as opposed to one unilaterally adopted by the US. The latter would put Europe directly at risk, as Russia has threatened to withdraw from certain key disarmament treaties if the US and EU deployed a Missile Defense System. Secondly, the EU is likely to press the US for more specifics regarding the MDS and what benefits it could bring Europe before making any decision, since, so far, the US has only presented a general intention of a MDS, not a specific systems architecture. Finally, there is growing concern in the EU that the US is increasingly adopting a unilateralist foreign policy, reflected in the manner the US is presently approaching the potential adoption of a MDS.

In light of the G8 members' differences on the issue of the US-proposed Missile Defense System, the upcoming Genoa Summit should be an apt forum for discussion and further analysis of what, in fact, this proposal really means to those parties involved, as well as a proper venue for progress on agreement on this issue. The undertakings that must be part of the Summit discussions on the issue of Missile Defense Systems and their role in the global security balance must include a careful look at the implications of abrogating the ABM (including the potential for a new arms race). As well, discussion and a possible agreement on whether these are really viable concerns and whether they can be in any way avoided when implementing the MDS must also be included. Most importantly, a clarification as to the specifics of the US plan must be presented, as no work on the implications, agreement on or amendments to the proposal can be done if there is no concrete base to work from. Finally, all partners in the G8 must present clearly and completely their point of view and listen to all concerns brought forward by the other members in the process of seeking an agreement on this issue.

2) Continuing progress on the completion of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty; taking concrete action towards this end.

On May 14-15, 2001, a workshop initiated by the Japanese government on a Treaty to Ban the Production of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices took place in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of this year's second Conference on Disarmament. This workshop was initiated with a view to increasing a momentum to start negotiations for such a Treaty and an immediate start to negotiations for the Treaty. "Japan is determined to continue its diplomatic efforts for immediate commencement of the negotiations for the Treaty, based upon the view that the Treaty is a concrete and realistic measure in the wake of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and is extremely significant in realizing a world free of nuclear weapons", as stated by the Press Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan on May 11, 2001.

The United States has also pushed for the immediate commencement of negotiations for a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. In a February 15, 2001 Statement, US Ambassador to the Conference Robert Grey urged the Conference to launch Fissile Material Treaty talks as soon as possible. Each G8 country has a vested interest in pursuing a timely negotiation on the Ban of Production of Fissile Materials for Nuclear Weapons and Other Explosive Devices because the vast but dangerously under-guarded Fissile Material stocks accumulated in the ex-Soviet Union pose a serious international security threat. With a Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty in place and Western help in discarding the accumulated fissile material, the danger that Russian fissile material will end up in the wrong hands will be diminished when all the old stocks will finally be discarded and there will be no more produced. The danger will further be reduced since no more fissile material will be produced anywhere in the world. The G8 countries, including Great Britain, Italy, the United States and Japan, have all expressed enthusiasm in completing this matter and, as a result, it is likely that it will be one of the Disarmament/Nuclear Safety issues on the Genoa Summit agenda.

3) The full ratification of the provisions of the 1997 Convention which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of antipersonnel landmines and their destruction.

The G8 nations may also desire to bring closure to the matter of landmines. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) has received significant global attention, especially since the Ottawa Treaty, and has made important progress. Currently, there exists 140 signatory countries, 117 of which have ratified the treaty.

G8 signatories to the Treaty may be inclined to further pressure the U.S. and Russia to sign the Mine Ban Treaty (1997), especially considering recent public interest in the matter.

The fact that the ratification of the treaty still remains of serious global concern has been recently reaffirmed by the international community. First, the Capital Hill rally, in March 2001, demonstrated the widespread desire for the universal implementation of the treaty. Representatives from over 90 countries gathered to pressure U.S. President George W. Bush to ratify. Second, the governments of Canada and Poland, as well as the ICBL, organized a Conference in June 2001, which was entitled, "Understanding the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel landmines." The Conference encouraged European signatory countries to speedily ratify the treaty. Canada, who initiated the Ottawa Treaty, took a leading role at the Conference and is also expected to pressure non-signatories at the Genoa Summit.

The main concern of the ICBL, as well as the international community, as demonstrated in June, is the fact that Russia, a current producer of landmines, is believed to hold the second largest stockpile of mines in the world (between 60 and 70 million mines). The United States, in addition, has been targeted as an obstacle to the conclusion of the landmine issue. Currently, the United States has more than 200,000 antipersonnel mines stockpiled in Norway, Germany, and Greece, as well as at Diego Garcia, a United Kingdom dependent territory. Although the ICBL acknowledges that US humanitarian aid is crucial to the process of removing mines, it is necessary that the US ceases production and stockpiling in order for the global ban on AP mines to be implemented.

The United States has continued to exert its opposition to a world-wide ban, claiming that such a move would hinder the military position of the U.S. The U.S. Congress has maintained that the U.S. military relies on AP mines in mixed systems to protect anti-tank mines; furthermore, that the mines are required to effectively defend the Republic of South Korea in the event of a North Korean invasion (i.e. "Korean Exception"). In a letter addressed to President George W. Bush on Armed Forces Day, May 19, 2001, eight retired senior officers and leaders in the U.S. armed forces voiced their support for the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The retired generals and admirals (two of which commanded all U.S. troops in Korea) rejected the two major arguments of the opponents of the treaty and argued that the "military utility of landmines is outweighed by its dire implications for U.S. troops and their combat mobility."

AP mines continue to be a pressing issue; currently, over 250 million mines remain stockpiled globally. In addition, all of the G8 countries (with the exception of Russia and the U.S.) have both signed and ratified the treaty. All NATO members (excluding Turkey and the U.S.) have also committed to the implementation of a world-wide ban on AP mines. NATO members have also been pressured to oppose any U.S. use of mines in joint NATO operations (in addition to refusing to participate in joint operations in which the U.S. uses AP mines).

Japan, France, Canada, Italy, and the U.K. have all stated that the fight against antipersonnel landmines is an international priority. Japan has continued to garner the participation of non-signatory countries, as well as work with concerned countries toward the early initiation of negotiations. The U.K. and France have continued to fulfill their obligations under the treaty. Italy has taken efforts to ensure that the European Union retains a major role in all efforts undertaken to resolve the issue of AP mines (i.e. by pursuing the universal ratification of the treaty, its proper implementation, and more effective international mine-clearance co-ordination). Overall, the landmine issue has been brought to the forefront of international humanitarian debate; the G8 states that have ratified the treaty have reason to pressure non-signatories at the Genoa Summit to address the matter.

4) The early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

After two and a half years of intensive negotiations on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) at the Conference on Disarmament and the subsequent failure of its adoption, the Treaty was adopted instead by the UN General Assembly on September 10th, 1996 (by a vote of 158 for, 3 against, and 5 abstentions) and opened for signature. The CTBT essentially bans all nuclear explosions for military or civilian purposes, and requires that signatory states pass legislation as well as implement monitoring systems as part of the ratification process. A Preparatory Commission and a global verification regime have also been established to prepare for the Treaty's entry into force.

At the 2000 Okinawa Summit, G8 countries committed to the implementation of the "conclusions reached at this Conference, including the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty." Nevertheless, the provisions of the Treaty have not yet been adopted globally. Currently, there are 161 signatories, 76 of which have ratified the Treaty. Ratification by 44 countries specified by the Treaty must occur in order for entry into force to begin. Of the 44, 13 are still required to ratify, one of which is the United States. All G8 states have signed and ratified the CTBT with the exception of the U.S., which has failed to ratify, largely as a result of the lack of support from the U.S. Senate.

As a result, the UN Secretary General convened the Conference on facilitating the early entry into force of the CTBT in October of 1999. Under Article XIV, the CTBT calls for the convening of a conference at the request of a majority of ratifying States, if the Treaty has not entered into force three years after the anniversary of its opening for signature, and on subsequent anniversaries until its entry into force. The second Article XIV Conference will be held from September 25th to 27th 2001 at UN Headquarters in New York. Overall, the 2000 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference was a marked success, as claimed by the U.K. Foreign Affairs Department. For the first time since 1985, participating States adopted by consensus a Final Document, which both reviewed progress over the last five years, and set out a forward looking agenda for the next five.

The G8 ratifiers have declared that the entry into force of the CTBT is an international priority and have taken various measures to bring closure to the matter. For instance, Japan and Canada have urged early ratification by non-ratifiers through the dispatch of high-level missions. Japan also contributed to the establishment of the International Monitoring System to verify compliance to the Treaty by Party states in various ways. The CTBT has been brought to the forefront of international issues and there exists reason for the matter to be discussed at the Genoa Summit, especially in regard to the role of the U.S.

5) The implementation of an international financial plan for plutonium management and disposition and the safe or suspended transfer of plutonium.

At last year's Okinawa Summit, the G8 countries committed to establishing an international financing plan for plutonium management and disposition, "based on a detailed project plan, and a multilateral framework to co-ordinate this co-operation." The project plan would essentially promote the non-use of weapon-grade plutonium for defence purposes. Although numerous measures have been taken in regard to plutonium disposition by G8 states, the issue became prevalent again in January of 2001 when Germany accused the U.S. of failing to inform NATO nations of the potential contamination of uranium munitions with plutonium (that were used during the Balkans war). NATO investigations indicated that there existed no serious contamination; nevertheless, concerns rose among some G8 countries when Italy started studying the illnesses of 30 veterans of Balkans peacekeeping missions (seven of whom died of cancer, including five from leukemia). This incident has also caused international concern to rise once new testing of depleted uranium shells began again in the UK in February. Italy and Germany may particularly be interested in pursuing increased efforts in addressing the issue or initiating further research. This matter would be discussed in addition to the related issue of the safe or suspended transfer of plutonium (which has continued to be advocated by the international community as well as G8 states).

Document prepared by Oana Dolea and Jennifer Stanton, University of Toronto G8 Research Group, June 2001.

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